clinical rotation

Year 2

Clinical Trunk

Patient care integrated with science.

In the Clinical Trunk, you will enter the clinical environment in your M2 year as a member of a care team, building on your skills from the Scientific Trunk.

In addition to the longitudinal elements of the Doctoring Course, Leadership and Paths of Excellence, the Clinical Trunk features:

  • Transition to Clerkships course
  • Patient evaluations in a variety of clinical settings
  • Multidisciplinary clinically driven learning
  • Immersion in department-based clinical care teams on core clinical rotations
  • Science and Practice of Medicine course

Everything does not have a right or wrong answer, that's the reality of medicine. The ability to tolerate uncertainty and change, demonstrate flexibility and self-motivation, and take ownership for your learning is important. We want students who are motivated and not content with the status quo. We seek people who are willing to start with a framework, identify their own needs and utilize the resources available to them to keep building on it. Our curriculum promotes those skills.

Michelle M. Daniel, MD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Medical student with clipboard

The Clinical Trunk comprises two distinct phases:

Transition to Clerkships

Building on your Interprofessional Education, Scientific Trunk sequences, Chief Concern and Doctoring courses, you will learn how to function in the clinic. This four-week introductory course focuses on:

  • Health care team function
  • Clinical problem solving with patients
  • Integrated science learning with patient interactions
  • Directed teaching and feedback from Doctoring faculty built around clinical skills


In this phase, you will enter into departmentally organized clinical rotations in seven core clerkships. You will rotate in your teams over the course of 48 weeks, fully prepared with a robust skill set and ready to hit the ground running. The focus is on:

  • Immersion into care teams
  • Skills of patient care and management
  • Pre-Branch exploration

These required core clerkships cover the following departments:

12 weeks each:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery and Applied Sciences (a combination of Surgery, Pathology, Anesthesiology, Anatomy and Radiology)

Six weeks each:

  • OB-GYN
  • Pediatrics

Four weeks each:

  • Family Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry

Clinical Trunk Intensive

About half way through the Clinical Trunk, students leave their rotations and come back together over four days to expand their knowledge on the different components within Health System Science and the important roles they play in addressing problems with the current state of our health care in the United States.

USMLE Step 1

The Step I exam is taken after the entire Clinical Trunk is complete following a dedicated eight-week study period. The Clinical Trunk naturally segues into the Branches phase of the curriculum with the continuity of clinical rotations integrated with scientific learning.

At a Glance

Please note, these diagrams are provided for reference only. Curriculum details are subject to change.