M.D. Program Curriculum


The degree of Doctor of Medicine is awarded by the Board of Regents upon a student’s successful completion of the graduation requirements, recommendation of the Faculty Council to the Dean of the SOM, and certification by the Dean of the SOM to the President. Degrees will be conferred once a year on Commencement Day in the spring. Students completing requirements for a degree earlier in the year will be conferred the degree on the following Commencement Day, but may request the Registrar to provide a Certification of Completion on the date of graduation.

M.D. Program Curriculum Overview


The UTRGV School of Medicine is committed to providing a forward-thinking medical education experience that graduates physicians dedicated to practicing scientific, evidence-based, and patient-centered medicine in any setting, but particularly in under-served communities. The curriculum provides a unique educational experience that integrates basic science disciplines, clinical skills, and professional development throughout the four year program by incorporating and promoting:

  • The principles of evidence-based practice and scientific research;
  • Community and population-based health care;
  • Patient advocacy and cultural awareness;
  • Inter-professional collaboration and communication;
  • Ethical and professional behavior; and
  • Life-long learning and problem-solving.

The school’s distinctive geographic location at the border of the US and Mexico offers a rich bicultural experience that will afford students with the opportunity to experience and to learn about border medicine and the interplay between the cross-cultural, socio-economic and environmental determinants of health.

Curriculum Integration

Woven throughout this four year integrated curriculum are:

  • Interprofessional Education: Students are given the opportunity to experience interprofessional education and team-based care by working and learning alongside an array of disciplines that include nursing, pharmacy, physician assistants, public health, social work, behavioral health and occupational therapy.
  • Early Clinical Exposure: Each student is assigned to a preceptorship where they are given the opportunity for direct patient interaction during the pre-clerkship years.
  • Underserved Medicine: Student are given the opportunity to work in under-served communities, Colonias, and at the student-run free clinic, to learn about healthcare disparities and population health.

Academic Calendar

Academic Calendars can be found on our website.

Four-Year Curriculum

The general four-year curriculum is divided into two pre-clerkship years comprised of sequential and longitudinal learning modules and two clerkship years comprised of clerkships, selective clerkships and sub-internships.

Pre-Clerkship Years: First and Second Year Curriculum

The foundational 21-month first and second year pre-clerkship curriculum allows students to spend the majority of their time developing critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. Through problem-based and self-directed learning students learn to apply their knowledge to clinical case experiences. This will be accomplished through:

  • Problem-based learning in which students work in small groups (7-8 students with a faculty facilitator) to identify learning objectives, research the relevant topics, and discuss their findings with peers in order to resolve a clinical case.
  • Self-directed learning: Students can use a variety of resources and activities to support their individualized learning, including quizzes, online materials with embedded assessment permitting them to identify their learning gaps, and review and retrieve material as necessary.
  • Team-based learning with peers and students from other disciplines requiring advanced preparation for discussion and interactions during class, at clinical sites, and in community activities.
  • Interactive learning with state-of-the-art plastinates, with high fidelity mannequins and standardized patients.

Because students complete their pre-clerkship course work in 21 months, they have the opportunity and time to pursue research, take electives, engage in community service learning and/or study for the USMLE STEP 1 exam before the start of their third year.

The Clerkship Year: Third Year Curriculum

Year 3 comprises a total of 49 weeks. Clerkships provide opportunities for students to further develop their clinical thinking and diagnostic skills by providing direct patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Required clerkships are:

  • Clinical Foundations (1 week)
  • Family Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Internal Medicine (8 weeks)
  • OB/GYN (8 weeks)
  • Pediatrics (8 weeks)
  • Psychiatry (8 weeks)
  • Surgery (8 weeks)
  • Elective (4 weeks)

Fourth Year Curriculum

Year 4 comprises a total of 45 weeks. The 45 weeks include 20 weeks of selectives, 12 weeks of electives, and 10 weeks of optional time for interviews, travel, USMLE STEP 2 CK/CS preparation. Electives can be taken in specialty areas at home or outside institutions. Year 4 culminates with a 3-week clinical boot camp, which prepares students to transition into residency.

Required Courses/Activities Grade Mode Weeks Credit Hours
Advanced Family Medicine H/P/F 4 4.0
Sub-Internship – Outpatient H/P/F 4 4.0
Sub-Internship – Inpatient H/P/F 4 4.0
Emergency Medicine Selective H/P/F 4 4.0
Neurology Selective H/P/F 4 4.0
Elective H/P/F 4 4.0
Elective H/P/F 4 4.0
Elective H/P/F 4 4.0
Clinical Boot Camp P/F 3 3.0
Optional Time: Vacation, Holidays, Residency Applications/Interviewing N/A 10 0.0
Total Weeks/Credit Hours for Y4   45 35.0


Outpatient and Inpatient Sub-Internships may be completed in any specialty at either home or at an away institution. At least one Sub-Internship must be completed at the home institution. The four week Sub-I gives students the opportunity to expand their outpatient and inpatient knowledge and clinical skills by acting as an intern. Students may select their Sub-Is from a variety of disciplines such as, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, OB/GYN, and Surgery. Other inpatient options include Medical Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Stroke Unit, Psychiatry Unit, Pediatric or neonatal intensive care unit.