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Clinical Science

At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, clinical science begins with real patient interaction in the first week of school.  Students receive ample time during their pre-clerkship years to learn and practice clinical skills with interprofessional faculty and standardized patients in a suite of on-site examination rooms as well as in a new state-of-the-art simulation center. These patient-centered clinical experiences are the foundation that ensures progressive development of competent interview, physical exam, ultrasound, clinical reasoning and patient management skills.  These early, intensive clinical experiences effectively prepare students for their clinical clerkships, elective rotations and the national board exams. 

Early patient exposure and frequent clinical science skills practice in an integrated, longitudinal process across ALL four years.

Students participate in an Ultrasound Lab
M1 students participate in an Ultrasound Lab. VTCSOM is the first med school in the country to have ultrasound machines that are 4 lead EKG capable.

Year 1

Interview Skills Utilizing a Patient-Centered Approach

Physical Exam Skills Across the Lifespan*

Oral Health Curriculum

Bedside Ultrasound*

Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience

*Aligns with anatomy curriculum to maximize integration

Year 2

Expanded Interview Skills

Abnormal Physical Exam Findings

Clinical Reasoning Skills

Communication Skills:  Oral and Written Presentations

Transition to Clerkships: Pre-Clerkship Procedural Skills

Bedside Ultrasound:  Common Abnormal Findings

Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience

Year 3

  • Emergency Medicine or 4 weeks of Electives
  • Family and Community Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

All students are assessed at the end of Year 3 with a multi-station objective structured clinical exam to assess clinical skills and provide formative feedback.

Year 4

10 weeks of Required Electives (ICU, Medicine Subspecialty, Research, Surgery Subspecialty, Transition to Residency I) 

18 -22 weeks of Additional Electives (18 if takes Emergency Medicine in Yr4)

2 weeks of Transition to Residency II - Phase II ends with "Transition to Residency II,”

Opportunities in Clinical Science

  • Bedside Ultrasound Training Integrating Anatomy and Clinical Science (Years 1-4)
  • Standardized Patient Encounters (Years 1-4)
  • Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience (LACE) (Years 1-2)
  • Nationally Recognized Comprehensive Longitudinal Oral Health Curriculum (Years 1-4)
  • Transition to Clerkship Curriculum (Year 2)
  • New State-of-the-Art Simulation Center (Years 2-4)
  • Exposure to a Large Volume of Patients with a Variety of Presentations (Years 3 and 4)
  • Training at a Level 1  Trauma Center (Years 3 and 4)
  • Annual Disaster Drill (Year 3)
  • Interdisciplinary Curriculum - Domain Days. (Year 3)
  • Opportunities for Acting Internships and Multiple Electives Offered by Each Clinical Department (Year 4)
  • International Electives (Year 4)
  • Transition to Residency Curriculum and Assessment (Year 4)

Clinical Science Success


100% match rate* for our graduates

First time pass rate:
Step 1: 98%
Step 2 CS: 100%
Step 2 CK: 95%

*From 2014-18, based on five graduating classes with a total of 200 graduates.

More about the Clinical Science Domain