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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:

  • Normal Structure and Function
    MED-110  - NSF - Musculoskeletal
    MED-120 - NSF - Thorax and Neck
    MED-130 - NSF - Abdomen and Pelvis
  • MED 100: Molecular Foundations in Medicine
  • EPI 100: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • MIM 100: Introduction to Medical Information Management
  • MED 105: Healthcare Quality Improvement
    Foundations of Patient Safety
  • MED-150:  Principles of Immunology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • MED 101: Clinical Interviewing
  • MED 140: Introduction to Pathology
  • HCE 101:  Foundation in Health Care Ethics
  • MED 104:  Medicine and Society
  • MED 103:  Leadership in the Business of Medicine
  • MD 100:  Professional and Personal Development I
  • RMED 101:  Bench to Bedside I

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:

  • MED 160:  Brain and Behavior
  • MED 170:  Cardiovascular System
  • MED 102: Clinical Diagnosis
  • HCE 201:  Clinical Reasoning in Healthcare Ethics

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:

  • MED 240: Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • MED 200:  Hematology
  • MED 230: Gastrointestinal System
  • HQI 200: Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • MED 202: Clinical Diagnosis
  • MED 220: Renal-Urinary System
  • MED 210:  Respiratory System
  • MED 250: Skin, Bone and Joint
  • RMED 201:  Bench to Bedside II
  • MD 202:  Professional and Personal Development II
  • MED 205:  Foundations of Quality Improvement
  • MED 204:  Medicine and Society
  • MD 200:  Special Study for Exams

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

Students must take USMLE Step 1 prior to progressing to year 3.

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  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.