The TCU School of Medicine brings together the world’s best practices in medical education and the latest advances in technology to forge new boundaries in medical student education and training.
This progressive approach to medical education creates and shapes empathetic scholars who are both adept at caring for patients, and able to meet the health care challenges of tomorrow. The student is central to the educational program. Student success is at the heart of the school’s design and has been incorporated in everything from the creation of significant learning experiences and education spaces to the launch of a highly individualized team-based framework for ongoing student coaching and support. The curriculum is divided into three phases across four years and has been carefully crafted to promote learning and student success.
Phase 1 provides students with an integrated foundation in basic and clinical sciences in order to understand the underpinnings of medicine and prepare students to succeed in clinical training
Phase 2 consists primarily of clinical learning opportunities in a longitudinal integrated clerkship model that will guide students to become proficient clinicians and effective members of a health care team.
Phase 3 allows students the opportunity to pursue a team project in an area of interest as well as to explore career options and fine-tune clinical skills in critical care, sub-internship electives, and a number of student-selected electives.
Across the curriculum, students experience a highly-integrated, comprehensive curriculum with content in communication, critical thinking and design, and health care delivery systems among many other themes, to prepare them for the realities of physician practice in the 21st century. The school aims to optimize each student’s experience and performance by using proven strategies in self-directed learning, harnessing new technologies and incorporating longitudinal clinical learning opportunities. Patient care begins at the time students enter the program and integrates across the curriculum to provide immersive clinical training experiences and the opportunity for students to develop meaningful relationships with patients and faculty over time With 24 identified educational program objectives across 7 domains, students can be sure they are receiving the highest quality preparation to excel in the art and science of medicine.
Requirements for M.D. Degree
The school of medicine has required standards for the graduation of medical students. All students who have successfully completed the requirements for the MD degree will be recommended for graduation by the Student Progression and Promotion Committee.
The School of Medicine (SOM) does not use the credit hour as a measure for which students receive credit. However, the weeks of instruction may be converted to credit hours using the following methodology.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), a specialized national accrediting body for all allopathic medical schools, accredits the SOM Integrated Medical Curriculum (IMC). The LCME requires a minimum of 130 weeks of instruction for the MD degree. The TCU and UNTHSC SOM curriculum is 180 weeks over 4 years.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees.
The SACSCOC requires at least 30 semester credit hours for a doctorate. The TCU and UNTHSC SOM has 180 over 4 years.
The school of medicine offers a one-of-a-kind educational experience, tailored to students’ learning preferences with the patient as the priority. Not everything a student needs to know can be taught in several weeks or even a semester. Years of intentional focus can establish competency and effective tools to explore the depth and understanding of life-long learning, the complexities of the modern health care system, and effective communication and patient care skills.
Longitudinal Course Descriptions
Our student-centered approach limits structured classroom time to approximately 20 hours in a given a week. Students have the flexibility to structure 20 additional hours a week for both self-directed and independent study. All classroom time and exams occur within the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.
A Pass/Fail grading system in Phase 1 encourages a collaborative learning environment. At the beginning of Phase 1, students get an introduction to the requirements and rigors of medical school and clinical practice in the Medical School and Clinical Immersion Course. This provides students a low-stakes opportunity to acclimate to expectations and learn success techniques before embarking on the medical education journey. After this first course, we use an organ-based approach to teach basic, clinical and behavioral sciences primarily using structured small group learning in the remainder of Phase 1.
In addition to the integrated basic/clinical sciences organ-systems content, students are enrolled in five longitudinal courses in Phase 1: Clinical Skills, LIC 1 Foundational Experience, Scholarly Pursuit and Thesis, The Compassionate Practice, and Preparation for Practice.
Importantly, the School of Medicine provides a network of individuals who offer personalized academic and professional coaching to students in order to ensure success. Students are assigned to small student teams with dedicated Physician Development Coaches who provide support and coaching during this critical time of adjustment and development in a medical student’s professional formation.
Phase 1 Course Descriptions
Students will have the opportunity to be an integral part of the health care team in both inpatient and outpatient settings as part of the hallmark Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC). Students experience each of the core disciplines of Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery. Students will be paired with clinical preceptors in each specialty who will mentor the student over course of the LIC. While most of the clerkship year will occur in outpatient settings, meaningful inpatient experiences are essential. Inpatient LIC Immersion experiences at the beginning of Phase 2 will orient students to the hospital environment and their role on the care team as well as help them learn to care for acutely ill patients. Students experience inpatient immersions in the Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics and Surgery clerkships. Additionally, students will complete other shorter inpatient immersion experiences at various intervals for each clerkship, work multiple emergency medicine shifts, and work a weekend of inpatient call per month to expose them to inpatient medicine and the acute conditions that their patients will face. The schedule will provide flexible time during the year to integrate and allow students to explore a wide variety of fields of medicine including Anesthesiology, Pathology, and Radiology.
The advantages of longitudinal clinical training are many. The LIC model is both patient-centric and learner-centric; it is a progressive curriculum that enables students to maintain continuity with patients and expand their ability to understand and manage the contemporary complexities of patient care. Clinical teachers are essential members of the educational team and key role models for students. Our clinical faculty have excellent professional reputations; the highest skill and regard for quality and patient-centered care; and a contagious spirit of learning.
For the student, being an integral part of the health care team will foster meaningful learning about patient care and the health care system from faculty who become student advocates over time. Students will also have the opportunity to enroll and manage the progress of their own patient panel for each discipline. Additionally, there will be weekly opportunities to connect with faculty in small-group learning sessions, called Learning and Pondering Sessions (LeAPS) to focus on connections between the basic science and clinical skills in a supportive team-based learning environment. Preparation for Practice and Narrative Medicine will be interwoven throughout the LIC curriculum during Phase 2. The final portion of this phase will include time to study for and take USMLE Step 1.
Phase 2 Course Descriptions
Phase 3 begins in the third year and continues until graduation. Students will continue their professional development and scholarly pursuit as well as prepare for residency. Students begin with the 16-week “Develop” portion of Phase 3 where there is an emphasis on the 10 Preparation for Practice themes the school has designated as critical to a well-rounded physician practicing 21st century medicine. Groups of students will work with faculty and community partners to develop a focused project related to one of seven societal issues. Students will also continue to care for a small subset of their patient panel, including those they acquired during Phase 1, in order to maintain clinical acuity and allow for a continued connection with patients and clinical teachers through the Phase 3 LIC course. Finally, students will also have dedicated time to continue work on their 4 year project in the Scholarly Pursuit and Thesis course and to present data to each other in small groups to hone communication skills and collaborative thinking about research.
Students continue with the “Focus” portion, a truly individualized time of the curriculum that will include a 4-week sub-internship rotation in a specialty of choice, a 4-week critical care selective in a specialty of choice, and 28 weeks of elective course time to allow students to gain valuable clinical experience, explore career interests and prepare for the residency match process. Students will also be given a generous allotment of time to apply and interview for residency admission, as well as prepare for and take USMLE Steps 2 CK and CS.
Finally, the students will enter the “Prepare” portion of Phase 3. Students will participate in a final on-campus course, Transition to Residency, designed to prepare students for the next stage of their career as a first-year resident. The curriculum will include content on advanced clinical procedures, communication skills, leadership, team management, and other requisite skills. This course will also allow time for the students to reflect on their progress through medical school, what it means to be a physician and includes a final emphasis on communication, empathy, and the value of compassionate patient care. During this portion of Phase 3, the students will present their Scholarly Pursuit and Thesis project in the annual research symposium.