School of Medicine

Office of Admissions

Curriculum for 4-Year MD Program in New Orleans, Louisiana

The first two years of the medical school curriculum are taught in New Orleans.  The curriculum emphasizes basic science and its relevance to clinical medicine.  Clinical experiences, including required rotations with physicians, occur in both the first and second year.  A longitudinal clinical skills course, Clinical Skills Integration, contains numerous activities aimed at helping students develop early skills of clinical problem solving, doctor-patient communication, and evaluation of the medical literature.  These include physical examination sessions, small group discussions with interviewing practice, team-based learning exercises that integrate differential diagnosis with basic science course content, and procedure labs where students learn to perform basic procedures such as lumbar punctures, IV placements, and intubations.  Clerkships begin in the third year and include pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and a career planning elective.  Most clerkship rotations are in New Orleans, but there are opportunities to rotate at the regional campus sites in Baton Rouge and Lafayette as well.  In the fourth year, students have the opportunity to take several electives in addition to required acting internships and rotations in an intensive care unit and emergency department.  Some fourth year rotations may be taken at outside institutions with approval.

As part of the school's committment to training healthcare providers through the state, the LSUHSC School of Medicine in New Orleans assigns approximately 25 medical students per class to our Baton Rouge campus for their 3rd and 4th year clinical rotations.  These rotations occur at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical and at Women's Hospital.  Applicants may express a preference for assignment to Baton Rouge for years 3 and 4.  If less than 25 students express this preference, then a lottery system will assign additional students to the Baton Rouge campus at the time of admission.  Students assigned to complete their third and fourth years in Baton Rouge are required to arrange their housing in Baton Rouge.  It is important to note that students assigned to the Baton Rouge campus for their clinical training have the opportunity to take some rotations in New Orleans during their fourth year if they chose to do so.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans implemented a new curriculum for the pre-clerkship years (years 1 and 2).  Our overall goals are to provide 1) more integrated teaching of basic and clinical sciences; 2) a greater emphasis on critical thinking and analytical skills; 3) additional experiences in clinical application of basic science principles; 4) additional teaching of certain topics such as cultural competence, health care systems, population medicine, quality of care issues, patient safety, and inter-professional practice, and 5) more time for exploration of clinical and/or research areas of interest. 

Computer-assisted instruction is an important component of the curriculum. Medical students are required to purchase specially configured laptop computers from the School of Medicine so that they can access current teaching technologies and other on-line information. Many of the learning experiences of the four year curriculum occur in the Learning Center, which can be seen on video at

Although major emphasis is placed on training primary-care physicians, many opportunities for research and the pursuit of more specialized training are available. Several Centers of Excellence provide opportunities for research and training in areas such as cancer, neuroscience, genetics, alcohol and drug abuse, and asthma.