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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 16, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

First Professional Program, MD Curriculum

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Patient, Physician & Society Block (PPS)

  • Introduction to Being a Physician - MED 5124  

  • Ethics, Law & Professionalism - MED 5124  

  • Behavioral Medicine - MED 5128  

Fundamentals of Basic Science Block (FBS)

Organ Systems Pathophysiology Block (OSP)

Introduction to Patient Care Block (IPC)

  • Medical Interviewing - MED 5137  

  • Introduction to Physical Examination - MED 5137  

  • Advanced Physical Examination 1 - MED 5138  

  • Clinical Experiences 1 - MED 5138  

Evidence and Discovery Block (E&D)


Patient Physician & Society Block (PPS)

Organ Systems Pathophysiology Block (OSP)

  • Body Fluid Homeostasis: Cardiovascular - MED 5218  

  • Body Fluid Homeostasis: Renal - MED 5218  

  • Body Fluid Homeostasis: Pulmonary - MED 5218  

  • Digestion & Nutrition - MED 5223  

  • Skin & Musculoskeletal Diseases - MED 5223  

  • Hematology - MED 5223  

  • Endocrine - MED 5223  

  • Reproductive & Developmental Biology - MED 5223  

  • Integrated Case Studies - MED 5227  

Evidence and Discovery Block (E&D)

Introduction to Patient Care Block (IPC)

  • Advanced Physical Examination 2 - MED 5233  

  • Clinical Experiences 2 - MED 5233  

  • Advanced Medical Interviewing - MED 5234  

  • Clinical Procedures - MED 5234  

Clinical Skills Assessment in IPC Block


Clinical Clerkships

Eight required clerkships form the core of the combined clinical years. The overall aim of the clerkship experience is to provide students with the essential experiences where they will apply their knowledge and skills as they develop competence in the care of patients. Together, the clerkships, and all other clinical experiences, share a fundamental set of objectives.

  • Overall, the objectives of the required clerkships are for students to become able to:
  • Integrate basic science concepts with clinical reasoning.
  • Establish and maintain appropriate therapeutic relationships with patients.
  • Obtain a sensitive, thorough medical history.
  • Perform a sensitive and accurate physical exam.
  • Perform general clinical procedures.
  • Develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for culturally competent care.
  • Participate in discussions and decision-making with patients and families.
  • Work effectively with other providers in the health care arena.
  • Clearly communicate medical information in spoken and written form.
  • Develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes to practice the basic principles of prevention.
  • Demonstrate sound clinical reasoning.
  • Appropriately assess patients with common signs and symptoms.
  • Appropriately use testing to help guide diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.
  • Diagnose and demonstrate basic understanding of common diseases and conditions.
  • Describe therapeutic options for and participate in the care of patients with common problems.
  • Recognize acute life-threatening medical problems and initiate care.
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to assist in the management of chronic diseases.
  • Participate in care in a variety of settings.
  • Use information and educational technology to facilitate research, education and patient care.
  • Incorporate ethical principles in clinical practice and research.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors.

Clinical Focus Courses

The third year is punctuated by three one-week learning experiences, spread over the 48 weeks of the third year.

  1. The Preclerkship Course  is an introduction that is presented immediately prior to the start of the third year. It includes aspects of clinical, humanistic, and administrative preparation for clinical experiences.
  2. The Geriatrics Course  uses a combination of learning formats, including classroom sessions and experiences at clinical sites, to provide a highly focused exposure to key topics in this important discipline.A major emphasis is on developing skills to succeed in and lead inter-professional teams. This curriculum builds upon the new perspectives gained by students during the first six rotations of the third year.
  3. Assessment Week  is conducted at the time of transition from third to fourth year. Students complete a series of structured assessments and participate in focused review sessions. Together these activities provide students with timely and specific formative feedback about their progress toward the objectives of the curriculum.


General Schedule for Fourth Year

Clerkship Period 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 12.5
Length (in Weeks) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

During the combined clinical years (MS-3 & MS-4) students rotate through 8 required clerkships in any sequence. Additional requirements are 1 Acting Internship, 1 Integrated Life Sciences Selective, 9 electives, and 3 Clinical Focus Courses.

What do the 12.5 Periods in the MS-4 year include?

  • Nine electives
  • One acting internship (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery)
  • One integrated life science course
  • Two recess/interview periods
  • One recess week in the fall between periods 18 and 19

Acting Internship

An acting internship (sub-internship) of four-week duration is required during the senior year. An AI is a clinical rotation offered on an in-patient service in which one or more attending physicians have overall responsibility for coordinated patient care. The service will be structured with both attending staff and house staff.

The acting internship should include the assignment to the student of specific groups of patients upon whom he or she completes an initial history and physical examination, constructs a differential diagnosis, formulates a treatment plan, writes orders, and carries out necessary therapy, all under careful supervision.

Acting internships that fulfill this requirement are offered in:

  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery

Search the Course Catalog for more information on Acting internships.

Acting internships in other departments or out of the city will not fulfill the AI requirement.

Integrated Life Science Course

The fourth year Integrated Life Science (ILS) Program includes a choice of courses that revisit some aspect of basic science after students have had several years of clinical experience. Because of the level of sophistication that students have developed by this stage in their medical education, they can better understand the relevance of basic science to clinical problems.  Each student is required to complete one ILS course.

ILS Courses

  • Changing Science, Changing Society: A Guide to 21st Century Medicine - MSELCT 5700  
  • Clinical Pharmacology - MED 5710  
  • Infectious Disease in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine - OBGYN 5725  
  • Molecular Medicine - PEDS 5720  
  • Neoplasia and Neoplastic Disease - MED 5715  
  • Neurosurgery and Head and Neck Dissection - NSURG 5705  
  • Science of Resuscitation - EMED 5735  
  • Surgery Integrated Life Sciences - SURG 5700  

Recommended Electives

In order to provide diversity, it is strongly recommended that you take at least one elective in each of the following blocks:

  1. Medicine or neurology
  2. Pediatrics, pediatric neurology, pediatric pathology, pediatric surgery
  3. Surgery or surgical subspecialties, obstetrics and gynecology
  4. Ambulatory care, community medicine, or psychiatry.

Clinical Competency Assessment (CCA)

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