If you are in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), or if you are receiving a stipend for Reserve or Guard service, you will fully focus on your medical studies. During this time, you will also receive valuable training that will serve you well no matter what career path you take.
The main difference between HPSP and USUHS is your status in relation to the Military. HPSP students are commissioned as officers in the Individual Ready Reserve, whereas USUHS students are active-duty officers, so they will spend more time in a military environment. Either way, medical students are expected to finish their training in the same amount of time as civilian students and will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments or similar military responsibilities.
Medical School for HPSP Students
If you are in the HPSP, your overall medical school experience will not be significantly different from what a civilian can expect. You will take the same classes as your peers, you will not need to wear a uniform to class and you will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments.
The main difference between you and your peers is that you will need to attend officer training for your specific service, and you should participate in one annual training period per year of scholarship that you receive. As part of these 45-day periods, you may study for exams at your own medical school, participate in research rotations or perform clinical rotations at military hospitals. During your officer training and annual training periods, you will wear a uniform.
If you are training in a military medical facility or at Officer Development School, the administrative staff for the scholarship program will stay in touch with you and keep you informed about impending deadlines and requirements.
Medical School for USUHS Students
Unlike HPSP students, you will immerse yourself in the military lifestyle right away. You will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments, but you are required to wear a uniform to class, and you will be on active duty through all four years of school.
During the first 18 months of training, you will be taught by a mix of civilian and military instructors, and you will participate in classes, lab work and medical field exercises. Then you will embark on 12 months of rotations at military medical facilities. Your last 18 months of rotations will help guide you toward a residency and auditioning for programs that you prefer. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to serve at military treatment facilities around the world, including on humanitarian missions.
Medical School for Reserve + Guard Students
If you are interested in joining a Reserve or Guard component, you can apply for the incentive-based Medical and Dental Student Stipend Program (MDSSP). Through this scholarship program, you can enter as a commissioned officer, but you will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments while you are in school. You will still be required to drill one weekend a month and for two full weeks during the year. Drilling consists of training in your military medical duties as a physician. When it is time for you to choose a residency, you will participate in the civilian Match Day and train at a civilian institution.
As part of the HPSP, the Military will pay your tuition, provide a living stipend and reimburse you for required books, equipment and supplies. Once you are accepted for the HPSP, your Service will contact your medical school and start paying your tuition. Upon your benefit start date, you will start accruing your stipend, which is paid via direct deposit on the first and fifteenth of each month. As you purchase items for school, keep good records so you can submit expense reports.
During your 45-day annual training period, you receive the same active-duty pay and benefits as a second lieutenant in the Army and Air Force, or an ensign in the Navy.
Your USUHS education is paid for by the U.S. government, and you will receive the same active-duty pay and benefits as are given to a second lieutenant in the Army or Air Force or an ensign in the Navy. You will have the choice of receiving a monthly payment or being paid on the first and fifteenth of every month. The current pay in the fiscal year for 2014 to 2015 in the greater Washington, D.C., area is over $60,000 yearly. If you have any questions about your pay, you should contact the USUHS Office of the Commandant.
Reserve/Guard Student Options
When you drill, you will be paid as a second lieutenant in the Army or Air Force or an ensign in the Navy. When not drilling, you will receive a stipend of over $2,000 a month as a participant in the MDSSP.