FAU-MPFI M.D./Ph.D. Dual Degree Program

Program Description

The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Charles E. Schmidt Colleges of Medicine and Science and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) have created a M.D. / Ph.D. dual degree program that provides talented students with cutting-edge training to become physician-scientists. The program allows students to complete their Ph.D. research in one of MPFI’s state of the art research groups while simultaneously earning their medical degree from FAU’s College of Medicine and doctoral degree from FAU’s Integrative Biology Ph.D. program. This collaborative M.D. / Ph.D. program combines the rigorous academic curriculum and top-tier clinical training offered by FAU with the cutting-edge neuroscience research in laboratories at MPFI, which is part of the world-renowned Max Planck Society.

Program Details

Students in the M.D. / Ph.D. program follow a novel sequence of study at FAU and MPFI that promotes the distinct career path and integrated training in medicine and neuroscience research. In the first year of the program, students complete the standard medical school pre-clinical curriculum during the Fall and Spring semesters at FAU College of Medicine earning credits toward both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Beginning in Summer of the first year, students begin their Ph.D. research at MPFI and enter the doctoral program full-time and typically complete the required coursework and thesis dissertation in the laboratory of a MPFI faculty member in 4-5 years. Students in the FAU-MPFI M.D./Ph.D. program are enrolled in the Integrative Biology Ph.D. program, with either a concentration in Biomedical Sciences (IBBS) or Neuroscience (IBNS), depending on which program the student selected during the application process. After successful completion of the IBBS/IBNS Ph.D. program, students re-enter medical school and complete the last three years of their M.D. curriculum, clinical training, and required United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE). This innovative program structure allows students to complete their medical education and clinical training, in three consecutive years, so that knowledge and skills are current for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, clinical rotations, and preparing for medical residency.

Admissions requirements and process

Admission to the M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program is a co-application but separate process requiring applicants to simultaneously submit applications for 1) FAU’s Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine M.D. program through AMCAS and a College of Medicine-specific secondary application and 2) FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Integrative Biology—Biomedical Science (IBBS) or Integrative Biology—Neuroscience (IBNS) Ph.D. program through GradCAS.

M.D. Program Admissions Process and Requirements:

The application process and requirements for the M.D. program are located here on the FAU College of Medicine Admissions website.

Ph.D. Program Admissions Process and Requirements:

The application process and requirements for the Ph.D. program are located here on FAU Integrative Biology Admissions website.  For M.D. / Ph.D. applicants, there are special deadlines and requirements, including designation of the Biomedical Science (IBBS) or Neuroscience track (IBNS); a statement of research interest for specific MPFI faculty for their Ph.D. research; a current CV, and a letter of motivation describing the applicant’s qualifications and interest in the M.D. / Ph.D. program, previous research experience, overarching research interests for their doctoral training and long-term academic and career goals. Applicants are encouraged to contact MPFI faculty with whom they are interested in conducting Ph.D. research during the M.D. / Ph.D. application process to determine fit with prospective research mentors. Applicants must indicate their interest in being considered for the M.D. / Ph.D. program by checking the required box on the College of Medicine M.D. application. Interviews at both FAU’s College of Medicine Boca Raton campus and MPFI at FAU’s Jupiter campus are integral components of the selection process. An independent admissions decision for the M.D. portion of the program will be made by the Admissions Committee of the FAU College of Medicine using the criteria and processes described on their website. An independent admissions decision for the Ph.D. portion of the program will be made by the FAU-MPFI M.D. / Ph.D. Admissions Subcommittee. Applicants accepted by the admissions committees of both programs will be admitted to the M.D. / Ph.D. dual degree program.

Program Contacts

For general inquiries, contact training@mpfi.orgFor more specific questions, contacts are listed below.


FAU College of Medicine:

Marc Kantorow
Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Professor, Biomedical Science

FAU College of Medicine Office of Admissions


FAU Integrative Biology Ph.D. Program:

Sarah Milton
Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences,
Director of the Integrative Biology Ph.D. Program

Stacee Caplan
Integrative Biology Graduate Program Coordinator


Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience:

McLean Bolton
Research Group Leader Department of Disorders of Neural Circuit Function
MPFI M.D./Ph.D. Program Director

Paul Evans
Head of Scientific Training