The current medical student curriculum differs from more traditional curricula in several respects. During the first two years, the basic sciences are no longer taught as discipline-specific "courses" but are integrated and taught as "blocks," using interdisciplinary teaching with both basic and clinical science teachers. Lectures are limited to allow small group discussion and integration of basic material. Ample time is provided for independent study and the exploration of clinical and research opportunities outside of the classroom.
Introduction to Clinical Medicine, which runs throughout the first two years, includes areas such as Interviewing, Physical Diagnosis, Medical Ethics, Human Sexuality and Medical Economics. The third and fourth year of the medical student curriculum consist of clerkships, sub-internships and electives designed to prepare the student to become an excellent clinician, as well as introduce specialties across the spectrum of medicine. Particular emphasis is placed on competence in both inpatient and ambulatory settings and preparation for the first year of post-graduate training.
The ties between the medical school and the hospital enrich and enhance both medical education and health care. All physicians practicing at the University of Maryland Medical System and at the Faculty Professional Building have School of Medicine faculty appointments. All faculty members actively participate in the educational process of medical students and residents. A complete range of medical specialties provides more than 600 postgraduate positions at the University of Maryland Medical Center and affiliated hospitals. The Medical System includes a 724-bed teaching hospital, the Greenebaum Cancer Center and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center on campus, as well as the James Lawrence Kernan and University Specialty Hospitals off campus.
Medical care and education are further enhanced by the location of the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center on this campus in a state-of-the-art hospital adjacent to the School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Together, these facilities serve as the major clinical training sites as well as sources of comprehensive health care for the local community and the state. The school also has established clinical affiliations throughout the region, giving students unusual flexibility in clinical experiences.
In an effort to nurture more interest in basic research and to meet the increasing demand for physician-scientists, the school offers a combined MD/PhD program in 10 medical disciplines and an MD/MS program in preventive medicine, as well as a new MD/MPH program, with other joint programs on the horizon. Although the schedule can be flexible, MD/PhD students typically complete the freshman and sophomore years of medical school, enroll as graduate students until PhD completion and then begin their clinical clerkships. Combined MD/PhD degree studies can be completed within six to eight years.
Medical students in the track leading to the MD/MS in preventive medicine may complete the dual-degree program in five years. The fifth year is counted as one year of preventive medicine residency training by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. The MD/MPH program is designed to be completed in five years as well, although especially well-prepared students may be able to complete the requirements for both degrees in four years.
Graduate programs are offered at the master's and doctoral levels in the basic sciences. A baccalaureate program in medical and research technology is also offered, as well as a doctorate program in physical therapy, a master's program in genetic counseling and a number of interdisciplinary programs with both service and research components.
Continuing education programs are sponsored for practicing physicians throughout the region.
The School of Medicine offers students an excellent spectrum of resources and community experiences. Located along the Baltimore-Washington corridor, the school is in the midst of a great concentration of health care institutions, research centers, government agencies, professional associations and a rapidly expanding biotechnology industry.