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Penn State College of Medicine MD students research adaptive immune response during class in the University Park Curriculum on Aug. 29, 2018. Three students wearing medical coats are seen looking downward at something on a table. A whiteboard filled with notes is visible in the background.

MD Program: University Park Curriculum

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University Park "Closer Look" Information Sessions

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We invite you to join us for Penn State College of Medicine University Park Curriculum Track's "Closer Look" information sessions.

Join us virtually to get a closer look at a curriculum that combines community engagement with health systems science and innovative educational strategies to empower you to thrive in your learning and professional growth. Penn State College of Medicine University Park Curriculum Track will prepare you for limitless career opportunities and the practice of medicine in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Pre-registration is required for each Zoom session. You may register for multiple sessions.


Sessions will be conducted using Zoom.

Session descriptions

University Park Curriculum Track welcome and Year 1

Welcome to the University Park Curriculum at Penn State College of Medicine! Unlike the Hershey Curriculum, located in Hershey, Pa., the UPC track is based in State College, Pa. and shares a campus with Penn State’s main undergraduate campus. However, the location isn’t the only difference between the programs - whereas Hershey has ~140 students per class, UPC accepts just 12 to participate in small-group flipped classroom style learning. As you can imagine, having such a small class size lends itself to a high faculty-to-student ratio; as early as the first year, students rotate in local clinics and form strong relationships with physicians.

In this session, we will discuss the main differences between the UP and Hershey curriculum, including the reason behind our small class size, Learning Objective (LO) sessions, Inquiry Groups (IQ) and biweekly early clinical immersion.

Program Overview, Years 2 to 4

As the second year begins, so do the core clinical clerkships in internal medicine, family and community medicine, psychiatry, neuroscience, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and surgery. All second-year University Park Curriculum medical students will return to the “classroom” for sessions focused on building an integrated approach into the medical students’ clinical training. United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) prep time begins part way through the third year, and there is dedicated “discovery” time that allows for board preparation and career exploration as well as acting internships. Additionally, there is a residency prep portion including general residency preparation, interviews and two total acting internships in different clinical fields or one acting internship and one critical care rotation. Finally, Transition to Internship (TTI) occurs at the end of each student’s medical school career and builds on these concepts in preparation for residency training. TTI is the final requirement for each graduating fourth-year medical school class, taking place just prior to medical school graduation.

Mock Inquiry (IQ) group

The curriculum at University Park is a bit different than the traditional lecture style. Join current first-year students at the UPC program as they go through a shortened Inquiry Group session, starting with a short case presentation, learning objective generation and ending with a demonstration of self-guided learning. After the demo, the students will be available for a Q&A session and debrief. Audience participation is encouraged, but not required. No preparation is necessary, and applicants will not be evaluated at all based on their engagement throughout the session; it is simply to provide a beneficial experience.

Life in State College

Living in a college town has its perks. The University Park (UP) campus is located in the same town as Penn State’s main undergraduate campus, and most UPC students live in State College or in the surrounding area. While most of our time in the classroom is spent in the Medical Sciences Building next to the hospital, living so close to the Penn State campus gives us plenty of opportunities for research with Penn State faculty and undergraduate mentorship. That’s not all - we will discuss noteworthy attractions, such as the bustling downtown area, The Arboretum, The Palmer Museum of Art, The State Theatre, Mount Nittany, Tussey Mountain Trail, The Creamery, and, of course, Beaver Stadium. Each year, State College puts on events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (Arts Fest), the homecoming parade, THON (Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON), Relay for Life, March of Dimes, college sporting events, the Grange Fair and Moving On. Learn what State College has to offer.

Current student meet and greet

The camaraderie among students at UP is one of its most treasured characteristics. Students seek to be well-rounded, foster group synergy through communication and celebrate each other’s successes. Join us to “meet and greet” our UP students of various classes beyond the interview experience. Students will be available to answer questions and give applicable guidance, or simply to share their experiences and engage in more day-to-day conversation.


Sessions available are below. All sessions will be held 6 to 7 p.m.

  • Feb. 8: Admissions and Year 1 Overview
  • Mar. 1: Program Overview, Years 2-4
  • March 8: Mock Inquiry Group Session
  • March 22: Life in State College
  • April 5: Current student meet-and-greet

RSVP for all sessions

MD Program University Park Recruitment Video

Learn more about Penn State College of Medicine's University Park Curriculum in this video.

View accessible video with audio description and transcript here.

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