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 ensure that you develop competencies in eight broad areas: medical science; clinical care; population health; communications skills; personal, professional and leadership development; evaluation and improvement in medicine; professionalism; and collaboration and teamwork. 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.
Sample electives Years One and Two:
- Special Topics in Women’s Health
- Advanced Cardiac Physiology
- Point-of-Care Ultrasound
- 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 One introduces students to the basic and fundamental biomedical sciences and to the normal structure and function of the human organism. Additionally, longitudinal courses begin the process of development of skills for patient care and for evaluating the environment in which healthcare is practiced. Starting in September, the “On Doctoring” course teaches clinical skills in the state-of-the-art Patient Safety Training Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center while exploring firsthand the many issues that relate to the doctor-patient relationship throughout the fall and winter terms. In the spring, students will transition to their longitudinal clinics for the remainder of the first year and the entire second year, where they will get to apply their clinical skills. Additionally, the Patients & Populations course begins our four-year curriculum in Health Care Delivery Science (HCDS). This course is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate, and improve health systems. Students will revisit and expand on these concepts throughout the curriculum, especially in the second year and in the fourth-year Health, Society, and the Professional course. The faculty continues to develop short electives based on student input, allowing you to explore subjects of interest outside the core curriculum.
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, their consequences and their treatments, including the relevant pharmacology. 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 and there is extensive use of small-group, case-based pedagogy. Students also continue the HCDS curriculum through the popular Patients & Populations course which applies analytical and problem-solving skills to real-world contemporary problems such as the opiate crisis.
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-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. 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.
Year Four: In addition to two required four-week clerkships (Neurology, as well as Geriatrics and Ambulatory Medicine), students are required to take an advanced four-week subinternship in the field of your choice. During this year, students also complete 12 to 24 weeks of electives, choosing from a wealth of opportunities on campus, across the US, and around the world. Students can also design their own elective with the support of Geisel 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.