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Dr. Dwight Davis addresses students at the 2019 MD student orientation in Hershey, Pa. He is gesturing with his hands and students are seen sitting in rows in a lecture hall in front of him.

MD Program: Hershey Curriculum

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Hershey Curriculum Details

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The central curriculum and the two parallel tracks share numerous curricular elements, the result of deliberate educational program design that ensures comparability. At the core, they share the same vision, core curriculum, three-phase curriculum framework, graduation and education program competencies.

MD Program Vision

To guide the development of a humanistic, systems-ready physician who is adaptive, critical-thinking, collaborative and scholarly

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Program of Study

Learner-Centered, Integrated Curriculum

The practice of medicine is constantly changing. Many of these changes are part of a transformation that will alter the way healthcare is organized and delivered in the future.

The three-phase curriculum is learner-centered and has been developed to prepare students for a successful career in a more integrated healthcare system. Graduates will meet all of the required competencies and subcompetencies.

The committee on undergraduate medical education, composed of faculty and students, meets regularly to evaluate and modify the curriculum to keep pace with new knowledge and changes in healthcare delivery.

Emphasis on Humanities

We value the art of healing — not just the science of it. Penn State College of Medicine was the first medical school in the United States to have a dedicated humanities department, and this focus is reflected in our curriculum:

  • Phase 1: Humanities coursework every Tuesday morning
  • Phase 2: Humanities stripe across clerkships (“backstory rounds”)
  • Phase 3: Month-long humanities selective (required). Recently offered courses include:

Additional humanities activities include the Farmers Market in Hershey, the arts and literature journal Wild Onions, and the Kienle Center Players, a drama group.


A supportive community is powerful, especially in a rigorous learning environment like medical school. At the College of Medicine, four learning communities — called Societies — provide a way for students and faculty to connect, encourage, and learn from each other.

Each Society has a faculty Society head, approximately seven to eight Society advisors (each clinical faculty member is assigned to five first-year, five second-year, five third-year and five fourth-year students), College of Medicine alumni (both within the College and from the community), and two to three basic science faculty.

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For more information, contact 717-531-8755 or

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