Medical (MD) Curriculum

Overview of the Medical Curriculum

Grounding you in the sciences fundamental to medicine, our preclinical organ-based curriculum utilizes self-directed learning and trains you to think critically and solve problems individually or as a team - skills you will call on throughout your professional life to make informed decisions for your patients.  These skills prepare you for the clinical years where you will see a broad mosaic of human disease.  The impact of these diseases, processes, and systems on the patient and society are emphasized as you study the entire human condition.

Our first year curriculum introduces you to the role of medicine in society and concentrates on both the molecular aspects of disease and the human body as a whole.  Beginning in the second semester, students advance into the integrated organ-based modules covering the hematologic, gastrointestinal, renal, and musculoskeletal systems.  Your clinical experience begins within the first two weeks of classes with the Clinical Practice of Medicine 1 where you will learn the art of physical diagnosis and history taking along with direct patient contact over the entire first year.

Our second year curriculum expands your organ-based knowledge of cardiovascular, respiratory, behavioral and neurosciences, endocrinology, and reproductive medicine. Your clinical skills also progress in the Clinical Practice of Medicine 2 course where you begin to master the art of both the history and physical exam while learning the presentations of disease states. The synthesis of all this knowledge is culminated with your USMLE Step 1 examination after a dedicated study period of approximately 7 weeks.

The third year is all about the clerkships - intense experiences in both inpatient and outpatient arenas covering the specialties of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, in six week blocks, while Internal Medicine and Surgery occupy twelve-week rotations.  One month electives are offered during the medicine and surgery clerkships that allow exposure to areas of interest in the third year or the ability to fulfill some fourth year requirements. The importance of ethics in the clinical realm is emphasized during the year-long course in Dilemmas in Clinical Medicine.

Your fourth year provides ample opportunities for exploration and diversity with only three fourth year requirements: advanced medicine, surgical sub-specialties, and neurology, with the latter two being offered as third year elective options as well.  Flexibility of scheduling allows for opportunities to explore special interests through individualized selections at the Jacobs School and across the nation and world.

Graphic showing the general layout of the 4 year medical curriculum.

The general structure of the four year medical curriculum.

Coursebook

Curriculum Information by Academic Year

First Year

First year courses begin in August and continue through May of the following year. You will participate in a structured curriculum as outlined below. Elective courses are also available for you. Instructions for registration will be emailed to your UB email. You must report an accurate email address to the Offices of Medical Education, as well as your current home address and phone number.

2019-2020 First Year Schedule

Fall 2019 Course Schedule

Course Start date End date # of weeks
Orientation August 5, 2019 August 7, 2019 3 days
IMC500 Medicine and Society August 8, 2019 August 16, 2019 1.5 weeks
IDM520 CPM1 August 12, 2019 December 9, 2019 15 weeks
IMC502 Fundamentals 1: Molecules, Cells and Molecular Genetics  August 20, 2019 October 11, 2019 8 weeks
PAS500 Gross Human Anatomy August 16, 2019 December 11, 2019 16.5 weeks
IMC504 Fundamentals 2 October 11, 2019 December 16, 2019 8.5 weeks

Spring 2020 Course Schedule

Course Start date End date # of weeks
IMC516 Host Defenses and Hematology January 6, 2020 February 26, 2020 7.5 weeks
IDM521 CPM1 January 6, 2020 May 18, 2020 19 weeks
IMC510 Gastrointestinal System and Metabolism February 27, 2020 April 3, 2020 6 weeks
IMC512 Urinary Tract and Renal System April 13, 2020 May 11, 2020 4 weeks
IMC514 Musculoskeletal System and Integument May 12, 2020 May 29, 2020 3 weeks

Important Dates

  • Labor Day: Monday, September 2, 2019 (no classes)
  • Humanities Day: Thursday, November 14, 2019 (tentative) - Mandatory Attendance
  • Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - Sunday, December 1, 2019
  • Winter Break: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - Sunday, January 5, 2020
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 20, 2020 (no classes)
  • Spring Break: Saturday, April 4, 2020 - Sunday, April 12, 2020
  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 25, 2020 (no classes)

Fall 2019 Exam Dates

IMC 500: Medicine and Society

  • Final Exam: Friday, 8/16

IDM 520: Clinical Practice of Medicine I

  • Clinical Skills Midterm: Monday, 10/7
  • Clinical Skills Final: Monday, 12/2
  • Written Final: Monday, 12/9

PAS 500: Gross Human Anatomy

  • Exam 1: Wednesday, 9/25
  • Exam 2: Wednesday, 10/30
  • Exam 3: Wednesday, 12/11
IMC 502: Fundamentals I
  • Molecular Exam 1: Tuesday, 9/3
  • Histology Exam 1: Tuesday, 9/10
  • Molecular Exam 2: Tuesday, 9/17
  • Molecular Exam 3: Tuesday, 10/3

Summer Opportunities

If you are seeking liability insurance for summer experiences outside the University, you must speak with one of the Associate Deans in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA). 

Second Year

Second year courses begin in August and continue through April of the following year. You will participate in a structured curriculum as outlined below. Elective courses are also available for you. Instructions for registration will be emailed to your UB email. You must report an accurate email address to the Offices of Medical Education, as well as your current home address and phone number.

After the completion of courses, you will have an approximately 8 week "dedicated study period" to allow you time to study and sit for the USMLE Step 1 Exam. More information on this exam is below.  

2019-2020 Second Year Schedule

Fall 2019 Course Schedule

Course Start date End date # of weeks
IMC602 Human Cardiovascular System August 7, 2019 September 27, 2019 7.5 weeks
IDM620 CPM 2 August 7, 2019 December 11, 2019 18 weeks
IMC604 Lung and Respiration September 30, 2019 November 1, 2019 5 weeks
IMC606 Neuroscience (pre-break) November 4, 2019 December 16, 2019 5.5 weeks

Spring 2020 Course Schedule

Course Start date End date # of weeks
IMC606 Neuroscience (post-break) January 6, 2020 January 24, 2020 3 weeks
IDM621 CPM2 January 8, 2020 April 15, 2020 14 weeks
IMC610 Behavior January 27, 2020 February 14, 2020 3 weeks
IMC612 Endocrine February 17, 2020 March 18, 2020 5 weeks
IMC612 Reproductive March 19, 2020 April 21, 2020 3.5 weeks
Procedures April 22, 2020 April 23, 2020 2 days

Important Dates

  • Labor Day: Monday, September 2, 2019 (no classes)
  • MS2 - IP Education Forum: Thursday, November 7, 2019 - Mandatory Attendance
  • Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - Sunday, December 1, 2019
  • Winter Break: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - Sunday, January 5, 2020
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 20, 2020 (no classes)
  • Spring Break: Saturday, March 21, 2020 - Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • STEP 1 must be taken by Tuesday, June 23, 2020
  • Third Year Orientation starts Wednesday June 24, 2020

USMLE Step 1

You can apply for the Step 1 exam online at nbme.org or usmle.org.  Instructions for registration and many other helpful resources can be found in your Office of Medical Education course on UBLearns in the Step 1 Resources folder under Course Documents. After registering for the exam online, you must complete a verification page that can be completed by visiting the Office of Medical Curriculum (7th floor).  The office will have copies of your picture and additional directions to help you complete the registration process.  Dr. Frank Schimpfhauser, Carrie Gillings, Laura Willgohs and Kevin Hittle are authorized signatories.

Prior to beginning the third year, you are required to take Step 1 of the USMLE. The deadline for taking Step 1 will be established each year by the Offices of Medical Education. Failure of the Step 1 exam will result in you being held out of the next clerkship to allow for successful re-examination, which must be completed prior to the beginning of the next block. You will then be allowed to join the clerkship pending your examination result. A second failure requires you to be placed on a leave of absence. You will not be allowed to re-enter the curriculum until a passing grade is recorded. You are only allowed three (3) opportunities to pass Step 1 of the USMLE before a recommendation for a dismissal from the school is made.

Third Year Lottery

All students take the same 6 required clerkships during third year, but your third year schedule of clerkships is determined by way of the Third Year Lottery. The lottery is conducted in spring of your second year on MedHub. You will receive instructions and tips on how to complete the lottery and potentially structure your third year schedule during an information session before the lottery opens. More information will be sent to your UB email.

Third Year also has schedule space for two electives. These you will register for directly on a first come, first serve basis on Hub. Registration will be after your third year lottery results are released. Instructions will be sent to your UB email.

Third Year

Third year is a full academic calendar year in length, beginning in July and ending in June. The third year begins with a mandatory 3-day orientation. Your first clerkship will begin the following Monday. Your third year schedule is assigned based on the Third Year Lottery completed in spring of the second year. Placements within the clerkships will be at hospitals, medical centers, and private offices throughout Western New York and will be communicated by the clerkship coordinator to your UB email; therefore you must report accurate email addresses to the Offices of Medical Education, as well as providing current home addresses and phone numbers.

Under direct supervision, you will have the opportunity to observe and participate in the care of patients with a wide variety of illnesses and will be given progressively more responsibility as your skill develops. Educational experiences also include emphasis on lecture demonstrations of clinical problems, small-group problem-solving, conferences, and ward rounds. Increasing emphasis is placed on disease prevention and primary care. Assessment of clinical competence is addressed through multiple mechanisms.

Third year is comprised of four 12-week blocks. Pediatrics, OBGYN, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine are all six weeks long, each making up half of one block. Medicine and Surgery are both 12 weeks long. Within both Medicine and Surgery is a 4-week module space for an elective. A list of available elective courses will be provided. An elective period during the fall semester (July-Dec) will be registered for in the spring of second year. An elective period during the spring semester (Jan-June) will be registered for in the fall of third year. Instructions for registration will be send to your UB email.

In addition, you will take Dilemmas in Clincal Medicine as an ongoing course throughout third year. This course will address medical ethics topics. You will have one class session in each of the 6-week clerkships and two in the 12-week clerkships. You will also have an assignment during each of the 12-week clerkships. More information will be on MedHub and sent to your UB email.

You will also have a 2-week course, Core Topics, during the intersession between fall and spring semesters. This is a classroom, small group, and simulation based course that will allow you to use the experience you have gained in clerkships to discuss and learn more about some important issues in clinical medicine.

2019-2020 Third Year Schedule

Block Schedule

  Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
MED/SUR
A B C
7/1 - 7/28 7/29 - 8/25 8/26 - 9/22
A B C
9/23 - 10/20 10/21 - 11/17 11/18 - 12/15
A B C
1/13 - 2/9 2/10 - 3/8 3/9 - 4/5
A B C
4/6 - 5/3 5/4 - 5/31 6/1 - 6/28

PED/PTY/

GYN/FMD

A B
7/1 - 8/11 8/12 - 9/22
A B
9/23 - 11/3 11/4 - 12/15
A B
1/13 - 2/23 2/24 - 4/5
A B
4/6 - 5/17 5/18 - 6/28

2019-2020 Core Topics Schedule

Week 1: December 16, 2019 - December 20, 2019

Week 2: January 6, 2020 - January 10, 2020

Important Dates, Events, Holidays and Breaks

  • Third Year Orientation: June 26-28, 2019 - Mandatory Attendance
  • Thanksgiving Break: Close of Business on 11/27 - 12/1
  • Winter Break: December 21, 2019 - January 5, 2020
  • MS3 - IP Education Forum: Thursday, March 5, 2020 (tentative date) - Mandatory Attendance
  • Third Year Meetings - Mandatory Attendance
    • TBD

Third Year Clerkship/Course Descriptions

Vacation

There will be two weeks of vacation for all students during the intersession period. The exact dates vary from year-to-year, but all students will be on vacation during this two-week period. You will not be permitted to take vacation time other than the two-week winter break, and no out-of-town electives will be allowed during the third year.

Remediation of Third Year Clerkship Failure(s)

All academic deficiencies from the third-year clerkships and courses must be removed before promotion to the fourth year. A student who fails a clerkship clinically must repeat the entire clerkship; this is done over a 6-to-8 week period during the first block following your third year. A student who passes the clerkship clinically, but fails the examination also requires remediation. In this case, the student can either repeat the entire clerkship (as above, over a 6-to-8 week period during the first block of the fourth year) or participate in a concentrated remedial experience (four weeks in duration offered at the end of the third year). This is available for a single clerkship failure only. Details of the remedial experience are at the discretion of the clerkship director.

Failure of a remedial experience will constitute a second clerkship failure and will make the student subject to dismissal from the school. If a student, who passed the clerkship clinically but elected to repeat the entire clerkship, fails the remediation, this will also count as a second clerkship failure and make the student subject to dismissal from the school.

You are required to pass all third year clerkships before being promoted to fourth year.

Third Year Clinical Competency Exam

All third year students will take the Third Year Clinical Competency Exam during spring of the third year. Passing of this exam is required for promotion to fourth year. It serves as a practice exam for USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). More information about this exam will come from the Office of Student and Academic Affairs to your UB email.

Fourth Year Lottery

Required fourth year courses are scheduled by way of the lottery system in MedHub. The lottery is conducted in spring of your third year. You will receive instructions and tips on how to complete the lottery and potentially structure your fourth year schedule during an before the lottery opens. More information will be sent to your UB email.

Fourth year electives are registered for on a first come first serve basis in Hub, after the fourth year lottery results are finalized. Instructions on registration will be sent to your UB email.

USMLE Step 2

Passing both Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS are requirements for graduation. In order to be eligible to participate in the Match, students must meet the following deadlines:

  • Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK): must be taken by Dec. 31 of the 4th year.
  • **Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS): must be taken by Dec. 31 of the 4th year.

** The Office of Medical Education highly recommends taking Step 2 CS immediately after completion of the third year.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Letters

All students applying to residency will need an MSPE, also known as a dean's letter. The Office of Student and Academic Affairs will send more information abot the MSPE to your UB email. A meeting between you and one of the Student and Academic Affairs deans will be scheduled during the spring of your third year. There will also be time to review your MSPE before it is submitted during your fourth year.

Fourth Year

The curriculum is designed so you may plan, with faculty advisement, a significant part of your educational program. The elective approach to curriculum affords students with different backgrounds and aspirations an individual educational experience. Through the elective program, you are able to try out possible career choices, gain additional clinical experience, embark upon or conclude research, or re-examine the basic medical sciences. Instructions for registration will be emailed to the your UB email.

The fourth year schedule is broken up into eleven 4-week modules (Modules A-K). You are required to take eight (8) four-week courses. Required courses in the fourth year include Neurology (NEU 801), Advanced Clerkship in Medicine (MED 802), and Surgical Specialties (SUR 800). Transition to Residency (IMC 810) is also required but does not count towards the 8 total courses. All required courses must be taken in Buffalo. Students who complete NEU 801 and/or SUR 800 during the third year are still required to take 8 courses. The fourth year schedule of required courses is determined based on the fourth year lottery, which takes place in spring of your third year.

You may fill the rest of your fourth year schedule with electives, both at UB and away. Electives at UB can be registered for on Hub on a first come, first serve basis. Away electives must be applied to via VSAS. More information on both UB and away electives will be sent to you via UB mail in the spring of third year. The schedule also allows for three modules of unscheduled time. Module L may only be used to remediate a course failure or if your progress was delayed because of a leave of absence, for example.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society created a Fourth Year Survival Guide, which can be found on UBLearns in your Office of Medical Education class under Course Documents. It provides helpful tips and more detailed information on many topics relevant to fourth year medical students.

2019-2020 Fourth Year Schedule

Fall Semester

Module Dates
A July 1, 2019 - July 28, 2019
B July 29, 2019 - August 25, 2019
C August 26, 2019 - September 22, 2019
D September 23, 2019 - October 20, 2019
E October 21, 2019 - November 17, 2019
F November 18, 2019 - December 15, 2019

Spring Semester

Module Dates
G December 16, 2019 - January 12, 2020
H January 13, 2020 - February 9, 2020
I February 10, 2020 - March 8, 2020
J March 9, 2020 - April 5, 2020
K April 6, 2020 - May 3, 2020
L May 4, 2020 - May 31, 2020
M June 1, 2020 - June 28, 2020

Important Dates

Modules Begin: Monday, July 1, 2019

Main Residency Match ERAS Applications Opens: September 15, 2019

Main Residency Match NRMP Registration Deadline: TBD (not on ERAS site yet)

Complete Step 2 Exams by: December 31, 2019

Main Residency Match Rank Order List Deadline: TBD (not on ERAS site yet)

Match Day: TBD (not on ERAS site yet)

Graduation Day: Friday, May 1, 2020

Fourth Year Course Descriptions

Note: If Surgical Subspecialties and/or Basic Neurology were taken as a third-year elective, additional electives must be completed during fourth year. A total of 8 courses must be completed during fourth year.

More Important Course Information:

  • Required courses in Medicine, Neurology and Surgery will be determined by lottery. 
  • Students must be registered for a course at least 4 weeks prior to the start date of the module.
  • No course or elective may be taken twice, research and away electives are exceptions
  • Up to two modules of research may be taken in fourth year; this option is not available to MD/PhD students.
  • No more than four out-of-town electives may be taken and no more than two out-of-town electives may be taken at the same institution. 
  • A maximum of one international elective is allowed with that elective counting toward the four out-of-town electives. 
  • No more than three electives may be taken locally in any single departmental division.
  • All drop/add forms must be approved and signed by the course director (not the department chair); it must then be sent to the registrar in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs no later than 4 weeks before the module begins.
  • Double registration is not allowed; the only exception is when an away elective is pending. Once the away elective is confirmed, the other course/elective must be dropped using the drop/add form.
  • Any course or elective failure must be made up within 2 modules.
  • No retroactive registration is permitted for any course (local or out-of-town).

Out-of-Town Electives

You may take out-of-town electives at any of the more than 200 clinical institutions and hospitals with which we have affiliation agreements.

Clinical Affiliation Agreements and Student Liability Insurance

Overview

The purpose of an affiliation agreement between UB and an affiliated institution is to advance UB students’ educational programs in a particular educational discipline.

The State University of New York is considered an agency of the State of New York, and therefore, its liability is the same as the State of New York.  The affiliation agreement sets forth the educational purposes of the arrangement; the responsibilities of each party; allocation of the risks; any insurance covering any risks; duration of the agreement; and how the parties will coordinate the clinical experience.  Without an affiliation agreement, no academic credit can be earned and no medical liability coverage is provided.

SUNY’S Insurance for UB Students

If you are participating in health-related clinical experiences, especially those with hands on in either patient care or laboratory testing, there is a risk of a lawsuit.  Pursuant to the mandates of the policy, UB must have a written agreement between itself and the Host Institution in order to have insurance coverage extended to you when you are participating in that particular clinical program. Therefore, for health-related student affiliation agreements, SUNY purchases commercial insurance to cover malpractice claims against students.  Both defense costs and indemnification in the event of judgment or settlement are covered in the event of a lawsuit being filed naming you as a Defendant.  Without a written Affiliation Agreement in place, you will not have coverage for either defense costs or indemnification if such a suit is brought by a third party. 

You are not covered when you shadow or do any type of health related clinical experience with a physician, nurse or any other health care provider who is a friend, relative or neighbor of the student, without a written agreement between UB and the Host Institution. In these cases, you are solely liable for your actions because your activities are not under authority or consent of UB. 

Policy Limits

The current policy is a typical professional insurance contract with an amount not less than $3 Million aggregate for bodily injury and property damaged combined single limit, the standard of the health care industry as determined by the New York State Health Department. 

Clinical Experiences outside of the US

SUNY’s student liability policy does not cover affiliation agreements outside the continental United States. If you wish to do a clinical experience outside the US would have to obtain their own policy of insurance, which can be quite expensive.  Liability exposure is not limited just to professional liability.  Insurance also covers legal defense costs, which can be quite expensive.   In the past, SUNY has entered into several affiliation agreements with agencies in Ontario, Canada so long as the Host Institution signs SUNY’s Standard Affiliation Agreement complete with the Exhibits.

Establishing an affiliation agreement

If you wish to work in a physician’s office, a research laboratory, or a hospital/clinic, you must do the following:

(1) Check in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA) to determine if an Affiliation Agreement with the host institution is currently in place.

(2)  If there is an Agreement in place, see number (4).

(3)  If currently there is no Affiliation Agreement, obtain and complete a “Student Affiliation form” from Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA) and return it to the Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA) at least 12 weeks before the experience is to begin.

(4)  If an Affiliation Agreement is currently in place or if a new one has been established, you must register for an appropriate course through appropriate channels.

(5)  Under no circumstances are you permitted to begin an experience without confirmation of an Affiliation Agreement.

Applying to Residency

Most students will be applying to residency via the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS).The MSPE letter will be an important part of your application and will be discussed with you during spring of your third year. Letters of Recommendation and a personal statment are also important pieces of the application. Students applying to Opthalmology, Urology, or the military match should contact the Office of Student and Academic Affairs for more information on the process special to these fields.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society created a Fourth Year Survival Guide, which can be found on UBLearns in your Office of Medical Education class under Course Documents. It provides helpful tips and more detailed information on many topics relevant to fourth year medical students.

Program Planning

Advisers and faculty as well as members of the dean’s staff in the Office of Medical Education are available to assist third-and fourth-year students in the program-planning process. Requests for special scheduling (such as participation in a program of more than two months in duration or spending more than one month at the same institution) must be brought to the attention of the Office of Student and Academic Affairs and must be approved. When determined to be of educational beneficial for you, individual programs may be modified by the Office of Student and Academic Affairs.

Graduation Honors

You may qualify for Latin, research or thesis honors at graduation.

You have the opportunity to apply for both research and thesis honors prior to graduation. If you are interested in these honors, you must write a thesis for review by a special committee. Research honors simply require evidence of continuous research that has resulted in either publication(s) or presentation(s) at national meetings.

Visiting Students

Visiting students from other medical schools within the U.S. must successfully complete an application process in VSAS in order to take fourth year clinical electives at any of the school’s affiliated hospitals or institutions. The Office of Student and Academic Affairs administers this program. The tremendous demand for educational experiences by students’ trained elsewhere, especially foreign-trained students far exceeds our ability to accommodate them. We have, therefore, established a policy that will keep open visiting student opportunities for domestic medical students only. For more information, potential visiting students should call (716) 829-2802.