Ph.D. Transformation in the School of Medicine

Designed for today's biomedical career landscape

A transformed Ph.D. program is underway in the OHSU School of Medicine thanks to the work of leaders, faculty and students to create a more flexible, multidisciplinary approach that lets discovery define the path.

See updates on the O2 page

The transformed Ph.D. program is taking hold just as the first cohort of medical students to experience the full YOUR M.D. curriculum graduated in June, further establishing OHSU on the leading edge of curriculum reform in the health professions.

The transformed program prioritizes critical thinking, communication skills and professional development, combined with an individualized curriculum to encourage interdisciplinary research. The new program builds on current research strengths and can flex to encompass new areas of study. It is designed with the evolving biomedical career landscape in mind. Today, more students are seeking non-academic careers, traditional funding streams are limited and the role of philanthropy is even more important.

The new Ph.D. program will:

  • Shift from a proscribed program to a flexible, individualized curriculum.
  • Shift from one mentor to include mentor teams to meet each student's academic, research and peer learning and support needs.
  • Encourage engagement in seminars inside and outside a student's field of research with a tailored plan that includes a range of opportunities for acquiring knowledge yet a common focus on communication, critical thinking, teamwork, management and leadership.
  • Offer a series of basic, core content instruction in year one, as occurs now, but then also offer "just-in-time" courses as students' research and skill requirements evolve throughout their later years.
  • Provide formal instruction in professional and communication skills rather than ad-hoc acquisition of these essential competencies.
  • Move away from 16 independent Ph.D. programs toward fewer, interdisciplinary programs, a change that will occur over time.
  • Catalyze discovery through "scientific neighborhoods"