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M.D. Program

M.D. Program

Curriculum overview

Educational mission

The educational mission of UC Davis School of Medicine is to train competent and compassionate physicians who will address the health care needs of individuals, families, and communities through collaborative approaches to patient-centered care.  

The educational program guides students toward mastery of six major competencies.

Curriculum Content and Design
The curriculum for the M.D. degree is a four-year program that provides comprehensive preparation for graduate medical training in any specialty.  

Key Features:


  • Instructional framework and assessment methods are linked with graduation competencies, educational program objectives, and course objectives

Graduation Competencies and Educational Program Objectives 


  • An integrative block curriculum weaves content in the basic sciences and clinical medicine around multi-disciplinary themes and common clinical presentations
  • The longitudinal doctoring curriculum promotes stage-appropriate development of clinical and professional skills while integrating core principles of patient-centered care, behavioral medicine, population medicine, ethics, and socio-economics


  • Excellent basic science and clinical faculty are dedicated to student-centered teaching
  • Rich mixture of stimulating teaching methods and technologies promote learning through discovery and collaboration
  • Emphasis on self-directed and interactive small-group learning, frequent formative feedback, and self assessment
  • Standardized patients and simulation technologies used extensively for learning and assessment


  • Opportunities for career exploration, research, and community service
  • Elective credit offered for participation in student-run, community clinics

The curriculum for the M.D. degree provides flexibility for and encourages coordination with other advanced degree programs (M.D./Ph.D., M.S., M.A., M.B.A., and M.P.H.). 

To view information on the LCME accreditation process, please click here.

Phases of the Curriculum

First and Second Year Curriculum

The pre-clerkship curriculum is organized in blocks to promote integration of basic sciences and clinical medicine.  Four blocks of foundational science and pathophysiology courses are grouped by complementary objectives, disciplines, and themes.  The longitudinal Doctoring curriculum focuses on clinical skills, clinical reasoning, and social-behavioral medicine and the course is woven throughout the first two years and integrated with concurrent courses.  The longitudinal pathology and pharmacology curricula are similarly integrated with concurrent courses, beginning with the second block. 

Third Year Curriculum

The third year begins with a one week “Transition to Clerkships” course, followed by required clerkships in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine, and longitudinal clinical experience in Primary Care.  A four-week elective block is also included.  The longitudinal Doctoring curriculum runs concurrently with the clerkships and focuses on advanced interviewing techniques, clinical reasoning, clinical epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, and ethics/jurisprudence

Fourth Year Curriculum

The fourth year curriculum is designed to provide breadth and depth of learning experiences while helping students attain competencies at an advanced level (sub-internship) in the domains of patient care, knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, system-based practice, and life-long learning.  The faculty expects student programs to be academically broad and vigorous, with courses and clerkships selected to prepare students for the supervised practice of medicine in any field.  A series of Special Study Modules focus on advanced applications of basic sciences and clinical medicine.  Students may also pursue a Scholarly Project.  There is flexibility within the schedule to provide diverse opportunities for in-depth exploration of areas of interest while helping students to select and prepare for the residency.