Through the excellent coordination and integration of the Mayo Clinic Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), you acquire complementary clinical and research skills in just seven to eight years rather than the nine or more years required for separate programs.
You begin your training in mid-June with a month-long laboratory rotation. Through lab rotations, you will try out different types of research, experience different labs and mentors, and choose your area of specialization. Lab rotations are a great way to explore potential thesis research labs at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida. Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences pays for travel and living expenses, and most courses are available by real-time, video communications link.
An off-campus retreat for MSTP students and faculty is held in late June. The retreat includes a talk by a Mayo Clinic physician-scientist, student oral and poster presentations, program discussion, and social time. In July, MSTP students begin Mayo Clinic School of Medicine first-year coursework with one exception — MSTP students take graduate-level genome biology for the medical school's equivalent course.
During the first and second years, you meet research faculty informally over lunch to learn about their research. These lunches increase your awareness of the most current research in a wide array of topics, introduce you to many top scientists and help you choose laboratory rotations. Throughout the program, you attend the weekly MSTP lunchtime conferences.
Your second year begins with a summer laboratory rotation and continues with the regular medical school coursework. In contrast to most other M.D.-Ph.D. programs, Mayo Clinic M.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students participate in half-time clinical clerkships in Year 2. These clerkships help students see the connection among scientific information, clinical application and the impacts of new discoveries.
After completing the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Step 1 exam, you complete your third laboratory rotation and switch to full-time graduate studies. You choose your thesis laboratory and area of specialization by the fall of Year 3. Most students complete their graduate school courses by the end of this year or early in Year 4.
Years 4, 5 and 6
Your thesis is the primary focus of the remaining graduate school time. You work closely with your mentor but also have collaborative interactions with other research faculty and their laboratories.
Conclusion of clinical training
You re-enter medical school in the summer or fall after three or four years fulfilling Ph.D. requirements. Approximately 18 months of advanced and elective clinical clerkships are required.