The Yale System

Building on our Educational Identity and Enduring Values

The Yale System of Medical Education remains unique among medical schools. It has been a part of life at the Yale School of Medicine since 1931. The fundamental element of the system is the concept that Yale medical students are mature individuals, strongly motivated to learn, requiring guidance and stimulation rather than compulsion of competition for relative standing in a group. The corollary of this concept is that students must assume more than usual responsibility for their education.

“Fundamental to this program is the concept that the medical student is a mature individual, is strongly motivated to learn and requires guidance and stimulation rather than compulsion or competition for relative standing in his group. Equally basic is the concept that if the student is given unusual privileges, he must assume more than usual responsibility for his education."

-Curriculum Committee, 1927

Given the profound importance of the Yale System to our medical school, the Guiding Principles for renewing the curriculum specify a learning environment built on the fundamental principles of respect for the student initiative and maturity, close mentorship and guidance from faculty, and a required thesis to promote scientific inquiry, scholarship, and creative thinking. The curriculum design is flexible and provides opportunities as well as time for students to explore their interests and pursue individual goals.