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M.D. Curriculum Year-By-Year

Medical students

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s M.D. degree program curriculum is structured in four phases:

  1. Foundations phase
  2. Core knowledge phase
  3. Core clinical phase
  4. Pre-residency phase
Year One Curriculum

The first year of SLU’s medical school curriculum starts with the foundations phase and begins building your core medical knowledge. Coursework in the foundations phase of your training is designed to provide you with the fundamentals of biomedical sciences necessary for medical practice. It includes the following courses:

  • A 100: Introduction to Clinical Anatomy
  • CMB 100: Cell and Molecular Biology
  • EPI 100: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • HIR 100: Health Information Resources
  • HQI 101: Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • IPT-100:  Immunology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • MED 101: Clinical Interviewing
  • MIM 100: Introduction to Medical Information Management
  • MHR 100: Microbes and Host Responses
  • PATH 100: Introduction to Pathology
  • PHAR 100: Principles of Pharmacology

While still in Year One, you will begin the core knowledge phase of the curriculum. This phase introduces you to the organ systems and begins your clinical skills training. Courses included in the core knowledge portion of the curriculum include the following courses:

  • BHM 100: Behavioral Health and Medicine
  • HEM 100: Hematology
  • MED 201: Clinical Diagnosis
  • NSCI 100: Basic Clinical Neurosciences

In addition to these courses, you will have the opportunity to explore your specific interests through two electives of your choosing. These electives, which run throughout most of the academic year, are very diverse and could include exposure to basic science research, clinical research, shadowing physicians or other activities.

Year Two Curriculum 

 SLU’s second year of medical school curriculum continues the core knowledge, continuing its focus on organ systems in health and disease. Year Two also expands your training in the skills of medical history, taking and physical diagnosis, and introduces you to some aspects of the broader environment in which medicine is practiced.

The core knowledge phase continues in Year Two with the following courses:

  • CARD 200: Cardiovascular System
  • ENDR 200: Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • GI 200: Gastrointestinal System
  • HQI 200: Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • MED 202: Clinical Diagnosis
  • RENL 200: Renal-Urinary System
  • RESP 200: Respiratory System
  • SBJ 200: Skin, Bone and Joint

Again, along with these courses, you will have the opportunity to explore your specific interests through two electives of your choosing.

Year Three Curriculum 

The core clinical phase of your medical education continues in Year Three. Year Three marks the beginning of your full-time clinical experience and includes most of your required clerkships, as well as two separate two-week opportunities for career exploration in fields that are not represented in the core clerkships. Career Exploration fields include but are not limited to anesthesiology, dermatology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, radiation oncology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, etc.

You will begin your seven core clinical clerkships as part of the core clinical phase. The order of your clerkships will be determined by lottery, but every student will complete the following courses as part of the core clinical phase in year three:

  • FCM 301: Family and Community Medicine
  • IM 301: Internal Medicine
  • N 301: Neurology
  • OB 301: Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health
  • PED 301: Pediatrics
  • PS 301: Psychiatry
  • S 301: Surgery

In addition to the core clerkships that begin in year two, every third-year student will participate in FCM 430: Inter-professional Team Seminars. This course brings together students from SLU’s schools of medicine, nursing, health sciences and social work to address key topics in health care that require effective interprofessional communication and teamwork.  Students are also provided the opportunity to take two Career Exploration Electives (CE) during the Family and Community Medicine Clerkship and the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health Clerkship.  Each CE elective is two-weeks in length.


The first day of each clerkship includes an orientation to the course. Each clerkship has an education coordinator, who will manage your schedule while in their clerkship, assign faculty and residents to evaluate your performance, and will serve as your primary contact for all administrative issues related to the clerkship. 

Detailed Clerkship Information

Year Four Curriculum

The pre-residency phase, which begins at the end of the seven required clerkships, is where you will begin to explore areas of specialization in medicine, through electives, sub-internships, ambulatory medicine and emergency medicine rotations.

Required coursework for Year Four includes:
  • Four weeks of Sub-Internship
  • Four weeks of Ambulatory Medicine
  • Four weeks of Emergency Medicine
  • 30 weeks of Electives
  • Two weeks of Capstone
  • Students must record a passing score on USMLE Step 2CK and USMLE Step 2CS to graduate.

Students are required to take 30 weeks (30 credit hours) of electives during Year Four. A minimum of 20 weeks must be spent in electives classified as direct-patient care and 10 of these weeks may be spent in non-direct patient care.