The program is a research-intensive program. Normally, residents applying to the Medical Research Graduate Program (MRGP) will have made mutually acceptable arrangements with a faculty member(s) for the supervision of their research prior to applying for their program at Dalhousie. Within three months of initiation of the program, a supervisory committee of qualified faculty (must approved by the Medical Research Program Committee), including the supervisor(s), will be appointed. These faculty will aid in the planning of the thesis research and be available to the student throughout the program for advice. There will be at least two meetings of the Supervisory Committee each year with the student to discuss research progress and future directions. The standards of the program are very high and the thesis research needs to be of international quality. Publication of the thesis research in peer-reviewed journals is expected.

It should be noted that this program is separate from the Royal College Clinician Investigator Program (CIP), but that the Director of the CIP sits on the Graduate Committee of the Medical Research Graduate Program for effective communication between the two programs. Trainees in the MRGP may also register for the CIP concurrently (if they are enrolled in a Dalhousie residency program), but there is no requirement to do so.