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The MD Program Courses

Year One | Year Two | Year Three | Year Four

Curriculum Overview

Our curriculum at the Geisel School of Medicine is as dynamic as the world of medicine itself. Each year, the school reviews and updates each of our required courses and clerkships to keep pace with medicine's rapid advances and complexities, and to assure that each student develops competency 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 the Geisel School of Medicine, 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 begins with a new and exciting orientation program that exposes you to the breadth of a career in medicine. By jumping right into thinking about a clinical case, we explore how the basic sciences, the clinical sciences, and the newer sciences of healthcare delivery all come into play to deliver the very best medical care to each patient. Year 1 introduces you to the basic and fundamental biomedical sciences, to the normal structure and function of the human organism, and to the sciences of healthcare delivery. Starting week one, you will 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 expand) short electives based on student input, allowing you to explore subjects of interest outside the core curriculum.

To learn more about the learning objectives of our Year 1 courses, please click on the appropriate course below:

Year Two Along with continued clinical training through the "On Doctoring" course, the major component of Year 2 is an interdisciplinary pathophysiology program--the Scientific Basis of Medicine--consisting of 13 separate but coordinated courses. System by system, you learn about diseases and their consequences, as well as the available drug treatments, taught in a year-long, coordinated pharmacology course. For example, the pharmacology of antiseizure drugs is taught simultaneously with the SBM course about epilepsy and other diseases of the nervous system. Practicing clinicians teach about 90 percent of the subject matter, which forms the "pathophysiology bridge" between basic sciences taught in Year 1, and the clinical sciences emphasized during Year 3.

To learn more about the learning objectives of our Year 2 courses, please click on the appropriate course below:

Year Three includes required clerkships in six major clinical disciplines: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine. Psychiatry, Family Medicine and OB/GYN are six week clerkships and Medicine, Surgery and Pediatrics are each eight weeks. These clerkships are completed at our three primary affiliated academic medical centers -Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, CA, as well as regional teaching hospitals, regional office practices, and more distant affiliated medical centers and hospitals to provide our students with an exceptionally broad spectrum of clinical clerkship experiences. Geisel School of Medicine affiliated clerkship sites include Indian Health Service medical centers in Alaska, Arizona, and New Mexico, Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, Children's Hospital/Orange County near Los Angeles, CA, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine and more. The Year 3 schedule allows students to take up to six weeks electives as well as the six required clerkships.

Year Four In addition to two required four-week clerkships (Neurology, and Geriatrics and Ambulatory Medicine), you will be required to take an advanced four-week subinternship in the field of your choice. During Year 4, you will 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 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.

Recent Curricular Initiatives
The orientation program for Year 1 was completely revised for the new class entering in August 2010, with an eye towards emphasizing the breadth and depth of the profession of medicine. Now, ready to be introduced in August 2011 to all four years, a new longitudinal curriculum in the sciences of healthcare delivery has been developed. The fundamental healthcare delivery sciences (such as safety engineering, quality improvement, etc.) will be introduced within case seminars during Year 1; examples of changing the healthcare system to improve patient outcomes during our Year 2 organ/system courses; participation in multidisciplinary clinical improvement teams during Year 3 clerkships; and two capstone courses that demonstrate the importance of this new curricular theme is included in Year 4.

In May 2011, a new planning group was assembled by Dean Souba to begin discussions about possible future curricular initiatives designed to further strengthen the blend of basic sciences, clinical sciences, and healthcare delivery sciences that has been firmly and successfully established within the Geisel School Curriculum.