Research at Pitt

Discover more information about the School of Medicine's Research opportunities. Additionally, the following programs provide University of Pittsburgh medical students with a range of options for pursuing in-depth study and research opportunities. In some cases, students will use these opportunities as the starting point or the venue in which they pursue their longitudinal research projects, although they are not limited to these options. Likewise, students can pursue these opportunities independent of their longitudinal research projects. 

Areas of Concentration

Areas of Concentration (AOCs) enable students to pursue their enthusiasm for a particular aspect of medicine through hands-on experiences, faculty mentoring, research projects, and other activities. This voluntary program adds a thematic dimension to medical training throughout all four years. Examples of AOC topics include the following: Addiction Medicine; Bioengineering, Biotechnology, & Innovation; Disabilities Medicine; Geriatrics; Global Health & Underserved Populations; Medical Humanities and Ethics; Neuroscience; Public Health; Resuscitation; and Women's Health. 

Global Health

Students interested in global health can participate in a variety of clinical and research opportunities through summer placement, fourth-year electives, or the area of concentration in Global Health & Underserved Populations. Some of the countries in which University of Pittsburgh medical students have been involved in recent years are Malawi, Kenya, Honduras, Brazil, India, China, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, and Italy. 

Medical Scientist Training Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) provides medical students who wish to pursue a career in biomedical research the opportunity to undertake doctoral work at either the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University in one of the participating programs in basic science, engineering, or public health and complete both degrees in an average of seven to eight years. Students begin with the first two years of medical school and then move into their PhD work; once that is completed, they finish their medical training. The program provides them with full tuition and a stipend each year, which is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health with support from the Office of the Dean. At any time, about half of the students are engaged in the MD segment of the program, while the others are involved in their PhD studies. If they did not enroll from the start, students can apply for transfer into the MSTP during their second year of medical school. 

Clinical Scientist Training Program

The Clinical Scientist Training Program (CSTP) is designed for medical students with career aspirations in academic medicine and clinical investigation. This five-year program leading to an MD along with a certificate in clinical research provides students with opportunities to learn clinical research skills during medical school and conduct substantive clinical and translational research. 

Physician Scientist Training Program

The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) is a five-year program for exceptionally talented students who, in addition to completing the regular curriculum, undertake an additional year of laboratory-based research training and benefit from a range of special services and opportunities to prepare them for careers in academic medicine. Those selected for the program receive partial scholarship support for tuition plus two paid summer rotations and a paid research year. Students who have not applied for the PSTP at the outset of medical school can apply for the program in their second year. By paralleling the school’s other specialty-training programs, the PSTP offers students the capability of efficiently transferring into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). 

Multidisciplinary Masters of Public Health Program

The Multidisciplinary Masters of Public Health Program provides an opportunity to meet the needs of a growing number of health science professionals who want to practice in a public health or community-based setting where data-based concepts, preventive medicine, health promotion, public health translational concepts, and evidence-based practice will be of benefit. 

Other Research Opportunities

More than 60 percent of first-year students engage in a summer research program. In addition, some medical students take a year off at some point to earn a master’s degree in public health, biomedical ethics, or a related field; others engage in a year-long program of specialized study or research available through various prestigious national fellowship programs.

Summary of Dual Degrees

Joint Degree in Medicine and Bioethics
Medical Scientist Training Program
Multidisciplinary Master of Public Health Program