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If you can’t imagine a medical career without helping patients and participating in research, you’ve probably considered the MD-PhD track. Learn all about applying to MD-PhD programs and get our expert tips for strengthening your application.

Is an MD-PhD Program right for you?

The MD-PhD is a dual doctorate degree program for students who are interested in careers as “physician-scientists." By graduation, you’ll have fulfilled requirements for both the MD and PhD degrees. The MD-PhD takes about 8 years to complete during which you receive medical training AND become an expert in a specific research field. The program also requires dissertation research in your field of graduate study, which can range from biomedical laboratory disciplines like biochemistry or genetics to fields like economics, sociology, or anthropology . After graduation, MD-PhD students usually work as researchers or as faculty members at medical schools and universities.

Learn more about MD combined degree programs .

md phd programs

What are Medical Scientist Training Programs?

Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP) are MD-PhD programs that are funded by the National Institute of Health. Students who are admitted to these highly-competitive programs receive full tuition coverage, living expenses, and a stipend. There are currently 45  NIH-funded MSTP programs .

Are all MD-PhD programs free?

Over 60 medical and osteopathic medical schools  maintain their own MD-PhD or DO-PhD programs that are not funded by the NIH. Depending on the school, these programs offer full or partial financial support for their students.

Applying to MD-PhD Programs

Nearly all MD-PhD programs use the same application process as MD admissions—via the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application . One key difference? MD-PhD applicants submit two additional essays: the MD-PhD Essay and the Significant Research Experience Essay:

  • The MD-PhD Essay asks you to explain your reasons for pursuing the combined degree program.
  • The  Significant Research Experience Essay asks you to describe your key research experiences, including your research supervisor's name and affiliation, the duration of the experience, the nature of the problem studied, and your contributions to the project.

Read More: Guide to Your Med School Applications

Do you need to take the GRE Test to apply for the Md-Phd Program?

Programs have different policies, so some schools may require both the MCAT and the GRE for combined degree applicants. For example, an MD-Phd in Anthropology at one school may require the GRE, while the MD-PhD in Immunology may not. Check with your prospective med schools to make sure you’re covered.

Timeline for MD-PhD Admissions

The MD-PHD application timeline is virtually the same as for MD admissions. (Remember you are using the same application service!) Here are the important dates for MD-PHD admissions:

  • Early May: AMCAS opens and begins accepting transcripts
  • Early June:  AMCAS begins accepting application submissions
  • October–March: MD-PhD applicant interviews
  • December–March: Admissions decisions sent to applicants
  • March–April: Md-PhD applicants make their final decisions
  • June–August: MD-PHD programs begin!

Tips for Boosting Your Md-Phd Application

Competition for MD-PhD applicants is fierce. After all, you have to convince medical schools to invest significant time and financial resources in you. Of the total 1,936 MD-PhD applicants in 2016–17, only 649 matriculated in a U.S. med school. Here’s what you can do to strengthen your overall application.

1. You need strong MCAT scores and a high GPA

If your grades and scores aren’t where they need to be, address it before you apply!  Check out these admissions stats for MD-PhD matriculants to U.S. medical schools from 2016-2017:

SOURCE:  Association of American Medical Colleges

Make a smart MCAT prep plan and retake the exam if necessary. Consider completing additional grad school work to raise your GPA and take advantage of our online tutors for pre-med requirements!

2. You need sustained research background + a clear picture of your future in research

3. you need the right recommenders.

Most letters of recommendation should come for your research mentors, professors who run the labs you work in, and the postdoctoral fellows you work with. Make sure your recommenders know that you are applying to MD-PhD programs as this will affect the letters they write.

Want to get an edge over the crowd?

Our admissions experts know what it takes it get into med school. Get the customized strategy and guidance you need to help achieve your goals.

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Everything You Need to Know About MD-PhD Programs

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Table of Contents

MD-PhD programs are dual-degree programs for pre-medical students who want to both practice medicine and conduct extensive research.

In an MD-PhD program, the medical education of the MD program is combined with the in-depth research training of a PhD program. Students learn to practice medicine, diagnosing and treating patients all while gaining research experience to investigate medical conditions and diseases.

These programs are more intense than standard medical school. Students take additional coursework, typically in the biomedical sciences, graduate training, rotations in different laboratories, and intensive research.

The extra education gives students the tools to advance in the medical field after graduation. If you are interested in investigating diseases as you treat patients and developing innovative ways to provide care, an MD-PhD path may be for you!

What are MD-PhD programs?

MD-PhD programs are unique dual-degree programs designed for students who have an interest in both patient care and research. In these programs, students complete both a medical degree (MD) and a doctorate (PhD). This prepares graduates to function as physician-scientists, seamlessly bridging the gap between the laboratory and the clinical setting.

What is the difference between an MD and an MD-PhD? The difference between MD and MD-PhD graduates is that while both degrees are conferred to medical doctors, MD programs focus on clinical practice. MD-PhD programs, on the other hand, combine medical education with extensive biomedical research training. 

Is MD-PhD easier than MD? MD-PhD programs are not easier than MD programs. They require a longer time commitment, but in the end, provide graduates with a broader skill set to pursue careers that integrate medicine and scientific research.

How rare is an MD-PhD? Only about 3% of students that enroll in medical school are in MD-PhD programs. There are 122 MD-PhD programs in the U.S. and 13 in Canada listed on the AAMC MD-PhD Degree Programs by State directory .

Graduate programs aren’t confined to a specific area of study. Each school with this type of program has its own options for its PhD degree. PhD students commonly choose to specialize in topics such as:

  • Cell biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Neuroscience
  • Biomedical engineering

Upon completion of an MD-PhD program, graduates are awarded the dual degree for their proficiency in both clinical practice and research. 

MD-PhD Program Duration

A significant commitment of time is necessary to complete an MD-PhD program, but the career path is rewarding and well-compensated. 

How many years are MD-PhD programs ? Students can expect to spend 7-8 years total between graduate school and med school, but there is no strict timeline for completing an MD-PhD. Some students complete their programs in as little as six years, and others take as long as 10.

Students usually start with the first year to two years of medical school, followed by 3-5 years of research, then finish with another two years of medical training and clinicals. Current students entering into MD-PhD programs are older , on average, than when these programs first began, and many take longer to complete their studies.

How much does an MD-PhD program cost?

Most MD-PhD programs offer enrolled students tuition-free training and a stipend to cover living expenses.

The cost of an MD-PhD program varies widely depending on the institution, but the stipend and tuition-free training makes many of these programs significantly less burdensome financially compared to standalone MD or PhD programs.

Financial support is available through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scholarships are offered that cover tuition and provide a stipend for living expenses, making these intensive dual degree programs more attainable.

Not all MD-PhD programs are funded by the MSTP, but some schools offer similar financial support to their MD-PhD students. For any school you plan to apply to, double-check their program website or call an admissions counselor to see if there are options for financial aid. 

MD-PhD Residencies

MD-PhD residencies provide a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between patient care and research. Graduates often enter residency programs to acquire hands-on training in a particular medical specialty. Some even opt for a fellowship in a subspecialty after that. This training phase can range from 3 -7 years, depending on the specialty.

Although they can enter any medical specialty, they frequently gravitate towards specialties with a strong research component. Here are a few common residencies that MD-PhDs typically enter:

  • Internal Medicine: This field covers a broad range of diseases in adults and often involves solving complex medical problems. It’s a popular choice for MD-PhD graduates because of the diversity of patients and conditions, which provides many opportunities for research.
  • Neurology: The complexity and the largely untapped understanding of the nervous system provide abundant research opportunities. Advances in neuroimaging, AI , and genetics also offer tools for physician-scientists to explore the nervous system in unprecedented ways.
  • Psychiatry: Studying the pathophysiology of mental disorders, exploring new therapeutic interventions, and examining the genetic basis of psychiatric conditions are just a sample of the ways an MD-PhD can continue research in this specialty.
  • Pathology: Pathologists often work behind the scenes in medicine, studying the causes and effects of diseases. This field is deeply rooted in medical research, which makes it a good fit for many MD-PhD graduates.
  • Pediatrics : Pediatric physician-scientists research a wide array of topics, including childhood diseases, growth and development, pediatric therapies, and many other areas related to child health.

The choice of residency program should align with each graduate’s clinical interests, research interests, and career goals. There is great flexibility in the MD-PhD pathway, and physician-scientists span all specialties in medicine.

MD-PhD Career Path & Salary

Careers for MD-PhD’s often sit at the intersection of healthcare, academic medicine, and industry. Roles vary from practicing physicians, medical researchers, educators, and policy advisors to leaders in biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

After completing their residency, MD-PhDs typically divide their professional time between research and clinical practice. They often work in academic medical centers or research institutions where they can see patients and conduct research. Their research may be basic, translational, or clinical, depending on their interests and training.

MD-PhDs may also grow to take on teaching roles, educating the next generation of physicians and scientists. This path can bring them to leadership roles such as department chair, dean of a medical college, or even hospital CEO with their unique understanding of both medicine and research.

The salary for MD-PhDs does vary depending on the chosen career path. Earning potential is generally high due to the advanced and specialized nature of their training.

On average, physician-scientists in the US earn a median salary that is well above the national average for all occupations. According to Doximity’s 2023 Physician’s Compensation Report , the average salary for physicians in the Pharmaceutical/Industry employment setting is highest at $392,534.

Those working in academia or research may have different salary scales. These salaries are frequently dependent on research grants, but still typically fall within a comfortable range.

An MD-PhD opens up a wide range of career options, particularly in the intersecting areas of healthcare and research. Below are careers someone with an MD-PhD might pursue:

  • Academic Physician: They divide their time between seeing patients, conducting research, and teaching students and residents. These professionals usually work at medical schools or teaching hospitals.
  • Biomedical Researcher: MD-PhDs often find employment as researchers in the field of biomedical sciences. They can work in research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, or government organizations such as the NIH.
  • Clinical Investigator: These are physicians who conduct research involving human subjects (clinical trials). They develop and implement studies to understand the effects of new drugs or therapeutic strategies.
  • Pharmaceutical/Biotech Industry Professional : Many MD-PhDs work in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. They may be involved in drug development, clinical trials, regulatory affairs, or medical affairs.
  • Medical Director: In this role, an individual would oversee the medical aspect of a healthcare facility, biotech company, or department in a hospital. This position often requires both a medical and research background.
  • Science Policy Analyst/Advisor: They can work in government or nonprofit organizations, helping to shape policies that affect scientific research and healthcare.
  • Public Health Official: Some MD-PhDs choose to work in the public sector, addressing health issues at the population level. They may work for entities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Medical Science Liaison: This role often involves serving as a bridge between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals, explaining new therapies and scientific findings to physicians, researchers, and other stakeholders.
  • Medical Educator: MD-PhDs are uniquely qualified to educate future doctors and researchers, teaching in areas such as pharmacology, pathology, genetics, or any other medical specialty. They may design and implement courses, advise students, and contribute to the educational mission of their institution.

These are just a few of the potential career paths. A career choice often depends on an individual’s specific interests, such as which medical specialties they are drawn to, whether they prefer working with patients or in a laboratory, and how they want to contribute to advancing medical science.

Medical Science Training Programs

Some MD-PhD programs in the United States are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). This means that students receive full tuition remission, health insurance, and a living stipend throughout their training.

Because of this financial support, admission to an MSTP is very competitive. Many schools have financial support available to MD-PhD students even if they are not part of the Medical Scientist Training Program to allow them to focus on their studies and research.

Be better prepared for your MCAT with a free practice exam.

4 Benefits of Becoming an MD-PhD

Earning dual degrees in medicine and research is an ambitious endeavor, but the impacts you can make on patient care and scientific research are significant and valuable to public health. An MD-PhD degree comes with some great benefits.

1. Interdisciplinary Perspective

The duality of the MD-PhD training allows graduates the ability to translate clinical observations into research questions, then taking research findings to enhance patient care. You will essentially be a bridge to the gap between the laboratory and the clinic.

2. Career Flexibility

Graduates can become practicing physicians, medical researchers, educators, and/or policy advisors. They may also take on leadership roles within academic institutions, hospitals, biotech companies, or pharmaceutical firms. 

The wide range of possible careers allows the flexibility to pursue a path that aligns with your passion.

3. Influential Impact 

The rigorous training in MD-PhD programs allows graduates to drive innovation in healthcare and medical science. This advanced education will have you asking critical questions and finding answers that can change the course of medical treatment and patient care. 

The potential to make significant contributions to the field of medicine is a rewarding and prestigious aspect of this career path.

4. Community and Mentorship

During their training, MD-PhD students join a tight-knit community of fellow dual-degree students, mentors, and faculty. This network can provide valuable support, guidance, and camaraderie during the demanding years of study. 

Post-graduation, this network continues to serve as a resource for collaboration, mentorship, and career advancement.

Are MD-PhD programs more competitive than MD programs?

In general, yes, MD-PhD programs are more competitive than MD programs. 

The statistics here can be a little confusing, though. 10% of applicants are accepted to an MD-PhD program, which is higher than the 3% that get accepted into MD programs. Acceptance rates are nearly the same as traditional medical programs, too.

But the quality of application for MD-PhD programs is inherently higher than traditional pre-meds. Your GPA and MCAT need to be higher, with well-developed extracurricular experiences and glowing letters of recommendation to have a chance at an MD-PhD program. 

Learn more about how we can help you boost your MCAT score.

Preparing to Apply to MD-PhD Programs

Applying for an MD-PhD program is done through AMCAS, just like MD programs. Preparation is key in the application process .

Being proactive, getting relevant experiences, understanding the requirements, and applying to multiple programs will significantly enhance your chances of success in securing a spot in an MD-PhD program. Applicants must be prepared to showcase themselves as doctor material and make a case for their desire to take part in research.

Here are a few tips for increasing your chances at acceptance.

Make sure you have the right extracurriculars under your belt.

Gaining relevant experiences beyond the classroom is crucial to showcase your commitment to a career in medical research. Admissions committees are looking for candidates with experience in research projects. 

It is absolutely necessary to have taken part in research to have a chance at getting into an MD-PhD program.

Check application requirements well in advance.

You’ll be required to meet all the AMCAS application requirements of MD programs. This includes the prerequisite coursework, your MCAT score and GPA, letters of evaluation, and personal statement . 

There are also two additional essays that are required on MD-PhD applications, which we’ll cover later.

We advise checking with each specific medical school on the requirements for their applications . Non-medical graduate programs may ask for your GRE scores. You want to make sure you’ve taken this test well in advance of the AMCAS open date. 

Our advisors can help you craft a personal statement for your MD-PhD that will stand out.

Apply to several programs.

Because of the limited number of programs and the competitive nature of MD-PhD programs, you should apply to multiple programs. Students who have gotten into these programs report applying to as many as 30 programs for the best chance to be accepted. 

Along with MD-PhD programs, we also recommend applying to some MD programs as well. On your AMCAS application, you can easily designate as an MD candidate or MD-PhD candidate.

Even if you don’t make it into the MD-PhD program of a medical school, you will still have the opportunity to be considered for their MD program.

MD-PhD Application Timeline

Get your medical school application in early — the same goes for MD-PhD applications. In fact, it’s even more important to have your primary application in as soon as possible to give yourself plenty of time to write your secondary essays. 

The MD-PhD application process follows the AMCAS application timeline :

  • May: AMCAS application opens. You’ll receive your secondary application shortly after you submit your primary. 
  • July-August: Submit your supplemental application within two weeks.
  • October-March: Prepare for and attend all scheduled interviews.
  • December-March: Application committees make final decisions. For schools with rolling admissions, this may happen shortly after an interview. Other institutions wait until after all interviews are complete to make decisions.
  • March-April: Applicant decisions are made.
  • June-August: Your MD-PhD begins.

Additional Essays in the MD-PhD Application

The MD-PhD application process includes two additional essays that showcase your commitment to a career as a physician-scientist. 

MD-PhD Essay

The MD-PhD Essay is your opportunity to express why you have chosen the dual-degree path and how it aligns with your career goals. Discuss your motivation for pursuing the ambitious MD-PhD degree. You should explain why both clinical practice and research are integral to your career vision and share personal experiences that ignite your interest in this path.

Describe your career goals and how integrating clinical practice and scientific research will allow you to achieve those goals. If you’re interested in a particular field, discuss how the blend of clinical and research training in the MD-PhD program will enhance your contributions to this field.

Significant Research Experience Essay

This essay is your chance to elaborate on your research experiences and demonstrate your scientific curiosity, perseverance, and ability to work independently. You’ll explain the objectives of the research project you have been involved in, your role in achieving these objectives, and the significance of the research.

You can also write about instances where you faced challenges and had to use your problem-solving skills, perseverance, and critical thinking to overcome them. Highlight your ability to learn from others, like your mentors, how you can collaborate, and contribute to a team-oriented goal.

If your work led to any significant findings, presentations, or publications, be sure to include this. Use this opportunity to communicate your passion for research and how these experiences have prepared you for a career that combines patient care and scientific investigation.

MD-PhD: The career path that moves medicine forward.

MD-PhD candidates have a commitment to both medical practice and research on this path. The journey is long and at times challenging, but for those driven by a passion for both clinical medicine and biomedical research, the reward lies in the unique ability to contribute to the advancement of healthcare as a physician-scientist.

Speak with a member of our enrollment team who can help you prepare your MD-PhD application.

Kachiu Lee, MD

Kachiu Lee, MD

Dr. Lee specializes in BS/MD admissions. She was accepted into seven combined bachelor-medical degree programs. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northwestern University and proceeded to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. After completing a dermatology residency at Brown University, Dr. Lee pursued a fellowship in Photomedicine, Lasers, and Cosmetics at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Academically, she has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and lectures internationally.

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How to Attend Medical School for Free

Prospective medical students can look for local and federal scholarships to fund their education.

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Medical school applicants with excellent test scores, grades and extracurricular activities may be able to pay for their entire medical school education by winning funding, experts say, though getting that financial windfall doesn't come easily.

It's not uncommon for medical school graduates to leave school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt . Among U.S. medical school graduates in the class of 2021 who borrowed, the median debt burden was $200,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

While the idea of graduating from medical school debt-free may seem impossible, some medical students receive a free or deeply discounted medical education because they attend a tuition-free medical school, receive a hefty sum of scholarship money or make a service commitment in exchange for an education subsidy.

Tuition-Free Medical Schools

Dr. Jennifer Haley, an Arizona-based dermatologist, knows from experience that attending medical school without acquiring debt can bring peace of mind.

Haley earned her tuition-free medical degree at the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine , a federally funded medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, or USUHS, in Bethesda, Maryland.

The USUHS medical school doesn't charge tuition. Its students are commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army or U.S. Navy, and they earn an annual salary .

"I was getting paid the salary of an officer in the United States Navy, and that allowed me to buy a house and a car and have zero debt by the time I graduated medical school," Haley says. "So it had set up a really strong foundation from a financial standpoint."

USUHS medical students currently earn more than $70,000 per year during their four years of med school, which includes housing and subsistence allowances. In return, they commit to at least seven years of active-duty service after completing their medical residency, according to the school.

"This is really a great opportunity which allows students to enter the career of medicine with the intent to serve and care for others without having to worry about mountains of debt," Dr. Robert Liotta, associate dean of recruitment and admissions at the Hébert School of Medicine, explained in an email.

"By eliminating the financial aspects of having to repay the cost of obtaining a medical education, students can be more free in choosing the specialties and jobs where they have a true calling to serve or that need the most help," adds Liotta, a Navy captain. "In this way, students will have less pressure to choose a specialty based on their future financial compensation and more on their own personal satisfaction and passion for the job."

Tuition-free medical schools are rare, but there are options besides Hébert. For example, at Case Western Reserve University 's highly selective Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, a medical school that specializes in training physician scientists, all students receive a scholarship covering tuition and fees.

New York University's Grossman School of Medicine , a top-ranked and research-focused med school, also grants a full-tuition scholarship to each student. And in February 2022, the school introduced a need-based, debt-free scholarship that covers costs beyond tuition .

"It's really always been our desire to reduce medical education debt to as low as we possibly can do it," says Dr. Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admission and financial aid, and an associate professor of radiology at the school.

Kaiser Permanente's new medical school, the Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in California, is waiving all tuition and fees for its first five classes of medical school students, including its inaugural class, which started in fall 2020.

"These scholarship programs have the potential to expand the pool of students who apply to medical school," Dr. Lindia Willies-Jacobo, senior associate dean for admissions and equity, inclusion and diversity at the Tyson School of Medicine, wrote in an email. The programs could increase access to medical education for first-generation students and individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, she adds.

According to Rivera, reducing the debt burden of medical students decreases their stress levels. It also increases their well-being and "and allows them to avoid having to put off major life decisions that can be adversely impacted by high debt loads – like starting a family," he wrote in an email.

The financial freedom students gain from these programs could spur them to become medical researchers when they might not have otherwise, Rivera explains. "I think the pandemic we're still struggling to combat is a testament to the importance of scientific discovery," he wrote.

Attending a tuition-free med school is not the only route to a free medical education.

School-Specific Scholarships and Service Commitments

When competing for funding from a particular medical school, it's important to remember the school's mission, says Michelle Schmude, associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, which has campuses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Schmude, who has a doctorate in education and serves as an associate professor of medical education, says that a med school is more likely to award funding to students who demonstrate interest in areas that align with the school's central concerns.

"That's why I really go back to mission, vision and values and what the program is and what it has to offer and how does that really align with your goals," Schmude says. "Because if they're incongruent, it's probably not a good match."

Service commitment programs differ from other kinds of medical school funding programs in that they involve making a promise, Schmude explains.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine offers the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program , which provides tuition support plus a $2,000-per-month stipend to participants. Students supported by the program must specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics or psychiatry. They also must work as doctors for Geisinger, a health care organization that operates hospitals and other health care facilities, for the number of years for which their medical education was funded.

This is one of many conditional medical school funding programs. Recipients of such funding are expected to do something specific in exchange for funding. For instance, a premed may be required to commit to serve as a military doctor, enter a particular branch of medicine where there is a doctor shortage or practice medicine in a medically underserved community.

These commitment programs are often attractive to individuals interested in medical specialties that are less lucrative than the norm, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.

Tim Malone, an M.D.-MPH student at St. George's University of Medicine in the Caribbean , says his full-tuition scholarship via the St. George's CityDoctors scholarship program for future urban doctors makes it easier for him to choose a specialty that is a good fit, without feeling restricted from any specialty due to financial concerns.

"The level of debt I'm going to be in isn't going to prohibit me from choosing a specialty that is a lower-earning specialty, compared to a surgical specialty – let's say – or a specialty that makes twice as much money," Malone says.

Some medical schools offer a variety of institutional scholarships for students. For example, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the District of Columbia offers numerous school scholarships with different eligibility requirements, some of which fully cover the cost of med school.

Prestigious universities occasionally offer substantial scholarships that their medical school applicants or students can win. Harvard Medical School  offers four years of funding to a handpicked cohort of medical school applicants who require financial aid via its  Dean's REACH Scholarship Award Program . According to Harvard's website, this program is designed for medical school hopefuls who showcase their "resilience, excellence, achievement, compassion and commitment to helping the underserved."

Also, newly enrolled students at the  Stanford University School of Medicine  can apply for the university's selective  Knight-Hennessy Scholars  program, which provides certain graduate students with up to three years of funding, plus access to a leadership development program and special community events. 

Federal Medical School Scholarships and Other Programs

The U.S. federal government offers full scholarships to medical students who promise to become primary care doctors in areas of the country with a health care shortage, or who commit to working as active-duty military physicians. Experts say these are exceptional opportunities for students who know for sure what kind of doctor they want to become but are inappropriate for those who lack a clear career path.

Dr. Luis Padilla, director of the National Health Service Corps , says the program's highly competitive full scholarship is designed for medical, dental, advanced practice nursing and physician assistant students who are passionate about providing primary care to underserved communities with shortages of health care workers. The scholarship requires a minimum of two years of service.

"Our programs support health centers in rural, urban, and tribal communities – some of the highest need communities in the nation," wrote Padilla, who is also associate administrator of health workforce at the Health Resources and Services Administration. "We focus our efforts on recruiting and retaining physicians and health professionals who are likely to remain in these areas where they are needed most."

Similarly, experts say prospective medical students should evaluate whether a military career is appropriate for them. If so, they could apply for a spot in the exclusive, military-sponsored Health Professions Scholarship Program , which provides a full scholarship to medical school in exchange for an obligation to serve as a military physician. Scholarship recipients must perform one year of active-duty service per year that they receive the scholarship, with a minimum of three years of service.

Premeds who are immigrants or the children of immigrants should consider applying to the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program, which subsidizes the education of immigrant communities in the U.S. Each program fellow can receive up to $90,000 of support over two years.

Prospective medical students who want to combine a medical degree with a Ph.D. should consider applying to a med school involved with the federal Medical Scientist Training Program , commonly known as MSTP. That program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and provides students with tuition money, plus a stipend.

How to Fully Finance a Medical Degree

Here are three ways experts say prospective medical students can fund medical school through scholarships or service commitment funding programs.

Look for local funding options . Experts say med school applicants often forget to apply for small local scholarships, which is a mistake because those tend to be less competitive than national scholarships. Combining multiple small scholarships can add up to a big payoff.

“What I usually recommend to students when they’re looking for scholarships is start local," says John Gracey, director of student financial services at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine . He says local Rotary Clubs, women's professional organizations, hospitals and nonprofits frequently offer scholarships that can be used for medical degrees.

Know that a full-tuition scholarship isn't the same as a full-ride scholarship. Full-tuition scholarships cover only the cost of tuition. By contrast, full-ride scholarships include money to pay tuition and other costs such as school fees, and often include a stipend.

Malone notes that despite having a full-tuition scholarship, he still has had to take out loans to cover costs such as living expenses and medical licensing exam fees.

Apply to medical schools that offer merit scholarships. Some medical schools provide full-tuition or full-ride merit scholarships, including highly ranked schools such as the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California—Los Angeles, Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, the Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan Medical School , the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis of Missouri and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee.

But experts say these merit scholarships are rare opportunities reserved for the most promising medical school applicants. Dr. Clarence Braddock III, executive vice dean and vice dean for education at UCLA's medical school, puts it this way: "What we’re looking for is not so much to reward prior achievement but to identify individuals who show the potential to make a big impact in the world."

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Financial Support for MD-PhD Trainees

New section.

Most MD-PhD programs support trainees with a stipend and tuition scholarship during medical school and graduate school training.

To reduce financial burdens, most MD-PhD programs support trainees with a stipend and tuition scholarship during medical school and graduate school training. However, there are variations on the amount or length of time that students are supported. For example, some programs limit the total number of years that the stipend and tuition are provided.

Programs may also provide some support for travel to scientific conferences or research expenses. Information on support from specific programs can be found on the program's website or by contacting the program administrator.

Funding Opportunities

Although most MD-PhD programs offer substantial support for their students, there are additional resources available for supporting MD-PhD trainees. Most take the form of competitive applications submitted by the trainee and their research mentor. These include fellowships from private sources and from a number of NIH institutions as F30/31 NRSA pre-doctoral fellowships.

Programs are likely to differ considerably in their expectations of trainees regarding such resources. However, in addition to the possibility that your application might get funded, there are other benefits to consider. In particular, by engaging in the process of grant writing, you will focus your research project and acquire an important new skill necessary to lead a laboratory.

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Information on how to become a research physician, also known as a physician-investigator or a physician-scientist.

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A Personal Plea to Premeds

Trisha Kaundinya | January 13, 2021

When I was in college, I was in a premed “bubble” a lot of the time. I took many of my courses and labs alongside hundreds of other aspiring physicians. I would see the same people throughout my academic day, and sometimes even outside of the lecture hall. Because of this, I unintentionally overheard conversations […]

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MD-PhD, Combined Degree

School of medicine, md - phd, combined degree program.

From its inception, the physician-scientist has been a hallmark of Johns Hopkins medicine and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Indeed, the Hopkins tri-emblem represents the three core values of the institution: teaching, patient care, and research.

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine offers a variety of opportunities for the training of medical scientists. A combined curriculum leading to both MD and PhD degrees enables students who aspire to careers in academic medicine to obtain intensive training in specialized areas of the biomedical sciences in addition to top-flight medical training. The traditional diversity and flexibility of the educational opportunities at Johns Hopkins permit the design of individualized programs to meet the needs of students with a variety of interests, educational backgrounds, and career goals.

To accomplish our training goals, we expect students to fully commit to medical training while in medical school and research training while in graduate school.  However, we also take important steps to ensure that students are exposed to the intersection of both worlds early in their training, as well as given the professional and career development advice they need to succeed.

In a word, the MD-PhD curriculum at Johns Hopkins is flexible. Most students decide to complete the first two years of medical school before they begin graduate school and finish the last two years of their medical training after completing their thesis work (see the Timeline below). However, students who want more first-hand experience in clinical medicine before beginning graduate work can elect to complete three years of medical school, followed by their graduate training, and then the last year of medical school. This can give them a better appreciation of the potential clinical relevance of their research. In making a choice, trainees consult extensively with the Program Director, the Dean of Students, members of the MD-PhD Committee, prospective research mentors, and their faculty advisors. Students in the MD-PhD Program are automatically accepted to all graduate programs, so decisions regarding graduate training programs can be made with a strong understanding of each program.  The MD-PhD Committee is responsible for program oversight, admissions, and  student mentorship .  Students complete MD-PhD training on average in eight years.

Johns Hopkins interdisciplinary organizational structure means each faculty member may be affiliated with several clinical departments, research sections, and graduate programs. 

Formal graduate programs in the School of Medicine encompass the following areas: Biochemistry; Cellular, and Molecular Biology; Biological Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Molecular Biophysics; Functional Anatomy and Human Evolutionary Studies; Cell Biology; Cellular and Molecular Medicine; History of Medicine; Human Genetics; Immunology; Neuroscience; Pathobiology; Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, and Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Students are also eligible to obtain their PhD in one of the 11 graduate programs at the Bloomberg School of Public Health or the School of Arts and Sciences on the Homewood Campus.  Students may select a thesis mentor from faculty in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

The MD-PhD Program also sponsors special seminars and lectures, It also maintains a dedicated library, the Paul Talalay MD-PhD Library, to enrich the educational opportunities of all MD-PhD students. Efforts are made to acquaint MD-PhD candidates with the major advances, concepts, and cutting-edge techniques in contemporary medicine and biomedical sciences.  We also create an environment that promotes a more intimate personal contact with successful medical scientists in this institution.

Admission Procedures.  Individuals who wish to apply for admission to the combined MD-PhD Program of the School of Medicine must submit an application through AMCAS  in which they will indicate the MD-PhD Program.  Once the AMCAS application has been verified and submitted to Hopkins, the applicant will receive an invitation to complete the Hopkins Secondary Application.  Here the applicant will submit the additional materials required for the combined degree.  Johns Hopkins does not allow applicants to apply to both the traditional MD program and the combined program during the same cycle.   

All combined-degree applications are reviewed by a separate  MD-PhD Review Committee  which is comprised of faculty from the basic sciences and clinical arena, as well as faculty from the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  A separate Graduate School application is  not necessary . The MD-PhD Committee determines whether or not an interview is indicated.  In general, the committee is looking for students with a passion for research and a commitment to medicine.  This assessment is based on the applicant’s research experience, letters of recommendation, academic performance and extracurricular activities. The Committee considers standardized test scores only in the context of the applicant’s other credentials. If an interview is granted, the applicant is notified by the MD-PhD Office and after the applicant accepts, the process for scheduling an interview begins.  Interview visits generally occur over two days. Applicants are interviewed by members of the MD-PhD Committee and other faculty members who share their research interests. Applicants have many opportunities to meet with current students and tour the campus during their visit. 

All eligible applicants who are admitted to the MD-PhD Program are funded by the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Award.  This program, supported by the National Institutes of Health, provides full tuition, stipend, and medical and dental insurance for students. Due to federal restrictions, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for MSTP funding.  Approximately 10-12 MD-PhD students matriculate each year.

Students who matriculate to the traditional MD Program but have a clearly demonstrated interest and experience in scientific research, are eligible to apply to the combined MD-PhD Program.  These students may apply for admission during the fall of their first or second year of medical school.  These qualified applicants are evaluated and placed in the pool for the current application cycle and will be considered for MSTP funding.  

Financial Support.  The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is supported by a training grant from the National Institutes of Health. A number of exceptional students with unusual accomplishments and commitment to a career in the medical sciences will be selected for traineeships under this program. Such fellowships provide stipend and tuition support for combined medical and graduate study. All students who are admitted to the MD-PhD Program will be considered for these awards. 

Graduates of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine MD-PhD Program have gone on to become leaders in many areas of academic medicine.

Advice on the scope and opportunities offered by these programs may be obtained from the Director or Administrative Director of the MD-PhD Program.

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Financial Support

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MD-PhD students receive a stipend to supplement their living expenses, as well as full tuition (graduate and medical school) and health benefits for the entire duration of their time in the program. The MD-PhD program itself provides stipend support to students in the first three years of their training, and again in the final ~1.5 years after they have defended their PhD and returned to clinical training. We consider it very important that our students receive stipend and tuition support from our program in their 3rd year, when they are affiliating with a PhD advisor and a department, and completing coursework required for their PhD. Full financial responsibility for their stipend is assumed by research mentors in the 4th year and beyond, usually for a period of ~2.5 to 3 years.

The stipend for students engaged in medical school courses and clerkships prior to beginning the PhD is reviewed annually and is adjusted to cover all living expenses and school related costs as calculated by the Yale School of Medicine Financial Aid Office. Once a student affiliates with a PhD department and joins their PhD advisors research group, their stipend increases to the BBS PhD level of support and continues at this level until graduation.

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Tuition, Stipend, and Student Benefits

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Tuition and Stipend

Mayo Clinic has made a continuing commitment to fully support the tuition and stipend costs for all M.D.-Ph.D. students throughout their medical and graduate training. This allows you to choose your thesis laboratory with a focus on the education and training you want to achieve.

Mayo Clinic M.D.-Ph.D. Program students are fully supported (tuition and stipend) through a guaranteed internal fellowship for up to eight years contingent upon satisfactory progress in the program. This eliminates the need for students to identify a faculty member to provide financial support.

If additional funding is required for other student expenses, you have access to the resources of the  Office of Student Financial Aid and Registrar .

In addition to full tuition support, this guaranteed internal fellowship provides an annual graduate-level stipend. The 2023-2024 annual graduate-level stipend is $38,434 provided on a payment schedule. 

Student benefits

We fully invest in you. In addition to academic-related resources, we provide a full range of student benefits for you and your family, including:

  • Low-cost comprehensive medical insurance, which includes a prescription drug plan, as well as dental and vision insurance
  • Membership in  Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Access to  Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center , a low-cost and modern exercise facility (MN campus)
  • Student Assistance Program, including Mayo-paid, confidential services for individual, family, marital, stress, and educational training-related concerns; chemical dependency assessment; assistance with finding childcare and eldercare; and limited legal assistance
  • Student academic support and wellness services available through  Student Services

These benefits are just the highlights. We strive to review and expand our student benefits in order to provide students with the highest quality of experience and support.

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Applications are accepted June 1-Oct. 1 each year.

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Visit the financial aid office for more information.

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2023-2024 Tuition Information  

  • MD/MBA, MD/MPH, MD/MSCE, MD/MSHP, MD/MSME, and MD/MTR programs (total semesters paid is 7, as long as 3 semesters are paid to the other Penn program)
  • MD/OMF surgery program (total semesters paid is 5)
  • MD/JD program (7 semesters are MD, 5 semesters are Penn JD)
  • Students who are enrolled for more than 8 semesters (due to academic difficulty or due to extending education) only pay 8 semesters of tuition.
  • Tuition charges generally follow the students' curriculum. For MD/PhD students, a total of 5 years of tuition are required with the first 2 years at MD rates and the last 3 years at PhD rates.
  • Students are entitled to enroll for clinical rotations, scholarly pursuit, or research during the summer if medical school tuition is paid in the previous spring and the upcoming fall. Otherwise, charges may be applied to the summer term.

Tuition and Fee Refund Policy

  • First two weeks of classes: 100%
  • 3rd and 4th weeks of classes: 50%
  • Thereafter: 0%

University Financial Policies

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Md tuition and aid.

Attending medical school is a substantial financial investment. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health provides an outstanding medical education, and with one of the most cost-effective tuition rates in the United States, we ensure that all accepted medical students who are eligible for federal financial aid can afford the MD program and have awareness of additional financial wellness resources available.

Tuition, Fees and Estimated Cost of Living

A breakdown of current tuition and fees, estimated living expenses and additional costs is available on the Office of Student Financial Aid’s Cost of Attendance (COA) web page. Select “Medicine” in the COA breakdowns section for the most current estimates.

Financial Wellness

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is committed to the financial wellness of our students. We know that financing medical school can be challenging, and we have robust financial support programs to assist you. Whether it’s through one-on-one appointments or personal finance webinars, our Financial Aid and Wellness advisors want to make sure that you feel financially supported and knowledgeable.

Our Financial Aid and Wellness services include:

  • One-on-one phone and virtual appointments
  • Small group financial wellness advising sessions during your M1 year
  • Year-round financial wellness webinars that highlight topics such as budgeting, building credit, student loan management and repayment, and investing for retirement
  • Opportunities to meet with UW’s partner bank, UW Credit Union, to review your credit reports one-on-one with a professional
  • Frequent email communication regarding personal finance events, updates, and advice
  • The course features guest speakers from different industries and it is consistently rated very highly by students
  • Topics include: money and happiness, insurance, negotiations, student loan repayment, financial road-mapping, budgeting, and investing for retirement.

Student loans are administered through the Office of Student Financial Aid . All financial aid applicants must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . FAFSA applications should be filed by March 1.

Loan Repayment Programs

Some programs will pay all or part of the loans incurred for medical training. Eligible students apply for these programs after completing residency. Below are some loan repayment programs to consider:

  • Wisconsin Health Professions Loan Assistance program
  • National Health Service Corps
  • NIH Loan Repayment programs
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness program


Uw school of medicine and public health scholarships.

The medical school awards scholarships through a separate process from the UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Aid, which focuses on federal financial aid. All applicants for the regular MD and WARM programs are automatically considered for these scholarships after admission. There is no separate scholarship application to complete. The Admissions Scholarship Subcommittee meets throughout the admissions cycle, and most scholarships are awarded in late winter and early spring. Students who are awarded one of these scholarships will receive a notification letter from MD Admissions. Please note that these scholarships will not be included in financial aid packages from the UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Aid.

Students may apply for additional scholarships beginning in the spring semester of their M1 year. These are funded by generous donations from University of Wisconsin medical alumni, friends and family. Scholarship applications are reviewed and selected by the school’s Scholarship Committee based on donor intent. Some departments offer additional awards and may include a separate selection process specific to each department.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation make loans and scholarships available to students after the first year. Unlike federal loans, the loans from these groups are interest-free during medical school.

  • Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation loans
  • Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation scholarships

Research Scholarships

Admitted MD-PhD students are provided with full tuition scholarships and living expenses stipends. To learn more about the MD-PhD program, please visit the Medical Scientist Training Program page.

Regular MD students may take advantage of other research opportunities after starting medical school. The Shapiro Summer Research Program funds student research completed during the summer after the M1 year. Students who wish to conduct a full year of research may qualify for UW–Madison funding or external funding.

Wisconsin Tribal Educational Promise Program

The Wisconsin Tribal Educational Promise program guarantees scholarships and grants to meet the full cost of in-state tuition and fees for Wisconsin residents who are enrolled members of federally recognized Wisconsin American Indian Tribes and are pursuing either a law or medical degree.

Military and Service Scholarships

The U.S. military and the National Health Service Corps offer scholarships to students willing to serve in the military or provide care in underserved areas, respectively. These scholarships often cover the full cost of tuition and require recipients to provide several years of service after completing medical training.

  • U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship program
  • U.S. Navy Health Professions Scholarship program

Applicants who have served in the U.S. military may be eligible for funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including funding up to the full amount of tuition. Wisconsin residents who are veterans may be eligible for funding from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. All veterans should become familiar with their benefits.

  • U.S. Post 9/11 GI Bill (also known as Chapter 33)
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Comparing the differences between MD vs. PhD vs. professional doctorate

By Michael Feder

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This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee.  Read more about our editorial process.

Reviewed by Marc Booker, PhD, Vice Provost, Strategy

At a glance

  • MD is the abbreviation for Doctor of Medicine and PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. These are two types of doctoral degrees in addition to professional doctorates. 
  • An MD is a doctoral degree for medical professionals, while a PhD is an academic degree focused on original research. Somewhat similar to a PhD are professional doctorates, which focus on applying practical research to problems in workplaces or communities.   
  • A professional or practice-based doctorate (EdD, DBA, etc.) can be medical, and others are for scholar-practitioners in disciplines like education, business or psychology.
  • University of Phoenix does not offer MD or PhD programs, but students can earn a doctorate in business, nursing, education or healthcare that allows them to build upon their industry expertise. Learn more about the differences between these degree programs and if one of the  five doctoral programs  at University of Phoenix is right for you !

What is a doctorate? Breaking down the three types

Some people might confuse an  MD (Doctor of Medicine)  with a  PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) , and vice versa. While both an MD and a PhD are prestigious degrees near the top of the  academic ladder , they each have a different meaning and come with very  different requirements .

Different still from both of those degrees are professional doctorates, which allow industry professionals to translate their education and experience into credibility and leadership through research. Professional doctorates have similar requirements to PhDs, such as a dissertation and residency, but focus on the application of research and professional growth over original research.

Upon graduation, those who have earned any of these three degrees can call themselves a “doctor,” but the path to a degree, the purpose behind it and its applications vary based on the choice. MD graduates want to work in medicine and healthcare. PhDs want to bring new knowledge and research to the world. A practice-based doctoral graduate wants to grow in their professional expertise. (If the last one sounds like you, University of Phoenix can help!)

Keep reading to learn more about these doctoral programs and which is right for you.

What does MD stand for?

MD is an abbreviation for Doctor of Medicine and identifies a  medical practitioner  who has completed undergraduate studies and four years of medical school. An MD program teaches medical students about the human body and diseases through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical labs.

Several  types of physicians  might have this degree, depending on their area of study. For example, medical practitioners with an MD degree might become a medical doctor and potentially specialize in dermatology, cardiovascular disease, family medicine, oncology, pediatrics, neurology or preventive medicine. As you can see, this degree  can lead to a variety of career paths , depending on which specialty interests you and what your medical education is.

Learn more about online doctoral degrees at University of Phoenix. 

How to earn an MD

Becoming a Doctor of Medicine  requires a significant investment of time and money, but the reward can be well worth it. Before medical school, you’ll need to  take the Medical College Admission Test  (MCAT ® ) and earn a passing score. You’ll also need to build a portfolio of coursework and experience to help you gain admittance to medical school.

Medical school typically takes students four years to complete. You’ll learn the latest techniques and approaches for patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Medical schools commonly provide a combination of classroom,  research and clinical experience . You’ll work alongside peers and healthcare professionals as you develop skills in general medicine.

You’ll choose a field to specialize in during your final year of medical school. Students have more than 120 options to choose from when specializing, including  primary care,   pediatrics, geriatrics, emergency medicine and family medicine .

After graduating, you’ll complete residency training to further develop skills in your specialty. Residency typically lasts three to seven years, depending on the field you’ve selected. During the residency portion of your education, you’ll treat patients under the supervision of more experienced physicians.

Even after you begin to practice as an MD,  the educational portion of your career never stops . As practices change, patient needs evolve and research continues, MDs benefit from ongoing education to stay current.

What does PhD stand for?

A PhD, or  Doctor of Philosophy , is a doctoral degree that recognizes graduates who have completed a full postsecondary program. Students can earn a PhD in more fields than philosophy. After completing the necessary coursework, original research and hands-on experience, you can earn a PhD in fields like science, the humanities and engineering.

Earning a PhD can help unlock a wide range of potential career opportunities. Computer engineers, research scientists, statisticians, healthcare administrators, professors, chemists and other careers commonly require a PhD degree, in addition to appropriate undergraduate study.

How to earn a PhD

Becoming a PhD is also a  serious commitment  that requires an investment of  time, money and energy .

Here is what’s typically required to become a PhD:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in your field
  • Complete a master’s degree in an appropriate field
  • Pass any program entrance exams
  • Fulfill coursework, research and hands-on lab requirements in your program
  • Finalize and defend your dissertation as a  doctoral candidate  (unless your program specifies otherwise)

It’s important to note that many PhD  programs have different requirements , prerequisites and parameters for students. Check with your preferred institution for a more detailed explanation of these requirements.

What is a professional doctorate?

While some professional or practice-based doctorate programs are medical,  others are designed for professionals in other fields . These programs are meant for  scholar-practitioners  in disciplines like education, business or psychology. One of the key differences between this degree and a PhD is the focus on applying research to a professional setting rather than conducting theoretical and research-focused studies. Often, programs are differentiated as academic versus professional.

Examples of doctoral degrees are Doctor of Education, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Business Administration. Each of these programs focuses on a specific discipline and applying research in those areas to a professional setting.

How to earn a doctorate

While  practitioner doctoral programs  teach different skills, they all share common requirements. You’ll need to  complete a bachelor’s degree  in your field and sometimes a master’s degree, depending on program requirements.

After completing the necessary coursework and research, students also typically need to finish a supervised thesis and defend their dissertation or capstone project-specific coursework, research and hands-on labs alongside other students in the same field. However, this will depend on the specific program and its requirements.

What does the title “Dr.” really mean?

The term “doctor” or “Dr.” is commonly used today to describe a wide variety of occupations. Students who complete a doctoral degree can earn the title of “Dr.” even though they earned their credentials in a non-medical field like education or business management.

While a variety of professionals can earn a doctorate, the term is often still  reserved for medical practitioners . In conventional use,  doctors typically refer to medical physicians . However, it is appropriate to use “Dr.” if you graduated from any of the three programs discussed above.  

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What is doctoral candidacy?

Practitioner doctoral degree programs at university of phoenix.

While University of Phoenix (UOPX)  does not have  MD or PhD programs, it does offer several professional doctoral degrees that can be earned completely online. Students might choose the UOPX programs because classes are flexible and offered online, and because of the University’s unique “ Scholar-Practitioner-Leader model .”

If you are curious about a doctoral degree, the following programs are available at UOPX:

  • Doctor of Business Administration  — This doctorate can help you gain strategic vision and skills to position yourself as a business leader. It explores how to solve organizational problems, how to design and conduct research studies, how to introduce innovative business ideas to the industry and more.
  • Doctor of Management   — This doctorate equips you with critical thinking skills to find creative solutions to complex problems.
  • Doctor of Education  — This doctoral program prepares you to use analytical, critical and innovative thinking to improve performance and solve complex problems in education.
  • Doctor of Health Administration  — If you’re a health professional who is seeking greater responsibility in shaping the future of the health sector, this doctorate can help you meet the challenges inherent to today’s healthcare landscape, including economic fluctuations, burgeoning patient needs and industry-changing legislation.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice  — This doctorate is designed for working nurses who require a doctorate for advanced practice or nurses who desire their terminal degree. It does not prepare students for professional certification or state licensure as a nurse or as an advanced practice nurse.

These doctoral studies are only some of the many options for professionals who want to gain the  highest academic credentials  in their fields. Doctoral programs offer significant benefits to program graduates, including  newly developed skills , insight into field trends, hands-on research opportunities and  leadership capabilities .

Completing a doctoral program is also a strong indication to employers that you’re serious about your career and your field. With so many options for advanced study, these programs are available for most major fields. Even if you have already completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in your discipline, a doctorate lends further credibility to your reputation and  can help prepare you for a leadership position .

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Michael Feder is a content marketing specialist at University of Phoenix, where he researches and writes on a variety of topics, ranging from healthcare to IT. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program and a New Jersey native!

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