The Emory University School of Medicine curriculum is designed to teach the foundations of medicine in an eighteen-month period. The first four months are devoted to the healthy human, while the remainder of the curriculum is based on pathologic principles of disease. The curriculum is designed to saturate students with both clinical knowledge in the classroom and clinical skills learned throughout one of Emory’s numerous hospital affiliations. MD/PhD students in these years are also required to attend special journal clubs and area-specific research seminars to strengthen their understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying disease and to develop scientific reasoning. Students must also conduct basic science research rotations (or work in their area of research interest) under the direction of a faculty advisor at the end of the second year; students also have the option of completing a rotation the summer before the medical curriculum begins.
Following the second year of medical school and after passing Step 1 of the U. S. Medical Licensing Examination, students are admitted, in advanced standing, into a graduate training program where they begin working on the PhD under the direction of a thesis advisor. In addition to completing all academic requirements for their chosen program of graduate study, students in the graduate years present clinical cases and journal articles at the monthly MD/PhD Clinical Research Conference. Students in the graduate years are also encouraged to seek out opportunities for clinical experiences in their area(s) of interest.
After completion of their PhD degree, MD/PhD students complete a minimum of 14 months of required clinical clerkships and elective courses. In consultation with the deans responsible for medical education and student affairs, the clinical program is individually tailored to match each student's academic needs and career goals. In order to facilitate the transition between graduate and clinical training, all students must complete a Clinical Skills Refresher Course before reentering medical school. Additionally, newly reentered medical students also complete a one month medicine rotation focused on refreshing clinical skills.
The goal of the MD/PhD program is to provide strong clinical and graduate research training. The program structure is flexible and may be modified in consultation with the program director to best suit the needs of each student.