The UW MSTP curriculum includes the medical school curriculum, the graduate school courses of each student’s chosen department, and MSTP-specific courses designed to integrate the clinical and research years. Students typically complete the program in 8 years.

MSTP Timeline:

  • Year 1: Medical School Year 1 (MS1) – begins in July
    • Summer after MS1: Lab rotation(s)
  • Year 2: Medical School Year 2 (MS2)
    • January-March of Year 2: USMLE Step 1 /Begin PhD studies or additional rotation
  • Years 3 to 6: PhD research – PhD awarded at the end of this period.
  • Years 7 and 8: Medical school clerkships (MS3 and MS4) – MD awarded at the end of this period.

Typical time in the program is 8 years.

Years 1 & 2

MSTP Specific courses include:

Translational Research Topics

As scientific knowledge and its medical application is very dynamic, it is important that students learn new developments through peer and faculty presentation of new and interesting research studies and journal articles. This course consists of literature review and faculty and student presentations of research. The course meets weekly at dinner time throughout the school year. First and second year MSTP students each identify and present and article in journal club format. The presenting student leads a critical review and discussion of the manuscript, including background information setting the stage for the article under discussion. One meeting each month will be held in the setting of a meeting to which the entire MSTP student population, including students in the graduate and clerkship phases of the program, is invited. At these monthly meetings, one student and one faculty speaker each present their latest research findings to the group. Course is credit/no-credit.

Years 1 & 2 School of Medicine Foundation Curriculum

Phase 1: Foundations

Years 3 – 6

Graduate work resulting in the Ph.D.

MSTP Specific courses include:

Patient Centered Translational Research

This course takes students to the wards to explore clinical problems amenable to research. Many successful MD/PhD clinician-scientists have centered their research careers based on clinical issues that they were exposed to early in their training. With the recognition that even just a single particularly challenging or representative patient may motivate translational research, students are asked to prepare a short research proposal based on a clinical issue experienced by a patient that they observed during this class.

Years 7 & 8

Phase 2: ​​​​​​​​​Patient Care

In the 12-month Patient Care Phase, students achieve specific competencies in six core clinical disciplines- Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery- and will also have six weeks off or time to schedule a clinical elective. Students participate in these clinical experiences in a variety of locations, in both urban and rural settings throughout the WWAMI region.

Phase 3: Explore & Focus

This 15-month phase of the curriculum is designed to allow students to explore potential specialty careers, through a combination of required and elective clinical clerkships. Students will participate in required Advanced Patient Care clerkships, required Neurology/Neurosurgery and Emergency Medicine, and clinical elective opportunities. Students will finish the Explore and Focus phase with a Transition to Residency experience. At the UW School of Medicine, students participate in 20 weeks of clinical electives across 19 specialties.

Clinical Curriculum

Family Medicine

This clerkship stresses ambulatory primary care with emphasis on common problems, biopsychosocial issues, preventive care, and introduction to the role of the primary care physician. Students function in the role of a clerk in a community or residency site and participate in the care of patients using office, hospital, home, or community resources.


This basic clerkship serves as a prerequisite for most other medicine courses and clerkships. Currently this clerkship is divided into 8 weeks of inpatient and 4 weeks of outpatient experience at the Seattle and Spokane sites, and 6 weeks of inpatient and 6 weeks of outpatient experience at other WWAMI sites. Students participate in the care of hospitalized patients to refine their skills of history-taking and physical examinations and to learn to care for the acutely ill. Daily rounds and conferences are held. A written and computer-based patient management examination for this course is given on the last day of the clerkship.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

This clerkship experience provides an introduction to the comprehensive medical care and counseling services for adult and adolescent female patients. Students are actively involved in both inpatient and outpatient settings with management and delivery of obstetric patients as well as diagnosis and management of gynecologic conditions and diseases. Students participate in hospital rounds on both obstetric and gynecologic patients, in outpatient clinics, in seminars, tutorials, and are introduced to community health care agencies for women.


This clerkship provides a general introduction to inpatient and outpatient pediatrics. The aim is to expose students to settings where children receive medical and health care services. Approximately half of the six-week experience takes place in an inpatient hospital setting with the other half in an outpatient department, a clinic, or a series of offices.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

This clerkship provides both outpatient and inpatient experiences. Students have primary responsibility under supervision of attending psychiatrists and residents for diagnosis and care of patients at UWMC, HMC, VAMC, or Boise VA. Emergency room, crisis intervention, consultation appropriate to patients with psychiatric dysfunction; familiarity with psychopharmacology, and short-term hospitalization are emphasized.


This clerkship introduces the student to the diagnosis and management of problems amenable to surgical therapy. A comprehensive program is offered which includes instruction in the physiological basis of surgical care, differential diagnosis and decision making, and the basic principles of surgical management. Active participation in the care of inpatients and outpatients, including participation in the operating rooms, provides practical experience in the application of these skills. Students will be assigned to the surgical service of one of the major affiliated hospitals. Approximately 40 hours per week is devoted to working with assigned patients on the ward or in outpatient clinics, in the operating room or in study. A series of lectures (required attendance) and/or discussions expand on major topics related to general, vascular, cardiothoracic, and plastic surgery.

Emergency Medicine

Students work at the level of sub-interns, with senior resident and attending supervision, encountering a wide range of patients, presenting complaints, and levels of acuity, spanning the scope of all specialties and both private and public hospital populations. Learning is primarily through direct patient care experience and bedside teaching, supplemented with lectures and directed readings. Development of the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate and manage multiple patients simultaneously will be emphasized direct patient care experiences, bedside teaching, and readings.


Students in this clerkship gain a general understanding of basic clinical neurology and to develop neurology exam skills. A combination of inpatient and outpatient experience is the general rule. Available in the 3rd and 4th years; prerequisite for 3rd year students are: medicine, family medicine, surgery, or pediatrics.

Rehabilitation Medicine/Chronic Care

Students in this clerkship are exposed to four content areas: Rehabilitation Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Palliative & End of Life Care, and Acute and Chronic Pain Management. Students will choose to focus on one content area and will be assigned to a clinical site and preceptor to concentrate their clinical activities in that content area. This clerkship focuses on integrative learning experiences and involves didactic sessions designed around a series of content themes including management of individuals with chronic disease and resultant impairments, disabilities, and prognoses. Didactic sessions emphasize exposure to all four content areas and will include a variety of learning experiences including: lectures, small group discussions, standardized patients, and case presentations.

Surgery Selectives

These additional four weeks of surgery are designed to allow students to learn more about general surgery or surgical subspecialties in a variety of inpatient and/or ambulatory care settings. Students may select a single 4- week rotation or two 2-week blocks available throughout the WWAMI region, from the approved list of Surgery Selectives.

The remainder of your clerkships are Clinical Elective Clerkships