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Medical Scientist Training Program

The MSTP - UT Houston provides students pursuing careers as physician-scientists the unique opportunity to earn dual MD/PhD degrees in a six to eight year integrated Program offered by McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The Program

The University of Texas Medical Scientist Training Program at Houston (MSTP - UTHealth Houston/MDACC) is a dual degree program of The University of Texas McGovern Medical School and The MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). The program educates physician-scientists and draws from faculty expertise at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center. This rich training environment—encompassing laboratories, hospitals, and clinics in the Texas Medical Center—ensures that our graduates are uniquely prepared for careers in translational research, where basic research is applied to improving patient care and promoting well-being, and observations/samples from patients are taken to the laboratory to improve understanding of disease mechanisms.

The Program was established in 1982 and is unique in its approach to allow students to complete their first three years of Medical School before starting their dissertation research. The Program considers this critical to the students’ success as it is not until the third year of Medical School that students actually evaluate patients, diagnose problems and recommend treatment plans, and are thus prepared to understand the limitations of current methods for preventing, diagnosing and treating disease and to appreciate the importance of clinical and translational research.

Participating Institutions/Entities

The University of Texas McGovern Medical School.  UTHealth Houston is a comprehensive academic health sciences university comprised of six schools (McGovern Medical School, GSBS, School of Public Health, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing, School of Bioinformatics) and research expenditures that approach $300 million, with McGovern Medical School accounting for 60% of these expenditures.  The McGovern Medical School matriculated its first class in 1970 and, with nearly 1000 medical students, is the eighth largest and one of the most diverse medical schools in the country. To be re-directed to the medical school’s website, click here: 

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive centers for cancer treatment and research. Its faculty includes over 600 physicians and scientists, and its physical facilities include a 514-bed teaching hospital and over 475,000 square feet of active research space.  To explore MD Anderson Cancer Center’s website, click here:

The MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is a unique partnership between The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). This partnership in graduate education has existed for more than 50 years. The GSBS currently has 392 active degree-seeking students enrolled. Click here for more information on the GSBS

The University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus (UPR)- In 2012, the MSTP Program was expanded to train MSTP students participating in the UPR-MDACC NIH U54 Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research. This award has been continuously funded since 2002, and the MD/PhD research training cooperative was added to the grant in 2008. In this partnership, students from Puerto Rico complete three years of medical school at UPR and then enroll in the GSBS for PhD training at MDACC and UTHealth Houston. UPR students who apply to the U54 cooperative agreement complete one to two summer research experiences at UTHealth Houston or MDACC. They then apply to the program as MS2 students and are interviewed in Houston by the GSBS and MSTP. These students are fully incorporated into the MSTP with an MSTP advisor assigned and progress through GSBS carefully monitored.  Once PhD training is complete, the students return to UPR to complete their MS4 year there.