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.

To ensure that students: 

  • Promote the health of communities, self, and each other  

  • Display outstanding communication skills 

  • Practice professionalism through compassion, respect, and integrity  

  • Function effectively as a member of interprofessional teams 

  • Contribute to a culture of patient centeredness, safety and systems improvement 

  • Understand the impact of culture, society, environment and bias on health outcomes 

  • Integrate history, physical exam, lab tests, and diagnostic imaging into clinical decisions 

  • Use value-based principles and risk benefit analyses in patient care 

  • Develop skills for creativity, scientific inquiry, investigation, scholarship, and lifelong learning 

  • Engage in scientific investigation that transforms medical knowledge and clinical care 

  • Locate, appraise, and apply scientific evidence to patients’ health problems 

  • Use data science and technologies to improve patient outcomes 

  • Participate in the education and training of future generations of physicians 

  • Practice leadership skills to enact meaningful change in health care systems and delivery

Early in 2015, the School of Medicine adopted the Physician Competency Reference Set (PCRS) as the MD program’s Educational Program Objectives. They are the core expectations that each student is expected to meet during their medical training at Duke.

Read the Educational Program Objectives

The School of Medicine's programmatic policies are essential for student success.

Read the School of Medicine policies

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.

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