Clinical Curriculum Overview - Years 3 and 4

The Clinical Years

Year 3 marks the beginning of the clinical component of the undergraduate medical education program. Beginning in the third year, clerkships immerse students in the experiences associated with a particular field of medicine. Students work full-time at a designated site during each six- to twelve-week rotation period and are assigned on-call duty on scheduled nights and weekends.

There is also a wide variety of elective opportunities in clinical medicine, research, international work, the liberal arts, and the basic sciences. These may be pursued at any of our affiliated hospitals or at other approved institutions.

Clinical Requirements

Years 3  and 4 of the medical curriculum are considered a single 80-week continuum.  Students schedule their course of study individually through a computerized clerkship assignment process that takes place in the spring of the second and third year.  

 Students must complete  a minimum of 80 weeks of clinical training throughout Years 3 and 4 (70 weeks of which must be taken at Alpert Medical School) — 44 weeks of core clerkships and the remaining 36 weeks of electives.  Most students exceed this minimum requirement. The following represent the requirements for Years 3 and 4:

Students must also complete 38 weeks of electives (20 weeks must be taken at Alpert Medical School), including:

  • Clinical Electives ( or “selectives”) - 8 weeks or more. Must be taken under the direct, personal supervision of Brown faculty
  • Advanced Clinical Mentorship (12 sessions for 1 week of elective credit)
  • Subinternship - 4 weeks or  more.  This may be taken at Brown (in which case it counts toward the eight-week selective requirement) or elsewhere. It is expected that the relevant core clerkship in medicine, surgery, ob-gyn, family medicine or pediatrics will be completed prior to undertaking a subinternship in that discipline. 
  • Surgery or surgery-related elective  - 6 weeks.  A surgery sub-internship, which can be done here or away, helps to fulfill both this requirement and the sub-internship requirement) 

This summary depicts a typical course of study. However, students are permitted and encouraged to individualize their course of study both in terms of sequence and course selection.