OHSU

Graduate Program Integration

MD/PhD students officially begin their PhD coursework upon completion of their step 1 exams, beginning of their 3rd year. Students interested in a particular graduate program should meet with that program's director early in their first year to begin preliminary planning of rotations and coursework.

Behavioral Neuroscience

The graduate program in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience emphasizes basic science training in behavioral neuroscience with specialization in the following areas: neurobiology of aging, behavioral genetics; behavioral pharmacology; biological bases of addiction; learning, memory and cognition, and the neurobiology of social motivation. Students can become familiar with an array of highly sophisticated techniques in neuroimaging, gene expression and mapping, behavioral assessment, as well as develop genetic animal models of addiction-related problems, and can work with a wide array of organisms from human and nonhuman primates to songbirds, voles, rats and mice. Descriptions of faculty interests and their contact information can be found on Behavioral Neuroscience web site. The faculty will be happy to discuss their research interests and possible projects.

Our department encourages MD-PhD students who are interested in behavioral neuroscience to meet with the Graduate Program Director early in Year 1 to begin planning their dual-degree program. Typically MD-PhD students will complete summer rotations during Years 1 and 2, then begin full-time graduate coursework in Year 3.  MD/PhD students in Behavioral Neuroscience complete core courses and electives tailored to meet their qualifications and interests. Medical school courses are substituted for the departmental basic science core requirement. MD-PhD students in Behavioral Neuroscience must achieve the same programmatic milestones as PhD students, but we anticipate that their timetable will be accelerated. Thus, the program's research paper requirement may be completed in Year 3 or 4 (i.e., in the first or second year of full-time graduate study), and the qualifying exam completed early in Year 4 or 5 (i.e., in the second or third year of full-time graduate study). After passing the qualifying exam, students advance to candidacy and focus on their dissertation research, then defend the dissertation and receive the PhD before returning to medical school. We expect dissertation completion during Year 5 or Year 6.

Details of the required and elective course offerings associated with Behavioral Neuroscience can be found at our website. However, we strongly encourage interested students to contact the Behavioral Neuroscience Program Director,  for a one-on-one discussion of the program requirements for MD-PhD students.


Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering Program (BME) at OHSU coordinates programs and requirements for students in the MD-PhD program who decide to pursue their PhD in biomedical engineering. The BME program admits approximately six students per year, and includes one or two MD-PhD students. MD-PhD students generally take the medical school curriculum the first two years and do research rotations during summer months. Entering MD-PhD students interested in biomedical engineering are encouraged to meet with the BME director early in Year 1 to begin immediate planning for the research component of their dual-degree program, and to ensure that summer research rotations meet BME criteria for graduate research. Based on prior coursework, the BME director may elect to waive part or all of the core courses in the BME curriculum that are taken in the 1st graduate year (Year 3 for MD-PhD students). Students with backgrounds in biomedical engineering can take their qualifying exam at the end of Year 3. MD-PhD students are integrated into the full activities of the BME program including the BME seminar series course. Details of these courses and activities can be found at the BME website.

For more information, contact the BME Program Coordinator, or the BME Program Director,

Biomedical Informatics

The Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program within the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology offers a PhD in two tracks: Clinical Informatics and Bioinformatics & Computational Biology. The PhD program consists of the following core curriculum: Core Knowledge of Biomedical, Informatics, Doctoral Symposium, Biostatistics, Mentored Teaching, Advance Research Methods, Research/Dissertation, Cognate Area of Study.

Coursework makes up an important part of the PhD curriculum. In addition to work on the dissertation, students obtain an in-depth understanding of the field through high-level coursework in biomedical informatics, advanced research methods and design, and a specialized cognate area. The cognate area allows tailoring of the educational experience to one's research interests. Past cognate areas have include Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science Engineering, Public Health, Nursing, System Science, Anthropology, Education, and Health Information Management.  MD-PhD students interested in biomedical informatics should meet with the Graduate Program Director early in Year 1 to begin planning their dual-degree program.

Details of the program requirements and required and elective courses can be found on our website at: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-medicine/departments/clinical-departments/dmice/educational-programs/dmice-programs/phd.cfm

For more information about our PhD program and to discuss program requirements, please contact our admissions coordinator Lauren Ludwig at ludwigl@ohsu.edu

Dominic Siler, MD-PhD student, teams with Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) students Carolina Glogowski and Chia-Hsueh Lee to learn brain slice recording during NGP bootcamp

Dominic Siler, MD-PhD student, teams with Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) students Carolina Glogowski and Chia-Hsueh Lee to learn brain slice recording during NGP bootcamp

Neuroscience Graduate Program

The Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) at OHSU coordinates programs and requirements for students in the MD-PhD program who decide to pursue their PhD in neuroscience. The NGP program admits 8-10 PhD students per year, and in most years the class also includes one or two MD-PhD students. MD-PhD students generally take the preclinical parts of the medical school curriculum first and do research rotations during the summer months. Entering MD-PhD students interested in neuroscience are strongly encouraged to meet with the NGP director early in Year 1 to begin immediate planning for the research component of their dual-degree program, and to ensure that summer research rotations meet NGP criteria for graduate research rotations. The MD-PhD and NGP programs at OHSU are exploring options to allow MD-PhD students to take courses during their preclinical medical years, but the usual MD-PhD student begins graduate coursework in Year 3. Students with excellent backgrounds in neuroscience and outstanding performance in the neuroscience component of the medical curriculum can take their written qualifying exam at the end of Year 2 (i.e. before starting fulltime graduate training). Based on the performance on the written qualifier and prior coursework, the NGP director may elect to waive parts of the core NGP curriculum, which are taken in the 1st graduate year by PhD students (Year 3 for MD-PhD students). MD-PhD students in the NGP program are expected to complete laboratory rotations and several elective courses chosen to match their particular research interests. Usually the summer research rotations in Year 1 and 2 qualify as NGP research rotations and thus MD-PhD students often are able to select a thesis lab early in Year 3. Year 3 MD-PhD students are integrated into the full activities of the NGP program including the Vollum seminar series course, a topics course in modern neuroscience methods, workshops in professional research career development, and the fall NGP retreat, usually held at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Details of these courses and activities can be found at the NGP website. We also offer a "boot camp" in neuroscience methods for incoming PhD and MD-PhD students just prior to the start of the fall term.

For more information, applicants or current MD-PhD students can contact the NGP Administrator, or the NGP Director,


Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

The program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (PMCB) at OHSU is an umbrella program that serves as a portal to PhD training with focus areas in Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics/Genomics, Immunology, Microbiology, Physiology/Pharmacology, Quantitative Biology and Biomedical Engineering, and Vision Science. All students who enter the PMCB graduate program select a home department as their academic base during their graduate training. Students may choose their thesis mentor from any of the PMCB faculty members (>150).MD-PhD students who are interested in doing their PhD work in one of the disciplines within PMCB are encouraged to meet with the Director of PMCB early in Year 1 to begin planning for the research component of their dual-degree program, and to ensure that the summer research rotations meet PMCB criteria. MD-PhD students in the PMCB program are expected to complete 3 laboratory rotations, although they may request to opt out of rotations if they find a match with a mentor early in the process. In addition to beginning work in their thesis lab, the usual MD-PhD student begins graduate coursework in Year 3. Students with excellent backgrounds in the basic sciences can request the option of "testing out" of required PMCB core courses that are typically taken in the first two years of the PhD program. A Comprehensive Examination occurs at the end of Year 3 after completion of the first year of core courses. A written qualifying exam is done at the end of Year 2, which advances the student to candidacy for the PhD degree.MD-PhD students with outstanding academic records can request permission to take the qualifying exam earlier if the student's thesis mentor, scientific oversight committee, and directors of PMCB and MD/PhD support the accelerated timeline. Year 3 MD-PhD students are integrated into the full activities of the PMCB program including the PMCB seminar series, workshops in professional research career development, and the fall PMCB retreat. Details of these courses and activities can be found at the PMCB website For more information contact the PMCB Administrator, ), or the PMCB Director, .