University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Social Science/Humanities PhD Fields Supported:

History, Philosophy, Anthropology, Community Health, Economics, Sociology, Law, Business, English, Comparative Literature, et al.

Description of Program:

The Medical Scholars Program (MSP) at the University of Illinois is one of the largest such programs in the country. It includes students in a wide array of social sciences and humanities disciplines as well as traditional and non-traditional fields in the natural sciences and engineering. Since the establishment of the program in the 1970s, students have graduated with degrees in each of the disciplines listed above; many of these departments include established faculty with health-related interests. MSP students are expected to meet the requirements of their doctoral program in the same manner as other graduate students.

The MSP is looking for students who can demonstrate a commitment to a career that integrates the unique training afforded by a joint degree program. Applicants should be able to articulate clearly why pursuing a joint degree (MD/PhD, MD/MBA, MD/JD) is critical to their future goals. The program seeks students with research experience, so MSP applicants should have solid letters of recommendation from research supervisors as well as from other faculty who are well acquainted with their work. In addition, applicants should have strong MCAT scores and GPAs; note that some graduate programs require or prefer GRE tests, LSAT or GMAT as appropriate. Applicants should contact the department(s) to which they are applying to confirm specific graduate program requirements needed for consideration for admissions ( The mean MCAT score for our recent entering classes has been a 32, with an average GPA of 3.5. Please keep in mind that these are averages and that we take a wide variety of factors into account. If you have any questions about the viability of your application please contact Assistant Dean Amanda Cuevas (, Coordinator of the Medical Scholars Program.

Structure of Program:

Given the broad range of disciplines represented in the program, there is no hard-and-fast structure to which students must adhere when planning their education. Typically, however, SSH students spend their initial years completing coursework and preliminary dissertation planning. Some students take one or two M1 (i.e. first year of medical school) courses at a time during these initial years; others wait until the completion of their graduate coursework to fully immerse themselves in the medical curriculum. After completing M2 and taking USMLE Step 1, most students return to their graduate department to complete their doctoral thesis. The final years in the program are typically devoted to the clerkships of the M3 and M4 years. MSP students receive credit for their doctoral research in the College of Medicine, freeing them from 16 weeks of elective credit in the clinical years.

Size of incoming joint MD/PhD class:


Number of students in the social sciences or humanities:

Usually 2/year

Number of graduates from the SSH joint MD/PhD program:


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

21 (30 with MD/JD and MD/MBA)

Application Process:

Students must apply to and be accepted by the College of Medicine, their proposed graduate program, and the MSP admissions committee. We strive to be one of the friendliest admissions offices in the nation. If you have any questions regarding our admissions process, please contact Assistant Dean Amanda Cuevas at 217-333-8146 or and she will be happy to assist you.

Here's How to Apply:

Prospective students should use the online application for all MSP programs (MD/PhD, MD/JD, and MD/MBA). This form can be found at In addition to the online application, you must submit official transcripts, three (3) letters of recommendation, and (if applicable) a copy of your personal printout of LSAT, GMAT and/or GRE scores by Monday, December 31, 2007. If the latest MCAT scores are not reflected on your AMCAS application, a copy of your personal printout of these scores should be submitted as well. For additional requirements of individual graduate departments, please visit

Note: The MSP is set up to receive letters of recommendation via Virtual Evals and Interfolio. Please request that your Pre-Med Advising Office send letters of recommendation to the MSP directly through Virtual Evals or Interfolio if possible.

Prospective students must apply to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago (code #128) via AMCAS ( by Monday, December 31, 2007. The University of Illinois College of Medicine Office of Medical Student Admissions will then email you a link to complete the supplemental application. This supplemental application is due by January 15, 2008. Please make sure you meet the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago pre-requisites. We strongly encourage you to submit these materials well in advance of the deadline in order to expedite your review process. If you have any questions about pre-requisites or if you do not receive an invitation to complete the supplemental application after submitting your AMCAS application, please do not hesitate to contact the MSP Assistant Dean.

Your application to the Medical Scholars Program will also serve as your graduate department application. You do not need to fill out a separate application unless you are applying to the MD/JD or MD/MBA program. Applicants should contact these programs directly to obtain more information on their application processes. MBA applicants should complete and submit an MBA application and contact the MBA Program Admissions Coordinator to request an application fee waiver. Law applicants should complete and submit a separate application to the law school.

We encourage you to submit all application materials as early as possible!

Please note that only U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens are eligible for admission to the Medical Scholars Program.


Because the MSP is a non-MSTP program, our students are largely funded by obtaining individual fellowships and employment at the university. MSP students are encouraged to seek outside funding; in the past, many students have completed their education with the support of an NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA). Foundations and on-campus centers are another source of grants and fellowships meant to assist graduate students in their education. Students who receive funding of this nature almost invariably receive a tuition waiver from the university. Ultimately, however, many students rely on teaching assistantships and research assistantships in the Graduate College and College of Medicine. Students are generally supported by their graduate program at the "half-time" level (50% employment) during the four to five years they spend primarily in graduate work. During the years they spend pursuing medical studies, students are generally supported at the "quarter-time" level (25% employment; same tuition and fee waiver, but one-half the stipend). After completing the M1 curriculum, many students are employed as teaching assistants in M1 courses. The MSP "track record" is that all MD/PhD students who are in good academic standing and are progressing toward completion of both degrees have received support. While there is no comparable commitment to fund MD/JD or MD/MBA students, nearly all such students do find support during their medical school training.

Contact information:

UIUC Medical Scholars Program
125 Medical Sciences Building
506 South Mathews Ave.
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Tel.: (217) 333-8146
Fax: (217) 333-2640
Email: Amanda Cuevas <>