Year 1

Scientific Trunk

The science behind the medicine.

The Scientific Trunk is your M1 preclinical year, the starting point in a journey of continuous learning. Integrating foundational science and related clinical experiences simulates what you will do throughout doctorhood. Regular practice now cements a valuable lifelong habit while building your knowledge and skill base. Pass/fail grading (including Second Chance quizzing) gives you some breathing room to figure it all out.

The main features of the Scientific Trunk, which is divided into six blocks, include:

  • Launch orientation featuring M-Home house sorting and Doctoring small group assignments.
  • Foundational courses in molecular/biological sciences, evidence-based care, host defense, physical diagnostics and therapeutics, infection, hematology and immunopathology, along with blocks of fused normal/abnormal vital functions.
  • Pre-recorded asynchronous lectures of science content aimed at increasing student flexibility and accessibility.
  • In-person sessions focusing on active learning where students interact with the material and faculty facilitators.
  • Chief Concern Course and Interprofessional Collaborative Skills-Introduction.
  • Development of patient care and information management skills throughout the year.
  • Additional longitudinal elements that start at this stage.
  • A unique anatomy education that is student-led and cadaveric dissection-based.

Foundations of Medicine Blocks

The Foundations of Medicine courses make up three of the six blocks during the Scientific Trunk and introduce students to:

  • Biochemical, cellular and molecular process of the organ systems.
  • Physical diagnostics and therapeutics.
  • Immune system and its primary targets.

Vital Function Blocks

The three Vital Functions blocks consolidate the foundational material for related organ systems with both normal and abnormal physiology presented at the same time. Combined with related clinical cases, anatomy and histology, this makes for deeply integrated content that reinforces what you learn. Subjects include:

  • Circulation, respiration and filtration.
  • Nutrition, absorption, regulation and reproduction. 
  • Cognition, movement, sensation and behavior.

By the end of the Scientific Trunk, you will have gained a comprehensive skill set that prepares you for expanded clinical time in the Clinical Trunk rotations.

  • While the roots of our education are grounded in the organ-based scientific knowledge necessary to becoming a good physician, Michigan recognizes that medicine is an art. Classes like ICS-I, IPE and Doctoring all give us opportunities to gain other essential experiences.

  • Seetha Monrad profile photo

    Learning medicine is a lifelong journey; you are never “done”, but continually revisit, refine and expand your knowledge. In the first year you will develop a solid foundation in the basic, clinical and health system sciences that you will subsequently build on during your clinical years.

At a Glance

Please note, these diagrams are provided for reference only. Curriculum details are subject to change.