Duke's curriculum....

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Duke completes all basic sciences in the first year, and its the only school in the country to start med students on the wards in the 2nd year.

My question is, how can they get away with only 1 year of basic science? I looked on their website and it states that they structure the curriculum so that the basic science material is strongly clinically relevant.

Hence, I think they dont cover as much of the purely basic (i.e. not disease oriented) science as other schools. Its obvious that they cant cover exactly the same material in 1 year that others use 2 years to cover.

So, if this method works, why in the HELL arent other schools using this approach? I know that Penn and Baylor use 1.5 years of basic science, but they seem to be only realy comparison to Duke's structure. Since Duke is widely regarded as producing great doctors who are adequately trained in basic science, then shouldnt that be evidece that the other schools are putting irrelevant info into their basic science curricula that isnt necessary to practicing medicine?

I would have expected every school to jump on the Duke bandwagon, since obviously their style produces great docs. So why havent other schools followed suit?

The way I see it, with this curriculum Duke has to be the best overall school in the country bar none, no contest. How can Harvard even compare with Duke when you start clinical training a year before Harvard and get a full year of protected research time?

When you throw out location and other lifestyle variables and just look at the strength of the school itself, I dont see how anyone else even comes close to Duke


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Sep 9, 1999
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Hey MacGuyver,
I am about to start my first year at Duke and I have been wondering what to expect. It looks like they break down their curriculum into five blocks, with about 3 subjects per block, and includes the most common, you know, gross anatomy, microanatomy, physiology, genetics, pathology, etc. I have had current physicians tell me that when they were in school, their professors covered so much miscellaneous material, that if they really only covered what was critical, it could have been shortened to two minutes instead of an hour. So I guess instead of learning entire pathways of reactions that you are most likely to forget after you spit it out for the test, they cover only the most critical principles that you will most likely remember so when you are faced with this pathway in the future, you aren't bogged down by all of those little details...does that make sense? I have been walking all over Duke's campus today in the hot sun so I am a little dehydrated which means I might be rambling. Anywho, so I too wonder why other schools don't adopt this approach. I mean, if it works so well, and Duke grads are still highly respected, then why not? It is wierd to think that I am going to be on rotations in a year though, I mean, it is like being thrown into it because this first year is going to go by so fast. But I am excited.