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Curriculum Years 3-4

medical studentThird- and fourth-year students in the MD Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison rotate through required and elective clerkships and a preceptorship at sites throughout Wisconsin, where they gain broad exposure to many aspects of medicine and public health in outpatient, inpatient, community-based, rural and inner-city settings.


As students advance through their clinical years, they have increased opportunities to tailor their electives to their interests and goals.


During the third year, students attend Core Curriculum Days at the Health Sciences Learning Center in Madison. These days consist of active learning about topics such as health care disparities, palliative care and unanticipated outcomes. A Transitional Clerkship that orients students as they enter their clinical years occurs in early July before rotations begin.


Students experience seven core clerkships that must be completed by the end of the third year:

Students will complete two required clerkships in either the third or fourth year:

The fourth year includes additional required rotations, including the Acting Internship (to be completed in either the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics or Surgery), a six-week community-based Preceptorship (inclusive of a public health experience) OR a 4-week Ambulatory Acting Internship (plus a separate 2-credit public health selective), and a required 2-week Internship Prep Course in the final two weeks of the academic year. Students spend their remaining time in electives.

View the Clinical Years Requirements (pdf)


medical students

On average, students spend about 16 weeks outside of Madison at rotations that include:

The Year-End Professional Skills Exam (YEPSA) is a performance-based exam given at the end of the third year. It is similar in format to an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), and typically includes 11-13 stations. The School of Medicine and Public Health core clinical competencies are tested and evaluated during these stations. Passing YEPSA is a graduation requirement. 


Two specialty track programs are offered to students (application requirement) for longitudinal rural (Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine, WARM) and urban (Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health, TRIUMPH) experiences. WARM includes programs in Marshfield, La Crosse and Green Bay (and surrounding towns). TRIUMPH is based in Milwaukee.


Track Assignments in 2016-17


Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM)


In the 2016-17 academic year, there will be eight M3s and six M4s assigned to the Green Bay WARM site, which includes rotations in Howards Grove, Plymouth, Sturgeon Bay and Two Rivers. There will be 10 M3s and 10 M4s in La Crosse. Students there will complete Pediatrics, part of Internal Medicine and the Primary Care Clerkship in a longitudinal format over 18 weeks, utilizing rural sites in Decorah, Iowa; Sparta, Tomah, Viroqua and Whitehall. The other clerkships are completed in La Crosse.


The WARM group also includes 10 M3s in Marshfield and 10 M4s. The Marshfield WARM group utilizes many rural sites in northern Wisconsin. In addition to Marshfield, some of the locations in which WARM students spend time are Chippewa Falls, Minocqua, Merrill/Mosinee, Colby/Stratford and Rice Lake. WARM students across all three regional sites complete a community health project and participate in monthly WARM core days.


Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH)


TRIUMPH will enroll 17 M4, 3 MD/MPH/Global, and 16 M3 students in the 2016-17 academic year. TRIUMPH students relocate to Milwaukee to complete most of their clinical rotations and the TRIUMPH core curriculum during the third (M3) and fourth (M4) years of medical school. Students begin TRIUMPH with a two-week intensive Community and Public Health Enrichment Experience (CAPHENE) course in November of the M3 year.


They complete Primary Care, Internal Medicine and Obstetrics-Gynecology required rotations in Milwaukee beginning in January 2017. The remaining M3 required rotations will be completed in Madison or other sites. Most M4 rotations are completed in Milwaukee including a TRIUMPH Leadership Skills course in October of the M4 year. Students may select to take up to four months of M4 rotations in other sites including abroad.


TRIUMPH students meet regularly to learn basic skills in community and public health, to develop leadership skills, and to share clinical joys, challenges, celebrations, discoveries, and progress on their projects. Each student is matched with a community organization to complete a longitudinal public health project. View past projects


Many TRIUMPH students have elected to pursue dual MD-MPH degrees and/or experience in global health. While a Master of Public Health (MPH) can be completed at any point, we encourage students to consider the combined TRIUMPH-MPH program. These students complete their MPH over one year between the M3 and M4 years. They combine their TRIUMPH projects with the MPH field experience. See the MD-MPH website for further details


Several TRIUMPH students have taken leaves of absence from medical school to pursue global health experiences between their M3 and M4 years. These students integrate clinical medicine and public health to promote the care of medically underserved and/or disadvantaged populations locally and globally.



Curriculum Years 3-4

Last updated: 07/15/2016
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