Curriculum

Credit Hour Requirements for all students

The School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing each fulfill the federal definition of a credit hour. Each school determines the appropriate number of credit hours for each course, consistent with the federal definition. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of nine credit hours each semester to be considered a fulltime student.

Programs Offered

The University of Massachusetts School of Medicine curriculum was redesigned in 2010 to meet the needs of modern learners with the vision of inspiring our future physicians to excel in patient care, innovation, discovery, leadership and service. Our Learner-centered integrated Curriculum (LInC) is designed for continuous review and nimble revision to adapt to the needs of a changing healthcare feild, student population and educational opportunities. Highlights include:

  • Patient interactions from the first days
  • Organization into Learning Communities fo students and longtitudinal faculty mentors
  • Balanced interactive large and small group, self-regulated and team-based learning experiences
  • Simulation and hands-on experiential learning integrated throughout
  • Interprofessional learnng with students from our Graduate School of Nursing across all years
  • Rich opportunities for elective, pathway adn service learning

In 2017 we launched the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) track to help meet the needs of this burgeoning population and professiona field.

DEGREE-GRANTING PROGRAMS (descriptions below)

OPTIONAL PATHWAYS (descriptions below) as well as the PURCH track

The School of Medicine offers three school-sponsored, application-based structured student pathways for students with interest in developing particular skills in global health, serving the underserved and clinical and translational research. These pathways do not provide additional degrees, but do have structured curricula and requirements for successful completion. Notation is made on the transcripts and in the medical school performance evaluation (MSPE) of students who successfully complete all requirements. A track in Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health is also offered and the application is a part of our secondary forms.

 

Degree Granting

MD Program

TThe University of Massachusetts Medical School's MD program pledges to provide students with a comprehensive and personally rewarding medical education. We aim to prepare our graduates to be caring, competent, and productive physicians serving a diversity of patients and communities. Whether a student plans to practice in primary care or pursue subspecialty training, the four-year educational program at UMass Medical School is designed to develop the foundational competencies required of all physicians. Our Learner-centered Integrated Curriculum (LInC) supports our vision that our graduates will excel in patient care, innovation, discovery leadership and service. The LInC is founded on our six core competencies, collaboratively developed by our students and faculty – physician as clinical problem solver, communicator, patient and community advocate, person, professional and scientist. Most students complete the MD degree in four years, though there are opportunities for extension for personal and professional development. Our clinical sites span the commonwealth with students rotating at our major clinical partners, UMass Memorial Medical Center as well as community-based educational partners from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. Ambulatory preceptors are equally diverse and include multispecialty community-based providers, hospital-affiliated clinics, federally qualified health centers and private providers. This diversity of sites for clinical learning supports student learning, professional development and career decision-making.

For more information on program requirements, click here

MD/PhD Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) funded MD/PhD program offers exceptional training opportunities for those interested in pursuing careers as physician/scientists. The program combines the curriculum of the School of Medicine (SOM) and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) to provide a structured foundation of diverse topics, with the flexibility necessary to meet the needs of the individual student. 

The goal of the MD/PhD program is to provide highly motivated students the opportunities to develop skills and experience in biomedical investigation and the practice of medicine. This is a rigorous and challenging program, and upon successful completion the student is awarded both the PhD in biomedical sciences and the MD. We train physician-scientists who will make significant contributions to health care and who will become the leaders of academic medicine.

In addition to the traditional biomedical sciences research training, our Medical Scientist Training Program offers a clinical/population based PhD degree for students interested in clinical research. The Clinical and Population Health Research Program offers our students an opportunity to become leaders in clinical and translational research by training them in areas including epidemiology, outcomes research, determinants of disease and biostatistics. It also addresses the national need for health research to move from the laboratory to the individual patient and health care systems.

For more information on program requirements, click here.

Track and Optional Pathways

Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track

The Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track is a state-of-the-art medical education experience, covering the gamut from basic and clinical science to immersive and experiential education. Students will participate in courses at both the UMMS campus in Worcester and our new regional campus UMMS-Baystate in Springfield, MA. The PURCH Track engages medical students in an innovative education model to meet the need of providing healthcare in our communities. Beginning in their first year, students in the PURCH Track learn in the labortories that are the diverse urban and rural communities of Western Massachusetts and the wide scope of health care activities with the Baystate Health system.

For more information on program requirements, click here.

Clinical Translational Research Pathway

The Clinical and Translational Pathway (CTRP) is a selective program that provides advanced opportunities for students to further their skills in basic, clinical or translational research in parallel with the traditional medical school curriculum.  It is designed for students enrolled in the UMMS MD degree-granting program who wish to contribute to the development of evidence-based approaches to improve clinical care, and to translate discoveries in basic science to clinical practice throughout their career.  Students accepted into this program complete longitudinal coursework throughout their School of Medicine enrollment and finalize their experience with a Senior Scholars Project. The CTRP program offers the opportunity for an additional year to complete a master's degree in clinical investigation through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

For more information on program requirements, click here.

Global Health Pathway

The Global Health Pathway (GHP) is an elective, four-year program that trains and supports medical students to be future leaders in global health.  The GHP selects medical students through an application process at the start of their medical school training and provides them with longitudinal curriculum and opportunities to gain experience in clinical, research, public health and cultural experiences with underserved populations in two major categories: those currently living outside of the United States or those that are living inside the United States with recent international origins, such as immigrant or refugee populations.

For more information on program requirements, click here.

Rural Health Scholars Pathway

The goal of this pathway is to foster students' interest in and desire to learn about issues related to practicing in rural and small town communities as well as to help them develop contacts with rural health clinicians and leaders while learning skills useful to rural and small town practice.

To learn more about this pathway, click here

 

Program Design

The structure of the School of Medicine follows a four-year longitudinal curriculum that has three major interrelated components: the Foundational Curriculum (Foundations of Medicine or FOM 1 and 2), Core Clinical Experiences (CCE) and Advanced Studies (AS). 

Please explore your program of interest to learn more about its structure.

Credit Hour Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum of nine credit hours per semester. 

 

Courses

The UMass Medical School School of Medicine curriculum has three major interrelated components: the Foundational Curriculum (Foundations of Medicine or FOM 1 and 2), Core Clinical Experiences (CCE) and Advanced Studies (AS). 

 

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1)

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1) courses introduce students to the concepts that lay the foundation for their medical school learning and professional practice. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians in order to support concept integration and balance of learning the science and art of medicine. Topics build from the microscopic with basics of genes, cell structure and function through gross organ systems and imaging, to core concepts of pharmacology to address pathophysiologic, oncologic and infectious processes. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness.   Students work with their Learning Communities mentor to begin to identify a Capstone project. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For more information on specific FOM1 courses, click here

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2)

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2) courses build on the foundations laid in FOM1 and expand student knowledge and experience to detailed understanding of pathophysiologic states through a spiral curriculum.  This model allows a return to organ systems with a focus on scientific underpinnings of the clinical manifestations of illness, including assessment and treatment modalities. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians, as in FOM1, and are closely aligned with their FOM1 counterparts. The year culminates in a course called ‘Patients’ designed as a final integration of FOM 1 and 2 content supported by clinical problem solving in order to prepare students for success in the clinical clerkships and on Step 1 of the boards. After completing Step 1 students return for the two-week Transition to Core Clinical Experiences crafted as hands-on large and small group problem-solving, simulation and consultation sessions to launch core clerkship learning. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness. Students transition work on their Capstone project from their Learning Communities mentor to a specific project advisor. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For detailed descriptions of the FOM2 courses, click here.

Core Clinical Experience (CCE)

Core Clinical Experiences (CCE) is the primary clerkship year and is organized into three coordinated thematic sections to help students build knowledge across disciplines. These sections are: Care of Adults (Medicine and Neurology), Care of Families (Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Family Medicine), Perioperative and Maternal Care (Surgery and Obstetrics-Gynecology). Students are provided with four one-week electives called Flexible Clinical Experiences that allow career exploration and skills development in all areas of medical practice, research, leadership and service.  An Interstitial Course brings students together on campus from their placement sites throughout the year for hands-on learning on topics that cross all fields such as Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, Health Equity, Domestic Violence and Disaster management. CCE also integrates translational curriculum that revisits principles taught in FOM1 and FOM2.  Clerkships are graded in a tiered fashion. Students continue their Capstone work with their project advisor throughout the year.

Advanced Studies

Advanced Studies (AS) education provides students with the opportunity to have higher levels of supervised learning and practice through required sub-internships and to explore professional growth in-depth through individualized schedules crafted from robust elective offerings. Learning is hands-on and experiential. Required courses include Emergency Clinical Problem-Solver and Advanced Biomedical and Translational Sciences. Clinical experiences are graded in a tiered fashion. Students complete and present their Capstone Project in a public forum.

Electives offered by the School of Medicine are catalogued here.

Degree and Graduation Requirements

For graduation with the MD degree, students must fulfill the requirements in the current Student Handbook. Because these requirements can change, all students, particularly those returning from a leave of absence or the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, should be sure they have reviewed this current information. Students may consult with the associate dean for student affairs with any questions pertaining to these requirements

For more information on Degree and Graduation Requirements, click here

Grading and Assessments

Performance ratings in courses and clerkships are based on results of major and minor written or oral assessments, papers or other written assignments, attendance and participation, standardized patient interactions and similar assessments as outlined by the course leaders.  Formative assessment is provided to help students and faculty gauge progress and identify areas for focused academic attention.  Narrative evaluations are offered for appropriate courses, clerkships and skills.  Core clerkships, sub-internships, clinical electives and the Emergency Clinical Problem-Solver (ECPS) course are graded in a scaled fashion (fail, below expected, expected, above expected, outstanding).  Foundational courses and all other courses are all graded credit-no credit.  This information is helpful in assisting the Academic Evaluation Board, in providing the student with a more comprehensive assessment of his/her strengths and weaknesses, and in aiding in the preparation of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE).  Examples of themes which appear in the narrative comments are:  progress in learning the subject matter, the nature of extenuating circumstances which might have influenced performance, and the pursuit of independent research or projects.

Please refer to the student promotion section for additional information.

Student Promotion

Promotion from the FOM1 to the FOM2 and from FOM2 to CCE is determined by the Basic Science Academic Evaluation Board. Advancement within the CCE and AS years, and recommendation for graduation, are the province of the Clinical Science Academic Evaluation Board.

For more detailed information, click here

Academic Opportunities

The School of Medicine offers multiple programs to support learner’s diverse interests and career development. 

Optional Enrichment Electives (OEE)

Optional Enrichment Electives are different from the required fourth year (AS) electives in that they may be taken during any year of enrollment, and that students may choose not to participate in any of them. Participation in these courses is mentioned in the MSPE and appears on the transcript by name of course, with two hash marks (##) in the grades column and the following notation on the transcript: "## Optional Enrichment Course. The student has elected this course in addition to the regular curriculum requirements."

For more information, click here

Senior Scholars Program

The Senior Scholars Program provides an opportunity for scholarly activities that serve not only as an introduction to the philosophy of research based on answering questions through hypothesis generation, information gathering, experimentation and critical interpretation, but as a tool for growth in an evidence-based health care environment. This program can be completed in addition to or in fulfillment of the Capstone Scholarly requirement. 

For more information, click here

Summer Research Program

The Summer Research program offers students the opportunity to explore basic clinical, traditional or advocacy research during an eight-week period in the summer after their first year. Approximately 25 students participate annually, working on mentored projects from various departments across the school. Students are required to prepare a professional poster that is presented at a fair in the fall of each year. 

For more information, click here

Summer Curriculum Development Program

The Summer Curriculum Development program offers students the opportunity to work with course leaders in developing new FOM1 & FOM2 curriculum during an eight-week period in the summer after their first year. Approximately four students participate annually. Students are required to prepare a professional poster that is presented at a fair in the fall of each year. 

For more information, click here.

Summer Service-Learning Assistantship Program

Coordinated in conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and the MassAHEC Network, the Summer Service-Learning Assistantship Program offers rising second-year medical students the opportunity to work in a wide variety of community-based health, educational and human service organizations throughout the commonwealth during the summer months.

For more information, click here

International Medical Education Program

Medical students from the UMass Medical School have opportunities to benefit from global health experiences in settings outside the United States throughout their time of enrollment. Global health experiences include opportunities in clinical medicine, research, public health and community service, as well as cultural and language training. Specific opportunities include the Global Health Pathway, Global Health Immersion Experiences in the summer between the first and second year of medical school, Global Health Flexible Clinical Experiences in third year, and advanced studies electives in fourth year.

For more information, click here

International Opportunities

The International Medical Education Program (IMEP)

Medical students from UMass Medical School have opportunities to benefit from global health experiences in settings outside the United States throughout their time of enrollment. Global health experiences include opportunities in clinical medicine, research, public health and community service, as well as cultural and language training. Specific opportunities include the Global Health Pathway, Global Health Immersion Experiences in the summer between first and second year of medical school, Global Health Flexible Clinical Experiences (FCEs) in third year, and advanced studies electives in fourth year.

For more information, click here

Learning Objectives

The School of Medicine’s curriculum is built on the foundation of six core competencies designed by our faculty and students to represent the knowledge, skills and attitudes of our graduates. These competencies serve as our educational program objectives and all courses are mapped to those. They are physician as Clinical Problem Solver, Communicator, Patient & Community Advocate, Person, Professional, and Scientist.