Pre-Clerkship Phase

The Year I-II curriculum is designed to enhance the students’ understanding of the basic, clinical and health systems sciences and their relevance to the practice of medicine. The methodologies used are designed to improve students’ problem-solving and independent study skills. Each week of the academic year is limited on average to approximately 20 hours of lecture and small group sessions. All systems and courses throughout the first two years are graded Pass/Fail.


The first semester of Year I is Introduction to Medical Sciences (IMS), a 19-week introductory system which provides students with the fundamental knowledge necessary for the integrated study of the basic and clinical sciences. IMS is followed by similarly integrated systems which deliver focused learning in all aspects of the physiology and pathophysiology of neuroscience, gastrointestinal/liver, reproduction, cardiovascular, pulmonology, renal, endocrinology, musculoskeletal, hematology and immunology. The second year culminates the Year I/II continuum with the Integrated Cases Section (ICS) in which students learn and apply a model of clinical reasoning through a series of clinical case scenarios which draw on the basic and clinical science presented in the preceding systems.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine

Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) is a longitudinal clinical skills curriculum integrated with instruction in the systems. ICM exemplifies the patient-centered orientation of the medical school curriculum. Students begin developing their clinical skills through simulated training in our state-of-the-art clinical skills center and by supervised interactions with real patients from the very first few weeks of medical school. ICM emphasizes the systematic acquisition of clinical skills and students gain competency in interviewing, history taking, physical examination, elementary clinical problem solving and medical record keeping.

Students spend from four to eight hours each week in groups of six with a clinical faculty member who remains with the same group for one to two years.

Professionalism and the Practice of Medicine

The Professionalism and the Practice of Medicine (PPM) course in Year I provides mentoring to students in longitudinal learning communities in groups of 24 students. The coursework is designed to help students gain skills and competence in the areas of communication, the social and community context of health care, ethical judgment, self-awareness and reflection, self-care and personal growth, professionalism, cultural competence, and lifelong learning.

Scholarly Project (SP)

Each student is required to participate in hypothesis-driven research in the first two years. The aim of the SP is to expose students to the process of scientific inquiry, teaching them how to formulate an answerable question, and the requisite methodology in seeking appropriate answers. Through this course, students can develop skills and attitudes of critical thinking around evidence-based medicine and research.