Purpose: To describe educational outcomes for a national cohort of students who enrolled in MD–PhD programs at medical school matriculation (MD–PhD matriculants).
Method: The authors used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors independently associated with overall MD–PhD program attrition (MD-only graduation or medical school withdrawal/dismissal) compared with MD–PhD program graduation among the 1995–2000 national cohort of MD–PhD matriculants at medical schools with and without Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) support.
Results: Of 2,582 MD–PhD matriculants, 1,885 (73.0%) were MD–PhD graduates, 597 (23.1%) were MD-only graduates, and 100 (3.9%) withdrew/were dismissed from medical school by July 2011. MD–PhD matriculants at non-MSTP-funded schools (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60–2.41) and who had lower Medical College Admission Test scores (< 31 versus ≥ 36: AOR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.20–2.14; 31–33 versus ≥ 36: AOR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.01–1.70) were more likely to leave the MD–PhD program; matriculants who reported greater planned career involvement in research (AOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.51–0.84) and matriculated more recently (AOR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85–0.96) were less likely to leave the MD–PhD program. Gender, race/ethnicity, and premedical debt were not independently associated with overall MD–PhD program attrition.
Conclusions: Most MD–PhD matriculants completed the MD–PhD program; most of those who left were MD-only graduates. Findings regarding variables associated with attrition can inform efforts to recruit and support students through successful completion of MD–PhD program requirements.