M.D./Ph.D. Program Requirements

All M.D./Ph.D. students must meet with the director of graduate studies (DGS) in Public Health if they are considering affiliating with Public Health. Students in this program are expected to meet the guidelines listed below in the time frame outlined. The DGS must approve any variations to these requirements.


One term of teaching is required. If students are approved by the DGS to teach beyond this requirement, they can be compensated. In the rare instance teaching beyond the requirement is approved, the student will only be allowed to serve as a TF10. If a student has served as a teaching fellow elsewhere on campus, this experience may be counted toward the requirement. DGS approval is required to waive the teaching requirement on the basis of previous Yale teaching experience.


Students should do two rotations/internships with potential advisers in Public Health. The purpose of these rotations/internships is to learn research approaches and methodologies and/or to allow the student time to determine if the faculty member’s research interests are compatible with the student’s research interests. These rotations/internships are usually done during the summer between the first and second year of medical school course work. In some cases, students may need to defer this requirement until the summer after the second year after taking certain courses and/or completing readings in order to possess the background necessary for a successful rotation/internship.

Required CourseWork

M.D./Ph.D. students are generally expected to take the same courses as traditional Ph.D. students. Departmental requirements vary; therefore, students should confer with the DGS and/or their Ph.D. adviser.

Timeline for Qualifying Exam

Students generally will take medical school courses in years one and two. Students can take Public Health courses during this time, if scheduling allows. Once affiliated with the Public Health program, students will complete all course requirements for the department. This generally takes a minimum of two terms but can take up to four terms after affiliating with Public Health. The qualifying exam is commonly completed after the fourth term of affiliation with the Ph.D. program in Public Health but can sometimes be done earlier with approval of the Ph.D. adviser and DGS.

Prospectus Timeline

Following completion of the qualifying exam, students should focus on the prospectus, which must be approved by the Public Health Graduate Studies Executive Committee (GSEC) before the end of the student’s sixth term as an affiliated Ph.D. student in Public Health.

Admission to Candidacy

To be admitted to candidacy, students must: (1) satisfactorily complete the course requirements for their department as outlined in Departmental Requirements, achieve grades of Honors in at least two full-term doctoral-level courses, and achieve an overall High Pass average; (2) obtain an average grade of High Pass on the qualifying exam; and (3) have the dissertation prospectus approved by the GSEC. All M.D./Ph.D. students must be admitted to candidacy before the start of the fourth year in the Ph.D. program (i.e., before the start of the seventh term).