ECE MD-PhD Program

Program Overview

The MD-PhD Program at the University of Utah enables a select group of students to earn a 4-year MD degree through the School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in one of seven affiliated departments, including the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a rigorous program that provides an outstanding and fully-funded education for future physician-scientists, equipping them with fundamental clinical skills and experience conducting cutting-edge research that will prepare them for careers as biomedical researchers and clinician-scientists.

The ECE doctoral program prepares students to integrate scientific discovery and state-of-the-art technology into novel clinical applications and medical devices and is an excellent complement to the U’s top-tier MD Program. It emphasizes medical imaging systems, implantable medical devices, brain-computer interfaces, wearable technology, micro and nano-sized biomedical sensors, and artificial intelligence for various medical applications. ECE MD-PhD graduates join an elite group of leaders transforming healthcare through technological development, clinical implementation, and government regulation. 

Students of the Program complete two years of their MD, then apply to and complete a Ph.D. before returning to medical school to finish the final two years of their MD. Students are conferred at the time they finish their Ph.D. and again upon completion of their MD. A complete timeline can be found here.


The MD-PhD program follows the same admissions criteria as the MD program but with a greater focus on research experience. Please refer to the, Preparing for Medical School website for details about premedical coursework and eligibility and the Programs Admissions website for information on admissions standards, policies, and procedures.

Initial MD-PhD program applications must be submitted to the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) and are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. We encourage applications from qualified students nationwide, especially those with a background in engineering. 

Applicants must meet the following requirements when submitting their application: 

    • Grade point averages above 3.0
    • MCAT score of 500 or better (GRE scores are waived in place of MCAT scores)
    • Submission of the MD-PhD Essay and a Significant Research Essay

Competitive applicants will have substantial experience in community and/or volunteer service, leadership, physician shadowing, patient exposure, and an academic career that includes a strong focus on research.

If admitted by the School of Medicine, students will have the opportunity to rotate through various research labs on campus to help identify a faculty mentor. Students can review the list of ECE faculty to help identify potential research labs. After they’ve identified a lab, an application for admission to the ECE department Ph.D. program should be submitted through the Apply Yourself electronic application system by July 15th of the year they intend to begin their Ph.D. See the ECE graduate student admissions website for application details.

Course Requirements

In addition to the courses required by the Medical School, ECE MD-PhD students must complete at least 12 credit hours of ECE coursework, two credit hours of ECE graduate seminar, and at least 14 credit hours of Dissertation Research (ECE 7970). The Medical School curriculum serves as allied courses which make up the remaining 18 credit hours of coursework typically required by the ECE Ph.D. program. MD-PhD students are not required to TA or take any courses related to TAing. These students will gain mentorship and didactic teaching experience through the Medical School curriculum and supplemental activities outlined in the MD-PhD program.