MD / PhD This is a Track

College : Medicine Degree :XPHD
Department : Biomedical Sciences Option : Dissertation
Program Websites :


The College of Medicine offers an integrated MD/PhD curriculum that enables students to fulfill all requirements and earn the Doctor of Medicine and the Doctor of Philosophy.


Students must fulfill all requirements for both programs to earn both the MD and PhD degrees. As indicated in the curriculum description, some medical modules can be substituted for certain graduate courses and vice versa to help reduce redundancy and streamline time to completion of this integrated program. Students will be able to complete the MD/PhD program in as few as 6 years, although most students will likely require 7-8 years to fulfill all of the requirements. An MD/PhD program committee consisting of faculty from both the medical and graduate programs will serve as the oversight committee responsible for tracking and evaluating student progress in this program.

Total Credit Hours Required:
72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Students in the integrated MD/PhD Track in Biomedical Sciences must be accepted in the College of Medicine MD program and begin working on their PhD research project during the first two years of medical school. Students take medical courses during the first two years and must successfully pass the USMLE Step 1 exam at the end of year 2 prior to beginning full-time graduate studies in the Biomedical Sciences PhD Program. Required and elective graduate courses for the PhD program are completed in years 3-4 while the student is continuing research. Clinical clerkships that are typically completed in years 3-4 of medical school will in most cases be deferred until the student has completed the PhD program requirements, though some minimum level of ongoing clinical training will continue throughout the entire duration of the program. This ensures that the student remains connected with clinical education and training even while primarily focused on the graduate portion of the MD/PhD program.

The Biomedical Sciences PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum total of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study that are required. The 72 credit hours in the PhD program consists of 23 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours of electives, and a minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation research. The remaining 22 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral research and/or dissertation research. Students entering with a master's degree may request that up to 30 semester credit hours of previous course work be waived as degree requirements with approval from the dissertation committee.

The MD curriculum can be found here:

Programmatic deficiencies expected of applicants from diverse settings will be addressed early in the program by completion of appropriate course work. Students may register for doctoral research until they have been admitted to candidacy, after which they must register for dissertation research.

New students will rotate through at least two different laboratories to identify a faculty mentor/sponsor and research area of interest for their dissertation. Finally, a sequence of required seminars will familiarize students with field-related literature and introduce them to the conceptual and technical frameworks in which they will work. All students receiving assistantships must enroll full time.

MD/PhD students are required to maintain good academic standing in both the MD and PhD components of the curriculum. Students must first satisfactorily complete the first two years of the medical school curriculum and pass the USMLE Step 1 exam before they can begin full-time PhD enrollment.

Required Courses—23 Credit Hours

  • BMS 6001 Cellular Function and Medical Genetics (Medical Module replaces BSC 6432) (5 credit hours)
  • BSC 6433 Structure-Function-Relationships of Biomedical Sciences II (5 credit hours)
  • IDS 7692L Experiments in Biomedical Sciences (lab rotation) (3 credit hours)
  • IDS 7692L Experiments in Biomedical Sciences (lab rotation) (1 credit hour)
  • IDS 7690 Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences (four semesters, 1 credit hour each semester)
  • BSC 6431 Practice of Biomedical Science (3 credit hours)
  • IDS 6694 Experimental Design and Analysis in Biomedical Sciences (2 credit hours)

Elective Courses—12 Credit Hours

At least 12 hours of electives must be taken from the following list. Any electives not on this list must be approved by the Graduate Committee before being counted toward degree credit requirements. Directed research, doctoral research and dissertation research may be used to satisfy requirements beyond the first 12 hours, with approval from the program director. Students successfully completing the first year of medical school at UCF may substitute the following medical modules to fulfill the elective course requirement:

  • BMS 6006 Health and Disease (Medical Module) (5 credit hours)
  • BMS 6050 Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare (Medical Module) (4 credit hours)
  • BMS 6631 Hematology and Oncology (Medical Module) (3 credit hours)

Additional electives may be taken as needed from the following list of approved graduate courses:

  • BSC 5418 Tissue Engineering (3 credit hours)
  • BSC 5436 Biomedical Informatics: Structure Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • BSC 6407C Laboratory Methods in Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • CAP 5510 Bioinformatics (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5305 Applied Biological Chemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5450 Polymer Chemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5451C Techniques in Polymer Science (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6251 Applied Organic Synthesis (2 credit hours)
  • CHS 6535 Forensic Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6535L Forensic Analysis of Biological Materials (3 credit hours)
  • CHS 6536 Forensic Analysis of DNA Data (2 credit hours)
  • GEB 5516 Technology Commercialization (3 credit hours)
  • IDS 5127 Foundations of Bio-Imaging Science (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5205 Infectious Processes (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5208 Cellular Microbiology: Host-Pathogen Interactions (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5225 Molecular Biology of Disease (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5505 Molecular Virology (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5722C Methods in Biotechnology (4 credit hours)
  • MCB 5932 Current Topics in Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 5397 ST: Cellular Metabolism (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 6226 Molecular Diagnostics (3 credit hours)
  • MCB 6417C Microbial Metabolism (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5025 Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5235 Molecular Immunology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5236 Cancer Biology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5238 Immunobiology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5265 Stem Cell Biology ( 3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5275 Signal Transduction Mechanics (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5527 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5596 Biomedical Informatics: Sequence Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5815 Molecular Aspects of Obesity, Diabetes, and Metabolism (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5838 Cellular and Molecular Basis of Brain Functions (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6528 Plant Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6585C Advanced Genetics (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6595 Regulation of Gene Expression (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6677 Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics (3 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5748C Clinical Neuroanatomy (3 credit hours)

Unrestricted Electives—22 Credit Hours Minimum

Students should take 22 credit hours of electives, directed research, doctoral research or dissertation research, in consultation with their adviser.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum

  • IDS 7980 Dissertation Research (15 credit hours)

Cumulative/Qualifying Examinations

Cumulative examinations will determine if students should continue with their doctoral studies. Four exams will be given by program faculty members during the second year. Each exam will consist of four questions set by different faculty members to evaluate the student’s ability to interpret data, formulate a hypothesis based on the data presented, and effectively design a series of experiments using biomedical science approaches to test their hypothesis. Performance will be evaluated by the graduate exam committee. A student must satisfactorily answer 10 cumulative questions out of 16 to be eligible to continue in the PhD program.

Candidacy Examination

Candidacy will consist of writing and orally defending a proposal outlining a novel research idea to the dissertation committee. The written proposal will be prepared independently, following NIH-style grant format, and must be approved by the dissertation committee (see Biomedical Sciences PhD Program description for full description of Candidacy Exam requirements and procedures). After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements as specified, the student can register for dissertation hours.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:  

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 48 credit hours.
  • Successful completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.  
  • Successful completion of all examinations (cumulative/qualifying and candidacy).  
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.  
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.  
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Dissertation Defense

The PhD dissertation research must generate sufficient quantity and quality data to support a minimum of two manuscripts (first-authored by the student; already published, accepted or ready for publication) in a mainstream journal in the field. For manuscripts not yet peer-reviewed, the dissertation committee will determine whether the manuscript meets the standards for publication in a mainstream journal.

Upon completion and approval of the doctoral dissertation by all designated faculty and university offices, the student will make a formal presentation of the research findings in seminar format to the dissertation committee and other university faculty and students. The candidate will answer questions and defend conclusions about the subject matter.

For more information, see the General Guidelines for Alternative Organization in the Thesis and Dissertation Manual of the College of Graduate Studies.  

Independent Learning

The dissertation serves as the independent learning experience.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

Interested applicants must first apply to the UCF medical school through AMCAS and indicate on their medical school application that they are applying for MD/PhD. 

Students interested in pursuing a combined MD/PhD degree must apply and be accepted into medical school and the Biomedical Sciences PhD program. Separate applications are required, and students wishing to pursue this joint degree program should indicate this and state their reasons on both applications.   

AMCAS Application

Applicants must complete an application through the online American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) at AMCAS is the national application service that processes applications for M.D. Programs throughout the nation. Through AMCAS, an applicant may apply to most M.D. programs by completing one application and paying the appropriate fees. AMCAS provides the college with applicant information immediately upon completion of AMCAS transcript verification process.

The AMCAS application period begins in late May and terminates on or before December 15 prior to the year in which the applicant anticipates enrollment. The AMCAS Application deadline is the date when students must submit the application, all fees, original transcripts, and associated data to AMCAS.

Applicants who are selected for medical school interviews at UCF will be invited to apply through the Graduate School portal for the PhD portion of the combined program.  Please note that applications that do not come through AMCAS will not be considered for MD/PhD track.  

Applicants entering the program with regular status are expected to have completed course work required for a bachelor's degree in chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, molecular biology or microbiology.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE or MCAT score taken within the last five years.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of research interest and purpose, including a summary of relevant work or research experience.
  • Résumé.
  • A personal or telephone interview.
  • In addition to the above requirements, students must also meet the requirements for medical school admission:

Admission is based on an overall assessment of the qualifications submitted and the interview. All admissions to the MD/PhD program are competitive and based on availability of faculty for sponsoring research.

Application Deadlines

MD / PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Dec 15Dec 15



International Applicants Dec 15Dec 15



International Transfer Applicants Dec 15Dec 15



*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.