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M.D. Curriculum Year-By-Year

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

  • Foundations
  • Core knowledge
  • Core clinical
  • Pre-residency
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
  • 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:

  • BD 201: Bedside DiagnosisBHM 200: Behavioral Health and Medicine
  • HEM 200: Hematology
  • MED-201 - Clinical Diagnosis
  • NSCI 201: 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:

  • BD 202: Bedside Diagnosis
  • CARD 200: Cardiovascular System
  • DD 200: Death and Dying
  • ENDR 200: Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • GI 200: Gastrointestinal System
  • HQI200 - 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.

While still in Year Two of medical school, you will begin your 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 years two and 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
Year Three Curriculum and Required Clerkships

The core clinical phase of your medical education continues in Year Three. Year Three also marks the beginning of your full-time clinical experience and includes most of your required clerkships. You will also begin the fourth phase of our curriculum, the pre-residency phase.

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.

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.


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. Be sure to introduce yourself to them.

Detailed Clerkship Information

Elective Advisers

During Year Three, your will select an adviser for the Year Four program. Although the adviser must approve your initial schedule and subsequent changes, his or her primary function is to help you design a schedule that is appropriate. It is your responsibility to keep in contact with the adviser, set up appointments to discuss career plans and seek schedule approval.

An adviser must be a full-time faculty member of Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Individual departments furnish names of faculty interested in serving as advisors, however, you are not required to choose from that list. Your advisor's name must be posted with the Office of Academic Records.


Scheduling procedures and forms are explained in detail during a class meeting held in the second portion of Year Three. You will then be given approximately three weeks to complete the schedule form, obtain your faculty advisor's signature and return the form to the Registrar's Office for processing. Design your Year Four schedule considering what has been accomplished or will be accomplished by the end of Year Three, using the "Period Codes" table. Only a schedule approved by your advisers will be accepted.

Year Four Requirements

The fourth year of medical school at SLU offers a wide range of options incorporating required and elective curriculum, interview time, remedial activities, research or additional course work. These elements allow you to design a program that fits your individual career goals.

Year Four involves a minimum of 46 weeks (June to May) of approved instruction. Eight weeks of the academic year are available as discretionary time which may be used for:

  • Residency interviews
  • Travel
  • Additional electives
  • Study time for the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (Step 2CK and Step 2CS)
  • Holidays including winter break
  • Remediation (such as the completion of third-year requirements)

You may not attend residency interviews or schedule USMLE Step 2CK or USMLE Step 2CS while on a sub-internship. If you receive an interview invitation shortly before the beginning on a sub-internship and believe that you must attend, work with the Office of Curricular Affairs to drop the sub-internship and reschedule for later in the academic year. Any student found to have attended an interview while on a sub-internship will be referred to an associate dean for admissions and student affairs as an apparent violator of the code of professional conduct for students.

Required Year Four Coursework

Required coursework for Year Four includes:

  • Three weeks of sub-internship
  • Three weeks of a required capstone
  • Three weeks of ambulatory care
  • Two weeks of emergency medicine
  • Thirty-five weeks of electives (27 weeks must be direct patient care electives)

Year 4 Schedule Changes

Corrections or changes can be made online through OASIS if the start is less than 30 calendar days away. You may withdraw from any elective course during this period and add another elective, if space is available, prior to the lists being distributed to the departments (approximately the first week of May).

All further changes require departmental approval. An Add/Drop Form must be completed and returned to the Office of Curricular Affairs to receive official authorization of change. The form must be returned to the Office of Curricular Affairs before the elective begins or no credit will be given. However when possible, you should make arrangements with the department four weeks before the elective begins.


You are required to take 35 weeks (35 credit hours) of electives during Year Three and Year Four. A minimum of 27 weeks must be spent in electives classified as “direct-patient care” and eight of these weeks must be chosen from the OASIS Catalog.

You may not take an elective where a family member would be the person completing an evaluation or entering grade.

You may take no more than two total weeks of senior inquiry electives and the sum of non-direct patient care elective weeks and senior inquiry elective weeks may not exceed eight.

Electives are classified into several types. Each elective type is clearly identified in the course catalog.

Explore Electives

Electives conclude at noon on Saturday of the final week. Sub-internships conclude at 6 p.m. on Sunday of the final week. Sub-internship evaluation is a requirement of the M.D. degree program. When available, directors have included instructions for the first meeting day within the elective description.

USMLE Step 2CK and Step 2CS

You must record a passing score on USMLE Step 2CK (clinical knowledge) no later than Feb. 14 to be eligible to participate in the NRMP Match that announces results in March of that same year. You must take USMLE Step 2CS (clinical skills) by the end of March or will not be able to graduate from the School of Medicine that academic year.

Year 4 Forms