The Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program

About the Program

With its dedication to academic and clinical excellence, Drexel University College of Medicine has earned national recognition as an institution that provides innovation in medical education. Medical students are trained to consider each patient’s case and needs in a comprehensive integrated manner, taking into account many more factors than the presenting physiological condition. The medical college is dedicated to preparing “Physician Healers” – doctors who practice the art, science and skill of medicine.

Recognizing that students have different learning styles, students choose between two innovative academic curricula for their first two years of study. Both options focus on professional medical education, preparing students to pursue a career as either a generalist or specialist. Both stress problem solving, lifelong learning skills and the coordinated teaching of basic science with clinical medicine.

Both curricular tracks give early exposure to clinical skills training by using standardized patients to help students learn the art and skill of taking histories, counseling and educating patients, and performing physical exams.

The IFM Curriculum
The Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine (IFM) curriculum integrates basic science courses and presents them through clinical symptom-based modules. Each first-year module focuses on clinical symptoms and features relevant material from the perspective of several basic and behavioral science disciplines. By the end of the first year, the basic and behavioral science courses have presented their entire core content, integrating it with related material in other disciplines. In the second year, students study basic and clinical sciences using an organ system approach. Students learn in lectures, labs, and small group settings.

The PIL Curriculum
Students who choose the Program for Integrated Learning (PIL), a problem-based curriculum, learn primarily in small groups which are supervised and facilitated by faculty. There are seven 10-week blocks over the first two years. Each block contains 10 case studies, detailing real patient issues relating to the topics of the block. The cases serve as the stimulus and context for students to search out the information they need to understand, diagnose, and treat clinical problems. Developing the information they need to learn is crucial to the PIL approach. Sharing information, concept mapping, evaluating and giving and receiving feedback are essential facets of the curriculum. Laboratories and lectures complement the case studies.

Years 3 and 4
The third year curriculum is devoted to required clinical clerkship rotations in medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery. The clerkships all embody the following principles:

  • Common curricular objectives at all sites
  • Students spend 30% of their clinical time in expanded ambulatory care experiences
  • Each clerkship incorporates the concept of interdisciplinary teaching, with representatives of other departments or service areas
  • Each clerkship integrates the teaching of basic sciences into clinical material

All third year clerkships take place in Drexel’s affiliated hospitals. Students’ assignments for the third year are based on the results of a lottery system.

The fourth-year curriculum is structured in the form of “pathways” – courses that give students a well-rounded educational experience with some focus on potential careers. Students can choose a discipline-specific or generalist pathway. All students have a pathway advisor. The pathway system is structured so that students take both required courses and electives. The required courses include a sub internship in internal medicine, a clerkship in neurology and an additional course specific to the pathway chosen. Students also choose six elective courses, in close consultation with their pathway advisor.

Fourth-year students complete their required courses at Drexel’s affiliated hospitals. However, pathway advisors usually advise their students to select electives outside the Drexel system. Additionally, opportunities exist for fourth-year electives at international sites.

For more information, visit the College of Medicine's MD Program web site.

Dual Degree Programs

MD/PhD Program

The MD/PhD program is designed for a limited number of individuals who are strongly motivated toward a career in academic medicine and medically oriented research. The program trains individuals in the fundamental clinical aspects of medicine and offers advanced training in biochemistry, microbiology and immunology, molecular and cellular biology, neuroscience and pharmacology, as well as medical engineering. Physicians with extensive research training are uniquely positioned to advance medical care and to teach at the cutting edge of medical discovery. Tuition scholarships and stipends for medical school and graduate school are provided for a limited number of students.


With Drexel’s School of Public Health, the College of Medicine offers a joint five-year program for highly qualified students to pursue both the MD and the Master of Public Health degrees. Students are taught to be physicians with a public-health orientation to the development, planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care programs and policies.


The MD/MBA degree meets a growing demand by physicians who wish to manage corporate medical practices, hospitals, and related organizations and contribute to the development of health policy. The joint program prepares physicians to apply management principles to individual or group practices or to move into management positions at many types of organizations. Students receive training at both the College of Medicine and at Drexel’s A.A.C.S.B. -accredited LeBow College of Business. The program lets students earn both degrees in five years.

MD/Healthcare Ethics MA

Drexel medical students may enter a combined degree pathway to receive a master's degree in health care ethics through St. Joseph's University. Students spend a year in residence at St. Joseph's University, usually after their second medical school year. They receive two course credits toward the master's degree from their medical school coursework.

For additional information, visit the College's Dual Degrees page.

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