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Course of Study

Traditionally, the first half of medical school trains students in the classroom setting, and the second half takes place in a teaching hospital.


Basic Sciences courses: pathology, pharmacology, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy, behavioral sciences, interdisciplinary topics, such as nutrition, genetics, and aging. 

SOM Course of Study Year 1

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SOM Year2‌‌‌
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United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) Step 1 (basic sciences) assesses whether medical school students or graduates understand and can apply important concepts of the basic sciences to the practice of medicine. As of 2007, it covers the following subjects, in both systemic (general and individual anatomical characteristics) and procedural (functional, therapeutic, environmental, and abnormality) themes: Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Behavioral sciences, Interdisciplinary topics, such as nutrition, genetics, and aging. US medical students take Step 1 at the end of the Basic Sciences portion of the curriculum, usually after the second year of medical school.


SOM Course of Study Year 3‌‌‌
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Clinical Rotations (clerkship) refers to the practice of medicine by medical students during their final year(s) of study. Clerkships give students experiences in all parts of the hospital setting, including the operating room, emergency department, and various other departments that allow learning by viewing and doing. During this training, students are required to rotate through different medical specialties and treat patients under the supervision of physicians. Students elicit patient histories, complete physical examinations, write progress notes, and assist in surgeries and medical procedures. The work hours are that of a full-time job, generally similar to that of residents. Students may also be required to work on weekends and to be on call.

SOM Course of Study Year 4

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USMLE Step 2
is designed to assess whether medical school students or graduates can apply medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science essential for provision of patient care under supervision. US medical students typically take Step 2 during the fourth year of medical school. Step 2 is further divided into two separate exams.

  • Step 2-CK is designed to assess clinical knowledge through a traditional, multiple-choice examination.
  • Step 2-CS is designed to assess clinical skills through simulated patient interactions, in which the examinee interacts with standardized patients portrayed by actors.


  • Residency is a stage of graduate medical education/specialty training. A resident physician or resident is a person who has received the title of 'physician' who practices medicine usually in a hospital or clinic. A residency may follow the internship year or include the internship year as the first year of residency. Successful completion of residency training is a requirement to practice medicine in many jurisdictions.
  • USMLE Step 3 is the final exam in the USMLE series designed to assess whether a medical school graduate can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Step 3 is even more clinically relevant -- testing more complex concepts with an emphasis on patient management and prognosis. Graduates of US medical schools typically take this exam at the end of the first year of residency. The Step 3 exam has a computerized patient simulation section in addition to the standard multiple choice section during which the student must order the appropriate tests and administer the correct treatments for a given patient, with changes in the patient's status based upon the examinee's actions. This interactive format is meant to mimic actual clinical situations.
  • A fellowship is the period of medical training during which the physician is trained in a sub-specialty. During this time (usually more than one year), the physician is known as a fellow. Fellows are capable of acting as attending physician or consultant physician in the generalist field in which they were trained, such as internal medicine or pediatrics. After completing a fellowship in the relevant sub-specialty, the physician is permitted to practice without direct supervision by other physicians in that sub-specialty, such as cardiology or oncology.