At the University of Louisville School of Medicine, an educational program has been developed that provides each student with the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes considered essential to all 21st century physicians, yet has sufficient flexibility to allow effective development of a student’s individual abilities and interests. The three major components of the program are:

The core curriculum, which extends over the four year course of study, stresses understanding concepts and general principles. It provides vertical and horizontal integration of the sciences so that information in one block of study reinforces ideas and builds upon concepts developed in another.

Year 1 begins with the normal anatomic structuires and their embryologic development, and then explores the molecular basis of life and molecular basis of life and molecular mechanisms of disease, infection, and immunity.  Year 2 investigates the normal cellular structure and function, the pathology and pathophysiology of disease, and corrective treatment for each major organ system.  The Introduction to Clinical Medicine course runs throughout years 1 and 2 and teaches communication and humanism skills, medical history taking, physical exam skills, foundations of medical ethics, culturally competent patient-centered care, interprofessional team care, healthcare systems, and evidence-based medicine.

The core curriculum for the last two years follows a track system of clerkship and elective rotations that exposes students to the major clinical fields of medicine. Required 3rd year clerkships include Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery. As part of the Family Medicine clerkship, students complete a four-week rotation at rural or urban AHEC sites to gain experience in caring for underserved areas of the Commonwealth. The 4th year schedule includes a subinternship in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics or Surgery, selectives in intensive care, palliative care, and ambulatory rotations plus 22 weeks of elective opportunities.

Additionally, select students have the opportunity to complete their entire third and fourth years of clinical training at the Trover Campus in Madisonville, KY.

The purpose of preclinical electives is to allow each student to extend his/her education in certain areas of scientific knowledge. The electives make it possible to construct a program of medical education that best meets the needs, abilities, and goals of the individual student. Electives can occur in the local or global community and include clinical experiences with underserved populations or global experiences.  Students also are permitted to take classroom courses as electives in divisions of the University of Louisville other than the School of Medicine, class schedule permitting. In addition to the courses offered, students with a research interest are permitted to participate in an approved research activity for credit. Elective courses constitute an integral part of the student’s total program in medical school. Second year students take a minimum of two credit hours of elective courses.

Third year students are offered a 4-week block enabling them to explore a career in subspecialty areas of medicine that are not required within the core third year clinical clerkships.  Fourth year students are offred an additional 22 weeks of electives. Of those 22 weeks, 10-12 of those weeks are spent in electives directly related to the student’s choice of residency. Virtually every member of the full-time clinical faculty participates in electives, as do many members of the basic sciences faculty. Students may select an intensive exposure to any of the clinical areas or a research experience in any of the basic science or clinical areas. During this time, a student also may elect to take a classroom course from the eligible second year electives list.

For more information about the medical education program mission and objectives, curriculum and curriculum overview visit: