Hershey Curriculum Details
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, four-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
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 four-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.
About Systems Navigation
Penn State College of Medicine’s Systems Navigation Curriculum (SyNC), launched in 2014, combines a course in the science of health systems with an immersive experience as a patient navigator.
The curriculum integrates core systems sciences such as health policy, high-value care and population and public health with two threads related to evidence-based medicine; it also includes teamwork and leadership training throughout each of seven modules.
The patient navigator program provides value-added clinical systems learning roles that allow students to learn about healthcare delivery while also providing an opportunity for students to guide patients through the complicated process of getting the care they need.
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 4: Month-long humanities selective (required). Recently offered courses include:
- Human Virtue
- Jazz and the Art of Medicine
- Graphic Storytelling
- Medical Narratives
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.