MD/PHD Medical Scientist Training | Curriculum

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The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is designed to be flexible, challenging and rewarding. The course of study is specially tailored to meet the particular needs and research interests of the individual student. The student's graduate advisory committee approves their curriculum design. The curriculum sequence is coordinated to include basic science and clinical rotations in medical school, plus graduate education and sufficient time to conduct a significant research project leading to the Ph.D.

Flex Preclerkship Curriculum

The first 18 months of the program follow the newly implemented integrated flex medical curriculum. Students spend the summers before their first year familiarizing themselves with research laboratories at MUSC. The National Board Examination Step I is taken in early Spring of the second year. After completing the NBME Step I Exam, the students begin a second lab rotation.  

Graduate Studies, Years Three and Beyond

After completing a second lab rotation, students may either take a third rotation or choose their lab and pursue graduate studies leading to a Ph.D. degree. During this period of time, students should complete all of the research and scientific work necessary for a dissertation. Research training leading to a Ph.D. degree can be pursued in the following departments or programs, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Cell Injury and Repair; Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences; Lipidomics; Microbiology and Immunology; Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology; Neurosciences; Pathology; Proteomics; Public Health Sciences; Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology; and Structural Biology.

MSTP students take selected sections of the core curriculum offered to first year graduate students. These are both required sections and elective sections, the later chosen in consultation with the graduate coordinator and mentor. The courses cover broad topics dealing with professional development, techniques of rigorous experimental design, learning from the literature, entrepreneurship, responsible conduct of research, and principles of grant writing.

All Ph.D. requirements must be completed before the student can resume the third year of Medical School.

Translational Sciences Clinic

The goal of this requirement is for MSTP students to learn how to better integrate the basic sciences and their area of research interest with a meaningful clinical/translational experience.  The students are expected to discuss the patient's problems from a literature/research perspective.  They will work in a clinic, one-half day a week with an extramurally funded clinician-scientist who is chosen based on his/her demonstrated commitment to research.  All MSTP students are required to register for two (2) semesters of this clinic.  It is suggested that the student participate in the clinic during their second or third year of graduate school.  The student receives 2 weeks of junior selective credit for the 2 semesters.  The mentors for this elective could help the students with a potential clinical study that may evolve from their basic science project.  

Medicine, Year Three and Four

Year 3 and year 4 are designed to provide clinical experiential learning in a variety of clinical settings including all of the core clinical disciplines in order to ensure competence and prepare graduates to begin residency. Ongoing assessment of curriculum effectiveness and student learning outcomes informs continuous quality improvement of our clinical education program. The year 3 curriculum is comprised of seven clinical core clerkships, consisting of six weeks of internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, family medicine/rural, surgery, neurology and rehabilitation medicine and psychiatry. During the clerkships, emphasis is placed on the development of clinical, interpersonal, and professional competence. Students also choose two selectives (2 weeks each) which provide opportunities to experience various specialties in preparation for choosing a career path. All core clerkships are graded as honors/pass/no pass, and selectives are graded as pass/no pass. Students must complete all of their 3rd year requirements at the major affiliated hospitals of the MUSC campus. In addition, all students are required to complete and pass the Clinical Competency Exam (CCX), and complete the longitudinal curriculum in ethics, geriatric medicine, public health, and medical delivery systems as part of the Fundamentals of Patient Care.

During the 4th year, students take a minimum of 32 weeks of rotations, a 3-week capstone course, Internship 101, and a longitudinal Fundamentals of Patient Care curriculum.  Each student must complete the following three rotations on campus: a clinical externship, an internal medicine senior core rotation, and an advanced surgical elective (an alternate institution may be approved for this rotation in special cases). The remaining five blocks are electives which can be taken at LCME-accredited medical schools or COM-approved sites throughout the state or country. Students who complete the clinical curriculum at the MUSC - AnMed Health Regional Medical Campus complete the three required rotations at the Anderson campus. Year 4 rotations are graded as pass/no pass/honors; Internship 101 is graded as pass/no pass.

All of the courses in the required curriculum for the MD Degree must be passed in order to graduate. No grade point average is calculated and no class rank is produced.

Year Semester Course Credit Hours
1 Summer CGS-970 Research 15
      Total Semester Hours 15
         
1 Fall   MD Curriculum - See MD Curriculum  32
      Total Semester Hours 32
         
1 Spring   MD Curriculum - See MD Curriculum  32
      Total Semester Hours 32
         
2 Summer Medicine Curriculum 32
      Total Semester Hours 32
         
2 Fall   MD Curriculum - See MD Curriculum  32
      Total Semester Hours 32
         
2 Spring   MD Curriculum - See MD Curriculum  32.5
      Total Semester Hours 32.5
         
3 Summer CGS-712 Essential Sci Practices III 2
    CGS-970 Research  13 
      Total Semester Hours 15
         
3 Fall CGS-768 Techniques & Experimental Desi 2
    CGS-700 Intro to Biostatistics 4
    DEPT-970 Research 9
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
3 Spring CGS-772 Learning from the Literature 2
    CGS-770 Principles Practices & Prof 2
    DEPT-970 Research 11
      Total Semester Hours 15
         
4 Summer DEPT-970 EResearch 15
      Total Semester Hours 15
         
4 Fall CGS-727 Designing Rigorous Research 1
    DEPT-970 Research 14
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
4 Spring DEPT-970 Research 15
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
5 Summer DEPT-970 Research 15
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
5 Fall DEPT-970 Research 15
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
5 Spring DEPT-970 Research 12.5
    MDCOR-871 MSTP Translational Sciences 2.5
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
6 Summer DEPT-970 Research 15
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
6 Fall DEPT-970 Research 12.5
    MDCOR-871 MSTP Translational Sciences 2.5
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
6 Spring DEPT-970 Research 15
      Any additional department specific requirements  
      Total Semester Hours 15+
         
7 Summer DEPT-990 Dissertation 15
      Total Semester Hours 15
         
7 Fall   MD Curriculum 33.5
      Total Semester Hours 33.5
         
7 Spring   MD Curriculum 33.5
      Total Semester Hours 33.5
         
8 Fall MED-832 A Month in the Research Nexus 5
      MD Curriculum 18
      Total Semester Hours 23
         
8 Spring   MD Curriculum  23
      Total Semester Hours 23
         
      Total Credit Hours 483+