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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 Phase 3 and Phase 4 medical school clinical years of training. Coordination for reentry is accomplished in consultation with Drs. O’Banion 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 spring or summer, Core Clerkships (see below) can be initiated at several time points starting in June or September.  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 in advance.  Although it is possible to start Core Clerkships later in the year 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 later than the summer.


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 Phase 3.  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)

Please note that the curriculum presented below is being rolled out for students who start Medical School in 2019; thus, specific changes in curricular structure (e.g. Phase 3 and 4) will take place in 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively.  For students who started medical school prior to 2019, and return to medical school in 2021 or later, the Phase 3 and 4 requirements will be used, except that the Family Medicine Clerkship will not be required and an additional four week of electives will be.

Core Clinical Clerkships occur over a one-year period and include clerkships in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics (5 weeks each), Mind/Brain/Behavior II (4 weeks each of Neurology and Psychiatry); and Medicine (8 weeks) and Surgery (6 weeks).  Each integrated clerkship has an associated one-week session devoted to the Scientific and Social Foundations of Medicine (3 total).

There is also elective time in Phase 3.  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.

MD Program Phase 3 and 4 Requirements MD-PhD Students

Credit or Equivalent

Course/Clerkship                                                                                                     (weeks)

Phase 3:

Medicine Clerkship                                                                                                           8
Surgery Clerkship                                                                                                             6
Scientific and Social Foundations of Medicine                                                            1
Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship                                                                           5
Pediatrics Clerkship                                                                                                         5
Scientific and Social Foundations of Medicine                                                            1
Mind, Brain, Behavior                                                                                                      
Neurology Clerkship                                                                                                        4
Psychiatry Clerkship                                                                                                        4
Scientific and Social Foundations of Medicine                                                            1

Phase 3 and/or 4:

Electives                                                                                                                           28
          (2 credits are from the Phase 1 and 2 MD/PhD SRM course;
          up to 8 credits can come from the Longitudinal Clinical Experience and
          up to 6 weeks can be from research conducted after the PhD is completed)          
Family Medicine Clerkship                                                                                              4
Emergency Medicine Clerkship                                                                                      4
Surgical Subspecialty Selective                                                                                       2

Phase 4:

Acting Internship                                                                                                              4
Critical Care Selective                                                                                                      2
Improving Health Systems (Phase 4)                                                                            3
Successful Interning (Phase 4)                                                                                       2

Total                                                                                     84