Individualized Pathways

Medical Student

Get out of the classroom.

The University of Minnesota Medical School has long been an innovative leader in medical education. We understand that you have unique needs and goals.

  • Study medicine abroad
  • Focus on research
  • Earn your MD/MBA or another combined degree
  • Practice medicine in a rural area

You can pursue any of these opportunities, and more, all during your time as an MD student. And we help make it possible with programs like Flexible MD.

Did you know?

The first longitudinal integrated clerkship was designed and implemented at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Family Medicine faculty member Dr. John "Jack" Verby created the Rural Physicians Associate Program (RPAP) in 1971 as a workforce initiative for rural Minnesota. That program continues today.

Academic medicine

The Summer Internship in Medical Education provides current medical students with an incredibly rare opportunity to engage with medical education in a very immersive way. Students between years 1 and 2 spend the summer working on medical education projects that are relevant to their interests while simultaneously gaining exposure to educational theory and practice. Students meet regularly with leadership for a journal club to discuss topics in med ed, and there is a lot of interaction and mentorship between students and faculty. This is a great opportunity for students who want to explore medical education as part of their career pathway.

Medical Students can request to enroll for a course outside of the Medical School to expand on their education. Some examples are courses through the School of Public Health, Center for Spirituality and Healing, or Medical Spanish. The cost of the course is not included under the medical school tuition band, however, there is a small reimbursement fund students can apply for to cover the cost of the course. 

Competency-based pediatrics training

We are one of four schools participating in an exciting new pilot project called Education for Pediatrics Across the Continuum (EPAC). This program admits students entering year 3 of medical school for specialized competency-based clinical training in pediatrics. It is an ideal option for students that already know they wish to become pediatricians to receive extensive hands-on training in their desired specialty. Once the students have met certain benchmarks, they can begin their residency training. This has the potential to lengthen or shorten their time as an undergraduate medical student. Residency slots are predetermined and guaranteed through the program.

International health

GMER promotes an exchange of international educational, research, and other scholarly opportunities for medical students, graduate students, and faculty. GMER works with the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility to coordinate international interdisciplinary activities.

Population health and cultural sensitivity

The Center of American Indian and Minority Health is located in Duluth. It strives to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives by recruiting and educating Native American medical students, increasing awareness of American Indian health care issues, and conducting research that serves the health interests of Native American communities. Their work includes research, outreach, support for medical students, and opportunities for pre-med students.

MEDS is a Global and Population Health elective available for Duluth medical students. The course includes lectures and small group activities where students explore key topics in Global and Population Health. Students have the opportunity to identify and participate in international health experiences in the summer following participation in the course.

The Center for Rural Mental Health Studies at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus, seeks to better understand the factors that contribute to mental health and disorders in rural areas and the barriers to effective treatment. With that knowledge, we can generate better approaches to prevention, assessment, and treatment that fit in rural settings financially, culturally, and geographically. Rather than simply creating an ‘urban’ care system in rural Minnesota, our goal is to create a system of mental health care that fits the rural setting.

Quality improvement and patient safety

A longitudinal integrated clerkship for third year medical students lasting 10 months. Students complete a number of clinical requirements while having the continuity of preceptors and patients throughout the course of their experience. Students are also required to conduct research in quality improvement and patient safety, presenting their findings and recommendations to leadership at the end of the program.


Applicants to our program can apply for the Medical Scientist Training Program to simultaneously earn their MD and PhD in one of 11 biomedical sciences graduate programs. We are one of only 44 programs funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Current students are encouraged to work with faculty researchers on the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses to conduct research in an area of interest for them. Current opportunities are maintained on a central, Craigslist-style website.

Rural medicine

The Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) is a nine-month, community-based educational experience for University of Minnesota third-year medical students. RPAP students live and train in the rural communities they serve and are valued members of the community. They have the unique opportunity to see patients more than once and become an important part of patients' lives.

Underserved populations

Urban primary care

Hennepin Longitudinal Integrated eXperience (HeLIX)

A longitudinal integrated clerkship for third-year medical students. This 10-month program will embed the student at HCMC where they will follow patients through multidisciplinary appointments, surgeries, emergency room encounters, and hospitalizations, while they complete most of the required third-year core clerkships. Students will develop long-lasting relationships with the faculty they are paired with and learn to see patients as people, and they will navigate the barriers that come with serving the most underserved, vulnerable populations. 

A longitudinal integrated clerkship for third-year medical students. During the nine-month-long program, MetroPAP students complete core clinical clerkship requirements in a metropolitan setting. Students benefit from continuity experiences with patients, families, preceptors, staff, and the community over an extended period. This allows students to follow patients through different venues of care: hospital, clinic, specialist practice, emergency room, regional treatment center, nursing homes, and home visits. In this way they see the impact of health and disease on patients' lives and their families and communities.

Ambulatory medicine

UCAM provides 12 weeks of ambulatory continuity experience in an underserved urban community. UCAM expands the Family Medicine Clerkship and exposes students to the real, practical side of medicine rarely covered in the average medical school's curriculum. Students learn about illness that's prevalent in diverse, low income, multicultural communities and how to fill out disability paperwork, learn how patients qualify for Medical Assistance, etc.