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Clinical Core

The Clinical Core Curriculum (Phase III)* consists of required interdepartmental clerkships and Integrated Clinician Courses (ICCs). Phase III provides intensive clinical experiences in the hospital, ambulatory clinics, emergency room, labor and delivery suite and operating rooms. The clinical core curriculum consists of competency-based clerkships that provide opportunities for mastery of the core knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of physicians. Competencies are developed for each clerkship or clinical block based on discussion of high priority patient conditions for each specialty area. The ICCs punctuate the clerkships with a focus on advanced clinical skills, translational clinical science, and communication.

During the clinical core, students participate in history-taking, physical examination and assessment, development of a differential diagnosis, diagnostic decision-making, interpretation of laboratory results, treatment planning, and re-evaluation of patient status after treatment is initiated. Many clerkships use online case simulations and standardized patients to help students focus their clinical and communication skills as well as to refine these skills. Students are also expected to pursue independent self-directed study on patient issues encountered in the clinical core. Some clerkships require students to complete an independent self-study project. These projects often require students to address issues of societal need and demands on care. These activities and others provide medical students with opportunities to develop skills in: lifelong self-directed learning, critical analysis of evidence, and clinical problem solving.

Evaluation and feedback are important elements of each clerkship and include: Shelf exams or block-developed medical knowledge exams; clinical evaluations; review of feedback on competency performance; mid or end-of block standardized patient exams, and clinical practice exams.

*All Phase III clerkships must be completed within the state of Colorado at University affiliated sites, including the AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) system.


Dear Third-Year Stud​ent

Graduating medical students write letters of hope and advice to incoming third-years in the annual Letters to a Third-Yea​r Student.​