Office of the Registrar

The Warren Alpert School of Medicine

The Warren Alpert Medical School curriculum has been designed and implemented with the intention of creating an integrated, contemporary, compassionate, and flexible program of learning for our students.

Our approach to medical education is predicated on the vision that tomorrow's physician must be a lifelong learner who is scientifically and clinically enlightened, patient and service-centered, and who understands the economic underpinnings of the US healthcare system. Our goal is to train physicians who will provide informed and compassionate care while at the same time serving as leaders and change agents for the healthcare system. To achieve the latter goal, we aim to train physicians who will be leaders at all levels.


These educational goals are pursued through a curriculum with the following structure. During Years 1 and 2, students enroll in four sequential semesters of Integrated Medical Sciences (IMS-I through -IV) and Doctoring-I through -IV. The elective Scholarly Concentrations Program is introduced to students during Year 1. Year 3 allows students to explore core disciplines and related specialties through the completion of required clerkships in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, psychiatry, and family medicine. The transition from the third year to the fourth year takes place in May, after which time students have the opportunity to develop a program of elective rotations aimed at finalizing a career choice, and obtaining and preparing for a residency in their chosen field.

The Warren Alpert Medical School continues to employ a competency-based curriculum that was officially launched in 1996 for the graduating MD Class of 2000. The rationale behind the competency-based curriculum stems from the need to define the outcomes of the educational process: what are the desirable qualities of a medical school graduate, and what constitutes the essential knowledge base that will enable a graduate to make a successful transition to his or her chosen medical field?

Nine Abilities

All students are expected to gain competency in the Nine Abilities (see below) and knowledge base by graduation. Each course within the core curriculum of the Medical School identifies which abilities and parts of the knowledge base it addresses. Students may also meet the competency requirements through individualized study, group independent study projects (GISPs), or alternative courses that might be arranged as part of collaborative learning opportunities.

  1. Effective communication
  2. Basic clinical skills
  3. Using basic science in the practice of medicine
  4. Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment
  5. Lifelong learning
  6. Professionalism
  7. Community health promotion and advocacy
  8. Moral reasoning and clinical ethics
  9. Clinical decision making

The Warren Alpert Medical School

For additional information regarding The Warren Alpert Medical School.