The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is a multidisciplinary program in medicine and biomedical research. Its mission is to provide students with the breadth and depth of training necessary to excel as academic physicians. The curriculum combines classroom and clinical training in the UCSD School of Medicine with research in a Graduate Department.
Flexibility is a hallmark of the UCSD MSTP, and each student's program is individualized. By its nature, medical school education is quite broad, encompassing subjects from biochemistry to cultural anthropology. In contrast, graduate education provides a narrower focus and greater depth, both in terms of exposure to current thinking in a specific discipline and in the development and execution of a doctoral thesis problem. Since 1974, continuous funding by the National Institutes of Health has enabled the training of physician-scientists who, because of their multi-faceted and rigorous education, are equipped biomedical investigators. The Program culminates with the award of both medical (MD) and graduate (PhD) degrees, signifying skills in each of the three domains of an academic physician: research, teaching, and clinical care.
Diverse Training for a Diverse Student Population
Trainees enter the UCSD MSTP with a diverse range of academic backgrounds and life experiences. Currently there are 75 students. The Program is committed to recruiting a diverse student body. Out-of-state applicants are considered on an equal basis as in-state residents. Approximately 8-10 entering students join the Program each year, including underrepresented minorities, disabled, and economically disadvantaged trainees. All trainees receive full support for stipend, tuition, and health insurance during all years of the Program. Students generally complete both MD and PhD degrees in about eight years. Multiple career paths are available to graduates, but 90 percent will obtain further training in one of the specialty areas of medicine. Our graduates uniformly achieve their first or second choice residency. Over the last 12 years, approximately 90 percent of graduates have subsequently accepted positions in academic health centers.
A Rich Research Environment
UCSD, located in La Jolla, California, is a campus of unusual strength in the biological sciences. The UCSD School of Medicine, the contiguous UCSD general campus, and adjacent research institutions (the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute) are all readily accessible to interested students. Clinical training and research opportunities are available in many different hospitals including UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center, Veterans Administration, Rady Children's, Naval Medical Center, Scripps Green Hospital, and Scripps Mercy Hospital. The San Diego area is home to one of the largest biotech industries in the world. San Diego is a particularly fertile location for the Medical Scientist Training Program because of these extensive resources in basic science, clinical and translational research, and medical practice.