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Doctor of Medicine Degree

Curriculum Philosophy and Design

The specific structure of the new curriculum was designed by the faculty and student leadership in keeping with the following desired characteristics of Emory School of Medicine graduates:

  • Superb clinicians who demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism; outstanding clinical competency and problem-solving skills; and the ability to understand and utilize basic science in the clinical setting;
  • Curious and creative thinkers with the ability to utilize available resources to answer clinical and research questions and to assess information critically;
  • Lifelong adult learners with the ability to take ownership of their own present and future educational needs;
  • Physicians who continue to be passionate about medicine and about making a difference; who are involved in and appreciate efforts to improve the health of local and global communities; who see medicine as a profession that seeks to address issues of social justice;
  • Physicians committed to understanding the sociological, psychological, and economic issues of the patient, the family, and the community;
  • Future leaders eager and able to play leadership roles in their chosen field of medicine or biomedical science, and in their community.

To achieve graduates with these characteristics, the Emory University School of Medicine curriculum:

  • Is competency-based, through the development and assessment of core competencies as determined by the faculty;
  • Provides for integration of basic and clinical science - both horizontally (across disciplines) and vertically (across years) - throughout all four years;
  • Provides an early introduction of clinical medicine and an increase in clinical experience in the ambulatory setting, including a sustained experience in a continuity clinic;
  • Increases flexibility throughout the four years of the curriculum;
  • Provides an in-depth discovery phase that will enhance creativity, curiosity, and the development of leadership skills. Inherent in this opportunity is the potential of a tuition-free fifth year of study, and encouragement of yearlong experiences at Emory (e.g., lab-based research, MPH at the Rollins School of Public Health) or at other institutions (e.g., CDC, NIH);
  • Reduces lecture time and relies less on rote memorization with simultaneous creation of more opportunities for active learning;
  • Provides better methods of academic and clinical assessment closely linked to the appropriate competencies;
  • Increases student mentoring throughout the four years of medical school and increases exposure to master clinicians at all Emory clinical sites;
  • Increases use of clinical simulation and standardized patients for skills training and assessment.

With this curriculum, students are now able to: 

  • Cultivate professional attitudes and behaviors under the guidance of skilled clinicians
  • Integrate basic science and clinical education
  • Begin clinical clerkships in the middle of the M2 Year
  • Take USMLE Step 1 earlier
  • Complete all core rotations before applying to residency programs
  • Gain valuable hands-on exposure to specialty and subspecialty fields
  • Graduate with the experience of completing their own research project, writing an academic paper, and acquiring presentation skills
  • Learn from diverse faculty from every clinical department
  • Develop close, one-on-one relationships and mentorships with multiple faculty members
  • Develop supportive relationships with Small Group classmates, spanning the entire four years of medical school
  • Care for patients earlier, in many clinical settings
  • Develop critical professional attitudes and skills that foster compassion and empathy
  • Develop team leadership skills with healthcare professionals from other disciplines, such as Physician Assistants, nurses, medical imaging specialists, genetic counselors, and physical therapists
  • Practice critical skills in simulated, highly realistic team-training exercises
  • Graduate well-prepared for life as a successful and fulfilled physician.

Student Outcomes