Year 1 (G1)

First-year trainees meet with the DO-PhD co-director soon after arriving at Michigan State University to review the program's structure, timeline and expectations. Each first year trainee composes a short list of three to four laboratories from which to choose a potential dissertation research advisor.

DO-PhD  physician-scientist trainees begin the first summer semester in the DO-PhD Program carrying out a laboratory rotation and take graduate school courses and rotations during the first year. First-year trainees engage a graduate track analogous to that pursued by traditional Ph.D. students. The actual coursework and dissertation requirements will depend on the department or program chosen by the trainee.

Years 2 and 3 (M1 – 2)

At the beginning of year two, trainees take anatomy and begin the two-year medical curriculum. It is challenging to continue research through years two and three but DO-PhD trainees are encouraged to make time each week to be in the laboratory and attend weekly lab meetings. Trainees remain involved in the laboratory so that after they have taken the board exams, they are maximally poised to embark full-time on dissertation research and completion of any remaining graduate course requirements.

Year 4-6 (G2 – 4)

The summer of the year four through the fall of the beginning of year six, DO-PhD trainees pursue full-time graduate training. In addition, trainees participate in the Core Clinical Clerkship one day a week. Most trainees complete four or five of the six Core Clinical Clerkships..

During year four, DO-PhD trainees are required to write a National Research Service Award or a similar proposal to another agency, based on the topic of their dissertation. research. This requirement is designed to help trainees develop a research plan and educate them about the life of a physician-scientist. It also serves as the basis for the Ph.D. program's comprehensive written exam, normally taken at the beginning of year five.

Year 7 and 8 (M3 – 4)

Trainees typically complete and defend their dissertation in the fall of the year seven and enter the hospital-based clinical curriculum in late fall/early winter. The clinical curriculum requires 84 weeks of clerkships. However, because DO-PhD trainees have taken a portion of the Core Clinical Clerkship curriculum, they only have 68 weeks of clerkships to complete and may also use 12 weeks of research toward their clerkship requirements.