Hybrid Problem-Based Learning Curriculum

Focused on Patients, Teamwork and Problem-Solving

The NSU MD program was developed by a team of 100 medical educators, physicians and researchers with decades of field experience. As compared to passive, lecture-style teaching, the college’s curriculum is designed to prepare you to interact with patients and health care team members more effectively. 

curriculum curriculum

Active Learning: Just 7-8 Students Per Cohort

The innovative curriculum integrates didactics on ethics and humanities, genomics, inter-professional collaboration, biomedical informatics, and leadership, with heavy emphasis on research, technology and innovation.

Our students train to become active learners, work in smaller groups, (7-8 students per cohort), and learn to solve medical problems through active inquiry, under faculty facilitator direction.

Using clinical cases and a team-based approach, you’ll solve complex problems by honing your diagnosis skills. The program leverages both simulated patients and real-world examples.

Academic Calendars and Curriculum

NSU MD Calendars By Class (Subject to change)

Class of 2023

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Class of 2024

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Class of 2025

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Class of 2026

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Class of 2027

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NSU MD Calendars By Academic Year (Subject to change)

Academic Year 2022 - 2023

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Academic Year 2023 - 2024

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Think. Diagnose. Treat. Repeat.

Each day, NSU MD students tackle complex cases in tight-knit teams. They learn to think critically, diagnose effectively and treat patients as the center of every case.

Think. Diagnose. Treat. Repeat.

Each day, NSU MD students tackle complex cases in tight-knit teams. They learn to think critically, diagnose effectively and treat patients as the center of every case.

Nine General Competencies Students Must Master

  • Medical Knowledge (MK): Students will demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social-behavioral sciences and application of this knowledge to patient care.
  • Patient Care (PC): Students will demonstrate patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  • System Based Practice (SBP): Students will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, utilizing other resources in the system to provide care for patients.
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI): Students will demonstrate the ability to evaluate their professional development and approach to patient care, to appraise and assimilate
    scientific evidence, and to improve based on self-assessment and lifelong learning.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication (ISC): Students will demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals.
  • Ethics and Professionalism (EP): Students will carry out professional responsibilities with the highest standards of excellence and integrity, and adherence to ethical principles. 
  • Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC): Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in
    an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care.
  • Personal and Professional Development and Wellness (PPDW): Students will demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth and wellness.
  • Scholarly Inquiry (SI): Students will recognize the central importance of ongoing research and discovery in developing improved approaches to patient care.

Curriculum Phases

The pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum is compressed and occupies a total of 16 months (from August of Year 1 through December of Year 2), allowing the clinical phase (Year 3 required clerkships and Year 4 electives) to begin in March of the second academic year.

Year 1 begins with a two-week Orientation and Professional Immersion which will include 1) the students' first learning experience with students from other health professions, 2) interactive lecture/demonstrations focusing on the doctor-patient relationship, 3) experiences in the simulation center including basic cardiac life support training; 4) orientation to the problem-based learning (PBL) process and a practice PBL case; 5) a session focusing on maintaining personal wellness as a medical student; and 6) small group discussion of scenarios related to professionalism that will culminate in the students as a class writing their own Class Oath to recite at the White Coat Ceremony.

The remainder of Year 1 and Year 2 are made up of basic science blocks which are integrated across disciplines and organ systems, using a hybrid PBL model. The introductory block focuses on core principles in anatomy, histology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology and is followed by a series of blocks designed around organ systems. Each block occupies 18-20 hours per week of scheduled activities. The clinical courses include clinical skills training with SPs, patient care experiences in the offices of primary care preceptors, and small group discussions focusing on curricular threads (e.g., genomics, research, ethics, biomedical informatics). The clinical courses occupy 4 hours per week in fall semester of Year 1 and 8 hours per week thereafter.

At the end of each foundational science block there is a Reflection, Integration and Assessment (RIA) Week, which will include cumulative summative assessments (examinations, OSCEs) that address a range of competencies and 8-12 hours of scheduled curricular activities related to curricular threads (e.g., leadership, inter-professional collaboration) plus reflection exercises and student affairs activities such as Careers in Medicine.

The clerkship curriculum begins with Clinical Skills and Reasoning (CSR), a three-week course designed to prepare students for core clinical clerkships, followed by Diagnostic Medicine, a six-week clerkship designed to prepare them for understanding and interpreting patient-related data, inclusive of radiology, medical laboratory, and medical diagnostic procedures. CSR and Diagnostic Medicine are based at the NSU MD campus. These clerkships integrate material learned in the pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum and provide students with the knowledge and skills to appropriately incorporate evidence-based strategies in clinical decisions and discuss ethical approaches to the provision of healthcare across populations.

Year 3 clinical clerkships occur in HCA/East Florida Division clinical sites and are scheduled as one-month or two-month discipline-specific clerkships. The seven required clerkships are Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Primary Care Medicine, Psychiatry, and a selective. The year is structured around three clerkship blocks, with two or more required clerkships in each block, followed by two RIA Weeks. During the RIA weeks, students will take the NBME subject (“shelf”) examinations for the clerkships they completed during that block and participate in other scheduled assessment and curricular activities. For a map and details of each clinical site go to https://md.nova.edu/about/clinical.html

 Year 4 starts in May of the third academic year, after a period of study for USMLE Step 2 CK and CS. Students must complete a minimum of 28 weeks of required and elective experiences: a four-week sub-internship plus 24 weeks of electives (or 20 weeks of electives and four (4) weeks of required research if not completed in the Year 1 summer break). There are an additional 12 weeks in the schedule for residency interviews or additional electives.


Scheduled Weeks Per Year

Pre-clerkship Segment 64*
Required Clerkships 50*
Required Research 4
Year/Phase Four 28
Total Weeks of Scheduled Instruction 146


* Includes Orientation/Transition Weeks: Two weeks at the beginning of Year 1, one week at the beginning of Required Clerkships and one week at the end of Required Clerkships.