The MSTP is an integrated program, combining elements of the MD and PhD curricula to give students an individualized learning experience that is tailored to their backgrounds and goals. MSTP students participate in both medical and graduate school activities throughout their tenure in the program. Entering students meet with the MSTP director to craft their programs of study. This individualized advising, both formal and informal, continues through graduation.

The integration of the curriculum is evident in the first year when MSTP students participate in the MSTP Thread course where Washington University faculty present historical lectures on the scientific discoveries that form the basis of knowledge taught in the parallel Gateway (MD) lectures. MSTP students at all levels also participate in the weekly MSTP dinner seminar, departmental seminars, journal clubs, retreats and social events.

Prior to matriculation, students receive coaching on thesis mentor selection then undertake a research rotation in the summer before the first year of the program. Additional laboratory rotations occur during and immediately after Phase-1 of the Gateway (MD) curriculum. The purpose of the research rotation is to expose students to different areas of research and a variety of laboratory environments to assist them in the selection of a thesis lab. Following completion of Gateway’s Phase-1, students enter the PhD phase of training, typically spending three to five years in dissertation research. During this time, MSTP students may participate in clinical mentorships, a program that allows students to maintain clinical skills while experiencing a variety of medical specialties. Following the thesis defense, students transition back to the Medical School’s Gateway curriculum to complete clinical training.

 This course of study is typical for most MSTP students. However, other options are available, such as starting the research phase after completing some clinical clerkships. The typical student completes the program in seven or eight years, though some students take less or more time to graduate.​