Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

Third-Year Clinical Curriculum at the FAU College of Medicine

During the third-year clerkships, our 64 medical students rotate through a series of integrated inpatient and outpatient experiences in the following six core disciplines for which they receive clerkship grades: Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Psychiatry, and Community and Preventive Medicine.  The framework for these experiences is two six month Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs) called Medical and Surgical Sciences (MSS) and Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS).

Students also are exposed to other disciplines throughout both LICs, for which they do not receive separate grades.  These experiences contribute to their final grades for each overall LIC and in some cases to the discipline with which they are strongly associated (e.g. Critical Care and Geriatrics/Palliative Care contribute to the Medicine grade). Anesthesiology, emergency medicine, geriatrics, palliative care, pathology, and radiology experiences and related didactics are incorporated throughout the year.  Directors in these disciplines ensure that their discipline’s goals and objectives are met across clerkships and across sites.  Curricular threads including Ethics, Cultural Competency, and Clinical and Translational Research are woven into the didactics as well.

Medical and Surgical Sciences (MSS) is a six-month block that contains inpatient and outpatient experiences in medicine, critical care, surgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, pathology, radiology, geriatrics, and palliative care.  Students have 5 weeks dedicated to an inpatient medicine rotation and an additional 1 week of critical care in an ICU setting.  Five weeks are spent doing an inpatient surgery block with an additional 1 week focused on anesthesiology.  Eight weeks, divided into two blocks, are spent in primarily outpatient, skilled nursing, and hospice facilities doing geriatrics, palliative care, medical subspecialties, surgical subspecialties, and unique clinical exposures such as a day spent in a rural health care setting.

Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) is a six-month block incorporating psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, as well as the other disciplines with the exception of geriatrics/palliative care.  Students spend 4 weeks on an inpatient psychiatry experience, 4 weeks on an inpatient pediatrics service, and 4 weeks on inpatient obstetrics/gynecology.  The ob/gyn inpatient experience is focused on labor and delivery and gynecologic surgery.  Eight additional weeks (divided into 2 week blocks) of the clerkship are spent in outpatient settings, where the students are assigned to half day sessions with a pediatrician, an ob/gyn, in a psychiatry clinic, and a variety of pediatric, ob/gyn, and psychiatry subspecialty experiences.

Throughout the entire third year, our students are assigned one on one to a primary care provider, either an internist or a family physician in the community, for an afternoon each week.  This longitudinal preceptor experience is part of the Community and Preventive Medicine clerkship. 

The core integrated didactics curriculum for each LIC is delivered every Tuesday afternoon on the main campus at the FAU COM.  These sessions are mandatory for all students and are intended to provide a consistent core of curricular content for all students across all of the clinical sites.  It also allows students to return to the medical school campus to meet with core faculty and their advisers on a regular basis. 

Select an area to read more:

Continuity with a hospital/health care system; Continuity with peers; Continuity with patients; Continuity of disease process

  • Each student is assigned to a geographic region for their entire third year.
  • CCF and Memorial /Joe DiMaggio  OR  Boca Regional, West Boca, Delray, and Bethesda
    • There are two, 23-week longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) that make up the third year; there are two additional transition weeks for a total of 48 weeks not including scheduled vacations.
    • Medical Surgical Sciences (MSS): a 23 week clerkship in Medicine, Surgery, Geriatrics/Palliative Care, and related specialties.
    • Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS): a 23 week clerkship in Pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, Psychiatry, and related specialties.
      • Every week the students attend integrated didactics on Tuesday afternoons at FAU College of Medicine.
      • Each student spends one half day each week with an outpatient adult medicine preceptor for the year.
      • Two or three half days during the outpatient blocks are “white space” dedicated to working with attending physicians in specialty areas of interest, following their patients and preceptors, completing assignments, and reading/studying.
      • Students have on call experiences (ER shifts, L&D etc.) scheduled in each discipline that do not exceed the 16 hour per day and 80 hour per week duty hours policy.
      • Students are exposed to anesthesiology, critical care, emergency medicine, pathology, and radiology throughout the entire year.


Medicine – The Internal Medicine clerkship is a five-week inpatient rotation, as well as an 8 week integrated outpatient experience during the Medical and Surgical Sciences Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship. During this clerkship each student will gain an awareness of the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that Internists strive to acquire and maintain throughout their professional lives.  Students will have supervised responsibility for patient care, learning to integrate clinical knowledge with practical experience.

Clerkship Directors:  Jennifer Foster, M.D., M.B.A. and Jackie Railsback, M.D.

Staff contacts: Lacey Sorrentino and Carol Arias


Surgery - The surgical clerkship is an intense clinical experience that introduces students to the basic principles of surgery.  The clerkship is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills relevant to surgical management that all physicians should possess.  It aims to emphasize patient responsibility and professional behavior as essential qualities for young physicians to develop. During this clerkship, students learn pre-, peri-, and post-operative evaluation and management of surgical diseases and participate in surgical procedures.  The goal of the surgical experience is to impart an understanding of the basic principles of surgery that the student will acquire, an informational base from which surgical disease can be recognized and appropriate treatment initiated.  This is accomplished through direct patient care, faculty teaching, and a series of lectures and conferences.  Throughout the clerkship, emphasis is placed on experience in surgery and is intended to prepare students for whatever area of medicine they choose for residency.

Clerkship Directors:  Lawrence Brickman, M.D., F.A.C.S.    and   Fabio Potenti, M.D.

 Staff contacts: Lacey Sorrentino and Carol Arias



Pediatrics - Each student will be assigned to one primary hospital for their Pediatric inpatient experience within the 23 week Family and Community Health Sciences Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship. The clerkship will include 4 weeks on an inpatient pediatrics ward, as well as newborn, pediatric outpatient, pediatric ER, and subspecialty experiences throughout the 23 week LIC.  Students will also be assigned to an outpatient pediatric preceptor with whom they will spend time in an ambulatory setting learning about the approach to health supervision, well child care, and the care of common pediatric illnesses.

Clerkship Directors:  Sarah Wood, M.D.  ,  Randi Sperling, D.O.  and Rosha McCoy, M.D.

Staff contacts: Lacey Sorrentino and Carol Arias


Ob/Gyn – The Ob/Gyn Clerkship is part of the 23 week Family and Community Health Sciences longitudinal integrated clerkship (FCHS LIC). Each student will be assigned to one primary hospital for their Ob/Gyn inpatient experience to provide maximal continuity. The clerkship will include 4 weeks on inpatient Ob/Gyn services including labor and delivery, and gynecologic surgery. Each student will also be assigned an Ob/Gyn outpatient preceptor who they will work with on a longitudinal basis and they will rotate through related subspecialty experiences including Gynecology Oncology, Maternal Fetal medicine, Reproductive Endocrinology, and Urogynecology throughout the 23 week LIC. 

Clerkship Directors:  Minda Neimark, M.D. Ob/Gyn Director

Staff contacts: Lacey Sorrentino and Carol Arias

Psychiatry - The Psychiatry Clerkship is part of the 6 month Family and Community Health Sciences longitudinal integrated clerkship (FCHS LIC). The clerkship has two components; a four-week inpatient psychiatry rotation and outpatient/subspecialty psychiatry experiences integrated throughout the six month longitudinal integrated clerkship.  The psychiatry clerkship is designed to help students develop clinical skills and a knowledge base in Psychiatry.  In addition to the inpatient, outpatient, subspecialty experiences, students will attend regular didactic lectures every week at the College of Medicine.

Clerkship Directors:  Peter Holland, M.D.   and  Neil Edison, M.D.

Staff contacts: Lacey Sorrentino and Carol Arias

Fourth-Year Clinical Curriculum at the FAU College of Medicine

Year 4 is designed to expand on the clinical knowledge and skills acquired over the last 3 years of medical school. Students will be encouraged to manage clinical problems with the degree of independence required in the first year of postgraduate level of training. The 45 weeks of Year 4 begin with one week of orientation and ends with a two-week Transition to Residency course. The rest of the year is divided into ten 4-week blocks and one 2-week block for rotations. There are 28 weeks of required rotations: a 4-week Acting Internship, 12 weeks of Selective Rotations and 12 weeks of Elective Rotations. There are 14 additional weeks of discretionary time for additional rotations, research, completion of the USMLE Step 2 exams, and interviewing for residency.

Course Descriptions

Acting Internship Rotations

The overall goal of this course is for the student to provide care for a group of patients, applying knowledge and clinical reasoning to medical practice. These rotations provide the opportunity for the student to assume a high level of responsibility for patient care in the inpatient setting. The student will be an integral member of the medical team.

Selective Rotations

Selective rotations explore the diversity of medical fields and increase the educational experience, providing hands-on patient care through the scope of medical specialties. Students will provide patient care in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Often the student will work with an Attending to provide consultations in the specific specialty.

Elective Rotations

Fourth year electives accommodate the diverse educational needs of medical students. They offer students the opportunity to explore diverse options in the field of medicine and provide them the opportunity to broaden the scope of their medical knowledge and skills.

Transition to Residency Course

This two-week capstone course is offered in March at the end of year 4. It prepares students to work effectively as residents. The course emphasizes the skills needed to start residency and be an effective team member. This is also an opportunity for the class to work together one last time before graduation.

Last Modified 3/1/18