Degrees & Curriculum
New Curriculum for the Class of 2027
Beginning in Fall 2023, the class of 2027 will be the first class to navigate a new, systems-based curriculum at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
The renewed curriculum will have three phases: Foundations, Clinical Immersion, and Specialty-Specific Transitions. The Foundations phase will also include a component called Minnesota Health Pathways.
The Foundations phase will unify the curriculum between our two campuses and provide evidence-based education with guaranteed outcomes. The Minnesota Health Pathways will give students five options for in-depth exploration of health disparities in regional and/or underserved populations. All Pathways will be available at both campuses.
- Introduction to the New Curriculum: slideshow and video
- Introduction to the Minnesota Health Pathways: slideshow, video, and handout
- Minnesota Health Pathways Faculty Leads: slideshow
- Cycle 2023 Changes to the Admissions Process: handout
Please note that our Assistant Deans for Curriculum are leading the charge to update our curriculum for the incoming class of 2027. As that academic year does not begin until August of 2023, they are using this academic year for planning and are releasing information to us in Admissions as it is confirmed throughout the year. As soon as they share information with us, we are working to update our web pages to get the latest information to our applicants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a new curriculum?
The new curriculum will be the result of 3 years of detailed work which started with a charge from the main faculty governance committee at the medical school in 2018, called the Medical School Education Committee (MSEC). The task force started its work in September 2020 and included faculty, leadership, and students from both campuses.
The goal of the new curriculum is to:
- have a single, shared curriculum across both campuses: Twin Cities and Duluth.
- know all of our intended outcomes and individualize the Pathways for students to get to those outcomes.
- use evidence-based strategies to design the curriculum and continue to incorporate evidence-based teaching methods to achieve the outcomes.
- continuously monitor the success of the curriculum by monitoring the outcomes for each student, and if students were having difficulty achieving an outcome, we would know where to look in the curriculum to make improvements.
How long is the Foundations phase?
Foundations will start in the Fall of the first year and continue through the Fall of the second year. It will end at winter break of the second year. The curriculum is designed with a 6-week block to prepare for and complete the USMLE Step 1 exam. This will be followed by the next phase of the curriculum, called Clinical Immersion, where students will move into the full time clinical learning environment and complete their required clerkships.
What is taught in the Foundations phase?
Students at the University of Minnesota Medical School will complete the Foundations phase on either the Duluth or Twin Cities campus. This phase will move through nine organ systems of the human body and explore the foundational basic and clinical science that prepares students for their immersive clinical training in the next phase.
The design of the Foundations phase is systems-based. Each organ system provides a convenient context to understand foundational knowledge and skills and link them to clinical examples. These organ systems include:
3. Nervous & Human Behavior
6. Renal & Urinary
7. Endocrine & Reproductive
As each student moves through the organ system courses, they will achieve learning objectives in each of these thirteen threads:
1. Anatomy and Embryology
2. Clinical Skills
4. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
6. Immunology and Inflammation
7. Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Metabolism
8. Delivery of Care
9. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
10. Histology and Pathology
11. Life Stages
12. Physiology and Pathophysiology
13. Public Health
The threads will be continuous throughout the curriculum and will be designed with sessions in a strategic sequence so knowledge and skills build gradually and get reinforced throughout the Foundations phase.
When do I select my campus preference?
The admissions process will ask applicants about campus preference prior to submitting a supplemental application and a placement to a campus will happen after an offer of acceptance has been extended.
The choices for MD applicants are as follows:
- I would only like to be considered for the Foundations phase on the Twin Cities Campus
- I would only like to be considered for the Foundations phase on the Duluth Campus
- I would like to be considered for the Foundations phase on either campus (By selecting this option you are agreeing to be placed on either campus at the discretion of the Office of Admissions.)
This only applies to applicants to the MD program. All MSTP (MD/PhD) applicants are placed on the Twin Cities campus.
If I choose "either campus," how will Admissions decide to place students? Will they be looking for certain qualifications?
Applicants who select “either campus” may be asked to provide a rank at a later date. No other qualifications will be taken into consideration. Placement will be based on capacity and, as mentioned, a possible rank. We are working through the process right now.
Where will I complete the Clinical Immersion phase?
After winter break of the second year, each student’s geographic location will depend on how they’ve scheduled their Clinical Immersion phase. As capacity allows, Clinical Immersion will be able to be completed in Duluth, in the Twin Cities, in Greater Minnesota, or in some combination of those three locations.
Why are there Minnesota Health Pathways?
The State of Minnesota reflects one of the paradoxes of the American experiment. Overall, Minnesota has one of the healthiest populations in the country. However, when demographic groups are analyzed separately, Minnesota also has some of the starkest health disparities in the country. The Pathways will be designed to explore and investigate these disparities. In particular, how does this kind of striking disparity originate? What are the structures, policies, beliefs, and practices, past and present, that produce these disparities?
What is taught in the Minnesota Health Pathways?
The Pathway curriculum will represent about 10-20% of the required components of the Foundations phase. The Pathways were chosen because they reflect regions and populations that experience health disparities, underservice or both.
Students will work with colleagues on that Pathway and others to achieve the learning outcomes. While on the Pathways, students will engage directly with community members, community organizations, early clinical placements, and physicians who have built a career serving these populations.
What is the goal of creating the Minnesota Health Pathways?
We believe the Pathways will embody and exemplify compassion, dedication, critical thinking and perspective-taking that will serve developing physicians on any career path. We also hope to inspire and nurture interest and engagement in as many students as possible. Ultimately, we hope to increase the number of our graduates who go on to serve the Pathway populations as a central part of their career.
What are the five Minnesota Health Pathways?
The five Pathways include two with a regional focus and three with a population focus:
1. Indigenous Health Pathway
2. Rural Health Pathway
3. 2SLGBTQIA+ Health Pathway
4. Immigrant/Refugee/Global Health Pathway
5. Urban Community Health Pathway
When I select my Minnesota Health Pathway, does that mean I won't learn about the distinct regions and populations of the other Pathways?
No, in fact, the ways in which these regions and populations intersect will be integral to the design of our new curriculum. The Pathways will all be developed out of a shared set of learning goals and, from the beginning, will share outcomes across all five Pathways. They will be designed to integrate, intersect, and reflect each other. The Pathways design will expect and plan for these intersections and will intentionally plan combined sessions to deepen and enrich each student’s understanding by sharing lessons, perspectives, and examples grounded in each Pathway. All students will engage with concepts that relate to all five Minnesota Health Pathways while they complete the learning objectives but selecting a Pathway will allow them to develop a level of expertise within that specific community.
When do I choose my Minnesota Health Pathway?
MD applicants will choose which Pathway(s) they want to be considered when completing the supplemental application.
How will my choice of Minnesota Health Pathways affect my campus placement?
Both campuses will offer all five Pathways, but Pathway capacity per campus will vary. Placement to a campus will be based on Pathway and campus capacities, and potentially an applicant’s rank choice of these. The Twin Cities campus has 165 total seats and the Duluth campus has 65 total seats.
How will my Minnesota Health Pathway be determined?
Admission into the Indigenous and Rural Health Pathway will be based on evidence of readiness, potential, and interest. Applicants who wish to be considered for these two Pathways will require demonstrated interest in and/or potential for serving these communities, and admission to the Medical School will be dependent on past experience and potential.
Admission into the 2SLGBTQIA+, Immigrant/Refugee/Global, and Urban Community Health Pathway will be based primarily on interest. Placement into these three Pathways is considered separately from admission to the Medical School and will be based on interest and possibly through a ranking process after an offer of acceptance to the Medical School has been extended.
Which Admissions Committee will review my application?
The Duluth Admissions Committee will review applicants to the Indigenous and Rural Health Pathways given their historical mission.
The Twin Cities Admissions Committee will review applicants who show interest in the 2SLGBTQIA+, Immigrant/Refugee/Global, and Urban Community Health Pathways.
The MSTP Admissions Committee will review applicants as they have in the past and Pathway selection and placement will be made post acceptance.
If I select a Pathway under review of the Duluth Admissions Committee, what is the probability of getting placed on the Twin Cities campus or vice versa?
Campus placement and Pathway placement are separate. If you choose to apply to a Pathway that is being reviewed by the Duluth Admissions Committee but choose the Twin Cities as your campus preference, then you will be placed there or waitlisted until Pathway capacity opens on that campus. If you choose “either campus,” your placement to a campus will be based on current Pathway capacity at each location, and potentially your rank choice of location.
Where will I interview?
Each Admissions Committee will conduct their own interviews. Should an applicant apply to Pathways reviewed by both the Duluth and Twin Cities Admissions Committees, two separate interviews will take place.
Could I be waitlisted for my first Pathway choice and accepted for my second choice?
As this is a new process for Cycle 2023, decisions regarding the structure of the waitlist will be determined at a later date.
If I select multiple Pathways that are under review by both committees and have two separate interviews, will it be possible to have two acceptances?
Yes, this is possible. You may receive two offers of admission and then would need to choose which Pathway to attend. Campus placement is considered separately. If you choose to apply to a Pathway that is being reviewed by the Duluth Admissions Committee but choose the Twin Cities as your campus preference, then you will be placed there or waitlisted until Pathway capacity opens on that campus. If you choose “either campus,” your placement to a campus will be based on current Pathway capacity at each location, and potentially your rank choice of location.
Could I receive two acceptances to the same campus under different Pathways?
Yes, if you select “either campus” for campus preference.
If I receive an acceptance for each campus, do I get to choose which campus I am most interested in attending?
If an applicant holds an acceptance offer to each of the two campuses, these offers will be based on acceptance into different Pathways (an applicant cannot hold two seats in the same Pathway). All Pathways are available at both campus locations; the Admissions committees are reviewing applicants for the Pathways, not for campus placement.
Applicants will need to decide which offer to accept based on their own interests in the Pathway options combined with their preference for geographical location. Accepted applicants will get their campus placement well before they have to make a decision about where to begin their medical school career.