Academics

The MSTP curriculum at UAB is a truly integrated educational program. It is composed of three phases: the preclinical phase (2 years), the research phase (usually 3.5 to 4.5 years), and the clinical phase (14-18 months).

At UAB, MSTP students take the first-year graduate curriculum in conjunction with the first two years of medical school. This curriculum replaces the majority of the Fundamentals I Medical School course, and therefore MD/PhD students are exempt from the majority of this course. All other medical school basic science courses taught in the first-year are taken by MD/PhD students.

In the 2007-2008 year, a new curriculum was introduced for the UASOM.  The curriculum begins with a “Pre-clerkship” phase beginning with a “Patient, Doctor and Society” course, followed by "Fundamentals" biomedical courses, integrated organ or system-based modules (including cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, musculoskeletal and skin, neurosciences, hematology/oncology, endocrine, reproductive), and a concluding integration module. In addition, the MD/PhD students also take "Introduction to Clinical Medicine".

The guiding principles of the medical curriculum are:

  • Student centered, application based, active learning
  • Based on problem solving
  • Learning facilitated through clinical context
  • Integration of modules with interdepartmental approach
  • Appreciation of evidence as the basis for medical decision making
  • Appreciation of investigation as a component of medical practice and learning
  • Integration of important themes
  • Use of evaluation methods appropriate to assess different goals and objectives


Further information about the new integrated medical school curriculum can be found here

The first semester of the graduate core curriculum includes modules focused on Biochemistry and Metabolism, Genetics and Molecular Biology, and Biological Organization. The spring semester of the graduate curriculum is composed of electives given in four week modules. Students can select theme modules that fit their own interests.

  Year 1 Curriculum

Summer
1st Laboratory Research
Summer Rotation

6-week summer rotation beginning in June/July of Year 1, with optional part-time extension into fall

Fall Spring
Preclinical
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine 1

  • Patient, Doctor, & Society

  • Fundamentals I (exemptions apply)

  • Fundamentals II

Graduate Core

  • Biochemistry and Metabolism

  • Genetics and Molecular Biology

Preclinical
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2

  • Cardiovascular

  • Pulmonary

  • Gastrointestinal

  • Renal

Summer
2nd Laboratory Research
Summer Rotation10-week full-time summer rotation between Year 1 and Year 2

UASOM Special Topics Course: Survival Skills for Physician Scientists



  Year 2 Curriculum

Summer (continued)
2nd Laboratory Research
Summer Rotation (continued)Special Topics (continued)

Fall Spring
Preclinical
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2 (continued)

  • Musculoskeletal / Skin

  • Neurosciences

  • Hematology / Oncology

Preclinical
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2 (continued)

  • Endocrine Systems

  • Reproductive Systems

  • Integration / USMLE Step I

  • Graduate Electives

    Biochemistry & Structural Biology Theme
    GBS 781: Molecular Enzymology (Jan)
    GBS 782: Molecular Genetics (Feb)
    GBS 783: RNA Biology (Mar)
    GBS 715: Stem Cell Biology (Apr)

    Cancer Biology Theme
    GBS 770: Cancer Biology 1-Pathogenesis & Pathobiology (Jan)
    GBS 771: Cancer Biology 2-Etiology (Feb)
    GBS 772: Cancer Biology 3-Cell Growth Control (Mar)
    GBS XXX: Cancer Biology 4-Cancer Immunology (May)

    CMDB Theme
    GBS 710: Cell Signaling (Jan)
    GBS 711: Cell Membranes & Organelles (Feb)
    GBS 712: Cellular & Molecular Aspects of Developmental Biology (Mar)
    GBS 714: Developmental Neuroscience (Mar)
    GBS 715: Stem Cell Biology (Apr)

    Genetics Theme
    GBS 720: Genomic Structure & Function (Jan 3)
    GBS 721: Genetic Epidemology (Feb)
    GBS 722: Genetics & Genomics Bioinformatics (Mar)
    GBS 723: Animal Models in Genetic Analysis (Apr)

    Immunology Theme
    GBS 741: Lymphocyte Biology (Jan)
    GBS 742: Dendritic Cell Biology (Feb)
    GBS 743: Innate Immunity (Mar)
    GBS 744: Mucosal Immunology (Apr)

    Microbiology Theme
    GBS 761: Eukaryotic Molecular Biology (Jan)
    GBS 762: Virology (Feb)
    GBS 763: Microbial Pathogenesis (Mar)
    GBS 764: Structural Biology (Apr)

    Neuroscience Theme
    GBS 732: Graduate Neuroscience (Jan-Feb)
    GBS 714: Developmental Neuroscience (Mar)
    GBS 733: Diseases of the Nervous System (Apr)

    PBMM Theme
    GBS 750: Nerves, Muscles, and Bones (Jan)
    GBS 751: Heart, Lung, and Kidney (Feb)
    GBS 752: GI, Endocrine, and Immune System (Mar)
    GBS 753: Pharmacology and Molecular Medicine (Apr)

Summer
3rd Laboratory Research
Summer Rotation10-week full-time summer rotation at end of Year 2




Research Rotations


During the first two years there are three research rotations allowing an in depth experience in different laboratories prior to selecting a lab for the PhD dissertation research. UAB has a large and diverse faculty of the outstanding biomedical scientists from which MSTP students may choose either rotation advisers or mentors for their PhD research. The complete listing of available graduate faculty is available for you to review for the choice of a rotation adviser or mentor.

The first rotation is a full-time commitment during a six week period in the summer prior to the beginning of the first year of medical school (June/July). Students have the option of continuing this rotation on a part-time basis during the fall of the MS1 year.

The second rotation occurs during the summer break between the first and second year of medical school. This rotation is a full-time commitment for 10 weeks to gain in depth knowledge in a particular mentor's laboratory.

The third and final rotation occurs after the second year classes are over, and also consists of a 10 week, full-time commitment.

Selection of the dissertation thesis research mentor must occur by early September of the 3rd year, which is about 15 weeks after the end of second year classes. Part I of the USMLE exam must be taken prior to the start of this final research rotation. After each of the two full-time research rotations, students will present their work at the fall Medical Student Research Day (held in October each year), along with other Medical Students who completed a research experience during the summer.