In light of recent funding cutbacks to the MD/PhD program by CIHR, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry would like to reassure current and prospective trainees that resources are in place to support the program and that we are strongly committed to ensuring its stability. 

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta offers the MD/PhD program within its opportunities for medical research education. This program allows students to obtain the MD degree and a PhD degree, while preparing them for a career as a clinician-scientist. Please note that to enter the MD/PhD program, admittance to the Medical Program must have already been gained.

Acceptance into the MD/PhD program is contingent upon the approval of the MD/PhD Committee, and on the student obtaining funding (i.e., a graduate studentship or supervisors’ support). The MD/PhD Committee evaluates all applications. The committee focuses on students’ academic records, their previous research experience and the details of the proposed program (including the proposed supervisor and project description).

The MD/PhD program is intended for exceptional students who are seriously committed to a career in medical research. The PhD typically takes four to six years to complete, depending on department. This is in addition to the four years required to complete the MD degree.

Once enrolled in the program, students complete the first two years of the MD program. They are officially registered as an MD/PhD students and then start or resume their PhD program. When the PhD is completed, the students return to the final years of the MD program.

There are three entry routes into the MD/PhD program once formal admission into the medical program has been confirmed. Please refer to this diagram.

  1. Students can enter from the pre-professional medical program (minimum of two years required, three preferred)
  2. Students can enter with a bachelor's degree
  3. Students can transfer from a graduate program (either master’s of science [MSc] or doctor of philosophy [PhD])

Students interested in applying to the MD/PhD program should advise the program by October 15 in the second year of the medical program. The complete application packages should be submitted the following month by November 15. For these students, acceptance into the program officially occurs after completion of the second year of medicine.

Students transferring into medical school from a U of A graduate program can be accepted immediately asprovisional MD/PhD students, with official registration to take place after completion of the second year of the Medical Program.

For further information on the MD/PhD program, please contact Jen Freund at or 780-492-9721.