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University of California Los Angeles Social Sciences and Humanities MD/PhD
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Last updated October 21, 2017

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Social Science/Humanities PhD Field Supported:


Description of Program:

The Caltech-UCLA Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is dedicated to educating and training exceptionally qualified individuals for careers in the biomedical and sociomedical sciences, with dual MD/PhD degrees. To fulfill this mission, we recruit exceptionally bright and accomplished students who exhibit a passion for knowledge and a life-long commitment to research and leadership. In the newly created Social Science Track, we accept one to three students per year. We consider applicants interested in any relevant discipline in the social sciences and humanities. Accepted students will receive full funding and stipend for the entire four years of medical school and four to five years of graduate school. We help guide admitted students towards outstanding training environments that encourage individual thinking and provide students with the tools needed to develop into accomplished, compassionate physician scientists. We aim to provide an intellectual and practical foundation from which our graduates will approach the most compelling social and policy questions facing medicine today. Our hope is that our rigorous program will nurture the intellectual curiosity and discipline of our students, while continuing to develop their innate creativity and empathy.

Structure of Program:

Many students choose to complete their MS3 year (a full year of clinical rotations) before doing their PhD in its entirety. After their PhD is completed, they return to medical school for their MS4 year.

UCLA’s MD/PhD students in the social sciences complete the first portion of their medical school training (generally 2 years followed by 1 clinical rotation), followed by their PhD training in its entirety, and finally returning to complete the remainder of their medical school clinical training.

Upon acceptance into the program, students will be assigned to one of the associate program directors for the social science track, Joel Braslow, M.D., Ph.D., or Philippe Bourgois, Ph.D., for advice and mentoring during the first 2 years of medical school (MD1 and MD2) and the PhD years.

Before entering their PhD program, students will need to formally submit an application to the department of their choice. They will be advised and supported in this process by faculty in the Social Medicine Office.


UCLA’s MD/PhD students in the social sciences track receive full funding including stipends for both medical and graduate school training. Please refer to the UCLA MSTP website for stipend levels and other information.

Size of incoming joint MD/PhD class:

MS1: 16 (1 SSH)
MS2 15 (0 SSH)

Number of students in the social sciences or humanities:

7 in MSTP program, and 1 in Anthropology department as part of MD/PhD

Application Process:

Students apply through the general MSTP application ( During the MSTP interview day, they will be interviewed by Dr. Braslow and Dr. Bourgois, as well as by faculty members in their intended academic department (e.g. Anthropology). The department also supports students who are pursuing both an MD and a PhD in the social sciences outside of UCLA’s or another school’s formal MSTP program. Please contact Dr. Braslow for more information.

Contact information:

Joel Braslow

UCLA SSH MD/PhD Program Group Photo