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Clerkship Curriculum

Our clerkship curriculum provides you with patient care training in a variety of settings. You also have the flexibility to pursue your interests through electives and a subinternship.

Clinical Resources and Skills for the Hospital

Your third year begins with the Clinical Resources and Skills for the Hospital (CRASH) course. CRASH reinforces the skills you learned during the preclerkship years and introduces you to new skills, including the following: 

  • Basic life support 
  • Advanced communication skills 
  • Reading electrocardiography and X-rays 
  • Lots of M4 advice! 


Third-Year Core Clerkships

The core clerkships are organized into three super-blocks of 16 weeks each. Elective opportunities are available within two of these super blocks.


Third-Year Super Blocks

Required core clerkships:

  • Internal medicine (eight weeks)
  • Pediatrics (eight weeks)
  • Surgery (eight weeks)
  • Obstetrics and gynecology (six weeks)
  • Neurology (four weeks)
  • Psychiatry (four weeks)
  • Primary care (four weeks): family medicine or internal medicine
  • Optional time available for elective clerkships (six weeks)

Core clerkships are primarily offered at Rush University Medical Center and John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County. Stroger Hospital is the flagship hospital of the Cook County Health and Hospital System.

Stroger Hospital is the safety-net hospital for Chicago-area residents, many of whom are either under-insured or uninsured. There are often cases that are unique and more advanced than those seen in university, community and private hospitals.

Stroger has the busiest emergency department in Chicago and one of the largest Level I trauma centers in the United States.

Rush Integrated Clinical Experiences

In this course, you will to develop the necessary skills to become a physician who is able to excel in clinical medicine, education, research and service. Your third year is a time of immersion in clinical medicine and this course will help you connect clinical skills and knowledge to the many roles a physician plays, including scholar, leader, collaborator, educator, and advocate, among others.


Fourth-Year Clerkships

In year four, you complete the Emergency Medicine Core Clerkship and a subinternship in medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, or surgery. In the remaining time, you can explore areas of interests through electives.

You can also complete the Transition Into Residency course. This provides time to prepare residency applications and prepare for the USLME Step 2 CK.

There is also a required Clinical Bridge Course that provides a bootcamp-like experience over four weeks in March, just prior to graduation. This course sharpens already acquired skills in preparation for residency. 



You work in the RUSH Center for Clinical Skills and Simulation throughout your clerkship education. 

Using mannequins and task trainers, you complete activities such as the following:

  • Delivering a baby in the obstetrics and gynecology clerkship 
  • Perform a spinal tap in the neurology clerkship  
  • Treat an unstable patient in the emergency medicine clerkship


M4 research elective

During year four, you can take a research elective in a specialty of your choice.

You work with a faculty mentor to investigate a research question and develop a research plan. This includes developing a hypothesis, study design, timeline and outline of your specific role in the project.