Basic Science

The basic biomedical sciences are a major part of the foundation upon which the practice of medicine is built. This subject matter is considered throughout both the preclinical (Phase I) and clinical (Phase II) components of the curriculum.

Up to date and reliable information about these sciences is considered in an integrated, organized manner structured around the various organ systems, designed to allow students to fully understand and apply basic science principles efficiently and effectively in the evaluation and management of patients.

Students work with each other in small groups, using real patient cases every week, as a framework for basic science education.

VTCSOM alumni Josh Eickenberg runs through a case with three students

Year 1

The focus of learning activities in the Basic Science Domain during year 1 is on normal structure. 

Functional biology of cells and tissues, musculoskeletal system, and immunology. 

Cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and hematology. 

Endocrine, reproductive, gastrointestinal and renal systems.

Biology of the nervous system and special senses

Year 2

The focus of learning activities in the Basic Science Domain during year 2 is on abnormal structure.

Fundamentals of pathobiology and immunology

Pathobiology of cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and hematology. 

Pathobiology of reproductive, gastrointestinal and renal systems.

Pathobiology of nervous system, endocrine, oral health, genetic musculoskeletal and psychiatry.

Years 3 & 4

The basic science concepts are reinforced and further developed by our excellent clinical faculty during both required clerkship rotations and elective courses.

Each week students explore real patient cases from the community.

  • The students work together in small groups with a facilitator to pull out learning objectives from the case. 
  • Mid-week, the groups meet again and present what they have learned,in effect teaching one another. After those presentations, the groups receive more details about the case. They again extract learning objectives and present their investigations at the end of the week. 
  • After the final presentations, students meet the actual patient, the doctor involved in the case, and the patient’s family members, to learn from them the full impact of the patient’s medical condition in a memorable way.

Patient centered learning is a substantial component of the curriculum


Hours spent on patient cases each week


Patient cases in
Years 1 and 2