The curriculum leading to the Doctor of Medicine degree is designed to provide a medical education that prepares graduates comprehensively for residency training, provides them the experience on which to base their career selection, and prepares them for professional lives of continuous learning.
The GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences is in the process of developing an exciting new curriculum for the MD program, which will be implemented in August 2014. Key features of the curriculum will include integration of the basic and clinical sciences beginning in the first week of medical school, a pedagogy which will incorporate multiple active learning modalities, a comprehensive curriculum on public health, clinical clerkships which will begin in spring of the second year, and multiple elective opportunities for students to explore career options in the full gamut of medical specialties. Throughout the four years GW medical students will be involved in special educational experiences that are uniquely available given our location in Washington, D.C.
Features of the Current Curriculum
Practice of Medicine
The Practice of Medicine, a course that spans all four years, provides early patient exposure and the means to develop outstanding clinical thinking, technical skills, and a sense of professionalism. In the first two years, the Practice of Medicine offers a clinical apprenticeship in which each student is placed with a practicing Primary Care clinician one day every other week, while on alternate weeks students meet in small groups with faculty mentors to learn clinical assessment skills and to consider ethical, social, and professional issues. In addition, problem-based learning is conducted through small-group, case-based tutorials.
Years I - II
The balance of the curriculum in Years I and II is devoted to didactic basic science instruction. In Year I, that instruction is concentrated on the study of normal human biology and function, with specific courses in gross and microscopic anatomy, biochemistry/genetics, physiology, neurobiology, immunology and behavioral medicine/psychopathology. In Year II, instruction is focused on the study of abnormal human biology, with courses in pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology, followed by Introduction to Clinical Medicine, an interdisciplinary pathophysiology course organized in terms of organ systems.
Years III - IV
During the final two years, the M.D. program consists primarily of a series of required clerkships and elective sequences designed to prepare students for graduate training in any field of their choice, while at the same time providing them with extensive exposure to a variety of fields sufficient to enable them to make appropriate career decisions. Basic science content is re-examined and reinforced in the continuing Practice of Medicine course where, among other multidisciplinary considerations, the implications and applications of the basic sciences to the understanding and management of clinical problems are explored, and topics of ethics and patient management are handled on a more sophisticated level.
Third-year required clerkships of eight weeks each include Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, and Primary Care. In the fourth year, students are required to complete an acting internship in Medicine, Pediatrics, or Family Medicine; clerkships in Neuroscience, Emergency Medicine, and Anesthesiology; and 14 weeks of electives. A variety of elective experiences is available to meet these requirements at the University and its affiliated hospitals; permission may also be granted to take a limited number of electives elsewhere.