Curriculum: Year Four

Fourth-Year Medical Student

In the fourth year, students complete rotations that prepare them for internships by selecting from a variety of specialties in acute care, ambulatory care, and a sub-internship. In addition, students choose from a wide variety of elective options, either on campus or at other medical schools in the U.S. or abroad.

A number of weeks are also allotted for residency interviewing or extra electives.

Applications for residency are normally completed early in the fourth year. The residency match is the third week of March.

The fourth-year curriculum is 10 months long with a two-week winter break and a two-week spring break.

Year Four Curriculum Overview

The fourth year consists of four-week clinical rotations. Four, four-week electives are chosen to fulfill the remaining course requirements.

  • Acute Care Clerkship (4 weeks)
  • Ambulatory Care Clerkship (4 weeks)
  • Sub-internship (4 weeks)
  • Four Electives (4 weeks each)

The acute care, ambulatory care, and sub-internship rotations must be completed at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Electives can be completed at any approved site.

Course Descriptions

Acute Care

This four-week clerkship offers instruction in the diagnosis and management of an acutely ill or injured patient. Students select a rotation from a variety of clinical settings, including intensive care units, critical care services, and emergency departments.

The selection sites for this clerkship include Parkland Memorial Hospital's burn ICU, critical care unit, emergency department, neonatal ICU, surgical ICU, and trauma service; Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center's cardiovascular anesthesia and surgical ICU; and Children's Medical Center Dallas' emergency department, pediatric ICU, and pediatric cardiac critical care unit.

During this clerkship the student functions as an integral member of the medical team providing a high level of care to acutely ill or injured patients. Under the supervision of residents, fellows, and attending physicians, the student may gain an enhanced knowledge of stabilization, resuscitation, and management of such critically ill patients.

Ambulatory Care

Students spend one month in outpatient clinics or private physicians' offices for internal medicine, family medicine, women's health, urology, or ophthalmology. Students are expected to interview patients and obtain vital information for patient care, interpret data and discuss the treatment plan with the patient and family, promote general health maintenance and disease prevention, and consult with specialty services to coordinate care. Students should demonstrate knowledge about a wide variety of medical illnesses and apply this knowledge to patient care. Students also should be able to assimilate scientific evidence to improve patient care.

Medicine Sub-Internship

Students spend four weeks on an inpatient service in either internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, or surgery. Students are expected to interview patients and obtain vital information for patient care, interpret data and discuss the treatment plan with the patient and family, promote general health maintenance and disease prevention, and consult with specialty services to coordinate care.

Students should be able to provide the differential diagnosis of a chief complaint and a treatment plan to investigate the cause. Students also are expected to apply current clinical knowledge to arrive at a unifying diagnosis with the health care team. Students should be able to assimilate scientific evidence to improve patient care and be able to communicate effectively with the health care team, patients, and patients' families.

Additional information about fourth-year courses and elective choices is available on the Web Curriculum site.