For more information about our curriculum, or to contact a course director or clerkship director, please email the Office of Medical Education:


The fall semester of M1, known as the Scientific Foundations of Medicine phase, emphasizes foundational knowledge required to understand the structure, function and pathophysiology of the different organ systems.

During the Applied Medical Sciences phase, which starts in the spring semester, students study hematology and oncology, the musculoskeletal systems, gastrointestinal system, endocrine and reproduction systems. Each organ system block covers normal anatomy and physiology before delving into disease diagnosis, pathophysiology and management.

Fall Semester Courses

Spring Semester Courses


From August to January, M2 is a continuation of the Applied Medical Sciences phase. Afterwards, students spend 6-8 dedicated weeks preparing for the NBME Step 1 exam with close guidance from a faculty adviser on effective study plans and resources.



At the start of the third year, students participate in the Transition to M3 course described below. During the year, students receive clinical training by rotating through the various hospitals and ambulatory services, including VCU Medical Center, Richmond Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Riverside Regional Medical Center and other health care facilities throughout Virginia.

This clinical experience is supplemented by didactic presentations on practice-related topics. All students participate in the following clerkships:



M4 is a year of advanced clinical concentrations, consisting of 44 weeks of elective rotations and eight weeks of acting internships. Students are also given up to 4 weeks of dedicated time to study for the NBME Step 2 CK exam. Students also take the Transition to M4 course (described below) at the beginning of the year, and the Transition to Residency course at the end. 

To best serve the needs of individual students, VCU School of Medicine offers the opportunity to select electives based on career goals. Students are required to complete one ward acting internship and one critical care acting internship, with the remaining blocks containing a combination of clinical and non-clinical electives.

Students may also opt to complete an away rotation at a different health care facility.

View the electives catalog

Visiting Students

If you are a student at another institution and are interested in participating in an elective at VCU, please contact:

Hayley Mathews
Visiting Student Coordinator

M4 courses

Longitudinal Courses

Many M.D. program courses span multiple years, complementing and building upon the scientific, clinical and professional knowledge students gain throughout the four years of medical school.

For more information about our longitudinal curriculum, or to contact a course director, please email the Office of Medical Education: