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Third-year clinical clerkships are unique to the Bloomington campus and last the entire academic year. Each clerkship has its own set of mentors.

Longitudinal Third-Year Clerkships


Unique to the Bloomington campus, third-year clinical clerkships extend over the entire academic year. Students work individually with volunteer faculty mentors who are practicing physicians at a variety of clinical facilities in the community.

Each clinical clerkship has its own set of mentors who meet with students weekly or bi-weekly throughout the year. Only eight students are accepted annually into the third-year program. This educational model offers outstanding opportunities for meaningful patient care. Through continuity between the preceptor and patients, participating medical students become a valued member of the health care team. Students who are self-directed learners with strong organization skills will find the flexibility of this program particularly rewarding.

Self-directed learning time

Self-directed learning time is an important element of the longitudinal clerkship curriculum for third-year medical students in Bloomington. It provides students some autonomy to pursue specific interests to enrich their education. Self-directed learning time can be spent to explore sub-specialties that are not part of the core curriculum, join a preceptor in the operating room, meet patients for appointments or tests outside the student’s usual office time, conduct research, participate in a local medical service learning program—or to complete required coursework and online learning modules or to study for examinations.


Lectures, or didactics sessions, from general surgery, medicine, sub-specialty surgery and pharmacy are conducted weekly. Time is also devoted to physical exam demonstrations, patient case presentations and preparation for examinations.

The concurrent nature of the courses make the usual third-year examination schedule impractical, so course finals are deferred until the final two months of the academic year and administered every other week. With this in mind, call schedules are weighted toward the beginning of the year. Two practice National Board of Medical Examiners finals are administered during the year to help students track their education progress. Students are also encouraged to take NBME subject practice tests prior to each final.