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Medical School

Houston, Texas

Class of 2011 White Coat Ceremony
Medical School
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Pre-clinical Curriculum


  • Work one-on-one with patients in the first weeks
  • Only 18 months of basic science courses
  • Faculty are leaders and mentors

In 18 months (as opposed to 24), BCM's pre-clinical curriculum provides a firm foundation in the scientific concepts and clinical know-how of practicing medicine. Nothing is left out, but the way the information is taught allows our students to really get it, but in less time. Want proof it works? See how well they do on their national board exams.

In addition to seeing patients sooner, the extra six months allows our students the flexibility to tailor their education to best fit them. They can study for the board exams, take extra electives, conduct research, explore medicine in other countries... the options go on and on.

Joseph Spinner on why he chose BCM: Transcript

Early Patient Contact

We think medical students benefit from interacting one-on-one with physicians and patients right away, so we teach our students skills they start putting into practice within the first few weeks—such as taking patient histories, performing physicals, and collaborating with physician mentors. This is part of the Patient, Physician and Society course.

Curriculum that Makes Sense

BCM has had a shortened, 1.5-year pre-clinical curriculum for more than 30 years. The curriculum itself and the integrated approach to teaching are the keys to soaking up all that knowledge in 18 months.

During the basic science courses, you learn first about anatomy and the core scientific concepts that underlie medicine. These concepts are applied to each of the body's organ systems in their healthy state. Then, you learn about pathology and pharmacology and carry those themes through each of the organ systems in their disease states.

At the same time, you're meeting in small groups to learn skills that make you effective, such as problem solving, working as a team, and how to be a life-long learner. This is part of the Integrated Problem Solving course.

A Personal Guide

BCM wants to do all it can to make sure our students do well and make the most of their time in medical school. Playing a key role in this effort are the mentors at BCM. Mentors include both faculty and upper classmen. Students meet regularly with their mentors in small groups and one-on-one to gain insights into a wide range of topics, including:

  • effectively mastering the science courses,
  • taking advantage of special opportunities such as tracks and electives,
  • getting involved at the school and in the community,
  • studying for the national board exam,
  • balancing work/life/family, and
  • navigating the clinical rotations.

Mentors also work with students during their clinical years to help ensure that core competencies and other factors important for graduation are being achieved.

For More Information

More details about the pre-clinical curriculum are available in the Student Handbook.