Clerkship phase

Segment 3: Clerkship phase

This curriculum phase of study is defined as the 12 months of core clerkship courses, including orientation weeks, helping with the transition to clerkships, and a longitudinal course called Clinical Reasoning, Integration and Skills for Practice (CRISP). Students are assigned to faculty coaches to aid and assist in the student's growth in clinical mastery.

April to March (48 weeks)

  • Internal Medicine (12 weeks)
  • Surgery (12 weeks)
  • Pediatrics (6 weeks)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology/Women's Health (6 weeks)
  • Family Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Psychiatry (4 weeks)
  • Neurology (4 weeks)
  • CRISP (longitudinal throughout the 48 weeks)

Clinical sites

  • Ascension St. John
  • Beaumont/Oakwood Dearborn
  • Detroit Medical Center
  • Henry Ford
  • Michigan Health Professionals
  • Trinity
  • Veterans Affairs

Clerkship objectives

Overall clerkship focus

Globally the core clerkships cover the basic specialties, but in each, the student learns the basics of patient care and clinical skills. Each clerkship exposes the student to a different set of patients and diseases, in addition to the different aspects of specialty care. The student will have the same clinical responsibilities and goals in each clerkship, but will grow them a little differently in each clerkship. In addition to providing experience, exposure and instruction in the commonly seen clinical diseases in primary care and general medicine, the student is exposed to specialty areas that will help in the career planning for the next phase of training.

Family Medicine

A four-week clerkship that encompasses the comprehensive and longitudinal care of patients with a special emphasis on care of individuals in the context of families and communities. This is primarily an outpatient rotation, working with preceptors throughout the city and metropolitan area of Detroit. This clerkship provides an opportunity for students to learn about the comprehensive care of adults as most are matched to a single preceptor.

Internal Medicine

12-week clerkship experience including in-patient and ambulatory exposure. Students will be placed on inpatient services where they work daily with a team of residents and faculty. There are three to four weeks of ambulatory general and specialty medicine included in the rotation. Students are responsible for admission workups, daily care of assigned patients and taking a lead role in coordinating patient care.


This four-week clerkship is designed to teach medical students the principles and skills needed to recognize and manage neurological disease. Students will learn to perform a thorough neurologic history and examination by the completion of this rotation.

Obstetrics and Gynecology/Women's Health

A six-week clerkship is an introductory experience in women's health. Students will spend three weeks in Obstetrics, spending time on busy Labor and Delivery wards, and three weeks in Gynecologic Surgery, both inpatient and outpatient.


This six-week clerkship is divided into inpatient, outpatient and newborn nursery blocks. Students will spend the majority of time in pediatric outpatient offices learning the care of the common diseases of childhood, the basics of taking care of young patients, and growth and development milestones and evaluation.


In this four-week clerkship, students will participate in the care of patients with psychiatric disease in several settings, depending on the clinical campus. They will be able to demonstrate skills in the psychiatric interview, the psychiatric workup, manifestations of psychosis, cognitive impairment and differential diagnosis of substance-related, schizophrenia, mood, anxiety and personality disorders.


The goal of this 12-week clerkship is to introduce students to the principles of caring for the surgical patient. This goal is accomplished by allowing students to participate in the care of patients in the various stages of evaluation and treatment by surgeons. These stages include but are not limited to the preoperative office or clinic visit, inpatient admission, operative procedure and inpatient/outpatient recovery. This occurs during rotations on general, trauma and subspecialty inpatient surgical services, depending on clinical site. Students will also spend two to three weeks of this rotation on the Anesthesiology service learning the approach to preoperative evaluation, intraoperative care, pain management and care of critically ill patients.

Clerkship Preparation

This three-week course is delivered to students prior to entering their core clerkships. It starts with a mini clerkship as the student is paired with a current M3 student for several days to gain familiarity to the life of the clinical clerk. Medical students participate in a variety of educational experiences in practical skills, clerkship patient and rounding skills, common diagnostic tests, introductory radiology and electrocardiography designed to prepare them to begin their clerkship curriculum. Recertification in BLS, professionalism and wellness sessions, and near-peer guidance for all clerkships are all included.


A longitudinal course that includes monthly sessions on clinical reasoning, interprofessional health care, continuation of the ultrasound curriculum in the clinical setting, leadership, career planning, wellness and other topics that help unify the core curriculum.

Emergency Medicine

Although offered only in segment four, this is considered a core clerkship, and is required of all students. Students are assigned to busy downtown Detroit emergency rooms for a month of an involved clinical experience. This is always the most popular clerkship!