For the Super Focused: Details of NYU's Three-Year Med Degree

As part of their curriculum overhaul seeking to focus on competency-based education rather than time-based education, last year NYU Medical School announced a three-year track for medical students. Students who wish to apply to the three-year MD degree program must first gain admission to the four-year program, and then apply internally.

According to NYU, the curriculum for the three-year pathway is identical to the core curriculum of the four-year pathway with a few tweaks: three-year pathway students will start their academic year six weeks earlier, with a rotation in the department of their chosen residency. They will spend the summer between their first and second year doing a summer fellowship in the same department.

The catch? Students proceed directly to their residency instead of a fourth year curriculum, and said residency must be at NYU. In fact, students must select this residency upon starting the program as they will spend a summer rotating through the department before they even begin medical school.

For many, this three-year MD degree is a dream come true, shaving a year off a lengthy, costly education while allowing them to secure their residency early and avoid the stress of the match-up. For students who are unsure of which field they want to pursue, the program signals the end of exploring specialties during clerkships. To many students, this “try before you buy” period has been crucial in showing them a specialty they may have been considering was not the right one, or vice versa. It has also allowed medical students to discover fields that many people not already immersed in the medical field would be unaware of, such as pathology and radiation oncology. If this system is to be widely adopted it behooves medical schools and smaller specialties to make clinical experiences available to undergraduates so that students can make informed decisions.

For more information on the NYU program, including how to apply, check out their website.

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