The curriculum for students entering pre-2020 blends required coursework and clinical rotations with elective experiences that allow students to explore areas of personal interest.

Visit the Bulletin for a full list of MD degree requirements »

View curriculum map »


Through all four years of the curriculum, key topics known as Threads are woven throughout the learning experience, linking clinical and coursework and enhancing the learning experience. The current curriculum includes three Threads:

  1. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Advocacy (IDEA)
  2. Geriatrics
  3. Quality Improvement, Patient Safety (QuIPS)

Learn more about Threads »

Pre-clinical years

First and second years

  • Pre-clinical coursework focuses on normal human biology and effects of disease
  • Selectives allow for exploration of many areas of medicine
  • Patient contact begins immediately and expands during the second year

Third year

Fourth year

  • 32 weeks of elective coursework
  • 4-week Capstone course

View Fourth-year electives and Capstone »

Service learning

Student Groups provide learning experiences beyond the classroom and the medical center. The mission of these programs is to provide leadership development, provide life balance, promote volunteerism and community involvement, serve the community, and enhance personal accomplishment and fulfillment. Many groups have opportunities to serve in a myriad of ways.

Explore student group service learning opportunities (PDF) »

Student leaders in service-oriented selectives and groups are asked to log their service-learning experiences so they may be added to the Gephardt Institute for Public Service Community Counts website. The Gephardt Institute for Public Service’s mission is to promote lifelong civic engagement and sustained community impact through service initiatives at Washington University. Through Community Counts, they log all community service-learning engagement happening across the University.