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MD Curriculum

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The experience of a Penn State College of Medicine MD student comprises three phases:

Phase I – Foundations

Students in Penn State College of Medicine, whether in the Hershey curriculum, one of the 3+ accelerated pathways in Hershey or the University Park curriculum, 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 Hershey and Hershey accelerated students, lectures supplement the instructional formats. In University Park, which is a “no lecture” track, the more extensive small-group problem-based learning sessions, which are referred to as inquiry groups, and science seminars serve as the instructional formats that subsume the content expectations typically delivered in lectures. Students in any of the pathways in Hershey take the foundational courses sequentially prior to clerkships. Students in the University Park curriculum take some foundational courses before and some after clerkships.

Phase II – Clinical Core

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

Phase III – 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 the college’s list of competencies before graduating with an MD degree.

View the academic calendar.

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