Program Overview


The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University was established in 1983 to offer exceptionally talented individuals the opportunity to undertake a physician-scientist training program tailored to their specific research interests. This program is funded partly by the Medical Scientist Training Program of the National Institutes of Health. For students who have a clearly-defined interest in biomedical research, the MSTP serves as a bridge between the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and 20 graduate programs in basic sciences or engineering at either the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University. During a period of seven to eight years, these individuals meet the degree requirements of both a graduate school and the medical school, thus acquiring the knowledge, skills, and experience to begin careers in some of the most exciting areas of medical research.  Our primary directive is to create future biomedical investigators by providing the highest quality of graduate medical training. This program offers a range of special services and opportunities to facilitate the completion of a dual degree. In addition to efficiency, the close integration of clinical and basic science training better reflects the future careers of biomedical scientists. 

Exceptional investigators at both universities serve as potential mentors for MSTP students. The program has approximately 75 students across all years who conduct their research in a variety of emerging fields in premier facilities. Interdisciplinary endeavors within and between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have given rise to world-class facilities where MSTP students can pursue their research interests.

The stature of biomedical science and clinical training in Pittsburgh is among the highest nationwide.  The University of Pittsburgh is 5th nationwide in NIH funding and in combination with MSTP-affiliated programs at Carnegie Mellon University, offers a world-class research environment to our trainees.  Ten clinical departments (including Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry) are ranked in the top 10 nationally in NIH funding. The School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, and the city as a whole each rank in the top 10 in their category in NIH funding.  The alliance with CMU adds significant research strength in areas of particular CMU excellence, such as Computer Science (regularly tied for #1-ranked per US News & World Report) and Engineering (currently ranked #4).  The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) health care system, which is closely allied with the School of Medicine, is a major national health system with 20 hospitals and state-of-the-art clinical innovations.  Trainees are exposed to a robust patient population, allowing the study of both common and rare disease.

 At the University of Pittsburgh, the School of Medicine is adjacent to the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Public Health, and physically attached to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), including UPMC PresbyterianUPMC Montefiore (including its Eye and Ear Institute), and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMCMagee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is a short 4-block walk away. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC moved to its new $625 million campus in Lawrenceville. In addition, Oakland's location allows easy access to facilities in nearby downtown Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas.

The spirit of interdisciplinary, interinstitutional collaboration that pervades the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University creates a dynamic and ideal environment for promising students to launch research careers that integrate medicine and the basic sciences. 

Current Centers of Research