Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Who can apply to the program?

Applicants must have been admitted to the University of Alberta MD program already. If you are already in the MD program, you will need a commitment from a graduate supervisor, but do not require formal admission to the graduate program to submit an MD/PhD application. For students in a graduate program who obtain admission to the MD program, you are automatically eligible for consideration in the MD/PhD program. International students are advised to check the citizenship and residency requirements for application to the MD program.

Question 2: How can I find out about the MD/PhD program?

You can visit the MD/PhD calendar entry, which provides an overview of the MD/PhD program. For general information about the program, you can email or contact Dr. Alan Underhill (, Director of the MD/PhD Program.

Question 3: How do I apply?

For students applying from the MD program, the deadline is November 15 of Year 2. For current graduate students accepted into the MD program, the application package should be received by June 30 of their MD admission year. In both cases, students should prepare an application package as one PDF and submit it to Complete application packages will be reviewed by the MD/PhD committee and the student will receive a formal letter to confirm the outcome.

Question 4: What are my chances of acceptance?

Students who have demonstrated a dedication to in-depth research training have a good chance of acceptance once granted admission to the MD program. In addition to prior research experience, your choice of PhD training environment, supervisor, and project will influence your application.

Question 5: How long does the program take to complete?

The PhD typically takes four to six years and must meet all graduate program calendar requirements. An additional four years are required to complete the MD degree.

Question 6: How many students are accepted each year?

Over its history, approximately two to four students per year enter the program.

Question 7: Do I have to carry out my PhD in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry?

No. The PhD can be completed in any recognized graduate program at the University of Alberta, but it must be health-related. A listing of programs is provided on the FGSR website:

Question 8: What financial support is available to me if I choose to pursue an MD/PhD at the University of Alberta?

Students should consult with their PhD supervisor on funding options and are encouraged to seek scholarship funding from either local, provincial, or national agencies. Although a majority of these awards will support the graduate training portion, MD/PhD-specific awards may provide partial funding through MD years 3 and 4. If verification of registration in the MD/PhD program is required, the Chair of the program can provide a letter.

Question 9: What will my fees look like?

Students benefit from a reduced MD/PhD fee structure, because it excludes the MD program differential costs. In most cases, students will be assessed a flat program fee that is slightly higher than graduate program tuition but much lower than the MD program tuition. There are nevertheless instances where dual registration may be required to maintain scholarship eligibility. As rates vary from year to year please contact the MD/PhD program administrator at to enquire.