MSTP Student Life

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It can be tough to imagine what life is like when you're getting an MD and a PhD together. Now you can reach out to our students personally and talk to them about the program!

Life as an MSTP

  • Tuition is covered for all years of the program. The annual stipend is $29,500 as of 7/1/2018.
  • MSTP students receive funds to purchase a computer during their study at CWRU.
  • The MSTP provides health insurance for all its students.
  • CWRU MSTP has a monthly meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of every month which includes a dinner and a short talk. Speakers are either steering committee members, senior students, or other faculty members. Talks often include subjects outside the realm of basic science, such as anthropology, HMO's, and patent law.
  • There is an annual summer retreat every July that lasts two days. Students ditch their labs for two days and head off to a state park for some fun in the sun. It's not all play though - the days are packed with talks and workshops, including an outside keynote speaker, faculty and student research presentations, and workshops on topics such as ethics, grant writing, and other topics.
  • We also have an annual winter retreat that features scientific presentations by students and an outside invited speaker.
  • The MSTP office has a friendly staff that is willing to help with everything from making copies, to organizing events, choosing a lab rotation, and just about anything you can think of. Their candy jar is always full, too (but the chocolates go quickly).
  • The steering committee is composed of about a dozen faculty members. They are basically the congressional body of the program and are involved in all decisions (including admissions). When you are here, they will help you find a mentor and evaluate your progress through the program.
  • Students have several levels of mentorship. Each has a student mentor. The director of the program, Cliff Harding; the co-director, Derek Abbott; and the associate director, Agata Exner, make themselves available for advice and guidance.
  • The program prides itself on student involvement. Students are represented by the MSTP council, which has a few members from every class. They plan the retreat, monthly meetings, etc. They also give feedback and advice to the director, and perform various other duties.
  • All current students have the opportunity to wine and dine the prospective students, compliments of the MSTP. You'll be familiar with all the restaurants around the area by the time you're done with year one.

Living in Cleveland

We know that sometimes Cleveland has a bad rap. But Cleveland has many features and attractions that make it great place to live! For one thing, it has the high points of a big city without the big city hassles, like insane traffic or an exorbitant cost of living. Inexpensive housing is readily available near to the university.

For more information on living here, visit our Life in Cleveland page.

Student Groups and Activities

MSTP Council

The MSTP Council is an elected body of student leaders that meets monthly to plan and implement program projects and improvements.  The MSTP Council serves an important role in providing leadership and organizational experience for students who will be future leaders in science and medicine. Council members divide themselves among several committees to plan and implement projects. The president, vice president and secretary are all elected for a one-year period. All MSTP students are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Case MSTP Women's Group

Women students in the MSTP get together to support and mentor each other, and sometimes invite women alumni and faculty to discuss career development. 

Agre Society

The Agre Society at Case Western Reserve University serves to advance understanding of biomedical research by clinical residents, fellows and medical students.

The Agre Society is sponsored by the Department of Medicine. It includes a series of informal monthly dinner meetings featuring a presentation by a prominent physician-scientist faculty member, who is a leader in his or her research field with an interest in education of future biomedical researchers.

The design of the Agre Society promotes interactions between medical students, residents and fellows with interests in biomedical research, allowing these groups to enrich each other with their different experiences and viewpoints. The program helps clinical residents and fellows to learn about research and identify potential mentors within the wider Case research community. It also helps trainees to understand the clinical context of their research and enables them to form contacts with people at more advanced stages of training.

The society is named for Peter Agre, MD, a medicine resident in the University Hospitals of Cleveland/VA program in the mid 1970's who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2003 for the discovery of aquaporins.

Doc Opera

Doc Opera is a variety show unique to the CWRU School of Medicine. All of the performances are written, choreographed and performed by the medical students and focus on the only life we now know: the amusing sides of CaseMED, medicine in general, and the city of Cleveland. The show serves a dual purpose: a showcase of the wonderful and variable talents of CWRU medical students and a fundraiser for a truly amazing organization - the Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland.

Committee of Student Representatives

The Committee of Student Representatives (CSR) is the student government for medical students at CWRU. CSR strives to improve student life, facilitate student-faculty interaction, refine the curriculum, and foster professional development by funding student organizations and clubs, collecting and organizing student feedback, and hosting various community-building events throughout the year.

Annual Events

Summer Retreat

The annual MSTP retreat is a two-day student organized event focusing on professional development and program planning for the upcoming academic year. We also leave time for plenty of time for fun! The retreat is typically held at one of Ohio's beautiful state parks.

On the first day, students, faculty, and staff attend lectures and participate in workshops on such topics as grant writing, ethics of research, and research techniques. The afternoon is left open for sports or just relaxing by the pool. The evening of the retreat is topped off by a fine dinner accompanied by a speaker invited to talk about a general interest topic. Then, students collect for their favorite event of the year: MSTP karaoke!

The last day of the retreat includes research presentations by students in the PhD phase, workshops, and panel discussions focusing on the transitions to the PhD phase and the return to medical school.

Winter Retreat

The Winter Retreat is a one-day event on campus, held in March.  At the Winter Retreat, you will enjoy poster sessions and short scientific talks presented by fellow students as well as a talk by an invited physician scientist. For first year students, this retreat is a chance to find out about research opportunities, and to meet professors with whom you might consider a rotation. This retreat is also a chance for older students to learn what fellow students are discovering in their PhD work.

Holiday Party

Every year before the winter break the MSTP holds a winter holiday party. This event is a gathering of all MSTP students and is a time to enjoy excellent food and entertainment, in addition to other events including a gift giving/stealing game. The party also allows for newer students to again reunite with other students in the program.