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MD Degree

Curriculum Overview


The School of Medicine curriculum is divide​d into 4 phases: the Essentials Core (Phases I & II), the Clinical Core (Phase III) and Advanced Studies (Phase IV). Woven through all Phases are four Threads that integrate over-arching topics into the curriculum: Culturally Effective Medicine; Evidence-Based Medicine and Medical Informatics; Humanities, Ethics, & Professionalism; and Medicine & Society. In addition, the Mentored Scholarly Activity program (MSA), which provides students with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor on a project of mutual interest, extends through all four years. The Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum (FDC) extends through Phases I-III and emphasizes a humanistic approach to medical care while teaching and evaluating students’ basic communication and physical examination skills. Students also have the option of participating in Tracks across the four Phases that offer activities and support for faculty and students with similar interests. These tracks are CU-UNITE: Colorado Urban Underserved Interdisciplinary Health Training and Education; Global Health; Leadership, Education & Advocacy Development and Scholarship (LEADS); Research; Rural Health; and Women’s Care.

The Essentials Core Curriculum (Phases I and II) comprises the first 18 months of the undergraduate medical curriculum. It is separated into two phases, each consisting of a series of integrated interdisciplinary blocks that present basic science in a clinical context. Each block is led by basic science and clinical co-directors and consists of lectures, team-based learning sessions, laboratory exercises, and small group discussion sections. The aim of the Essentials Core is to provide the scientific foundation for further medical education and to begin to equip the student for a lifetime of learning, research, clinical care, and community service.

The Clinical Core Curriculum (Phase III) consists of required clinical clerkships and incorporates many disciplines of medicine. These competency-based clerkships provide opportunities for mastery of the core knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of physicians. Integrated Clinician Courses (ICCs) punctuate the clerkships with a focus on advanced clinical skills, translational clinical science, and communication. Throughout the Clinical Core, Foundations of Doctoring and Mentored Scholarly Activity projects continue.

The Advanced Studies Curriculum (Phase IV) consists of 32 weeks of educational time. The curriculum includes a required four-week Sub-Internship rotation, two required two-week Integrated Clinician Courses, 24 weeks of elective time, and the presentation of students' capstone MSA projects. The Advanced Studies also interfaces significantly with the Tracks and Threads of the UCD SOM curriculum. With the goals of fostering knowledgebase development, career preparation/development, and vocational mentorship, the Advanced Studies leadership works closely with the Office of Student Affairs to meet the needs of the students.  

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