M.D. Degree Program

Medical students outside the Schmidt College of Medicine building on FAU Boca Raton campus

The Integrated Patient Focused Curriculum is based on the principle that future physicians should learn essential basic science information in the context of patient care, patient case studies, and the practice of clinical skills. We provide our students with a stimulating, supportive and collegial learning environment featuring:

  • An early introduction to the patient and the community
  • Continuity relationships with patients, physicians, and health care systems
  • Longitudinal integrated clerkship modules in the third year
  • Integrated competency assessments
  • A small class size

A typical week during the first and second years includes dedicated independent study time, no more than 10 hours a week of didactic lectures, and two to three half days of clinical experiences.

View the current College of Medicine Academic Calendar for Years 1, 2 3 and 4.

The foundational science curriculum integrates key disciplines like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology throughout the courses. Teaching methods include problem-based learning, with a balance of small group sessions and independent study, supplemented by labs, clinical correlations, simulations, and lectures focusing on core concepts rather than lists of facts.

The clinical curriculum in years 1 and 2 (Foundations of Medicine) begins with sessions that concentrate on professionalism, ethics, cultural competency, communication and history taking skills. Medical interviewing and physical examination are taught using an hypothesis-driven approach grounded in evidence-based medicine. Standardized and simulated patients are used to teach core and advanced clinical skills. Starting in the spring semester in year 1, students develop doctor/patient relationships with patients under the supervision of their physician preceptors in the community and at clinics that provide care to the under-served in Palm Beach County.

The College of Medicine also integrates the following threads throughout the curriculum:

  • Communication, Compassion and Collaborative Care (CCC)
  • Structures, Systems & Society (SSS)
  • Ethics, Professionalism and Professional Identity (EPP)
  • Geriatrics and Healthy Aging (GHA)
  • Life-Long Learning and Discovery (LLD)

In our year 3 Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LICs), students are placed with a group of physicians at affiliated community hospitals for an extended period, rather than completing short discipline-specific clerkships in random order at multiple sites.

At the end of year 3, students have completed core clerkships in Medicine, Surgery, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry and have been exposed to other medical subspecialties including geriatrics, palliative care, emergency medicine, pathology, and radiology.

Clerkship Sites Chart

Throughout year 3, are provided with "white space time" - time set aside for students to pursue their own interests - such as clinical experiences in subspecialties, research, or community health projects. During year 4, students have the opportunity to take a wide range of hospital-based and other electives in addition to required acting-internships. The Transition to Residency course at the end of year 4 brings all our students together for an immersion experience to prepare them for the next phase of their education - residency.

Competencies and Objectives

The FAU Medical Education Program Goals guide the MD curriculum. The 8 Competencies* all graduates are expected to achieve are:

Patient Care
Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health
Knowledge for Practice
Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one’s care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals
Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles
Systems-Based Practice
Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care
Interprofessional Collaboration
Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care
Personal and Professional Development
Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth

*This is the Physician Competency Reference Set (PCRS) endorsed by the AAMC as the common learner expectations utilized in the training of physicians and other health professionals.

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine offers students a variety of educational programs and degrees.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road, BC-71
Boca Raton, FL 33431