Curriculum Rebuild FAQs

The YSM curriculum has changed frequently over the years to reflect important changes in the science and practice of medicine.  What we are doing now is simply accelerating the rate of change to keep pace with dramatic advancements in science, medical practice, educational pedagogy, and accreditation requirements-- all which have prompted us to take a fresh look at our curriculum and reshape it in ways that are simultaneously innovative and respectful of the proud traditions of the past, while also looking toward the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Basic and Clinical Science curriculum is changing from a traditional two year pre-clinical curriculum that focuses on normal structure and function of the human body in year one and mechanisms and treatment of disease in year two, to an 18 month theme-based curriculum that fully integrates the teaching of both basic and clinical sciences. This integrated  approach increases understanding and retention of the material by demonstrating its relevance and providing useful context.  

In the Longitudinal Clinical Experience students will be directly involved in patient care from the beginning of medical school, with an emphasis on interprofessional education, team-based care, knowledge of the health care system, attention to the patient experience, and clinical skills building.

The Clerkships will be transformed from ten individual discipline based clerkships ranging in length from two to eight weeks to four twelve week interdisciplinary blocks. These longer interdisciplinary clerkships provide opportunities for continuity with sites, patients, supervision, mentors, peers, and will promote interdisciplinary planning and integration of learning across clinical experiences.

The post-clerkship period of advanced training and research will be expanded to 17 months.  This provides maximum flexibility for students to schedule career-determining electives and sub-internships prior to residency application as well as have time for research and completion of the thesis. 

Further detailed information about all of these changes is available in the Design section of this website.

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No. The new curriculum embraces the principles and values of the Yale System of Medical Education, including respect for student initiative and maturity, curricular flexibility, close faculty mentoring, and the required thesis program to promote scientific inquiry. The Yale System promotes a collaborative, collegial and flexible learning environment that has long been, and will remain, the hallmark of our school.

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The primary purpose of assessment in the Yale System is to provide students with information about their performance that can be used to gauge their progress, determine areas that need further attention and guide future learning.  We are committed to useful, creative and valid methods of assessment, but rather than focus summative assessments and high stakes examinations, the Yale curriculum will continue to emphasize formative assessment that is based on mentoring relationships, direct observation and effective feedback.collapse
There are a number of groups and committees that are actively involved in designing and creating our new curriculum, each with broad representation from the medical school community.  There is active student participation and membership on all of our rebuild committees, including the Executive and Curriculum Committee that have oversight of the rebuilding process.  As always, medical students are essential members of our various curriculum groups, providing valuable perspective, critical insight and creative ideas.collapse

Implementation of the new curriculum will begin in June 2015. 

The classes of 2015 and 2016 will complete their medical education in the current curriculum design and schedule. 

The class of 2017 will have their clerkship experience in the new model of four 12-week clerkship blocks beginning in June 2015 and concluding in June 2016. The class will then proceed to the final 12 month flexible period for electives, sub-Is and research.  

The class of 2018 (students who matriculate in 2014) will have their clerkship experience in the new model of four 12-week clerkship blocks beginning in June 2016 and concluding in June 2017. The class will then proceed to the final 12 month flexible period for electives, sub-Is and research.  

The class of 2019 will be the first class to experience all four years of the new curriculum. This will begin in August 2015 with the 18 month period of Integrated Courses and Longitudinal Clinical Experience followed by the clerkship year beginning in January 2017.  The Advanced Training Period (17 months) for electives, sub-internships, research and USMLE Steps I & II begins in January 2018.  

For more detailed information see the Implementation section of our website.

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The classes of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 will continue to take Step I in the spring of Year Two prior to the clerkships and Step II in their final year. 

Beginning with the class of 2019 USMLE Steps I & II will be taken after the clerkships. The flexibility afforded in the 17 month Advanced Period allows students sufficient time to study for and schedule the board examinations. 


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The Master Courses in the Integrated Course Curriculum are being created in collaboration with discipline based basic and clinical departments, whose sponsorship will allow MD/PhD students to receive the necessary graduate  school credits.  

As in the current curriculum, the clerkships are organized so that MD/PhD students can complete the first 6 months of required clerkships (2 of the 4 required 12-week blocks) before going into the lab.  They can then complete the remaining 2 clerkship blocks when they are ready to return to full time clinical work. MD/PhD students entering their research years after six months in the current model will return to their clerkships in the new model. In anticipation of this, efforts are being made to schedule these students so that they take a combination of clerkships in their first six months that coincide with the discipline pairing in the new clerkship blocks. This will minimize future scheduling difficulties and avoid the need to repeat clerkship experiences.

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