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Doctor of Medicine (MD) Curriculum

Program Objectives

The RMC Program Objectives are organized around six roles that a physician plays and the foundational role of medical knowledge that supports them: 

Diagram made up of six shapes labeled Advocate, Communicator, Leader, Practitioner, Professional and Scholar. These connect to form a circle around the words Medical Knowledge: Foundational knowledge for physicians to practice effective medicine

Advocate: Identify and address social, political and cultural factors that affect the health of patients and populations to improve health equity.

Communicator: Establish strong therapeutic relationships with patients and their families to cooperatively provide care that reflects their needs, values and preferences.

Leader: Contribute to the improvement of health care quality by participating in a culture of safety and coordinating care between the various elements of the health care system.

Practitioner: Collect, interpret and document information to make clinical decisions and carry out diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to provide high-quality patient care.

Professional: Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and upholding the legal and ethical principles that support medical practice.

Scholar: Use evidence-based principles to continually enhance one’s own practice, inform care of your patients and develop the skills to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the field.

Medical Knowledge: Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical and social-behavioral sciences, and the application of this knowledge to patient care.

Shaping the Curriculum

You can participate on curriculum committees to help guide how the curriculum is designed, implemented and evaluated. You will work with faculty to have a direct impact on medical education at RUSH.

Committees include the following:

  • Committee on Curriculum and Evaluation: The overarching curriculum committee for RUSH Medical College. Members include faculty, administrators and students.
  • Student Curriculum Advisory Committee: An independently run, student-only committee that is the main student voice for influencing the curriculum.


Graduation Requirements

This four-year program includes core courses, electives, core clerkships and subinternships.

Four-Year Longitudinal Programs

We offer two four-year longitudinal programs: family medicine and health equity and social justice. Additional information is provided to you before fall matriculation.


Course Curriculum

Preclerkship Phase

First-year required courses

  • RMD - 560 The Foundation of Medical Practice (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 561 Host Defense and Response (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 574 Vital Fluids (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 575 Vital Gases (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 563 Food to Fuel (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 564 Movement and Mechanics (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 565 Brain, Behavior and Cognition (Credits: 1)
  • IPE - 502 Interprofessional Patient Centered Teams (Credits: 0)

First-year electives

Non-credit elective courses may be taken in parallel with the required first-year curriculum.

  • RMD - 538 Basic Spanish for Medical Professionals (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 539 Intermediate Spanish for Medical Professionals (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 540 Humanities in Medicine I (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 541 Humanities in Medicine II (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 570 Clinical Genetics I (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 571 Clinical Genetics II (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 780 Basic Biomedical Research I (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 781 Basic Biomedical Research II (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 784 Innovation in Medicine for Medical Professionals I (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 785 Innovation in Medicine for Medical Professionals II (Credits: 1)

Second-year required courses

  • RMD - 566 Reproduction and Sexuality (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 567 Growth, Development and the Life Cycle (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 569 Complex Cases and Transition to Clerkship (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 576 Introduction to Hematology (Credits: 1)
  • RMD - 577 Introduction to Oncology (Credits: 1)

Clerkship Phase

Third year

You will participate in the Clinical Resources and Skills for the Hospital (CRASH) course prior to year three. It is an intensive review of clinical skills.

The third year involves a longitudinal course (RMD-749) and 42 clinical weeks in required core clerkships, including the following:

  • Internal medicine
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics/gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Primary care
  • Surgery

You will take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 prior to the start of year three. Any student who starts the third year prior to completing the USMLE Step 1 will instead be enrolled in the Step 1 Enhanced Preparation Course (RMD 600).

If delayed in taking USMLE Step 1, a student may be allowed to complete one required core clerkship during the fourth year if approved by COSEP.

Students must pass USMLE Step 1 as a graduation requirement.

Third year courses

  • RMD - 749 RUSH Integrated Clinical Experiences (Credits: 1)
               Taken three times.
  • MED - 703 Core Clerkship: Internal Medicine (Credits: 8)
  • NEU - 701 Core Clerkship: Neurology (Credits: 4)
  • OBG - 703 Core Clerkship: Obstetrics and Gynecology (Credits: 6)
  • PED - 701 Core Clerkship: Pediatrics (Credits: 8)
  • PSY - 701 Core Clerkship: Psychiatry (Credit(s): 4)
  • RMD - 701 Core Clerkship: Primary Care (Credits: 4)
  • SUR - 701 Core Clerkship: Surgery (Credit(s): 8)

Fourth year

The fourth year involves the following:

  • A year-long course (RMD 750)
  • A required 4-week emergency medicine clerkship
  • A required 4-week senior sub-internship
  • A  4-week clinical bridge course (RMD 722)
  • A series of elective clerkships that ultimately comprise a minimum of 48 total weeks


Students are required to complete a minimum of 24 weeks of elective clerkships in areas of special interest to each student. The choice of electives is guided by the goal of an educationally balanced undergraduate experience.

All elective clerkships must be taken during the student’s fourth year to count toward this requirement.

A maximum of 16 weeks of elective clerkships may be taken in a single subspecialty.

Up to 12 weeks of elective clerkship may take place at another Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)- or Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical
Education (ACGME)-accredited institution.

You must pass the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) exam as a graduation requirement.

Fourth year courses

  • RMD - 750 Transition to Residency (Credits: 4)
                Taken throughout the M4 year.
  • EMD - 703 Core Clerkship: Emergency Medicine (Credits: 4)
  • RMD - 722 Clinical Bridge (Credits: 4).

Choose one of the following subinternship courses:

  • FAM - 710 Subinternship: Family Medicine (Credits: 4)
  • MED - 710 Subinternship: Internal Medicine (Credits: 4)
  • OBG - 711 Subinternship: Obstetrics and Gynecology (Credits: 4)
  • PED - 710 Subinternship: Pediatrics (Credits: 4)
  • SUR - 710 Subinternship: General Surgery (Credits: 4)

Specialty curriculum programs

Family Medicine Leadership Program

The Family Medicine Leadership Program, or FMLP, gives students enhanced primary care clinical training.

You will participate in a curriculum specifically geared toward a career in family medicine.

Typically, five students will be admitted per cohort. Students register for the pass/fail course FAM 705 for every term in which they are enrolled in the FMLP.

Students who want to change paths may opt out of the FMLP.

  • FAM - 705 Family Medicine Leadership Program (FMLP) (Credits: 1)

Health Equity and Social Justice Leadership Program

The Health Equity and Social Justice Program gives you enhanced clinical training. It is focused on themes of global and local health equity/social justice.

You will participate in a curriculum specifically geared toward a career focused on vulnerable populations, health equity and global health.

The number of students admitted to the program varies each year, but typically approximately 20 students per cohort are admitted.

Students register for the pass/fail course RMD 572 in every term they are enrolled in the Health Equity Program.

Students who want to change paths may opt out of the Health Equity & Social Justice Leadership Program.

  • RMD - 705 Health Equity Program: Global and Local Perspective (Credits: 1)