Curriculum

Curriculum phases and supplemental programs.


Students are educated at their regional site (Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; Laramie, WY; Anchorage, AK; Bozeman, MT; or Moscow, ID) for the first 18 months of medical school — the Foundations Phase. View a curriculum visualization.

The Foundations Phase includes:

  • A 2-3 week orientation and immersion period in basic clinical skills held prior to the start of the academic year to prepare students to work with patients;
  • Nine integrated, interdisciplinary block courses which bring together basic, clinical and social science;
  • Three Integration weeks which longitudinally and reinforce and apply concepts from disparate basic science disciplines to solve clinical problems to build clinical reasoning skills. Students will also be able to reflect on their own professional identity in these weeks and progress as a life-longer learner of medicine.
  • Topics offered longitudinally are integral to each block (pathology/histology, anatomy/imaging and embryology, and pharmacology);
  • Preparation for patient care through longitudinal instruction in clinical skills and direct work with patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Close relationships are developed with faculty mentors and community physicians during this phase.
  • Foundations phase ends with the Consolidation and Transition to Clerkships courses, which allow time for preparation for USMLE Step 1 licensing exam and transition to patient care phase.

Integrated Threads

  • Scientific threads (pharmacology, pathology, and anatomy and embryology)
  • Clinical thread (foundational clinical experience and clinical skills in both classroom and patient care settings)

Medicine Health and Society I & II These courses integrate School of Medicine thematic content with an emphasis on core concepts needed for clinical practice in the changing healthcare environment. Students will explore areas related to humanism in medicine including the themes of equity and inclusion, diversity, ethics, determinants of health, global population, and public health, cimate health, and health systems science. Independent Investigative Inquiry (III) & III Final Project These are the courses in which medical students meet the UW School of Medicine Scholarship requirement. Students will choose a scholarship project that will help them foster the skills of a life-longer learner essential for practicing physicians. Examples of projects are: community experiences in rural and urban settings, global health projects, research opportunities in labs/clinics, and students can also choose to do a literature review. Students complete the bulk of the course-work the summer between years 1 and 2 and then complete the course series completes in the Fall with a final project at the Medical students Fall Poster Symposium.


Required clerkships totaling 42 weeks of clinical instruction can be taken anywhere in the WWAMI region. There are also optional clinical rotation tracks for completing a specified number of clerkships in one region (WWAMI Track Program), an 18-22-week longitudinal, integrated clerkship experience at a rural primary care teaching site (WRITE) and a 12-month integrated clerkship program in Olympia, Washington.

Required clerkships include:

  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery


Allows students to explore potential specialty careers through a combination of required and elective clinical clerkships. Students finish the Explore and Focus Phase with a Transition to Residency experience.

Required clinical clerkships include:

  • Advanced Patient Care
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neurology/Neurosurgery
Transition to Residency

Transition to Residency is a required course taught primarily in small-group and workshop formats. It is designed as a "continuing medical education" course for fourth-year students whereby they choose sessions relating to medical issues, evaluation, management and procedures involved in their planned specialties.


Non-clinical electives are courses relevant to medical education but not involving direct patient care. Students will have time to explore areas of interest, participate with peers in unique offerings and learn about scholarship. 


Students admitted to this program spend all four years of medical school participating in clinical and community learning related to urban underserved care. CUSP is currently available in Seattle only.

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