School of Medicine

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The School of Medicine offers a course of study leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine. The four-year course leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).


The degree of Doctor of Medicine is conferred upon candidates of good moral character who have studied in a LCME-accredited medical school at least four academic sessions, of which the last two sessions must be spent in the regular four-year course of this school; who have properly fulfilled all academic requirements of the medical curriculum; and who have discharged all financial obligations to this school. The diploma is awarded summa cum laude to the graduate who ranks first in the class in academic achievement, magna cum laude to the graduates who rank second, third, and fourth, and cum laude to the graduates who rank fifth through tenth. Students are required to begin the process for medical licensure while in medical school by taking and passing UMSLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK and CS.


The MD/PhD program is offered to highly qualified students by the School of Medicine in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences and the School of Population Health. The program is designed primarily to train physician scientists who seek a professional career combining clinical skills and research. For this combined program, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is offered in the health sciences programs. Students interested in pursuing the MD/PhD program must complete all medical school application materials. In addition, applicants must:

  • Complete the MD/PhD Motivation and Significant Research essays in their AMCAS application, describing all relevant research experience and research presentations;

  • Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores;

  • Submit at least one supplemental faculty letter of evaluation from someone able to evaluate the applicant's research potential.

  • Adhere to Regular Decision Program (RDP) deadlines.

Applicants to this combined degree program must be sequentially accepted for admission by the Admissions Executive Committees of both the School of Medicine and School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences or School of Population Health. The MD/PhD program is a seven-year program. During the first three years, the student is enrolled respectively in the freshman, sophomore and junior medical courses/clerkships. For the following three years, the student is enrolled in courses required by a relevant graduate program in the biomedical sciences, which are listed under the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences/School of Population Health, and performs independent scientific research leading to the successful defense of a PhD dissertation. During the final year, the student is enrolled in senior medical courses. A limited number of stipends are available for students enrolled in this combined degree program. Competitive scholarships may also be available which offer a waiver of medical and graduate school tuition. It is also possible for first- or second-year medical students not currently in the MD/PhD program to pursue an MD/PhD degree. Interested students should contact the graduate program director of a specific program about the possibility of pursuing a PhD degree in that program before applying to graduate school.


The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is officially recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit medical schools in the United States and Canada leading to the MD degree. There is joint oversight by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) of the LCME; however, it is an independent organization.

Accreditation, the process of quality assurance in post-secondary education, determines whether an institution or program meets established standards for function, structure, and performance. The process also fosters institutional and program improvement.

Besides fostering program improvement, accreditation by the LCME establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs including Title VII funding, most state boards of medical licensure, eligibility for students to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination, and eligibility for students to enter Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education residency programs.


The educational program of the School of Medicine is designed to achieve the multiple goals of dissemination of knowledge through teaching, application of knowledge through clinical practice, and creation of new knowledge through scientific research. The specific educational program objectives set forth below reflect the essential requirements for physicians to act in an ethical and altruistic fashion while providing competent medical care and fulfilling their obligations to their patients.

Medical Knowledge

Graduates must recognize alterations from the normal structure and function of the human body, identify causes of such abnormalities, and describe their pathogenesis.

  1. Identify the normal structure and function of the human body and each of its major organ systems.
  2. Explain the molecular, biochemical, and cellular mechanisms which maintain the body's homeostasis.
  3. Recognize and describe the altered structure and function of the body and its major organ systems that are seen in various diseases and conditions.
  4. Describe the various mechanisms of disease.
  5. Analyze the relationship among biological, psychological, behavioral, and societal causes of disease.

Patient Care

Graduates must utilize the appropriate diagnostic and interventional skills necessary to evaluate, accurately diagnose, and appropriately treat each patient.

  1. Obtain an accurate medical history that includes all essential aspects of the patient's history, including issues related to age, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and the social determinants of health.
  2. Perform comprehensive and organ system-specific physical examinations.
  3. Select and interpret results of commonly used diagnostic studies and procedures.
  4. Utilize deductive reasoning to diagnose common disorders, following a structured approach to generate and narrow the differential diagnosis.
  5. Obtain informed consent for medical procedures, including all ethically and medicolegally necessary sections.
  6. Perform routine medical procedures including airway management, insertion of a Foley catheter, insertion of a nasogastric tube, insertion of an intravenous catheter, and suturing of simple lacerations.
  7. Construct therapeutic plans for patients with common acute and chronic medical, surgical, and psychiatric diseases, including those requiring short- and long-term rehabilitation.
  8. Identify patients with emergent conditions and institute stabilizing management.
  9. Provide safe and ethical pain relief and ameliorate suffering.
  10. Identify the important non-biological determinants of a patient’s poor health and the psychological, economic, geographical, societal, and cultural factors contributing to the development and continuation of a patient’s condition.

Systems-Based Practice

Graduates must navigate the American healthcare system in a manner that promotes equitable and high-quality care, ensures patients receive needed care regardless of insurance coverage and guarantees transparency in financial arrangements.

  1. Describe approaches to the organization, financing, and delivery of health care.
  2. Advocate for patients with limited access to healthcare and provide care to those who are unable to pay.
  3. Identify the non-biological causes of diseases created by the psychological, environmental, and societal risk factors resulting from structural inequalities.
  4. Apply knowledge of the epidemiology of common diseases within vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved populations.
  5. Describe the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of common diseases within vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved populations.
  6. Utilize electronic health records to document, coordinate, and optimize patient care.
  7. Facilitate the function of a multidisciplinary care team in caring for individual patients and in promoting the health of defined populations.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Graduates must evaluate and accept limitations in their knowledge and clinical skills and commit to continuously improving their knowledge and abilities.

  1. Retrieve, manage, and utilize biomedical information for problem-solving and decision-making relevant to the care of individuals and populations.
  2. Perform literature searches to answer patient-oriented clinical questions.
  3. Evaluate the various forms of clinical evidence to determine the appropriate course of patient care.
  4. Assess individual learning needs to create self-study plans and engage in lifelong learning to stay abreast of relevant advances in biological and social sciences.

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Graduates must communicate with patients, families, and team members in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care.

  1. Establish empathetic and trusting interpersonal relationships with patients and families.
  2. Establish and maintain professional relationships with all healthcare providers based on mutual respect, dignity, equity, diversity, integrity, and trust.
  3. Communicate with cultural sensitivity, both orally and in writing, with patients, families, colleagues, health care team members, and any others with whom physicians must exchange information in carrying out their responsibilities.
  4. Provide compassionate and nonjudgmental treatment to all patients while respecting their privacy and dignity, without regard for demographic factors unrelated to their condition.


Graduates must provide ethical and beneficent medical care for all patients.

  1. Apply the theories and principles that govern ethical decision-making when caring for patients, particularly those related to the beginning and ending of life and those that surface from the rapid expansion of technology.
  2. Advocate for improvement in the access, quality, and delivery of care for all patients.
  3. Assess personal physical and emotional limitations and engage in appropriate
  4. help-seeking behaviors as needed.
  5. Create and maintain a work-life balance in a manner that ensures high-quality, patient-centered care and personal wellness.
  6. Integrate awareness of the impact of sociocultural differences and implicit bias in the approach to care of individual patients.

Adapted from Learning Objectives for Medical Student Education, Guidelines for Medical Schools, AAMC, 1998.
Revised by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee, July, 2009; Updated by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee, May 2022