MUSC Bulletin | College of Medicine

College of Medicine | Course Descriptions

First Year

MDCOR-701 and 702. Fundamentals of Patient Care (FPC) 1A and 1B. The course goals of Fundamentals of Patient Care (FPC) are: 1) prepare students for their third-year clinical clerkships with medical interviewing, oral, and written presentation skill development; 2) provide students early and meaningful patient contact; 3) increase students’ knowledge about behavioral sciences concepts relevant to medical practice; 4) develop and refine students’ knowledge and skills of medical informatics; 5) foster students’ acquisition of life-long, self-directed learning skills; 6) foster students’ professional and cross-cultural development as future clinicians; and 7) introduce students’ to issues related to the practice of medicine.

FPC is conceptually integrated across the Block segments and longitudinally runs throughout the year.  Two sub-themes are explored 1) The Physician-Patient Interaction, and 2) Becoming a Physician.  During the course, students participate in presentation, lectures, small group discussions and standardized patient interviews, small group exercises, experiences with simulation task trainers and mannequin simulators, and self-directed learning experiences. Prerequisite: enrollment in the M.D. degree program

MDCOR-820-821. Homeostasis and Regulation (HR) - A and B. Homeostasis and Regulation (HR) explores the ways in which the human body maintains and protects itself including genetic, nervous system, and hormonal control mechanisms.  Emphasis is on 1) how genetics creates cells and organs and ways they can go wrong, 2) how local neuronal control regulates blood flow and organ function with central nervous system overlay, 3) how the endocrine system regulates and modifies various function of the human body.  Each is taught in and integrated fashion and is organized around body systems and processes.  Topical aspects of HR are taught with close coordination to and conjunction with the structural and function theme, the Molecules and Energetics theme, and the Fundamentals of Patient Care themes.  Prerequisite: enrollment in the M.D. degree program.

MDCOR-824-825 Structure and Function (SF) - A and B. The goals of the Structure and Function theme are to provide a sound understanding of the structure and function of the human body, including embryologic and fetal development in utero.  This year-long theme teaches the gross to sub-cellular structural elements of the human body through cadaveric dissection, medical imaging, and electronic images.  The function is overlaid on the structural elements by lecture, problem sets, simulations and group exercises.  All elements are interwoven with the Homeostasis and Regulation, Food and Fuel and Fundamentals of Patient Care themes which run concurrently. Prerequisite: enrollment in the M.D. degree program.

MDCOR-822-823. Molecules and Energetics (ME) - A and B. The focus of this portion of the first year curriculum is how the molecular and cellular processes of the body acquire, make and utilize fuel to support the essential functions of the human body.  Food ingestion, absorption and metabolism as well as generation of essential elements of cellular function such as NADPH, glucose and oxygen are central to this portion of the first year curriculum. Prerequisite: enrollment in the M.D. degree program

Second Year

MDCOR-826-827. Pathogens and Host Defenses (PHD) 2A - 2B. This theme  introduces the basic concepts of molecular and medical microbiology and the major concepts in modern basic immunology and exemplifies the application of those concepts to the understanding of human diseases. Lectures on selected topics in clinical immunology and infectious diseases are integrated with a variety of small group activities designed to stimulate the development of clinical problem-solving and self education skills. The course emphasizes the importance of basic science information in understanding the mechanisms of disease and applying that understanding to the diagnosis and management of immunological and infectious diseases. Presentation: lectures, small group exercises, computer-based instruction, and problem-based learning. The students are also required to write an essay on a topic of their choice. Lectures given as PowerPoint presentations, general information, and useful links to other sites are available through a course Web site. Prerequisite: successful completion of first year courses.

MDCOR-703-704. Fundamentals of Patient Care (FPC) 2A - 2B.  This theme continues to build upon the concepts and learning goals outline in the FPC themes of the first year.   Students will refine their medical interviewing and patient presentation skills, their knowledge of behavioral sciences in medical practice, and self-directed learning skills (building on knowledge and skills developed in FPC 1A and 1B). Students will also take the physical diagnosis skills that they learned in the first year and will see patients in the hospital wards and clinics, learning the art of taking a history and doing a physical examination on a real patient. The modalities for teaching this course include lectures, small group discussions and standardized patient interviews, small group exercises and sessions, self-directed learning experiences.

There are several strands that run through this year-long course.  As mentioned above, there are aspects of history taking and performing physical diagnosis.  There are also seminars to develop clinical reasoning skills and the use of evidence-based medicine and critical reviews of the medical literature. The student learns to 1) define the patient’s complaint, 2) develop a patho-physiological mechanism that explains the complaint, and 3) generate a list of probable causes for the complaint.  Students learn the deductive reasoning process which reduces the patient’s problem into a differential diagnosis.  Basic statistical and quantitative epidemiological concepts are presented as students develop skills to critically evaluate and translate to clinical practice the medical and scientific literature. Becoming well-versed and more adept at dealing with ethical dilemmas in clinical medicine is also an important thread, and through it all, an increasingly stronger emphasis on identifying the students’ own needs and career aspirations will become formulated.

MDCOR-828-829. Altered Structure and Function (ASF)  2A - 2B.  The purpose of ASF is to enable the student to understand the pathogenesis of disease and to further develop a medical vocabulary. This theme provides insight into the morphologic changes in cells and tissues of the body in various disease states. These morphologic changes and their underlying pathophysiology will be applied to the understanding of diseases of nutrition, pediatrics, autoimmunity, genetics, the environment, arteriosclerosis, infectious agents, transplantation, blood, and coagulation components.  Organized in systems, this integrated theme enables the student to gain insight into the clinical, morphologic, pathophysiologic, and laboratory changes resulting from specific disease processes of the individual organ systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, neural, alimentary, genitourinary, endocrine, skin and skeletal). Clinical and pathophysiological aspects of lab medicine are also encompassed. Presentation: lecture/demonstrations, group laboratory exercises, small group sessions, and self-instructional computer-assisted learning programs. Prerequisite: successful completion of first year courses.

MDCOR-830-831. Pharmacotherapeutics and Nutrition (PHN) 2A - 2B.  This theme provides a working knowledge of pharmacologic principles and their practical application in the therapeutic use of drugs. Emphasis is placed on understanding the disposition, effects, efficacy, and relative toxicity of all major drug groups in light of their biochemical and physiological mechanisms. There is a strong focus on the application of this knowledge in the use of therapeutic agents. Additionally, non-pharmacological treatment of disease is discussed and presented.  Aspects of nutritional considerations, particularly for certain types of disease states is also a point of particular emphasis. Presentation: an evidence-oriented approach; material is presented through a series of lectures, small group discussions, laboratory demonstrations, clinical pharmacology conferences, and self-study modules. Prerequisite: successful completion of first year courses.

MDCOR-864. CPX2 and Board Review. Students must complete and pass CPX2 and take Step1 of NBME.

Third Year

MDCOR-705. Fundamentals of Patient Care (FPC)  3A - 3B. As the two years before it, this theme continues in its emphasis on helping the students understand the physician patient relationship and also gaining insight into the students development into a physician.  It allows clinical students to apply what they learned in FPC in their preclinical years in the clinical years. A special emphasis will be place in the application of ethics to their clinical practice, their work with their geriatric senior mentors in the community, and using their skills in evidence based medicine. Career planning from Careers in Medicine program is also required.

FAMMD-861. Family Medicine/Rural Clerkship. The MUSC Family Medicine and Deans’ Rural Primary Care Clerkships have merged to form the Family Medicine/Rural Clerkship. The purpose of the Family Medicine/Rural Clerkship is to foster student development of a strong understanding of the clinical issues and professional role of a primary care physician and to further broaden the focus of student learning from providing care to individual patients to improving the health of defined population health perspective. The perspective “encompasses the ability to assess the health needs of a specific population; implement and evaluate interventions to improve the health of the population; and provide care for individual patients in the context of the culture, health status, and health needs of the populations of which that patient is a member.” (Population Health Perspective Panel Report, Academic Medicine. 1999;74:138). The partnership formed between the MUSC College of Medicine and USC School of Medicine through the Deans’ Rural Primary Care Clerkship will continue through the Family Medicine/Rural Clerkship in its dedication toward improving the health of the citizens of South Carolina. Prerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

MED-801.  Internal Medicine Core Clerkship.  This core clerkship introduces the student to the care of the hospitalized adult patient.  Through experiential learning by working along side patient care teams on the General Internal Medicine inpatient ward services at the Medical University Hospital (MUH), Ashley River Tower (ART) and the Veterans Hospital, students will learn first hand about caring for the acutely hospitalized adult patient.  Students will be expected to function as the patients’ primary hospitalist and should take an active role in the complete care and documentation of the patient’s hospital stay.  A computer-based series of learning modules covering the most common inpatient medical problems is a required exercise of this rotation.  The USMLE Subject matter examination for the Internal Medicine Clerkship is also used as summative evaluation at the end of the rotation.  Prerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

OBGYN-801. Obstetrics and Gynecology Core Clerkship. Introduces the basic knowledge and clinical problems as encountered in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Students are taught to acquire and develop their clinical skills in the care of patients. Emphasis is placed on obtaining experiences in routine obstetrics delivery, outpatient gynecologic management, and common gynecologic surgery. Presentation: didactic lectures, morning conferences, and ward rounds. Under supervision, students take histories and perform physical examinations. Prerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

PEDS-801. Pediatrics Core Clerkship. Introduces common and unique pediatric pathologic processes; further develops clinical skills and experience in handling and managing both healthy and ill infants, children and adolescents, and their families, and encouraging application of basic science knowledge to patient care. Approximately half of the rotation is devoted to inpatient care with experiences both in acute, undiagnosed illnesses and chronic illnesses (subspecialty care). A portion is devoted to the newborn nursery and the remainder to ambulatory care (general clinics, specialty clinics, acute care clinics, and community resources). Presentation: direct patient/parent contact with house staff and faculty supervision. Experiences are supplemented with conferences and lectures. Prerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

PSYCH-801. Psychiatry Core Clerkship. Introduces the student to the care of psychiatric patients. Learning objectives are to increase the students’ ability to recognize psychopathology, use interview techniques, correctly diagnose psychiatric disorders, appropriately use psychopharmacological agents, establish a supportive therapeutic relationship with patients, document and present verbally a psychiatric history and mental status examination, and work with health care personnel. Presentation: direct patient responsibility with close supervision from house staff and faculty.  Experiences are supplemented with conferences and lectures. Prerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

SURG-801. Surgery Core Clerkship. Introduces the students to the care of surgical patients. Emphasis is placed on establishing the diagnosis, learning the pathophysiology of surgical diseases, participating in the treatment of surgical patients, understanding the means to support patients before, during, and after surgery, and understanding the impact of surgical illness on the patient and family. Presentation: direct patient contact with house staff and faculty supervision. Experiences are supplemented with small group discussions. rerequisite: successful completion of second year courses and a passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

MED-980. Independent Study. This course provides an opportunity for a student to engage in individualized learning experiences under the direction of a faculty member. Independent study is designed to supplement required course work as an extension of that course, or to introduce the student to knowledge not associated with any existing course, or to provide an opportunity for research in an area of special interest to the student. This course is repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of the Dean

Third Year Selectives

For a complete listing of third year selective courses, see the Catalog of Selectives at

Fourth Year

Fourth Year Electives

For a complete listing of fourth year elective courses, see the Catalog of Electives at

Last Published with Edits:January 2, 2014 2:56 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: Spring 2012

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