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MD Curriculum

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Your experience as a Penn State College of Medicine MD student will comprise four phases:

Phase I – Foundations: Instructional Formats, Course Names and Course Order

Students in Penn State College of Medicine, whether in the Hershey central curriculum (HC), the 3+ parallel track at Hershey (HC3+) or the University Park curriculum parallel track (UPC) engage in two common instructional formats – small group problem-based learning and direct patient experiences – with variations on the intensity with which each is used. For both HC and HC3+ lectures supplement the instructional formats. At UPC, which is a “no lecture” track, the more extensive small group problem-based learning sessions, which are referred to as Inquiry groups (IQ), and science seminars serve as the instructional formats that subsume the content expectations typically delivered in lectures. Students in HC/HC3+ take the foundational courses sequentially prior to clerkships. Students in UPC take some foundational courses before and some after clerkships.

Phase II – Clinical Core

Student all complete the same eight core clerkships, though the instructional format may be blocks or longitudinal. All students must take USMLE Step 1 before progressing to Phases III/IV.

Phases III/IV – Discovery & Residency Prep

Two required courses – Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting and Profession of Medicine III (Transition to Residency) are common for all students. Additionally, all students must complete two acting internships, a Humanities selective, and electives to enhance their-competency-directed progression in learning, professional identity formation and residency preparation.

All students will be expected to meet our list of competencies before graduating with an MD degree.

View the academic calendar.

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