AAMC: Michigan’s 35 Answers

Check out U-M Medical School's responses to the AAMC's "Selecting a Medical School: 35 Questions I Wish I Had Asked."

1. Are there any special programs for which this medical school is noted?

We’ve taken a holistic approach to medical education, from our admissions process through residency match. This means that all aspects about becoming a doctor — including compassionate patient care, thorough understanding of anatomical systems, collaboration with peers and mentors, working within a variety of health systems, and a comprehensive review of health care policies and procedures — are covered within the four years of our program.

Some of our curriculum highlights include:

2. Please tell me more about the integrated curriculum.

Michigan medical students learn the material in ways that are similar to how they will use it as physicians. Our curriculum is presented in organ-based sequences and modules that integrate biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, social/behavioral sciences and patient care skills. In addition to teaching the scientific principles of health and disease, the curriculum emphasizes patient communication and the influence of cultural and social issues on health.

3. What modalities are used for student lectures?

Students can choose to attend lectures in person or view them online (with MediaSite). Students regularly share their lecture notes with their peers and from one class to another through a student-managed wiki.  

The entirety of curriculum resources is online for students in the CTools course management system.  

Students and faculty also can interface with the curriculum through iSeek, the School’s search engine, which presents search results of documents and lecture videos organized by related topics.  

4. What are the opportunities for research? What are the policies for taking time off for research opportunities?

Approximately 90 students elect to participate in a 10-week biomedical research program the summer between the first and second years of medical school. Many UMMS students (not in a M.D./Ph.D. program) seek year-long research experiences, usually after the third year. Students may request a leave of absence for research if they have been admitted to a degree-granting program or if they have secured a position to explore a particular research interest.

All requests are reviewed and granted by the Associate Dean for Medical Student Education.

5. How do students get assistance if an academic need arises?

Our staff counselors are available to help students with academic and personal counseling needs at any time. They are the primary contacts in the Office of Medical Student Education, and are assigned to students depending on their year in the program. 

6. Is there flexibility in the coursework (the number of electives) and the timing of the courses (accelerating, decelerating, and time off) during the pre-clinical and clinical years?

Limited flexibility in the curriculum can sometimes be arranged on a case-by-case basis in response to personal crisis or unusual and compelling circumstances. The student’s assigned staff counselor is always available to provide student support and explore possible accommodations and/or flexibility at any stage in the curriculum.

Review the Office of Medical Student Education's list of units and services →

7. Are standardized tests used such as the NBME shelf exams?

NBME shelf exams are used in six out of eight required clerkships.  All students must take and pass USMLE Step 1 before entry into their third year, and all students must take and pass USMLE Step 2 CK and CS during their fourth year before graduation.

8. Has this medical school, or any of its clinical departments, been on probation or had its accreditation revoked?


9. How do students from this medical school perform on the National Board Examinations? How does the school assist students who do not pass?

During their four years of training at the University of Michigan Medical School, students take three national board exams on their way to licensure.

  • USMLE Step 1: Taken during M2 year and required to pass before beginning M3 year.
  • USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge: Taken early in M4 year and required to pass for graduation.
  • USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills: Taken early in M4 year and required to pass for graduation.

Our students do very well on the USMLE exams, usually around half a standard deviation better than the U.S. average. For the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills, only passing data is reported and we have had no failures in the past three years. Students who do not pass the USMLE Step exams are supported through the Office of Medical Student Education. Initially, the student is contacted and meets with their class counselor.

At that time, the counselor will offer support and discuss the process of petitioning the academic review board to take the exam again. The counselor also helps the student develop a revised study plan and talk about improving strategies going forward.

Please see additional information above in question 7.

10. How are students evaluated academically? How are clinical evaluations performed?

Our system of assessing a medical student’s progress includes both cognitive and non-cognitive components. In each phase of the program, the student’s ability is assessed through observation, practical examinations, and tests of knowledge and problem-solving skills. Professional characteristics essential to the practice of medicine are also considered in the evaluation process.

In the pre-clinical years, students are assessed via frequent quizzes (weekly in M1 year) and exams at the end of each sequence. Additionally, students receive narrative feedback on performance and areas to develop in the Clinical Foundations of Medicine and the Social and Behavioral Issues in Medicine Courses, from their small group faculty facilitators, in addition to other sequences where faculty-student interaction permits.

In the clinical years, students are assessed in each required clerkship on dimensions of knowledge, patient care, communication and professionalism. Feedback is given at mid-point and at the end of each clerkship, and includes comments from faculty and residents with whom the student worked.

Grading Scheme

Year 1: Satisfactory/Fail
Year 2: Satisfactory/Fail
Year 3: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail
Year 4: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail

More information can be found in the latest edition of the University of Michigan Medical School’s Policies for Medical Student Evaluation, Advancement, and Graduation.

11. Is there a formal mechanism in place for students to evaluate their professors and attending physicians? What changes have been made recently as a result of this feedback?

Our program evaluation starts with student input. Students are asked to review pre-clinical and clinical instructors, courses, sequences, and clerkships using the online course and teaching evaluation system. These evaluations are then compiled to produce anonymous reports that are reviewed regularly by instructors, curriculum leaders, and education deans.

To ensure that a student-centered interpretation of the evaluation results remains paramount, the reports are also analyzed by small student groups who summarize their findings during annual review meetings with course directors, component directors, and our assistant dean for educational research and quality improvement. It’s a collaborative effort to ensure continuous quality improvement for all of the sequences, courses, and clerkships.

More than a dozen focus group lunches are conducted each year with students, faculty, and curriculum leaders in order to provide additional venues for discussing and evaluating the curriculum, and all students have an opportunity to participate.

Our students also complete a questionnaire upon graduation. All of this data tells us how our students responded to the curriculum, and their feedback is used continuously to drive curricular change. We believe that robust, student-driven curriculum review is critical for our ongoing processes of curriculum development and continual improvement.

12. What kind of academic, personal, financial, and career counseling is available to students? Are these services also offered to their spouses and dependents/children?

A variety of counseling support services are offered to our medical students. The Staff Counselors are available for confidential, brief personal counseling and support, help with crisis management, academic advising, and career counseling. Additional multiple mental health services exist for one-on-one confidential services. For more information, check out health and wellness resources and academic support options.

Financial counseling is provided by our in-house Financial Aid Office with three dedicated staff. Counseling services are not formally available to spouses and dependents/children, however the OMSE administration and Staff Counselors are always willing to provide guidance and referrals to our students with families.

13. Is there a mentor/advisor system? Who are the advisors — faculty members, other students, or both?

There are a broad range of access points to mentoring and advising activities at the University of Michigan Medical School. Students establish rich professional relationships via the Summer Biomedical Research Program, departmental shadowing, faculty career advisors, faculty coaches, medical school alumni (who host regular informational dinners for students), medical student “families,” and many other student organizations, all of which have faculty oversight.

14. How diverse is the student body? Are there support services or organizations for ethnic/cultural minorities, LGBT students, and women?

Diversity matters at Michigan, and it is valued in all its forms. Our student body reflects this position with many active student groups on campus that represent the full spectrum of people who enroll in our program. Our Office of Health Equity and Inclusion also supports and organizes a host of activities for the professional development of medical students from various backgrounds.

We seek to provide a welcoming, accepting, and inclusive learning environment for all of our students.

15. Tell me about the library and extracurricular facilities (i.e., housing and athletic/recreational facilities). Is designated study space available?

As one of the top universities in the world, the University of Michigan campus is rich with resources for medical school students:

Study Support

The Taubman Health Sciences Library provides access to thousands of medical and scientific journal online and onsite.

The Learning Resource Center (LRC) has more than 20 study rooms available for use by medical students on a 24/7 basis.

Additionally, there are over 20 clinical skills rooms fully equipped with examination equipment (exam tables, blood pressure devices, otoscopes, etc.) for use. 

Learn more about the $55 million renovation that will expand and improve our space and technology for training future physicians. 

Range of Recreation


With more than a dozen of indoor/outdoor recreational facilities, students can work out on their own or join a team and make new friends. 

Housing Help

Ann Arbor is home to more than 45,000 students, which means there are a lot of housing options to fit a wide range of budgets. Many med school students find housing in the White Coat Area, a neighborhood close to the med campus with many rental options.

The Northwood Community is home to a large multicultural and international population of graduate students, students with families, postdoctoral research fellows, visiting scholars, faculty and staff members. The University of Michigan also provides a handy search tool to help make the housing hunt a little easier. 

16. Are students required to have a laptop?

Yes, laptop computers are required at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Get more details on this requirement →

17. What type of clinical sites — ambulatory, private preceptors, private hospitals, rural settings, international — are available or required for clerkships? Does this school allow for students to do rotations at other institutions or internationally?

There are many clinical settings and patient resources available to our medical students in their clinical years in addition to the University of Michigan Health System. Several hospitals, private medical groups and community agencies located in southeastern Michigan provide our students with exposure to a diverse population as well as exposure to urban and underserved patient populations. Arrangements for rotations at other institutions, at home or abroad, are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students are encouraged to do international rotations in their fourth year, facilitated by Global REACH.

18. Is a car necessary for clinical rotations? Is parking a problem?


19. What is the current tuition and fees? Is this expected to increase yearly? If so, at what rate?

Read more about current tuition and fees →

Students can expect yearly tuition increases (historically 2 percent to 5 percent), the rate of which will depend on several factors.

Every admitted student is eligible for a merit scholarship. We also award a combination of grants and scholarships to about half of all incoming students. Typically around 85 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid.

Find a more detailed budget guideline → 

20. Are there stable levels of federal financial aid and substantial amounts of university/medical school endowment aid available to students?

Yes! Federal financial aid is available, and we do not expect any major changes in the level of availability of these loans. We also have a good share of endowment aid that is available. Learn more →

21. Are there students who have an "unmet need" factor in their budget? If so, how do these students come up with the extra funds?

Any unmet needs are by student choice. Students have the ability to borrow up to their full budget through different loan programs, however many students do not choose this option. 

22. Are spouses and dependents/children covered in a student's budget?

Spouses are not covered in a student’s budget, and only in certain circumstances are expenses for dependents/children included. 

23. Are there services/staff available to assist students with budgeting and financial planning?

Yes! We have a Medical School Financial Aid Office dedicated to helping all eligible students understand all financial options available to them.

Find detailed info about the services available through our Financial Aid Office.

24. Does this school provide guidance to its students and to its graduates/alumni, on debt management?

Our Office of Financial Aid is available to help students throughout the med school program. Learn more about their services.

25. What medical school committees (e.g., curriculum committee) have student representation?

Nearly every aspect of our medical school involves student input, as we believe that student representation is essential to moving our institution forward. Our students serve on committees for the curriculum (e.g., Curriculum Policy Committee, Components I-IV Committees, Academic Review Boards, and Curriculum Evaluation Committees), budget, marketing and public relations, Dean’s office, and more. We depend on our medical students to be candid about their experiences at Michigan, and there is a place for everyone at our table. 

26. Are students involved in (required or voluntary) community service?

medical student with patient

The University has long had important roots in our local community and there is plenty of opportunity for direct experiences on a voluntary basis.

We have affiliations with local community health centers as well as a number of safety net organizations in Ann Arbor, the Ypsilanti area, and urban Detroit.

Many of our student groups sponsor service projects as part of their regular activities, and there is a student-run free weekly clinic for uninsured patients in the Pinckney area with opportunities for all M1 and M2 students to participate. 

27. How active is the student council/government? Are there other active student organizations?

There are more than 40 active student organizations on the med school campus, including the Medical School Student Council. The Student Council represents the student body to the administration as a whole and by class. They also plan fun events such as the Fall Ball.  

Find a complete listing and description of each of our student organizations. 

28. What is the student medical insurance coverage and what is the cost to students?

All medical students must enroll in the GradCare health care benefit plan administered by BCN (Blue Care Network) Service Company or provide attestation of health care coverage elsewhere. GradCare is a health plan only available to University of Michigan Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs), Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRAs), benefit-eligible fellowship holders, and medical school students. It is a "modified" point-of-service health plan administered by Blue Care Network (BCN).

Find current GradCare rates →

29. Is there an established protocol for dealing with student exposure to infectious diseases?

We teach our students that Universal Precautions (Body Substance Precautions) should be used during all patient care to prevent exposures. All hospitals, including those affiliated with our program, have a system for the immediate evaluation of exposure to body substances. Appropriate counseling, therapy and follow-up in the event of student exposure will be done on a case-by-case basis.

30. Does this school provide, or does the student pay for, vaccinations against Hepatitis B or prophylactic AZT treatment in case of a needle-stick or accident?

Prior to entering medical school, all incoming students are required to provide health and immunization records form that include vaccinations against Hepatitis B.  Any vaccinations or testing necessary to complete the required Health and Immunization Record Form is at the expense of the student.  

In the event of a needle-stick or accident, students are treated as employees and all procedures, care and treatment are covered by the health system. 

31. Is disability insurance provided to cover exposure?

Our liability policy includes the following guidelines for determining if an activity is covered by our policy: Students who are working in a clinical setting for credit toward the M.D. degree; if a student is working with one of our faculty members and that faculty member is supervising the student; and if a student is involved in a mentoring or shadowing program (in which he or she spends time in a clinical setting as an observer) to enhance his or her education, outside the University of Michigan Hospital setting, and the program is an approved program through a student organization or clinical department.

Affected students are managed as employees according to State of Michigan regulations. In the event of an exposure to infectious and environmental hazards, at both U-M hospitals and the VA hospital, students are managed though Employee Health Services. Students are allowed to return to their activities as soon as can be safely done.


32. Is there a school honor code? Is there a grievance process/procedure? Are the students involved?

Yes, we have a Medical Student Honor Code. The Honor Council is comprised of eight students with two members from each class. Allegations of professional misconduct may be brought directly to the Honor Council by a Proctor, a faculty member, or a fellow medical student. Once a thorough review of the allegations is complete, the Honor Council submits a report to the Associate Dean for Medical Student Education who then determines if the case should be dropped or pursued.

More information can be found in the latest edition of the University of Michigan Medical School’s Policies for Medical Student Evaluation, Advancement, and Graduation

33. May I see a list of residency programs to which this school's recent graduates were accepted?

Of course! We post our Match Lists on our website. 

We’re proud of our higher-than-average match satisfaction rate among our graduates. That, combined with our top 5 ranking from residency recruiters nationwide, goes to show our program is effective in making our students and the people who hire them very happy.


34. Does this school have strengths in the type of medicine (primary versus specialized care, urban versus rural practice environment, academic medicine versus private practice) that I will want to practice?

We are consistently ranked among the top research and primary care medical schools by U.S. News & World Report, and enjoy an above-average match rate for our graduates. See our most recent match data





35. Would I be happy at this school for at least the next four years?

We want Michigan to be as good a match for you as much as you are for our school. We invest a significant amount of time during the application process to make sure this happens. When it comes down to making your final decision about where to go for med school, we realize it’s something you just know in your heart when it’s right.

Check out what some of our students say about choosing to train at Michigan.