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Standard 6: Competencies, Curricular Objectives, and Curricular Design

The faculty of a medical school define the competencies to be achieved by its medical students through medical education program objectives and is responsible for the detailed design and implementation of the components of a medical curriculum that enable its medical students to achieve those competencies and objectives. Medical education program objectives are statements of the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that medical students are expected to exhibit as evidence of their achievement by completion of the program.


6.1       Program and Learning Objectives

The faculty of a medical school define its medical education program objectives in outcome-based terms that allow the assessment of medical students’ progress in developing the competencies that the profession and the public expect of a physician. The medical school makes these medical education program objectives known to all medical students and faculty. In addition, the medical school ensures that the learning objectives for each required learning experience (e.g., course, clerkship) are made known to all medical students and those faculty, residents, and others with teaching and assessment responsibilities in those required experiences.

6.2       Required Clinical Experiences

The faculty of a medical school define the types of patients and clinical conditions that medical students are required to encounter, the skills to be performed by medical students, the appropriate clinical settings for these experiences, and the expected levels of medical student responsibility.

6.3       Self-Directed and Life-Long Learning

The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical curriculum includes self-directed learning experiences that allow medical students to develop the skills of lifelong learning. Self-directed learning involves medical students’ self-assessment of learning needs; independent identification, analysis, and synthesis of relevant information; appraisal of the credibility of information sources; and feedback on these skills from faculty and/or staff.

6.4       Inpatient/Outpatient Experiences

The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical curriculum includes clinical experiences in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

6.5       Elective Opportunities

The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical curriculum includes elective opportunities that supplement required learning experiences and that permit medical students to gain exposure to and expand their understanding of medical specialties, and to pursue their individual academic interests.

6.6       Service-Learning/Community Service

The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical education program provides sufficient opportunities for, encourages, and supports medical student participation in service-learning and/or community service activities.

6.7       Academic Environments

The faculty of a medical school ensure that medical students have opportunities to learn in academic environments that permit interaction with students enrolled in other health professions, graduate and professional degree programs, and in clinical environments that provide opportunities for interaction with physicians in graduate medical education programs and in continuing medical education programs.

6.8       Education Program Duration

A medical education program includes at least 130 weeks of instruction.


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