School of Medicine

Foundational Sciences Curriculum in the M.D. Curriculum


The foundational sciences curriculum extends from August of the first year to December of the second year. It is divided into three phases - Fall I, Spring and Fall II. 

MS1 Terms 1 & 2 includes Foundations Basic to the Science of Medicine, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon daily for five months. This course contains integrated material from the traditional disciplines of Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Gross and Microscopic Anatomy. The topic areas covered, in order of presentation, are: Core Concepts; Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Renal, Gastrointestinal, Metabolism, Nutrition, Endocrine, and Reproduction. 

The modules deploy a variety of learning venues, which include didactic lectures, laboratories, case conferences, and small group problem solving sessions. Learning materials consist of textbooks supplemented by syllabi, journal articles, and designated web sites. A single final grade for Foundations Basic to the Science of Medicine is rendered to the Registrar and appears on the transcript. 

MS1 Terms 3, 4 & 5 occurs from January to June and is divided into three successive teaching terms,separated by exams and some vacation time. Principles of Pathology and Immunology, and Pharmacology courses are offered in Term 3. Head and Neck Anatomy is also offered in Term 3 and bridges Gross Anatomy from Terms 1 and 2, and precedes the Nervous System course, which occupies Terms 4 and 5. The Nervous System course has contributions from anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and pathophysiology. Components of the Infectious Disease course are taught in Terms 4 and 5 and include microbiology, virology, pathology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. The Behavioral Science course in Terms 4 and 5 includes psychosocial development, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology. The Bioethics course occurs in Term 4. The individual courses have formative and summative examinations, and a final grade in each course is rendered to the Registrar.

MS2 Terms 1 & 2 encompasses the period between August and December of the second year, and consists entirely of organ-based modular teaching. The major contributors to these courses (which are depicted on the below chart) are pathophysiology, pathology, and pharmacology. PPS 3 occurs in the afternoon in Fall 2, and is a continuation of PPS 1 and PPS 2 with greater focus on hospitalized patients with abnormalities on the physical examination. In Term 1 of Fall 2, IPS is replaced by Patient Safety and in Term 2 of Fall 2, a course designed to facilitate readiness for the clinical clerkships called Transitions to Clinical Rotations occurs.

Academic Workload in the Foundational Science Policy (Baylor login required)

Grading System: All Foundational Sciences courses in Terms 1-5 are graded only P*/F* - Pass/Fail. PPS courses are graded on a more granular (clinical performance) scale including: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Marginal Pass/Fail.

During the Foundational Sciences curriculum students are allowed to apply for electives for credit as outlined in the Graduation Requirements. These, as well as the rules governing electives, are all listed in the Electives Catalog.

Students in good standing may take as many electives as their schedule allows, the course director permits, and the registrar determines space is allowed. However, students will only receive graduation credit for electives as outlined in the details of the Graduation Requirements. Foundational Sciences electives are graded on a pass/fail basis only.

Foundational Sciences students cannot enroll in any elective which is scheduled to meet at the same time as a required foundational sciences course for which the student is enrolled.

NOTE: Withdrawal from all foundational sciences electives requires the instructor's written approval on the official withdrawal form available in the Office of the Registrar and on the Elective Program website. Failure to withdraw from an elective will result in the recording of a 'Fail' in the elective.

Advancement to the Clinical Curriculum

Students must have passing grades in all foundational sciences courses and must earn a passing score on the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Examination before they will be allowed to begin the clinical curriculum.

Students who do not have passing grades in all foundational sciences courses or a passing score on the CBSE will not progress to the clinical curriculum until such courses/exams are successfully remediated in the Spring Term(s).