MD/PhD in Biomedical Informatics

Program Overview

Students accepted into the MD/PhD Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine may choose to complete their PhD training in the BMI program. Completion of the PhD degree in the BMI program will typically take 4 years.

Program requirements for the PhD and the MD/PhD are very similar except that the MD/PhD students receive credit for medical school coursework completed prior to entering the BMI program. To remain in the MD / PhD program, it is critical to complete the dissertation defense by October of the sixth year (e.g., if PhD program starts in August 2010, the defense must be before October 2016). During the PhD program, students are required to complete three longitudinal clinical clerkships.


Coursework and Credit Requirements

A minimum of 72 credits is required for the PhD over a minimum of 6 full-time terms. Full-time student status requires 9 to 14 credits in the fall and spring terms and 3 credits in the summer term. The credit requirements for the PhD in the MD/PhD BMI program are:

  • 15 credits are given for coursework completed during the first two years of medical school
  • A minimum of 33 credits come from BMI coursework including 17 credits of BMI core coursework and 9 credits of BMI elective coursework
  • 3 credits come from the Teaching practicum
  • A minimum of 3 credits come from Master’s research and a minimum of 18 credits come from doctoral dissertation research

 

Program Timetable

GS - S1
Summer

BMI lab rotation

 

MS1
Fall / Spring

Medical school courses

First year of medical school.

GS - S2
Summer

BMI lab rotation

 

MS2
Fall / Spring

Medical school courses

Second year of medical school.

MS2.5
Summer

8 week long clinical clerkship

 

GS - S3
Summer

BMI lab rotation

 

GS1
Fall

BMI coursework:

  • BIOINF 2011 Foundations of Clinical and Public Health Informatics
  • BIOINF 2051 Foundations of Bioinformatics
  • BIOINF 2032 Biomedical Informatics Journal Club
  • BIONF 2012 Programming / BIOINF 2015 Math coursework if required

MD/PhD students enter the BMG program with an academic standing of second year PhD students. The course work from medical school years one and two are accepted for 15 credits. Other requirements (Master’s research, comprehensive exam, doctoral proposal and defense) are the same for the MD/PhD students as they are for the PhD students.

GS1
Spring

BMI coursework:

  • BIOINF 2118 Statistical Foundations of Biomedical Informatics
  • BIOINF 2119 Probabilistic Methods in Artificial Intelligence
  • BIOINF 2032 Biomedical Informatics Journal Club
  • BIOINF 2014 Biomedical Informatics Project Course (*optional)

 

GS1
Summer

BMI research

 

GS2
Fall

BMI coursework:

  • BIOINF 2120 Symbolic Methods in Artificial Intelligence
  • BIOINF 2121 Human Computer Interaction and Evaluation Methods
  • Electives

 

GS2
Spring

BMI coursework & research:

  • Electives

Master’s research (min 3 credits)

GS2
Summer

BMI research

Comprehensive examination

GS3 – GS4

BMI research

Teaching practicum (3 credits)

Doctoral dissertation research (minimum 18 credits)

MS3 – MS4

60 weeks of required clerkships. Elective rotations may include additional research or clinical experiences.

Third and fourth years of medical school

* The Biomedical Informatics Project Course is optional. A MSTP student may apply to the DBMI Training Program Director to opt out of it.

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