The Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program

About the Program

Drexel University College of Medicine's MD program trains future physicians in the science and art of medicine. At Drexel, our medical students learn to combine cutting-edge technology with the highest level of compassion in the practice of medicine. Our supportive educational environment emphasizes collaboration and gives students a comfort level that lets them learn and thrive. Faculty members are concerned first and foremost with teaching and helping students.

Drexel’s innovative MD curriculum, Foundations and Frontiers, is designed to create physicians for the 21st century. The curriculum instills all of the enduring qualities necessary for clinical excellence while also including essential competencies such as understanding of population health, health informatics, quality and patient safety, and health care systems and financing.

Foundations and Frontiers Highlights

Foundations and Frontiers was created with input from medical students, faculty, alumni and national medical education experts. The program builds on the College of Medicine's legacy in medical education and embraces Drexel University's reputation for innovation and collaboration.

Our curriculum is supported technologically by Drexel-developed iPad applications and state-of-the-art simulation and clinical education centers where medical students can apply what they have learned in the classroom with hands-on training.

Other hallmarks of the distinctive Frontiers and Foundations curriculum include:

  • Early and frequent clinical exposure
  • Integrated basic science and clinical education
  • Team learning
  • Technology-enhanced education
  • Cultural competence
  • Community and civic engagement
  • An award winning, nationally recognized Professional Formation program
  • Enhanced opportunities for research and scholarly projects in basic science as well as other areas such as Women's Health, Population Health, Healthcare Economics, and Humanities


Incoming medical students are assigned to one of two campuses – Philadelphia and West Reading, PA. Our Philadelphia college of medicine campus will  move to University City in summer 2023 and will be housed in the brand new Health Sciences Building along with the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Our state-of-the-art West Reading campus opened in July 2020 and is in close proximity to Tower Health’s Reading Hospital.  Both campuses offer vibrant student life with access to cultural, artistic and  sporting activities as well as opportunities to become involved in community outreach.

The Societies

Incoming medical students are placed into one of seven learning communities, or "societies," each taking its name from a famous Philadelphia or Reading landmark: Athenaeum, Liberty Bell, Physick House, Rocky Statue, Reading Terminal, Eakins House, and Pagoda.

Each society has elected student representatives, who are responsible for coordinating and planning society activities.

The society provides a social structure for each student, giving a small-school feel while maintaining all of the advantages and amenities of a large institution.

The program helps promote a greater sense of community and connectedness among the medical students and faculty. The society serves as the core unit for a variety of valuable activities including:

  • Small group learning
  • Advising / peer mentoring program
  • Community service projects
  • Activities to promote student wellness
  • Social activities
  • Society-based competitions culminating in the coveted "Dean's Cup"

The Foundations and Frontiers curriculum information presented is subject to revision. Last updated July 1, 2022.

Additional Information

For more information, including admissions details, visit the College of Medicine's MD Program website.

Three-Phase Curriculum

Foundations and Frontiers is a four-year curriculum that has been divided into three phases. Phase One (years 1 and 2) lays the groundwork for basic and clinical science. Phase Two (year 3) allows medical students to apply their patient care knowledge and skills to a variety of clinical settings. Phase Three (year 4) focuses on advanced clinical skills and preparation for residency.

Phase 1: Foundations

The 18-month "Foundations" phase includes basic and clinical science courses that integrate multiple disciplines. Medical students also spend time in non-traditional classroom settings working in teams to apply knowledge to clinical problems. This phase of the curriculum also includes multiple experiences in our state-of-the-art simulation center working with high-fidelity mannequins and standardized patients. The basic science content begins with an introduction to cells and tissues and then proceeds into organ-based blocks with a focus on normal processes. During the second  year, medical students revisit the major organ systems with a focus on abnormal processes.

Lectures, conferences, laboratory, simulation and other team-learning formats develop and extend the principles introduced in the case throughout the week.

A longitudinal practicum experience extends through the Foundations phase and exposes medical students to patients in varied community settings. It provides experiences in chronic care, service learning and inter-professional education, and is combined with a social justice and health disparities curriculum.

During four one-week blocks, medical students will be immersed in the "Frontiers"  portion of the curriculum, providing cutting-edge study in such areas as healthcare informatics, population health, quality and patient safety, healthcare economics, and principles of translational research.

Phase 2: Applications

The one-year long "Applications" phase allows medical students to practice their patient care knowledge and skills in a variety of clinical settings. The year starts with participating in a two-week structured session, "Intersession I: Transition to the Clinical Years," which focuses on skills needed for medical students to function effectively on the wards.

During the third year, medical students rotate through clerkships in surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, ambulatory medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. To enhance the diversity of their clinical experience, medical students work with faculty members at multiple sites in metropolitan centers, working-class neighborhoods, suburbs, inner city areas, and rural communities.

All third-year clerkships take place on Drexel's academic campuses. Assignments for third year are based on the results of a lottery system, although medical students can elect year-long assignments at our six regional campuses:

  • Abington Memorial Hospital
  • Allegheny General Hospital
  • York Hospital
  • Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento
  • Monmouth Medical Center
  • Crozer Chester Medical Center

Phase 3: Transitions

The "Transitions" phase focuses on advanced clinical skills and preparation for residency. The fourth year curriculum is structured within "Pathways" - an advising system that gives medical students a well-rounded educational experience and also prepares them for potential career. Medical students may choose a discipline-specific Pathway or one that provides more broad-based experiences. All medical students have a Pathway-specific advisor who works with the student to balance the structure and flexibility of their learning needs, helps prepare the student to enter postgraduate training with confidence, and works to maximize the guidance and counseling available from preceptors.

The Pathway advisors help medical students focus their preparation for graduate medical education and careers. The Pathway program also gives medical students experience in fields of interest other than the one that is likely to be their career path. Medical students take both required courses and electives in the Pathway system. Six courses are required:

  • Sub-internship in a core discipline
  • Pathway-specific rotation
  • Emergency medicine or critical care rotation
  • Transition to residency
  • Residency-immersion experience

Fourth-year medical students have opportunities to complete a variety of clinical elective rotations at hospitals and sites that are not Drexel clinical affiliates, including international rotations. In addition, during the fourth year, medical students may choose to leverage the expertise of one of Drexel's other colleges by studying for a graduate certificate in one of the Frontiers content areas. Alternatively, medical students may choose to conduct a scholarly project under the direction of a faculty member.

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.

Additional Information

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

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