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Education / Medical Scientist Training Program / Current Students / Student Handbook / Curriculum / Transition to Clinical Years & Requirements

Transition to Clinical Years & Requirements

There is significant flexibility in entering the third and fourth year medical school clinical phases of training. Coordination for reentry is accomplished in consultation with Drs. O’Banion, Lambert and Kaufman, thesis committees, and the Medical School Registrar. Individual plans are established for each student based on their needs and status with regard to thesis completion.  For students completing their thesis in the summer or early Fall, Core Clerkships (see below) can be initiated at several time points starting in July or October.  In cases where students have turned in a thesis, provision may be made for clerkships to be started, with the stipulation that the thesis be defended during an early elective period. The Thesis Advisor, the Thesis Committee, and Drs. O’Banion, Lambert and Kaufman must approve all such arrangements.  Although it is possible to start Core Clerkships as late as January and still complete all requirements for graduation, this should only be attempted by students with very clear ideas about residency choices, so that proper sequencing of clerkships can be accomplished.  Students who plan to enter residencies with early match may be at a particular disadvantage if they start after October.

Drs. Lambert, Dr. O’Banion and Kaufman meet with all students in years 5 and 6 as a group in early spring to discuss possible strategies, coordinate efforts, and offer individualized opportunities for these students to sharpen their skills for hospital-based medicine prior to entering the Core Third Year Clerkships.  A variety of opportunities exist to facilitate the transition to the clinically intensive portion of the curriculum.

Years 6 and 7 or 7 and 8 (Medical School)

Core Clinical Clerkships occur over a one-year period and include integrated clerkships in Women and Children’s Health (5 weeks each Ob/Gyn and Pediatrics); Mind/Brain/Behavior II (4 weeks each of Neurology and Psychiatry); and Adult Inpatient Care (8 weeks of Medicine and 6 weeks of Surgery).  Each integrated clerkship has an associated two weeks devoted to Advanced Basic Science topics (3 total).  These topics are explored in lecture/discussion and small group laboratory, journal-club, and PBL sessions, and cover cutting edge examples of translational research and the application of basic science to clinical medicine. Advanced Basic Science sessions offer additional opportunities for MD/PhD students to explore topics of special interest and meet scientists and clinicians actively engaged in translational research.

There is also a total of 12 weeks of elective time in the third year.  This elective time provides flexibility for MD/PhD students needing to complete their thesis defense as well as providing an opportunity to pursue specialized areas of clinical medicine that may be important in career choice decisions.   A complete list of required experiences in the final two years is provided on the next page.  MD/PhD students can possibly meet all clinical requirements in a 1.5 year period and may receive up to 6 weeks elective credit for research conducted during their thesis preparation with prior approval.  Thus there is ample opportunity for conducting residency interviews.  In addition, students can elect to return to the laboratory in their last year to pursue additional research.

Requirements for Completion of Medical School (MD/PhD Curriculum)1

Course/Clerkship                                                                                       Credit or Equivalent (weeks)

Core Clinical Clerkships, including Advance Basic Science Sessions                                              38
      (Adult Inpatient/Women & Children’s Health/Mind, Brain, Behavior)

Electives1                                                                                                                                                  27

      (Up to 8 credits can come from the Longitudinal Clinical Experience) 

Emergency Medicine Clerkship                                                                                                             4

Surgical Subspecialty Elective                                                                                                                2

Subinternship                                                                                                                                           4

Process of Discovery (4th year)                                                                                                              4

Successful Interning (4th year)                                                                                                               1

Total                                                                                                                                  80


Note: MD/PhD trainees are exempt from the 4th year Community Health Improvement Course.  If they choose to complete it, they receive 4 weeks of elective credit.

1Up to 6 weeks of “Research Elective” may be granted for MD/PhD students and applied to this elective time requirement.