Emory University
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MD/PhD Programs in the Social Sciences & Humanities - Emory University

Disclaimer Notice: The following information was provided by MD/PhD students, and is not official data from the MD/PhD program administration or from APSA. For official information, please contact the program administration listed below. If you are aware of any outdated or incorrect information on this page, or if you can think of anything useful to include, please let us know at ssh@physicianscientists.org so that we may improve the page.

Emory University

Social Science/Humanities PhD Field Supported:

Anthropology, open to other fields

Description of Program:

Emory's MD/PhD program currently accepts students to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology, through the Emory University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The MD/PhD program is also open to applicants interested in other social science disciplines. Emory's Department of Anthropology is an integrative graduate program with an emphasis on theoretical exposure to both cultural and biological anthropology. Many PhD students pursue interdisciplinary projects, through faculty links to the Rollins School of Public Health, Departments such as Religion, Philosophy, History, Film or Women's Studies, and connections to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Medical anthropology perspectives include cultural, biocultural, bioarcheological, and critical approaches. Strengths in human biology, nutritional anthropology, and the study of disease ecology may also appeal to MD/PhD applicants.

Structure of Program:

Emory's program is a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). The Emory MD/PhD Program maintains a flexible structure and works with the individual student to arrange the sequence of medical and graduate school training that best suits the individual student's needs and goals. The typical MD/PhD student begins the program with the medical school basic science curriculum (18 mos.), and then enters into the graduate school to complete their Ph.D. training. Students have the option to complete some clinical clerkships prior to entering graduate school, or may choose to immediately enter graduate school and defer their clinical training until after the Ph.D. is completed.

Anthropology students, especially those entering the program without formal anthropology training, will follow a different sequence of training and matriculate in the graduate school first, completing all anthropology core coursework prior to their medical school studies. These students typically enter into medical school in their third training year (after two years in the anthropology department) and will complete up to one year of clinical clerkships after the medical school basic science curricula before returning to complete their dissertation research and Ph.D. degree. After completion of the Ph.D., students return to finish their clinical clerkships and complete their M.D. degree. MD/PhD students can take a reduced number of clinical rotations to complete their degree and may finish medical school in a total, accumulated time of 3.5 years. The average time to completion for an anthropology Ph.D. is 5 years.

Size of the incoming MD/PhD class:


Number of students in the social sciences or humanities:

depends on the applicant pool, historically at least one student has been considered each year. All students must be acceptable to the medical school, MD/PhD Program and the anthropology graduate program.

Current number of anthropology students in the MD/PhD Program:


Application Process:

General MD/PhD Application:

  1. Complete application with the required transcripts and MCAT scores to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) indicating you are applying to the Emory University School of Medicine for the MD/PhD Program.

    • ALL AMCAS applicants will receive a secondary application from the Emory School of Medicine upon receipt of their AMCAS application.

    • All applicants who check the "Ph.D." box on the Emory supplemental application will be given access to an additional portion of the application. This added section for MD/PhD applicants requests information on the applicant's research interests and experiences.

    • You will also need to submit confidential letters of reference on your behalf directly to the School of Medicine's Admissions office. The MD/PhD Admissions Committee is especially interested in hearing from your past research advisors and others who can comment on your aptitude for research. Do not send any letters of recommendation to the MD/PhD Program Office.

  2. Your secondary application will be reviewed independently by the Medical School and the MD/PhD Program. If chosen for an MD/PhD interview, you will be invited to visit Atlanta for two days of interviews with Medical School and Graduate School faculty. Some of these interviews will be with faculty of your choosing within your research area of interest. You will also meet with the Administrator Director and will have ample social opportunities to meet with current MD/PhD students.

  3. You will be hosted for your interview visit with a current MD/PhD student. It is more than likely that it will be with one of the MD/PhD students in Anthropology or a related discipline, such as Public Health.

Specific to Applying in Anthropology:

  1. In addition to the regular MD/PhD application process, if selected for an interview, you will be required to submit a second application directly to the Department of Anthropology graduate training program. Applications for this can be found on the Emory University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website: http://www.emory.edu/GSOAS/prospective/admissions_info/

    • The deadline date for supplemental applications to Emory School of Medicine is December 1st. Applications for the Anthropology graduate program are due December 15th. Other graduate training programs in the Graduate School may have different application deadline dates.

    • GRE scores are required by the Department of Anthropology.

    • You are also encouraged to submit additional letters of support, particularly if they speak to your ability as an anthropologist. Follow all instructions for your application to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Additional Notes on Applying in Medical Anthropology

It is important to remember that when applying for MD/PhD training in anthropology that your application must be geared toward both (1) the general MD/PhD admission committee, and (2) the Department of Anthropology.

Criteria for MD/PhD admission include prior academic performance, documented experience in research, and commitment to a career in research. The overall MD/PhD program interviews 50-60 applicants and enrolls 7-8 new MD/PhD trainees each year. The medical school and MD/PhD Program have a rolling admissions process, and candidates are notified of their status within four weeks of their interview date. Since the Anthropology department's admissions decisions are generally made in January and February, students seeking admission for a Ph.D. in anthropology must wait until February for a final decision on their application. Interviews for anthropology MD/PhD applicants are often held in January and February, unless otherwise requested by the applicant, thus coordinating with anthropology's recruitment schedule. The admissions process for the MD/PhD Program finishes on May 15th, and the Emory School of Medicine requires newly accepted students to withdraw from all other institutions by this date.


All students accepted into the MD/PhD Program at Emory receive the same scholarship package regardless of year in training or discipline. This funding is guaranteed by the Program as long as the student remains in good academic standing. Like other MD/PhD students, those in anthropology receive a cost of living stipend ($24,000 for the 2007-08 academic year) and a full tuition waiver. During the years of medical school training, students are funded by medical school funds or the NIH MSTP grant. In their years of graduate training, they are funded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, their department and/or mentor. All MD/PhD anthropology students are expected to apply for individual research awards to fund their dissertation projects, as are all anthropology graduate students.

The funding provided is detailed in the table below:

Year Amount of Stipend Source Tuition Covered? Guaranteed?
MS1 $24,000 NIH + MSTP Yes Yes
MS2 $24,000 NIH + MSTP Yes Yes
Grad1 $24,000 NIH + MSTP Yes Yes
Grad2 $24,000 NIH + MSTP Yes Yes
Grad3 $24,000 * GSAS, Department or Mentor * Yes Yes *
Grad4 $24,000 * GSAS, Department or Mentor * Yes Yes *
Grad5+ $24,000 * GSAS, Department or Mentor * Yes Yes *
MS3 $24,000 NIH + School of Medicine Yes Yes
MS4 $24,000 NIH + School of Medicine Yes Yes

* Although funding is guaranteed for MSTP students in their entire tenure, they are required to apply for extramural funding during their dissertation project years.

Contact information:

Emory MD/PhD Program Office
1648 Pierce Drive, Suite P375
Atlanta, GA 30322
Telephone: (404)-727-6977
Fax: (404) 727-0045
Email: mdphd@emory.edu

Department of Anthropology
1557 Dickey Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
Graduate Program Coordinator: David Pierce
Phone: (404) 727-7518
Email: david.pierce@emory.edu
Web: http://www.anthropology.emory.edu/GRADUATE/index.html