Medical School Curriculum

Medical School Curriculum – Overview

The Medical School curriculum explains the stages of education while pursuing your medical degree program. Different universities and medical schools offer different curricula for their students.

However, a typical medical school curriculum is four years. This blog will briefly explain the stages of the medical school curriculum.

Highlights of the Curriculum

  • Highly skilled clinicians and physicians demonstrate their professionalism and problem-solving skills.
  • Skilled physicians explain their journey of completing the medical school degree program with experiences.
  • Creative mindsets with the ability to understand things properly with little explanation.
  • Use available resources, research the questions, and find related answers for improving their skills.
  • Lifelong learners with leadership skills and be present for future tasks for the team.
  • Committed physicians to produce skilled leaders in the medical science field for innovations.

What will you learn in Medical School?

As noted above, the medical school curriculum is four years long. After that, the school confers a Doctor of Medicine. The four years in this field are categorized into two parts: the first two years and the last two years.

The first two years of the degree are for the core sciences, which require theoretical studies and explanation. The last two years are of clinical rotations or clerkships. Before completing the degree program, the school might ask students to complete a capstone project.

Let’s check out the available courses for each year.

Medical School Curriculum

Medical School Curriculum – What will you learn in Medical School?

First-year and second-year courses are core science classes. The first-year and second-year courses involve theoretical studies with laboratory work. Students will learn about the human body’s basic functionality and other anatomical theories in the first two years. It also consists of some basic laboratory studies.

1. Medical School First-Year Courses

Normal Body Function

Here, you will learn about the core functionality of the body parts and their organs. It explains how the human body works! It also describes the basic chemistry and physics between the body functions.

Anatomy and Physiology

The Anatomy and Physiology course is a part of the clinical science program that explains the construction and relationship between body parts. Moreover, the same subject explains the collective operation of the body with different body parts.


This course will teach you about all the organisms that make people sick. It studies the microorganisms that cause diseases in the human body.

Brain and Behavior

Brain and Behavior are a combination of biological and mental components. In it, you will learn about the relationship between the brain and human behaviors. It is more of a psychological study than a clinical science study.


Epidemiology is a study of the distribution and health-related states. The study is done among specified populations, and its applications are used to control health problems in humans.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine

Students will learn about medical history documentation, past and present illnesses, physical examinations, lab tests, and more.

Developing Clinical Skills

Pursuing this course will help students develop professionalism in the medical field. Students must change their behavior and develop professionally; this field is about professionalism.

2. Medical School Second-Year Courses


This course teaches students about neuroscience, starting with the scientific study of the human nervous system.

Internal Medicine

Internal medicine is all about diagnosing diseases and providing proper medicines. Scientific knowledge and clinical experience are involved here, as it requires research and diagnosis.


This clinical science course specializes in surgeries, which are carried out mostly in the lower area of the human body, i.e., the abdominal area. The basics of surgeries will be explained throughout the year in this course.


Pediatrics focuses on child health. They provide different treatments to cure diseases in children.

Community and Preventative Medicine

Community and Preventative Medicine promotes, maintains, and restores disease-preventative knowledge between healthcare professionals and clinics. It teaches students to stay alert throughout their duty.


Geriatrics focuses on elderly patients only. The course explains to students how to care for elderly people, what types of medicines are useful for them, how to keep them healthy, etc.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Obstetrics and Gynecology focus on the female reproductive system. They specialize in childbirth, pregnancy, and diseases during pregnancy.

3. Medical School Third-Year Courses

The third year of medical school typically involves mandatory core clinical clerkships rather than elective choices. Students rotate through essential disciplines such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and family medicine. These clerkships are designed to cover a broad spectrum of medical practice to ensure a well-rounded clinical education. Depending on their interests, students can choose the right clinical from the available list. This will help them study further about that particular clinic.


Neurology/ Psychiatry


Obstetrics or Gynecology

Family Medicine

4. Medical School Fourth-Year Courses

In the final year, medical students can undertake elective rotations, allowing them to explore their areas of interest more deeply. This may include advanced rotations in specialties like radiology, dermatology, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine, as well as opportunities for research, international rotations, and sub-internships that mimic the role of a first-year resident. They can choose from the clinicals below to study deeper and develop more of the required skills for their future.


Urology focuses on the male and female urinary tracts, such as kidneys, ureters, urethra, bladder, etc. Besides this, it also studies male reproductive organs such as the penis, prostate, testes, scrotum, etc.


Ophthalmology focuses on diseases related to the eyes and the prevention of them. It is a core field for eye care and eye-related diseases.


Radiology is all about the diagnosis of various problems through imaging technology.


Dermatology focuses on human skin, nails, and hair. Skincare specialists are a part of dermatology. A doctor who specializes in this field is known as a dermatologist.

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine is a part of treating patients with unforeseen illnesses or injuries without a diagnosis.


Anesthesiology evaluates, monitors, and supervises patients throughout the treatment or surgery.

After completing the four-year medical school curriculum, graduates must pass a series of United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE), specifically Steps 1, 2 CK, and 2 CS for MD graduates, or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) Levels 1, 2 CE, and 2 PE for DO graduates, before applying for residency programs. The final step (USMLE Step 3 or COMLEX Level 3) is typically taken during residency to obtain full medical licensure.

Some students opt to study further to become specialists in a specific clinical area. Many courses are available for those who have completed the four-year degree course in medical school.

Benefits for Students

Since the Medical School Curriculum is four years old, the students will go through different phases throughout the curriculum, which makes them strong and skillful. They’ll get many benefits throughout the years.

  • Adopting professional attitudes towards their profession within the continuous learning environment.
  • Explore basic and clinical science in the first two years.
  • Start clinical clerkships from the third year.
  • Complete all core clinical rotations before getting a license.
  • Study further to become a specialist in the medical field.
  • Become a graduate student with your live project in the final year of the curriculum.
  • Learn more from a diverse team of skilled faculties from various groups.
  • Basic care for patients in the early stage.
  • Develop leadership skills to become a team leader and manage a team of multiple healthcare workers and other medical professionals.

Final Words

Suppose you are planning to apply for medical school. In that case, you must research the medical schools or medical universities that will provide the best education in your preferred field. Do some homework, prepare a checklist, add your favorite clinical rotations, learn about their curriculum, and then apply.

It all starts after presenting yourself in the Medical College Admission Test. You must pass this test to become eligible for medical studies in the United States. Becoming a medical professional in the United States is like an entrance test.

See Also

Best Medical Schools in the US

NYU Medical School Acceptance Rate

Update Letter for Medical School

Medical Billing and Coding Salary

Easiest Medical Schools to Get Into

AAMC Medical School Application

Current Version
March 10, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD
April 17, 2023
Written By
Shubham Grover

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