MD Program Curriculum

UW School of Medicine Program Objectives

Office of Curriculum

The Curriculum Office is responsible for developing, implementing, managing, evaluating and continuously improving the quality of the courses and clerkships that comprise the curriculum for medical students. These aims have been accomplished through the leadership and involvement of the Associate Dean for Curriculum, Curriculum Committee Chairs, basic science and clinical faculty, students and professional staff serving on phase-based Curriculum Committees and ad-hoc committees, the administration, faculty and staff of Academic Affairs, and through the direct support of our Curriculum Office staff.

The undergraduate medical school curriculum at the University of Washington is dynamic. Ongoing changes in the curriculum are actively managed by the curriculum committees.

The curriculum includes a three-term classroom or Foundation Phase, a 12-month Patient Care Phase, and a 15-month Career Explore and Focus Phase. The Foundation Phase begins with the students spending 2-3 weeks in Immersion; this is when they learn the essentials of the history and physical exams. The rest of the Foundation Phase is divided into seven blocks across the three terms. Students have no more than four hours a day of contact time in the classroom, four days a week, and no more than one hour a day of lecture. The fifth day of the week is saved for the longitudinal Foundations of Clinical Medicine course which spans all three terms. The Foundations of Clinical Medicine course has the students spending one day every other week in a primary care office and the alternate week learning more in-depth clinical skills. Students will spend all three terms in their home state. The curriculum is educationally equivalent at all of the WWAMI three-term sites, and common teaching materials, syllabi and examinations are given to ensure that all students are achieving the same level of competence. Many courses utilize computer-based information, and almost all communication with students outside of the classroom is through our Web pages and email. Thus, there is a requirement for all students to have a laptop computer with wireless capability. Specifications needed to access computer-based instruction are sent to entering students and are available from the Curriculum Office.

The Patient Care Phase incorporates basic science back into the clerkships in the spring of year two. The Career Explore and Focus Phase has a new advanced inpatient clerkship requirement and an advanced outpatient clerkship requirement, as well as a transition to residency requirement for all students that is 3-4 weeks in length.

Eight themes are interwoven throughout all four years of the curriculum. These include: primary care, scientific discovery, diversity, health equity, communication and interprofessionalism, quality and safety, ethics and professionalism, and life-long learning. 

The "Essential Requirements of Medical Education at the University of Washington School of Medicine: Admission, Retention, and Graduation Standards" is sent to applicants for review. It is expected that students enrolled in the School of Medicine have indicated as part of the completion of their admissions application that they have read, understood, and are able to meet these essentials with or without reasonable accommodation.

School of Medicine Governance Committees

Visit the Governance website to find School of Medicine committee bylaws, membership, and meeting minutes.

Curricular Requirements

The awarding of the Doctor of Medicine degree is contingent upon satisfactory completion of all curricular requirements and academic and professional conduct requirements.

Curricular Requirements by Academic Year

Independent Investigative Inquiry
Non-Clinical Electives
Capstone: Transition to Residency

Concurrent Degree Options

Concurrent degree programs, leading to the MD and MPH, and OMS/MD are available at the University of Washington. More information can be found at concurrent degree programs.