Curriculum Overview

The Alpert Medical School curriculum features innovations designed to help shape the ideal Brown physician: a doctor deeply committed to providing compassionate and excellent care, to learning throughout life, and to advancing medicine.

Years 1 and 2

An interdisciplinary curriculum: First- and second-year medical students learn basic science while developing clinical skills.An interdisciplinary curriculum: First- and second-year medical students learn basic science while developing clinical skills.In 2007, Alpert Medical School undertook a unique approach to curriculum redesign. All first- and second-year courses were abolished and replaced by four semesters each of Integrated Medical Sciences and Doctoring. The result is an integrated curriculum that engages students by continually emphasizing the connections among medical science, clinical skills, patient care, and humanism.

While learning about the technology of clinical genetic testing, for example, students take part in case-based sessions focused on the ethics of genetic testing. Biochemistry, a challenging subject for generations of medical students, is covered in the context of nutrition science, cancer, aging, and other medical topics of critical public health importance. And throughout, the content of the Doctoring course—from patient interview to physical exam to cultural competency— is designed to coincide with the basic medical science content. The result is an engaging curriculum that encourages students to focus on the science of medicine while emphasizing its clinical and humanistic application.

Years 3 and 4

Immersive clinical experiences: Medical students begin their clerkships in Year 3.Immersive clinical experiences: Medical students begin their clerkships in Year 3.During Year 3, students have 48 weeks to complete 6 core clerkships
(internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and family medicine) comprising a required 44 weeks. The pre-clerkship curriculum, which ends with a three-week clinical skills capstone experience for Doctoring, has been streamlined, allowing for the start of core clerkships in early May.

This means that students complete their core rotations and have a full summer of electives before the earliest possible date for submitting residency applications. The new academy system provides for robust career advising during this critical decision-making period. Working with their academy advisers, students shape an individualized educational plan that focuses on obtaining a residency, preparing for residency, and scholarship. These plans are tailored to the student’s interests and career goals.

The only uniform requirements in the fourth year are an advanced clerkship (“sub-internship”) and a longitudinal rotation that is spread over six months. The latter is a critical rotation for our students because of the advanced mentoring it provides. The result of all this is a student-designed curriculum that takes place in a broad range of settings.

When it comes to clinical experiences, students have unparalleled variety and access—as the only medical school in the state, Alpert Medical School has exclusive access to community practices and clinics and to seven teaching hospital partners, including a Level I trauma center, a children’s hospital, a veteran’s hospital, and a psychiatric facility.