AAMC Michigan's 35 Answers
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Selecting a Medical School

35 Questions I Wish I Had Asked

AAMC Questions

We take a holistic approach to medical education, from our admissions process through residency match. This means that all aspects about becoming a doctor — including compassionate patient care, thorough scientific and clinical understanding of anatomical systems, collaboration with peers and mentors, working within a variety of health systems, and a comprehensive review of health care policies and procedures — are covered within the four years of our program.

Some of our curriculum highlights include:

M-Home: a learning community of support across all four years.
Paths of Excellence: choose one of seven concentrations in Global Health & Disparities, Ethics, Health Policy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Medical Humanities, Scientific Discovery, and Patient Safety/Quality Improvement/Complex Systems.
Leadership Program: develop the skills to lead meaningful change no matter where you serve.

Michigan medical students learn material in ways that are similar to how they will use it as physicians: scientific foundational knowledge merged with clinical application.

Our curriculum is presented in organ-based sequences, integrating biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, social/behavioral sciences and patient care skills. This lays the foundation for students to develop more individualized plans based upon personal interests and professional development.

In addition to teaching the scientific principles of health and disease, the curriculum emphasizes patient communication, the influence of cultural and social issues on health, and how all of these come together in a variety of health care settings.

While there are mandatory times students are required to be on campus for active learning sessions, much of the science content is presented through prerecorded asynchronous lectures. Many students take advantage of this option to work around their preferred approach to learning the material and to have more control over their daily routine in the meantime. They also regularly share their lecture notes with their peers and from one class to another through a student-managed wiki.

In addition, the entirety of curriculum resources is online for students in the Canvas course management system. Students and faculty also can interface with the curriculum through iSeek, the School’s search engine, which presents search results of documents and lecture videos organized by related topics.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved in a wide range of research experiences at the University of Michigan Medical School, which is currently ranked among the top NIH-funded schools in the country. In the Branches curriculum of the 3rd and 4th years, students have the flexibility to pursue individual research projects with faculty mentors that align with their area of interest and career goals. Some students choose to take part in the Scientific Discovery Path of Excellence. Other students (not in the MD/PhD program) request a leave of absence for research if they have been admitted to a degree-granting program. All requests are reviewed and granted by the Associate Dean for Medical Student Education.

Every student has direct access to our learning & accessibility manager, who works with students to identify a wide spectrum of learning challenges and then develops targeted learning support plans to maximize students’ capabilities. There are many additional resources available on the greater University campus to help students with specific learning disabilities that our learning specialist can identify and expedite connection with as needed.

Our curriculum is divided into two main phases: Trunks and Branches. In both phases, scientific and clinical learning is integrated, which is different than the traditional pre-clinical and clinical years model. Flexibility increases as the student progresses through the program, with maximum flexibility in the Branches phase, where students can choose to accelerate at their own pace as competencies are met.

Additional flexibility in the curriculum can sometimes be arranged on a case-by-case basis in response to personal crisis or unusual and compelling circumstances. The student’s assigned Student Services Counselor is always available to provide student support and explore possible accommodations and/or flexibility at any stage in the curriculum.

NBME shelf exams are used in six out of eight required clerkships. All students must take and pass USMLE Step 1 before entering the Branches, and all students must take and pass USMLE Step 2 CK and CS prior to graduation.


During their four years of training at the University of Michigan Medical School, students take three national board exams on their way to licensure.

  • USMLE Step 1: Required to pass before beginning the Branches.
  • USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge: Required to pass prior to graduation.
  • USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills: Required to pass prior to graduation.

Our students do very well on the USMLE exams, usually around half a standard deviation better than the U.S. average.

Students who do not pass the USMLE Step exams are supported by experts in the Office of Medical Student Education in developing a revised study plan and working toward taking the exam again.

Our system of assessing a medical student’s progress includes both cognitive and non-cognitive components. In each phase of the program, the student’s ability is assessed through observation, clinical skills examinations, and tests of knowledge and clinical reasoning skills. Professional characteristics essential to the practice of medicine are also considered in the evaluation process.

During the science and clinical foundation courses, students are assessed via frequent quizzes (weekly in M1 year) and exams at the end of each sequence. Additionally, students receive narrative feedback on performance and areas to develop from their small group faculty facilitators, in addition to other sequences where faculty-student interaction occurs (e.g. anatomy).

During clinical segments, students are assessed on eight competencies:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Patient care
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-bases practice
  • Leadership & teamwork
  • Critical thinking & discovery
  • Assessments are given at regular intervals and include comments from faculty and residents with whom the student worked.


Basic Science Trunk/M1: Satisfactory/Fail

Clinical Trunk/M2:

Transition = Satisfactory/Fail
Clerkships = Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail and Competency-based assessments
Branches/M3 & M4: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail and Competency-based assessments

Our program evaluation starts with student input. Students are regularly asked to review instructors, courses, sequences and clinical experiences using an online evaluation system. These evaluations are then compiled to produce anonymous reports that are reviewed regularly by instructors, curriculum leaders and education deans.

To ensure that a student-centered interpretation of the evaluation results remains paramount, the reports are also analyzed by small student groups who summarize their findings during annual review meetings with directors and the assistant dean for educational research and quality improvement. It is a collaborative effort to ensure continuous quality improvement for all of the sequences, courses, and clinical experiences.

Students are invited to focus group lunches with faculty and curriculum leaders in order to provide additional venues for discussing and evaluating the curriculum. All students have an opportunity to participate.

Our students also complete a questionnaire upon graduation. All of this data tells us how our students responded to the curriculum, and their feedback is used continuously to drive curricular change.

We believe that robust, student-driven curriculum review is critical for our ongoing processes of curriculum development and improvement.

A variety of support services are offered to our medical students including faculty coaches, counselors, a learning & accessibility manager, and peers from all classes. The integration of support within the M-Home Houses over the entire curriculum allows for the enhancement of student wellness during periods of stress that naturally happen.

Through institutional support, our medical students also have access to psychological care and psychiatric services at no cost as part of their enrollment in the University of Michigan Medical School. They also have access to free therapy via the Medical Student Mental Health Program

In addition to the resources available through M-Home, there is financial aid guidance and residency and career development through the Office of Medical Student Education, and many resources available through our Health Equity and Inclusion Office. Counseling services are not formally available to spouses and dependents/children, however our counselors are always willing to provide guidance and referrals to our students with families.

There are a broad range of access points to mentoring and advising activities at the University of Michigan Medical School. Students establish rich professional relationships primarily via M-Home, as well as through departmental shadowing, faculty career advisors, medical school alumni (who host regular informational dinners for students), and many other student organizations, all of which have faculty oversight.

Diversity matters at Michigan, and it is valued in all its forms. Our student body reflects this position with many active student groups on campus that represent the full spectrum of people who enroll in our program. Our Office of Health Equity and Inclusion also supports and organizes a host of activities for the professional development of medical students from various backgrounds. We seek to provide a welcoming, accepting and inclusive learning environment for all of our students.

As one of the top universities in the world, the University of Michigan campus is rich with resources for medical school students:

Study Support
The Taubman Health Sciences Library provides access to thousands of medical and scientific journal online and onsite. It also includes a private, customized medical student lounge, 17 technology-rich small group classrooms, two inter-professional education and training classrooms, an expansive computing cluster, several large and small study zones, an entire floor dedicated to clinical skills learning and assessment, and a large commons area for community gathering, food, and exhibits.

Range of Recreation
With more than a dozen of indoor/outdoor recreational facilities, students can work out on their own or join a team and make new friends.

Housing Help
Ann Arbor is home to more than 45,000 students, which means there are a lot of housing options to fit a wide range of budgets. Many med school students find housing in the "White Coat Area," a neighborhood close to the med campus with many rental options. Get more information on Housing.

Yes, laptop computers are required at - and provided by - the University of Michigan Medical School.

There are many clinical settings and patient resources available to our medical students. In addition to the medical center complex, several hospitals, private medical groups and community agencies located in southeastern Michigan provide our students with exposure to a diverse population. Arrangements for rotations at other institutions, at home or abroad, are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students are encouraged to do international rotations in their fourth year, facilitated by Global REACH.

For clinical rotations on the U-M medical campus, parking is limited to paid permits (for certain eligible rotations) and metered spots. Many of our students live within walking or biking distance of the campus or take public transportation, which is readily available.

For off-site clinical rotations, a car is necessary but parking is typically not a problem.

Read more about current tuition and fees 

Students can expect yearly tuition increases (historically 2 percent to 5 percent), the rate of which will depend on several factors.

Every admitted student is eligible for a merit scholarship. We award a combination of grants and scholarships to about 60% of all students. Find a more detailed budget guideline →

Yes! Federal financial aid is available, and we do not expect any major changes in the level of availability of these loans. We also have a good share of endowment aid that is available.

Any unmet needs are by student choice. Students have the ability to borrow up to their full budget through different loan programs, however many students do not choose this option.

Spouses are not covered in a student’s budget, and only in certain circumstances are expenses for dependents/children included.

Yes! We have a Medical School Financial Aid Office dedicated to helping all eligible students understand all financial options available to them. Find detailed info about the services available through our Financial Aid Office.

Our Financial Aid Office is available to help students throughout the medical school program.

Nearly every aspect of our medical school involves student input, as we believe that student representation is essential to moving our institution forward. Our students serve on committees for the curriculum (e.g., Curriculum Strategic Planning, Curriculum Policy Committee, Components I-IV Committees, Academic Review Boards, and Curriculum Evaluation Committees), budget, Dean’s office, and more. We depend on our medical students to be candid about their experiences at Michigan, and there is a place for everyone at our table.

The University has long had important roots in our local community and there is plenty of opportunity for direct experiences on a voluntary basis.

We have affiliations with local community health centers as well as a number of safety net organizations in Ann Arbor, the Ypsilanti area, and urban Detroit.

Many of our student groups sponsor service projects as part of their regular activities, and there is a student-run free weekly clinic for uninsured patients in the Pinckney area with opportunities for all students to participate.

There are 75+ active student organizations on the med school campus, including the Medical School Student Council. The Student Council represents the student body to the administration as a whole and by class. They also plan fun events such as the Fall Ball. Find a complete listing and description of each of our student organizations.

 administered by BCN (Blue Care Network) Service Company or provide attestation of health care coverage elsewhere. GradCare is a health plan only available to University of Michigan Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs), Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRAs), benefit-eligible fellowship holders, and medical school students. It is a "modified" point-of-service health plan administered by Blue Care Network (BCN).

We teach our students that Universal Precautions (Body Substance Precautions) should be used during all patient care to prevent exposures. All hospitals, including those affiliated with our program, have a system for the immediate evaluation of exposure to body substances. Appropriate counseling, therapy and follow-up in the event of student exposure will be done on a case-by-case basis.

Prior to entering medical school, all incoming students are required to provide health and immunization records form that include vaccinations against Hepatitis B. Any vaccinations or testing necessary to complete the required Health and Immunization Record Form is at the expense of the student.

In the event of a needle-stick or accident, students are treated as employees and all procedures, care and treatment are covered by the Health System.

Under our liability policy, available through the Office of Medical Student Education (OMSE), medical students are covered if they are either: working in a clinical setting for credit toward the M.D. degree; working with and being supervised by one of our faculty members (including adjunct faculty) in an activity that enhances their education; engaging in such activities while on leave of absence status with prior registration and approval through OMSE; or involved in a mentoring or shadowing program (in which they spend time in a clinical setting as an observer) to enhance their education, outside the University of Michigan Hospital setting, and the program is an approved program through a student organization or clinical department.

Affected students are managed as employees according to State of Michigan regulations. In the event of an exposure to infectious and environmental hazards, at both U-M hospitals and the VA hospital, students are managed though Employee Health Services. Students are allowed to return to their activities as soon as can be safely done.

Yes, we have a Medical Student Honor Code. The Honor Council is comprised of eight students with two members from each class. Allegations of professional misconduct may be brought directly to the Honor Council by a Proctor, a faculty member, or a fellow medical student. Once a thorough review of the allegations is complete, the Honor Council submits a report to the Associate Dean for Medical Student Education who then determines if the case should be dropped or pursued.

Of course! We have searchable Match Lists on our website. Our students enjoy strong results year after year, with higher than national average match rates.

As a large academic medical center, we offer comprehensive training in both primary and specialized care. Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we have affiliates, programs and services in both urban and rural areas of the state and beyond. Our graduates go on to successful careers in both academic medicine and private practice. 

We want Michigan to be as good of a match for the students we admit as we believe they would be for our school. We invest a significant amount of time during the application process to make sure this happens.

Friendliness of students, staff and faculty is often cited as one of the top reasons why students choose to come to Michigan for medical school. We dedicate a lot of time and resources to support your wellbeing, and to provide a warm and inclusive environment where you feel you fit in. We find that students do better if they enjoy what they are doing and enjoy the people they are doing it with every day. We will help you connect with what matters to you most when you are here. You will have plenty of opportunity to get involved in a range of activities, including intramural sportsclubs and organizations, and studies in other schools or abroad.

When it comes down to making your final decision about where to go for med school, we realize it’s something you just know in your heart when it’s right.

For some added input, check out what our students say about various aspects of training at Michigan.