Year III–IV Continuum

The final two years of medical school are designed as a continuum of two calendar years, beginning in July after the conclusion of Year II. During the spring of their second year, students schedule clerkship rotations to be taken during the two years of the continuum. Each student’s program is designed with the assistance of faculty advisors and includes 50 weeks of required clerkships, 16 weeks of selective clerkships and 16 weeks of elective clerkships.

All degree candidates are required to take Step I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) prior to entering the junior/senior continuum and pass it before starting their senior year of the continuum. Students must pass Step II CK and CS of the USMLE by December 31 of their senior year as a graduation requirement.

During the continuum each student may schedule 13 weeks of discretionary time for studying for USMLE Step 2, for residency interviews and for personal vacation.

Year III-IV Required Clerkships

Family Medicine—6 weeks
Internal Medicine—6 weeks
Internal Medicine Sub-internship—4 weeks
Obstetrics/Gynecology—6 weeks
Pediatrics—6 weeks
Psychiatry—6 weeks
Neurology—4 weeks
Surgery—6 weeks
Surgical Subspecialty—4 weeks
Intersessions—2 weeks
Total—50 weeks

Intersession I and II

The Intersession curriculum consists of two one-week sessions for Year III students that enable learners to pause, reflect, and consolidate the many and varied clinical experiences that they encounter in their third year of medical school.

This individualized and interactive curriculum allows students to revisit basic-science topics through the prism of newly learned clinical material and will foster capacity for the analysis and formulation of healthcare policy in light of the political, economic, legal and social, and ethical dimensions of health care.

Students receive instruction in a systems-based approach to patient safety. They also have the opportunity to build skills of close observation and careful interpretation through engagement with the arts and humanities. Developing and building advanced clinical skills, and acquiring, appraising, and applying evidence in the context of individual patient decision-making (Evidence Based Medicine), are two additional important goals of the Intersession curriculum.

Providing comprehensive, coordinated and consistent career advising along with fostering the continuing professional development of the learners in the frame of clinical practice are key components. Finally, the curriculum provides ongoing instruction in the provision of culturally competent care.

Issues in Clinical Practice (ICP)

Professional identity comes from a long-term combination of experience and reflection on experiences. Stage-appropriate opportunities for gaining experience and engaging in reflection are key ingredients for development of professional identity. Critical to promoting effective reflection is the establishment of an atmosphere that enables confidential exchanges between students and mentors and in which learners feel accountable and safe to learn and explore. The Keck School of Medicine’s (KSOM) unique structure of student cohorts and tracks in year III positions us to establish an innovative year three track mentor program. This program provides the required opportunities necessary to allow our learners to continue their journey of professional development begun in the Professionalism and the Practice of Medicine (PPM) course.


Selective rotations (four weeks in length) are completed at the LAC+USC Medical Center and available options can be found on MedWeb.


Elective rotations are a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of six weeks. Research can also be completed for elective credit.