Our curriculum is as dynamic as the world of medicine itself. Each year, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth reviews all four years of the curriculum to keep pace with medicine's rapid advances and complexities, and to assure that you develop competencies in six broad areas: medical knowledge; clinical skills; interpersonal and communications skills; professionalism; personal assessment and improvement in the practice environment; and managing patient care in a complex health care system. When you leave Dartmouth, you will have the tools, the skills, and the attitudes necessary for a lifetime of learning—one of the realities and rewards of practicing medicine in the 21st century.
Year One introduces you to the basic and fundamental biomedical sciences and to the normal structure and function of the human organism. Starting week one, you also work with clinicians at our affiliated academic medical centers or in the community through the "On Doctoring" course to develop clinical skills while exploring firsthand the many issues that relate to the doctor-patient relationship. The faculty has also developed (and continues to develop) short electives based on student input, allowing you to explore subjects of interest outside the core curriculum.
"We try to figure out what medical
students need to become better physicians,
we do it."
"I came to Dartmouth because from Dartmouth I can change the world.
There is a vision here and a commitment that makes it possible to do here
what I could do nowhere else."
-Ira Byock, M.D., Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; author of The Best Care Possible; Past President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Sample electives Years One and Two:
- Special Topics in Women's Health
- Advanced Cardiac Physiology
- Culture, Emotions, and Medicine
- Death and Dying
- Medical Ethics
- Health Care Reform
- Introduction to International Health
- Complementary Medicine
- Medical/Legal Issues of Reproduction
- Wilderness Medicine
- Medical Spanish
- Over a dozen research electives
Year Two. As clinical training through the "On Doctoring" course continues, the major component of Year Two is an interdisciplinary pathophysiology program—the Scientific Basis of Medicine—consisting of 14 separate but coordinated courses. System by system, you learn about diseases and their consequences, as well as the available drug treatments. For example, the pharmacology of antiseizure drugs is taught simultaneously with the SBM course about the nervous system. Practicing clinicians teach about 90 percent of the subject matter.
Year Three includes required clerkships in the six major clinical disciplines: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine. These clerkships are six or eight weeks in length and are completed at our two affiliated academic medical centers (the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont), regional teaching hospitals, regional office practices, and more distant medical centers and hospitals to provide our students with an exceptionally broad array of clinical clerkship experiences. Geisel School-affiliated clerkship sites include Indian Health Service medical centers in Alaska, Arizona, and New Mexico, Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and others. (For a complete listing of offsite clerkships, see page 19). The Year Three schedule was recently revised to allow students to take up to six weeks of clinical electives as well as the six required clerkships.
"Dartmouth prepares you for the tests, but the curriculum
goes far beyond teaching the basics of medicine."
-Brett Chevalier, Giesel Year Four
Year Four. In addition to two required four-week clerkships (Neurology, as well as Geriatrics and Ambulatory Medicine), you are required to take an advanced four-week subinternship in the field of your choice. During Year Four, you also complete 12 to 24 weeks of electives, choosing from a wealth of opportunities on campus, across the US, and around the world. You can also design your own elective with the support of a Geisel School faculty member. All students must also complete four short courses (seven weeks total) on advanced clinical subjects:"Health, Society, and the Physician," "Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics," "Advanced Cardiac Life Support," and "Advanced Medical Sciences." These capstone courses prepare students to excel during their residency programs and enhance their lifelong learning skills.
The Geisel School of Medicine was founded in 1797 • Located in Hanover, New Hampshire • With a broad science foundation and excellent clinical teaching, the Geisel School prepares students for a spectrum of choices in medicine
"On Doctoring" class begins students' clinical instruction at the start of Year One • The C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth focuses on preventive health, communication, and building students' humanitarian ethic