Rural Physician Program (RPP)​

Program Description 

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Upper Peninsula Campus is one of 7 community campuses across the state.  The UP Campus is the site of the Rural Physician Program (RPP) and is one of 3 clinical (LCE) options for students interested in completing the Leadership in Rural Medicine Certificate program at MSU College of Human Medicine. The LRM certificate provides students with the opportunity to learn about the benefits and challenges of rural health care and prepares them to serve patients in rural communities after graduation. 

Students interested in the LRM certificate and the RPP will indicate that when completing their secondary applications. Once accepted to MSU College of Human Medicine, interested students will undergo an interviewing process for a slot in the RPP at the UP Campus.  The campus selects 12 students each year into the Rural Physician Program.  Students will know prior to matriculation if they have secured a spot.

The UP campus is located in Marquette, Michigan, a wonderful community on the shore of Lake Superior.  While UP Health System Marquette (a 250 bed regional referral center) will be the primary clinical training site, UP Campus students will also get an opportunity to work in other communities and hospitals across the Upper Peninsula for portions of their clerkships.

In addition to training medical students, the program is closely affiliated with the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program.  The Residency Program is a three-year unopposed program for young physicians pursuing the specialty of family medicine. The program accepts 6 applicants each year. 

The MSU College of Human Medicine UP Campus is led by Community Assistant Dean and CEO, Dr. Stuart Johnson, and by Community Administrator, Susan Tincknell, as well as many MSU College of Human Medicine Faculty physicians.  The MSU College of Human Medicine UP Region is aligned with area hospitals and outpatient clinics that join together in creating a rich educational environment for our students.

Rural Physician Program Application Process

All students training at the UP Campus and in the RPP will be a part of the Leadership in Rural Medicine Certificate Program (LRM). Students interested in applying to RPP will be asked on the secondary application if they want to apply to the Rural Physician Program alone, or if they are also interested in applying to the Rural Community Health Program out of the Traverse City and Midland Campuses, which is the other option for the LRM.  To apply for these programs, students will be required to complete two additional essays within the secondary application.  In these essays the applicants discuss their interests in rural medicine and highlight their personal characteristics and experiences that are consistent with becoming an excellent rural physician. RPP applicants should have interests and personality traits consistent with living in a smaller community and practicing in underserved, rural areas.

The Late Clinical Experience (LCE) in Years 3 and 4

After passing Step 1 of the USMLE, students who are accepted to the Leadership in Rural Medicine Certificate and the Rural Physician Program move to the Upper Peninsula for a challenging clinical experience. Students assume increasing responsibility for diagnosing and treating patients. Additional opportunities for students to train at rural sites throughout the Upper Peninsula are continually being developed.

The core clinical clerkships are primarily completed at UP Health System - Marquette, a regional referral center with outstanding state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated physician educators. Students will have the opportunity to work in other Upper Peninsula community hospitals during their clerkships and will also embark upon a 4-week rural Family Medicine clerkship in a small U.P. community. Additional required and elective time can be done in Marquette, anywhere in the CHM system, nationally or internationally.

Applicant Qualifications

Applicants to the MD program must have strong academic credentials, as well as personal attributes and career goals that are consistent with the CHM Mission.

Competitive applicants to the Rural Physician Program must first be admitted to MSU-CHM. Applicants must have outstanding qualifications for practicing in a rural area, with consideration given for previous rural life experiences, initiative, and the desire to become not only excellent physicians, but also community leaders. The Rural Physician Program strives to accept students to the RPP who reflect the diversity of the College of Human Medicine's entering class. Qualified applicants will have an opportunity to come to the Marquette campus for an interview.  Decisions for acceptance into the program are usually made by the end of April.

For more information, please contact the UP campus:

MSU College of Human Medicine Upper Peninsula Regional Region
850 W. Baraga Avenue | Marquette, MI 49855
Phone: (906) 228-7970 Fax: (906) 228-5734


Michigan State University | College of Human Medicine | Upper Peninsula Education Corporation
850 W. Baraga Avenue | Marquette, MI 49855 | 906-228-7970
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