About the M.D. Program

The mission of the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program is to prepare a diverse student body to pursue a spectrum of medical career options in order to become physician leaders who can advance biomedical research and improve local, national, and global health.

The mission of the educational program for MD students at Duke University is to prepare a diverse student body to pursue a spectrum of medical career options in order to become physician leaders who can advance biomedical research and improve local, national, and global health.


By graduation, student will be able to  . . .  

DOMAIN 1: Ethics, Integrity, and Professionalism - Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles, centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.


1.1  Incorporate the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti- racism in one’s personal and professional behavior

1.2  Practice the responsibilities of one’s professional identity as a physician and leader

1.3  Consistently incorporate feedback and performance data for continual professional development

1.4  Recognize and address ethical issues in clinical care and research

1.5  Develop and engage strategies in self-care to promote well-being and resilience

1.6  Provide timely and respectful constructive feedback to improve the learning environment


DOMAIN 2: Scientific Foundations and Medical Knowledge - Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences related to the development, structure, and function of the human body in health and disease as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care. Practice seeking new biomedical knowledge as part of a commitment to life-long learning.


2.1  Continually seek and develop foundational understanding of the biomedical sciences

2.2  Demonstrate application of foundational sciences to clinical care


DOMAIN 3: Clinical Skills – Practice the clinical skills needed for patient care across a variety of clinical settings, conditions, and acuity. Students should be entrusted to perform these skills upon graduation in a patient-centered manner across the variety of contexts.


3.1  Efficiently gather essential and accurate information through history taking and physical examination

3.2  Develop a prioritized differential diagnosis justified by key features of the presentation

3.3  Formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans based on prioritized differential diagnoses

3.4  Develop clinical questions and retrieve evidence to inform diagnostic and therapeutic plans

3.5  Order and interpret diagnostic tests

3.6  Organize, prioritize, and carry out patient care tasks

3.7  Differentiate and manage acute life-threatening conditions

3.8  Manage common chronic conditions

3.9  Describe value-based principles and risk-benefit analyses in patient care

3.10  Demonstrate tolerance for ambiguity in patient care management

3.11  Demonstrate principles of patient-centered communication

3.12  Counsel patients and families in health promotion and disease prevention


DOMAIN 4:  Patient-centered Systems of Practice – Demonstrate respect and understanding of the social context of health care, including the impact of culture, society, environment, and bias on health care experiences and outcomes.  Practice advocacy and patient-centered care that is compassionate, objective, and meets patient needs through humanity. Develop skills to consistently survey contemporary social and cultural contexts to anticipate impacts to patients and populations.


4.1  Assess the impact of social historical and cultural contexts on healthcare and systemic inequities

4.2  Demonstrate empathy and responsiveness to the needs of diverse patients and populations

4.3  Support patients in coping with the impact of disease on their lives

4.4  Advocate for patients across health care systems

4.5  Recognize the impact of systems of care on patients, communities, and populations


DOMAIN 5: Communication and Teamwork - Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with interprofessional team members.  Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population- centered care.  Develop skills to adapt one’s role on the team, based on patient care and team needs.


5.1  Demonstrate compassion and respect for interprofessional team members

5.2  Recognize your role on an interprofessional team across patient care encounters

5.3  Collaborate with interprofessional teams

5.4  Practice effective communication with team members in patient care discussions

5.5  Complete accurate medical documentation on time

5.6  Contribute to the learning of others on the team


DOMAIN 6: Critical thinking, Research and Scholarly Activity- Demonstrate skills in contributing to and applying our body of knowledge in a given domain, including biomedical sciences, clinical research, medical humanities, health systems, global health, interdisciplinary practices, medical education and and/or patient care.  Develop skills that prepare students to be change agents in their chosen fields through skills in life-long learning and improvement.  


6.1  Develop skills for scientific inquiry and communication of knowledge

6.2  Identify, analyze, translate, and participate in discovery of new knowledge

6.3  Develop skills using principles of design thinking, data science and technological advances

6.4  Recognize opportunities where scientific inquiry can advance patient care



The preceding objectives were adapted from the sources below:


Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative (HPAC) [2019]


Endorsing HPAC members support student achievement of the four IPEC competencies contained in the 2016 update,2 described below or with minor modifications that embrace the substance of these competencies

Core EPAs from the AAMC https://store.aamc.org/downloadable/download/sample/sample_id/63/%20

The programmatic policies are essential for student success and can be found in the School of Medicine Bulletin, starting on page number 34 of the docuement.


Davison Building from West Campus Quad

A History of Tradition and Innovation

Fifty years ago, medical education leaders at Duke began a bold experiment to increase the opportunities for medical students to tailor their education to serve their personal interests and career goals. The “elective” curriculum of 1966, while retaining considerable freedom of choice, has been reshaped over the years into one that strives to involve the student in the pursuit of the knowledge on which clinical decisions are based. In keeping with past traditions, the current Duke Curriculum Innovation Initiative (CII) aims to build on our history of success and develop a curriculum that is bold, meaningful, and progressive to prepare outstanding physician leaders to be successful in the changing healthcare landscape of the future.

Curricular Resources for Students

Access the School of Medicine's learning management system Canvas, learn about study prep materials, and more curricular resources for students.

Faculty Educator Resources

The M.D. Program is committed to the support and professional development of our teaching faculty.

Preparing the Next Thought Leaders in Medicine, Research, and Clinical Care