The SMP Curriculum and the School of Medicine

Like most major medical schools, Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) is continually reforming the curriculum to produce a more integrated program that will enhance the student's problem-solving abilities, and build a strong connection between the basic and clinical medical sciences. GUSOM has undergone major curricular revisions including:

  • reducing the "preclinical" curriculum to 18 months and starting clinical rotations early
  • fully integrating the M1 material to include pathology, pharmacology, immunology, microbiology and additional clinical "doctoring" material
  • adding more basic science to M3 and M4 (in deep dives) to allow students the ability to direct their learning
  • in the first year (M1) creating 4 blocks of content of ~7-8 wks each: Fall (Science Foundations I, Science Foundations II); Spring (Systems I, Systems II) 
  • grading in the M1 and M2 years is longitudinal, and medical students will recieve grades at the end of the year in the disciplines (i.e. Physiology, biochemistry, embryology, pharmacology, immunology, etc)

As always, the SMP changes with the med curriculum, and we have taken the opportunity to design an exciting new SMP curriculum that will now incorporate additional medical material, and provide new graduate courses that enhance the medical experience. The inaugural year of the revised SMP (2017-2018) went exceptionally well, and we continue to provide a rigorous and supportive environment. The graduate courses include Principles of Physiology,  Principles of Gross Anatomy, Human Nutrition & Health, Advanced Phyiology & Pathophysiology (that includes pathology content), and a Graduate Pharmacology course that covers pharmacology material given in the M1 spring modules, to fully complement the medical course material the students receive.

  • SMP students take medical courses throughout the 10 months, and the courses are integrated with material from the different  disciplines.
  • Grades from 3 medical courses will be available to medical schools before November, and 5 medical courses (and 4 grad courses) will be finished in fall semester. Updating medical schools with these grades is great for the medical application process.
  • The integrated medical curriculum includes Biochemistry, Physiology, Microanatomy (Histology), Embryology, and Gross Anatomy (and some pharmacology and pathology). SMP students receive the systems Gross Anatomy components (full lectures with faculty facilitated labs and multiple on-line resources, but without cadaveric dissection-- however, prosected cadavers are viewed). SMP students have a comparable performance on anatomy practicals as the medical students. 
  • All medical courses have integrative case-based workshops and small group sessions to reinforce concepts. The information base builds over the year.
  • In addition to the 10 months of the medical curriculum, SMP students take graduate Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology (APP) courses in the fall and spring, which complement and extend the medical coursework. In the spring, the graduate APP and grad Pharmacology courses use a flipped classroom model to reinforce material (pathology and pharmacology) in the medical systems based courses.
  • Overall, there is more medical curriculum (including pathology, immunology and pharmacology) in the new SMP curriculum.

The SMP is at the forefront of preparing students for careers in medicine, and these new changes will continue to ensure the finest medical and graduate education and support towards your career and academic goals.

Integrated SMP Curriculum (medical curriculum throughout the year)-- FINAL CURRICULUM IS DONE!

The new SMP curriculum is shown below. The course numbers and credits are available under course descriptions. The Medical courses are in BOLD, and the curriculum continues to integrate relevant concepts of gross anatomy, histology, embryology, biochemistry, and physiology. Graduate courses are not bold.

Course descriptions


Class Schedule/Curriculum Format for 2017-2018

Summary of curriculum:

  • The overall content for Biochemistry, Embryology, Microscopic Anatomy, and Human Physiology, is integrated into the SMP medical courses.  
  • The curriculum also includes medical Gross Anatomy (with innovative non-dissection lab curriculum and prosected cadavers) in the Medical Cardiopulmonary Biology, Medical Respiratory & Renal Biology, Medical Gastrointestinal Biology and Medical Endocrine & Reproduction Biology SMP courses.
  • The graduate courses include Foundations of Physiology, Biomedical Career Pathways, Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology, and SMP Graduate Pharmacology. These courses all support the physiologic science training available for the MS degree.


Grading for SMP students at both locations illustrate student competence in medical school courses. This is achieved because the SMP student's grades are based on the medical school grading curve. At Georgetown, medical students are now graded on a Pass/Fail grading curve. SMP students are graded based on the mean and standard deviation of medical students taking the same questions (that comprise the SMP medical courses). The following grade conversion chart illustrates this:

Grade on Graduate Transcript Interpretation
A (~top 10 to 15% of med class performance)
A- or B+ (next 15 to 20% of med class)
B  (majority of first year med class performance)
B- or C  Passing but less than satisfactory performance against medical class, with B- equivalent to med Low Pass
F Unsatisfactory performance--No credit given for grad course

Daily Schedule at GUMC

The daily schedule varies throughout the year, depending on the classes that are being taken at any given time. However, in general, students can expect to spend 8-12 hours per week in morning classes and 4+ hours per week in afternoon classes. All classes take place between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Most of the students spend a majority of the rest of the day studying.

Daily Schedule at GTDT

The daily schedule at GTDT is regular, with classes and facilitated learning session scheduled between 10AM and 2PM, with an average of 3 hours of in class sessions daily. There is a set afternoon each week reserved for the off-site volunteer work. As with the GUMC location, students spend a majority of their time outside class studying.