The mission of Washington University’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is to prepare individuals for careers as physician-scientists, engaged in biomedical research that creates new knowledge for the betterment of society.

Drawing on the combined resources of Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the MSTP is a well-integrated program that combines outstanding medical training with rigorous PhD studies in biomedical research. Graduates of the program are not physicians and scientists, but physician-scientists who think about clinical and research problems in unique and innovative ways.

Though we have the largest MD-PhD program in the nation, we take an individualized approach to training. Our students are highly motivated adult learners who fashion their training according to individual goals. The MSTP provides guidance, oversight and support but expects students to take responsibility for their training. Freed from the constraints of excessive course and program requirements, MSTP students are able to dream large and explore the frontiers of knowledge.

Because the complex nature of modern science and medicine requires team-based approaches to solving problems, the MSTP emphasizes collaboration and community. Weekly MSTP events allow students to learn from each other and to build personal and professional relationships that will endure for a lifetime.


The MSTP was established at Washington University in 1969 and has been very successful in training individuals as physician-scientists. Through May 2021, the program has graduated 706 physician-scientists. More than 80% of program graduates are engaged in academic medicine, hold positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or are employed in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.

Since 1970, the program has been funded by the NIH. The program currently holds the largest predoctoral training grant in the country, evidence of the great esteem held by the NIH for the excellence of the training program. The program is also supported by an endowment established by the Olin Foundation in 1986.

The MSTP was founded by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and has had a succession of outstanding leaders, most of whom were physician-scientists. The current director, Dr. Wayne Yokoyama, is a practicing rheumatologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.