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;
  • Seven integrated, interdisciplinary block courses which bring together basic, clinical and social science;
  • Topics offered longitudinally are integral to each block (pathology/histology, anatomy/imaging or human form and function, 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 course, which reinforces content taught in the first 15 months, and allows time for preparation for USMLE Step 1 licensing exam and transition to patient care phase.
Integrated Threads
  • Scientific threads (pharmacology, pathology, and anatomy/human form and function)
  • Clinical thread (foundational clinical experience and clinical skills in both classroom and patient care settings)
Ecology of Health and Medicine

This longitudinal course develops a deep understanding of the ecology of medicine and the systems that constitute healthcare which are fundamental to becoming a successful physician. EHM occurs during intersession weeks across all four years of the curriculum for a total of seven weeks. The course emphasizes core concepts needed for clinical practice in the changing healthcare environment. This course integrates principals of ethics, social determinants of health, global and population health, lifelong learning, health systems form and function and health systems improvements.

Research Methods

This course teaches the fundamental skills necessary to critically appraise the methods, results, significance and application of clinical research studies.


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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