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Education PhD programmes Groningen Graduate Schools Graduate School of Medical Sciences Junior Scientific Masterclass MD/PhD-traject
University Medical Center Groningen

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

PhD theses by MD/PhD students
PhD theses by MD/PhD students

What is the advantage of an MD/PhD programme over the other PhD programmes?
In general there are 4 ways to obtain a PhD :
1. Medical training (and obtaining an MD), followed by medical specialization, followed by a PhD programme (in many cases combined with clinical practice)
2. Medical training (and obtaining an MD), followed by a 4-year PhD programme, followed by medical specialization
3. Medical training combined with research (and obtaining an MD), followed by an AGIKO programme (combined programme of PhD research and medical specialization)
4. Medical training combined with PhD research (BSc Honours programme and MD/PhD programme), followed by medical specialization; this is the JSM programme.

The advantage of the JSM programme for students is that they can do a PhD at the same time as their regular medical training. This saves the student a considerable amount of time in comparison with the other PhD programmes. In addition, the completion of an MD/PhD programme is prestigious: it looks good on a CV and gives students a better chance in the competition for good and/or popular training posts.

The disadvantages of an MD/PhD programme are that students have to make choices about research topics at an early stage of their career and have to work under time pressure, and also that it is not always easy to combine clerkships with scientific research.

What happens after an MD/PhD programme has been approved?
After the decision has been made to approve the application, the applicants and supervisors receive an approval letter. Then the supervisors must submit a request for an appointment to the Junior Scientific Masterclass, to ratify the formal appointment. The request is submitted through the administrator of the discipline group. The MD/PhD candidate is invited by the HR department for an interview about terms and conditions, after which the student is officially appointed.

It is important for the request for appointment to be submitted at least six weeks before the desired commencement date of the MD/PhD.

What is the best way for an MD/PhD candidate to spread the 2 years of full-time research over the 4 years of appointment? What factors must the MD/PhD candidate take into account?
It is difficult to generalize about the best way to spread the 2 years of full-time research over the 4 years of appointment. It depends to a large extent on the MD/PhD candidate’s personal financial situation and work plan. Generally speaking this is unique for each MD/PhD student.

Some of the factors to take into account are:
- Is the MD/PhD candidate enrolled as a student or not?
- Does he or she pay tuition fees?
If an MD/PhD candidate is not enrolled as a student and has not paid tuition fees, he or she is not entitled to student finance.
- For how long is the MD/PhD candidate still entitled to student finance?
- How much does he or she want to borrow from the IBG (Information Management Group)?
- Will the MD/PhD programme run parallel to an academic year or calendar year?
- How much does the MD/PhD candidate earn outside the training programme?

How much exactly does a MD/PhD candidate earn?
It is difficult to say in general exactly how much an MD/PhD candidate earns.

Some of the factors which may influence the amount of your salary are:
- How many FTEs is the appointment?
- In which year of the appointment is the MD/PhD candidate? In the course of the 4-year appointment the MD/PhD candidate climbs from scale 7.0 to scale 7.3.
- Does the MD/PhD candidate receive student finance or a loan in addition to his or her salary?
- Is he or she entitled to a tax rebate? (see also: )

If you want to know more about this, get in touch with Dr J.M. van der Mark ( Joke van der Mark can also arrange for you to receive an individual overview of your salary during the MD/PhD appointment.

Must an MD/PhD candidate pay tuition fees or not while he or she is doing full-time research?
If an MD/PhD candidate decides to spend one year doing full-time research and this year coincides with an academic year (September–August), it is probably best for him or her not to enrol that year; then he or she will not have to pay tuition fees for the whole of that academic year. However, if the research year does not coincide with an academic year, then in most cases the MD/PhD candidate will have to pay tuition fees.

May or must an MD/PhD candidate do Progress Tests in the years that he or she is doing fulltime research?
If an MD/PhD candidate is doing full-time research for a year and is not enrolled as a student (and therefore has not paid tuition fees), he or she does not have to do Progress Tests. If the MD/PhD candidate is enrolled as a student, then it is a good idea to do the Progress Tests. If you have questions about this, talk to Ms L. Datema, T. 050-363 6312 or email her:

How is the progress of an MD/PhD programme evaluated?
An MD/PhD candidate is appointed through one of the research institutes of the UMCG’s Medical Sciences Graduate School. MD/PhD candidates’ research supervisors and PhD supervisors and the Graduate School research institute are responsible for the evaluation and progress of the research programme.

Does research experience gained during the MD/PhD programme count when a candidate applies for a position as a resident?
When appointing a resident, an employer does not have to take any research experience you have had before qualifying into account. However, we expect (and this is confirmed by initial experience) that employers will in fact take this research experience into account when appointing residents.

Within the UMCG it is customary to take the research experience gained during a PhD programme into account in the salary scale (a maximum of 2 additional increments ).

Last modified:29 July 2020 09.29 a.m.
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