The MD–MEd Joint-Degree Program at Vanderbilt University: Training Future Expert Medical Educators

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Some medical students are drawn to medical education as an area of academic specialization. However, few options exist for medical students who wish to build a scholarly foundation for future careers in medical education.


In 2011, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) and Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University partnered to establish a novel dual-degree program that, through transfer of credit, allows students to graduate with both an MD and a master of education (MEd) degree in five years. The MD–MEd joint-degree program equips students with robust knowledge and skills related to general education while providing opportunities through independent studies and capstone projects to contextualize these ideas in medical education.


This innovation at Vanderbilt University demonstrates the feasibility of an MD–MEd joint-degree program. MD–MEd graduates’ demonstrated commitment to medical education and credentials will allow them to take on greater educational responsibilities earlier in their careers and quickly gain experience. The three author participants feel their experiences allowed them to achieve desired competencies as educators. They have each gained early experience by chairing the Student Curriculum Committee and contributing to major curricular reform at VUSM.

Next Steps

The authors plan to integrate specific medical education competencies into the program, which will require MD–MEd students to develop and demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills expected of dedicated medical educators. Graduates’ career trajectories will be tracked to explore whether they become medical educators, conduct educational research, and assume leadership positions.

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