Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are applicants considered only if their PhD is in the biological sciences?

No, the program is interested in applicants with PhDs and research experience in a broad range of fields that are relevant to biomedical research and human disease and wellness, and who have the preparation and intention to pursue biomedical research in the future as a physician-scientist.

Are there exceptions to the requirement for a a PhD from an accredited US or Canadian school?

Applications are welcome from participants in the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, the Gates Foundation and other leading granting organizations.

Do you accept students whose undergraduate degrees are from institutions outside of the United States or Canada?

Yes. The admissions committee finds it more difficult to evaluate applicants whose undergraduate work was done in an institution outside of the United States or Canada, but we will review applications from those students who otherwise meet our application criteria.

Does the requirement for US citizenship or permanent resident status apply to the 4-year, standard MD program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons? Why does this additional requirement apply to the 3-year program?

The requirement for US citizenship or permanent resident status does not apply to applicants to other programs at P&S. It is part of the requirements for the 3-year program because NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, the teaching hospital at Columbia University Medical Center, does not support visas which would enable graduates of the 3-year program to enter residency training here, and also because some research stipends are not available to non-US citizens.

May I apply if I am still a candidate for the PhD degree?

We expect applicants to have successfully defended their PhD thesis by the Spring of the year in which they would matriculate in our program.

Why are applicants restricted to those interested in careers in cognitive specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry or pathology?

The acquisition of procedural as well as cognitive expertise in the surgical specialties would impose additional challenges in the already lengthy training of physician-scientists. Also, the compressed curriculum of the 3-year program does not allow for the amount of specialty-specific elective experiences now considered necessary for applications to procedural residency training programs.

If I am not invited to interview or accepted to the 3-year PhD-to-MD program, can I still be considered for the regular MD program?

All applicants applying to a specific degree program such as the 3-year PhD-to-MD program are considered dual applicants to the regular MD program and will be considered for the MD program.

I am filling out the AMCAS application, why don’t I see an option for the 3 year PhD to MD program?

Applicants to the 3-year PhD to MD program will select the MD option on AMCAS. Upon receiving an invitation to fill out the secondary application, you will select the 3-year PhD-to-MD program.

 How should the one-page research proposal be prepared and submitted?

Instructions on preparing and submitting a one-page research proposal will be provided to applicants who are invited to interview.