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MD Degree

Curriculum Overview

The School of Medicine curriculum is divide​d into four phases: the Essentials Core (Phases I & II), the Clinical Core (Phase III & 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 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 Research, Rural, Global Health, Colorado Urban Underserved, and Leadership, Education & Advocacy Development and Scholarship (LEADS).

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.

Electives (Phases I & II) in the first two years of medical school should supplement the required courses and provide additional experiences that allow for career exploration and support the diverse interest of our students. 

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 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 school's curriculum. With the goals of fostering knowledge-base 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.  

Electives (Phase IV) should both broaden and balance the overall educational development of each student, while allowing for career exploration and assuring that students are prepared for graduate medical education and residency training.

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