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Combined MD/Public Health Degree Programs

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) and the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH) offer two combined degree programs to prepare clinician-leaders to help drive the changing health care landscape, improve broad health systems, promote the health of communities, and engage in scholarly inquiry.  MD students at GW have the option of earning an MD/Master of Public Health (MD/MPH) with one additional year of training or completing an MD/Graduate Certificate in Public Health (MD/Certificate) during the four years of medical school.

Both combined programs capitalize on the MD program’s inclusion of its clinical public health curriculum and take full advantage of GW’s location in the nation’s capital, with unique proximity to policymakers, agencies, and organizations engaged in all aspects of health and health care. Upon completion of either the MD/MPH or MD/Certificate, students may take the national certifying exam in public health (CPH).


MD students can complete the five-year MD/MPH program (4 years MD + 1 year MPH) in their choice of 11 residential MPH programs:

  • Community Oriented Primary Care
  • Environmental Health Science and Policy
  • Epidemiology
  • Global Environmental Health
  • Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control
  • Global Health Policy
  • Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Public Health Communication and Marketing

MD/MPH students take 30 credits at SPH and receive 15 SPH credits for clinical public health coursework integrated into the MD curriculum.  All MD/MPH students take 10 credits of MPH core courses; the remaining 20 credits comprise required and elective coursework in the chosen MPH program.

MD/MPH students may begin their MPH coursework during the summer following either Year 1 or Year 3 of the MD program, and are granted a one-year leave of absence between MD Years 3 and 4 to complete the required MPH courses and fieldwork.  The MD Program accepts MPH coursework as 4 weeks of MD fourth-year electives.

MD/Certificate in Public Health

MD students can gain a foundational understanding of the core disciplines of public health by completing a Graduate Certificate in Public Health during the four years of the MD program.  MD/Certificate students begin SPH courses during the summer following Year 1 and complete 10 credits at SPH while receiving 5 credits for MD clinical public health coursework.  Additionally, the MD Program accepts SPH coursework as 4 weeks of MD fourth-year electives.

For more information about both programs visit


Students enrolled in GW’s MD program are eligible to apply: MS1s can apply for either the MD/MPH or the MD/Certificate; MS3s can apply for the MD/MPH. MD students with less than a Passing Grade (Conditional, Fail) are not eligible to apply until the grade has been remediated. Students may apply using their MCAT scores and are not required to take the GRE.

SPH coursework for the MD/Certificate begins the summer after MD Year 1; students apply in January of that year.

For the MD/MPH, students may begin SPH coursework during the summer following either MD Year 1 or 3; students apply in the January of their intended start year. The application for both Combined Degree Programs is an online form that includes academic information and a brief narrative statement.

The MD/Certificate requires successful completion of 4 SPH courses (10 credits) in addition to the MD program (Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Social & Behavioral Health, Environmental & Occupational Health); courses are taken during the summer between Years 1 and 2 (approx. 5/20-7/30) and during the summer following Year 3 (approx. 5/20-6/30). The MD/Certificate is completed within the 4-year MD program structure.

The MD/MPH requires successful completion of the above 4 courses plus at least 20 credits taken at SPH in the selected MPH program; students may begin SPH courses during the summer between Years 1 and 2 or during the summer following Year 3. Both MD/MPH start dates require a 1-year leave of absence from the MD program between MD Years 3 and 4 to complete the MPH coursework for a total of 5 years (4 MD + 1 MPH). MPH coursework includes required courses for the selected MPH program and may include some elective coursework.

Students can transfer from MD/Certificate to MD/MPH by submitting an SPH Admissions Petition. All 4 SPH courses for the MD/Certificate will apply toward the MD/MPH; students then continue on the MD/MPH timeline with a 1-year leave of absence for MPH coursework between MD Years 3 and 4.

Students who begin MD/MPH courses following Year 1 can submit a Petition before April of Year 3 to transfer to the MD/Certificate; they will follow the MD/Certificate timeline and complete SPH courses during the summer following MD Year 3.

No coursework or credits can be transferred from other institutions for either the MD/Certificate or MD/MPH.

Yes. Students should share their interest in the combined programs with the Office of Student Professional Enrichment (OSPE) prior to applying for a Scholarly Concentration (SC). Once enrolled in an SC, MS1s should begin in early spring to discuss their combined degree plans with their SC Director(s) and summer project mentor(s) to ensure that the focus, workload, and schedule will meet the SC summer internship requirements.

Students in the MD/Certificate are financially responsible for 10 SPH credit hours at the published SPH Certificate rate; total tuition for the MD/Certificate in 2018-19 is $12,000.

Students in the MD/MPH are financially responsible for 30 SPH credits at the published MPH rate less a 10% tuition discount; total tuition for the MD/MPH in 2018-19 is $43,600.

Both the MD/Certificate and MD/MPH are eligible for federal financial aid. Applications and disbursements are handled by the SMHS Office of Financial Aid. Deadline for submission for summer aid is July 1, but late fees may apply so students are encouraged to apply by early April to ensure continuity of funding.

The MD remains the primary degree for both the MD/Certificate and MD/MPH; the MD will be awarded if the MD requirements are successfully completed regardless of the status of the SPH degree. The Certificate or MPH, however, will be awarded only if the MD and the SPH requirements are successfully completed.

The MD/Certificate does not require any of these.

All MPH programs require a Practicum and Culminating Experience; MD/MPH students satisfy these requirements through the MD program’s Summit IV experience.

All students who successfully complete the MD/Certificate or the MD/MPH are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam through NBPHE – Certified in Public Health (CPH).