MD/PhD Program

Fall application deadline:

  October 29th, 2012  


Spring application deadline: 

March 1st, 2013  









Program overview:

Program objective: Offer graduate education and advanced research training in a specific discipline of the candidate’s choice to individuals who are currently pursuing an MD degree and who wish to develop a career as a clinician scientist.

The MD/PhD provides selected individuals the opportunity to acquire key benefits of a doctoral research program.  These include:  (i) acquisition of expertise in depth in a particular discipline (ii) development of critical thinking and experimental design skills (iii) advanced, hands-on research training within their own individualized research project (iv) creation and publication of original knowledge in peer reviewed international journals.  Collectively these can provide the tools and experience necessary as a foundation for a subsequent independent research career in biomedical research.

Research Training Opportunities:  Individuals in the MD/PhD program complete the requirements for two independent degrees. The MD component develops the skills necessary for a career in the practice of medicine.  The PhD component develops research skills and provides experience required for  biomedical research.  

Prospective students:

How does it work? Trainees first complete the first two years of the undergraduate MD program, providing a broad background in medicine and biology. They then take a funded sabbatical from their MD studies to carry out a research based PhD.  This can be conducted in any department at the University of Manitoba that offers a PhD program.  When all experimental work, and usually the initial draft of the doctoral thesis are completed, trainees resume medical studies at third year MD training. The length required for PhD graduate training is variable, depending upon research proficiency and success, and is typically 3 to 5 years.   Pursuit of graduate studies in some departments may require that candidates first register for the MSc program then transition to the PhD program upon satisfactory progress in the first year.  This neither extends the time nor experimental productivity required for the doctoral degree.  We attempt to accommodate individual requirements, and different research plans, meaning that  variations on the above may be considered.

Eligibility: All candidates must be admitted to the MD program to be considered for the MD/PhD option.  Students currently enrolled in first or second year MD,  or those who are admitted to Medicine during spring/summer to begin that September, are eligible to apply.    A student must be acceptable to both the MD training program and to the Faculty of Graduate Studies to be offered admission to the MD/PhD Program. Medical students may apply up until February/March  1 of their second year.

Identifying a PhD supervisor: This is likely the most important part of your decision.  Unlike MD (or MBA or Pharmacy etc) programs where a class progresses together through a large number of instructors and mentors, your doctoral research experience is greatly shaped by the supervisor who mentors you, the lab you work in and the project you take on as your own.  Courses are a requirement but it is your original research that gets you your PhD. There is no single correct approach to identifying a supervisor – it is a very personal decision because you will work closely together.   Important considerations (and questions for you to address) include: Is the area exciting to you? Do you see yourself building a career in it? Is the lab active and well funded, with good chemistry between coworkers?  Is there energy and passion for research in the lab and local environment? What are the publication records of your potential advisors (search PubMed)?  Have a chat with the Chair of Grad studies identified on the department websites. It is wise (and totally appropriate) to talk with students/fellows/techs in the potential mentor’s lab and in neighbouring labs to obtain and compare their impressions of your shortlist.  Once you’ve narrowed down your choices a bit, go talk with several prospective mentors.  First email them your CV, a brief personal statement about why you want research training, and tell them you’re considering graduate studies. Go to coffee and talk. 
The specific project is important (you’ll be doing it for 3+ years !) , but arguably less so than the environment in which you will acquire your research expertise   and discipline specific knowledge. You’ll own many projects over a lifetime. 

How do I apply?

Students wishing to apply should contact the MD PhD program director early in the process.

Kent HayGlass, PhD.

 Acceptance requires:
1. Identification of a supervisor (within a department at the University of Manitoba which has an approved PhD program) who has adequate resources for the proposed program of study and whose department recommends acceptance,
2. Assessment by the MD/PhD Selection Committee and their recommendation for acceptance,
3. Acceptance by the faculty of Graduate Studies.

Admissions  Application/Selection Process: DEADLINE as above. We offer individuals with strong academic excellence, evidence of prior research experience and the drive to marry the skill sets and aptitudes an opportunity to acquire skills of a successful clinician and  biomedical researcher. Applicants must already be in Med I or Med II, or have just been accepted for, MD studies at the University of Manitoba. Applicants will be evaluated based on academic excellence, research potential and the suitability of the proposed research training environment.

Students are selected based on the following criteria:

 1. Academic Excellence
This is assessed based on the entire undergraduate and (if any) post graduate academic record including Med 1 or 2 grades to date if available.  Successful candidates are typically in the top 30% of the medical school class.  A completed copy of the U of Manitoba FGS application form should be included. 

2. Personal suitability for research training at this stage of career
-CV, complete post-secondary transcripts,  and personal statement of why undertaking a research-based PhD is your goal —a one page rationale for undertaking the program.  Any research background and/or  experience you have should be clearly described.

-Letter of recommendation from two professors with knowledge of the applicant providing their perspective on your scientific experience, current capacity and potential.

       3. Feasibility of proposed doctoral research program
A one page synopsis (not counting references) of the proposed graduate research project.  This project description should be prepared by the candidate and supervisor jointly.

       4. Supervisor suitability and commitment to candidate
Letter of support from the proposed supervisor along with supervisor’s current Common CV (detailing their current research funding support and prior experience with trainees)

     Complete application packages, or letters of reference, should be submitted electronically to:

Kimberley Ponton, Program Administrator, Office of the Associate Dean (Research)  with a cc to Dr Kent HayGlass,

Program fees: Tuition fees payable are the sum of the fees required for the MD and PhD programs of study. Continuing fees (Graduate Studies) are also applicable.  Exact amounts change annually but for PhD they are approximately $4100 pa plus student interest fees for the first two or three years (depending on minimum graduate training  residency requirements) and $670 pa thereafter.  For MD tuition they are approximately $7000 pa (plus student fees) pa.

Both programs charge among the lowest educational fees in Canada.  Moreover, under a Manitoba Government program, up to 60% of tuition fees are refunded via the tax system upon graduation to individuals who remain in Manitoba, further lowering the costs of education. 

Program stipend: Upon satisfactory performance, individuals accepted to the program are provided a stipend of $21,000 per annum for up to six years beginning from the time of acceptance to the MD/PhD option.  It is common for the PhD mentor to provide a supplement during the years of full time PhD research activity for trainees who make substantive progress. Most trainees are expected to develop, with  their mentor, an application for external peer reviewed studentship support over the course of the program.  

Current Students

MD and PhD Coursework requirements ; Candidacy Exam: Students complete the first two years of medicine before focusing full time on the PhD component of their studies.  Minimum course requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (which vary by the host department: ie Immunology vs Biochemistry vs Electrical Engineering etc) will be applicable in addition to the normal curriculum of medical studies.  Specific details on this are spelled out in each department’s supplementary graduate studies regulations and are available on those departmental websites.

Research/Thesis requirements: The quality and quantity of original research and critical analysis described in the thesis shall be consistent with that required for other doctoral candidates in that field.

Additional Program Elements: Departmental Seminar Series and Research Progress Evaluations
Each student will be required to attend regularly, and annually present within designated the research seminar series organized by host department in which they are obtaining their graduate degree.  The requirements for semi and/or annual advisor committee meetings and FGS progress reports are as determined by the Faculty of Graduate studies and the host department’s supplementary regulations.

Participation and presentation of research findings is expected for MD/PhD students during a national MD/PhD Student Research Forum held each June at the University of Manitoba. 

Conferment of the Dual Degrees of MD/PhD

The MD and PhD degrees will normally be conferred simultaneously during convocation upon satisfactory completion of the entire option.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I am interested in the MD/PhD Program. How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
Students currently enrolled in first or second year or those  just admitted to Medicine are eligible to apply.  Applications can be considered at any time but admission to the PhD component takes place according to timelines set by the Fac of Grad Studies. 

What is the duration of the MD/PhD Program?
Candidates complete two degrees. The program of study is the total required by the Faculty of Medicine for the MD program (4 Years) plus the minimum requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (3 years for holders of BSc/BA; 2 for holders of MSc/MA.) Students who have advanced / graduate training prior to admission may be granted advanced standing.   In practice, research PhD degrees typically take 3 ½ to 5 years to complete depending on the applicant’s individual progress.  Funding is for six full years regardless of how quickly you complete your doctoral program.  Completion of the PhD, as for any doctoral student, depends on the research progress of the individual candidate.  Students will be considered to be full-time graduate students through the entire period.

I have just been accepted into the MD Program for September 2013 entry.   I am interested in the MD/PhD Program. Can I apply for the MD/PhD Program?  
This is now an available option.  Most candidates seeking to enter their PhD “immediately” have completed a MSc or MA and have a good understanding of what  conducting research means.  They can apply immediately or at any time during the first two years of medical school.  Those candidates with very limited research experience are usually encouraged to obtain hands on experience in the conduct of research (ie via the BSc Med program) prior to application for the MD/PhD option.  You will have till March 1  of Med II to apply for the MD/PhD Program.

If I am just entering medical school, will I need to send in two sets of applications?
Yes but not simultaneously.  Admission to the MD/PhD program requires admission to both the MD and Graduate Studies components as separate entities (i.e. Applicants must meet the criteria for both programs). Consideration of admission to the MD/PhD Option can proceed promptly after a student has received notification of admission into the MD program. After this process is completed, a formal application for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies is carried out. 

Will students accepted to the program receive support funding?
All MD/PhD students will receive a studentship award through the MD/PhD Program (annual stipend $21,000, renewable upon satisfactory progress each year for a maximum of 6 years). Funding typically begins upon beginning the research component of their program.

What is considered an eligable expense for my $1,000 pa Research Allowance?

Eligible Expenses
A research allowance is provided to contribute to the costs of the award recipient's:
• research equipment;
• materials and research supplies;
• travel to scientific meetings held either inside or outside Canada.

Non-Eligible Expenses
• course fees;
• health insurance;
• non-discretionary benefits.

For other eligible and non-eligible costs under research allowances, consult the Use of Grant Funds section in the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC) Financial Administration Guide.

Supporting Evidence for Expenses
For required documentation to support expenditures charged to grants and research allowances, consult the Supporting Evidence subsection in the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC) Financial

Dr. Kent Hayglass
Director, Advanced Degree's in Medicine
MD/PhD Program

Kimberley Ponton
Program Coordinator

Jenifer Ezirim
Program Assistant