The curriculum of the program leading to the Doctor of Medicine degree is designed following the trends of modern medical education and takes into consideration the health needs of the community. It is divided into two major components: two years of required basic sciences (pre-clinical years) and two years of clinical clerkships and electives (clinical years). The basic sciences are taught in a clinically relevant format and during these years students have early immersion in clinical encounters. The clinical component covers contents and skills deemed essential for every medical student regardless of background or ultimate career direction. The curriculum as a whole, consists of a series of courses, clinical clerkships and learning experiences programmed sequentially and longitudinally in an integrated manner.

All courses are designed by the faculty of Medicine, with the approval of the appropriate Medicine Committee and the Curriculum Committee, and also with the approval of governing bodies of the UPR System. Some courses are delivered by specific department faculty, e.g., Medical Histology; Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine; Human Physiology; Neurosciences; Medical Gross Anatomy and Embriology; Pathology and Introduction to Laboratory Medicine; Infectious Diseases; Introduction to Medical Pharmacology; Psychopathology and all clinical courses and clerkships. There are several courses delivered by an interdepartmental faculty, e.g., Human Development; Human Behavior; Mechanisms of Disease; Introduction to Clinical Skills; Basic Clinical Diagnosis; Neurosciences; Public Health; Fundamentals of Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Medicine; Integration Seminar I and II; Introduction to Principles of Clinical and Translational Research; Medical Ethics I, II, and III,  and Ethical, Administrative, Legal and Economic Aspects of Population Health.

The Medicine I, Medicine II and Medicine III/IV Committees are responsible for reviewing the structure and content of the curricular offer within the academic year/level and its evaluation practices in their respective years/level. The Medicine Committees are advisory to the Curriculum Committee.

The Curriculum Committee is the institutional body that oversees the medical education program as a whole and has responsibility for the overall design, management, integration, evaluation, and enhancement of a coherent and coordinated medical curriculum.  The Curriculum Committee analyzes the curricular program and the evaluation system throughout the four years of the MD Degree program. The Curriculum Committee has the empowerment to endorse changes to the curriculum and evaluation system and its implementation in the MD Degree Program, after approval of governing bodies of the UPR System.  This committee is composed of administrative, faculty, and student representatives.

The Curriculum Office and the Office of Evaluation and Research in Medical Education, under the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, also aid in the assessment and coordination of courses by offering input relevant to these processes and faculty support and development on teaching and assessment strategies.

At the fourth‑year/level, a number of required hours must be completed through electives. This provides the opportunity to guide the student in choosing their career path. There is a wide variety of educational experiences to select that meet the needs of students according to their career goals and that broaden their clinical experiences. Students may take extramural electives for academic credit in accredited institutions, as per the school’s policy.

Input from students and faculty is received regularly, particularly through evaluations at the end of each course or block. Regular and frequent Curriculum Committee meetings are scheduled throughout the year to evaluate the curriculum cross‑sectionally as well as longitudinally. At the end of each academic year, students, faculty, and administrators meet to discuss and evaluate findings, as well as initiate changes and establish schedules for the next year at the annual Curriculum Retreat.

The school of medicine uses a wide variety of teaching methods that are adapted according to the content and educational objectives of the courses. During the pre-clinical years, the topics of biomedical and behavioral sciences are covered in a clincically relevant format through the use of self-directed learning experiences, active learning activities, small and large group discussions, computer simulations, clinical correlations, review sessions, and laboratory exercises. The Problem Based Learning modality facilitates the integration of basic and clinical science, ethical issues, and behavioral sciences concepts by means of the analysis of clinical cases. With the incorporation of active-learning experiences, the school aims to help students develop the skills of life-long learning, which are critical for the eventual independent, unsupervised practice of medicine.

The medicine program of the school of medicine is commited to ensuring that courses emphasize the preventive aspects of medicine and the socio-cultural determinants of health with an emphasys on the identification of strategies aimed at the elimination of health disparities. They also emphasize the importance of effective Inter-professional interactions and communications in order to ensure patient safety and minimize medical errors. Thus, ample exposure to hospitalized and ambulatory patients is offered during the clinical years clerkships. Students also become familiar with the secondary and tertiary levels of health care delivery.


The Dean of Medicine exercises the administrative and academic authority within the School of Medicine. He/she is accountable to the Chancellor for the implementation of institutional policy, the academic programs, and campus administrative regulations.

The School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education since 1954. There are eighteen departments in the School of Medicine. The thirteen clinical departments are: Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Surgery; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Psychiatry; Family Medicine; Pathology; Dermatology; Anesthesiology; Ophthalmology; Radiological Sciences; Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Sports Health; and Emergency Medicine. The five basic sciences departments are: Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biochemistry; Microbiology and Medical Zoology; Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Physiology.

The School’s major affiliated clinical teaching facilities are the University Hospital, the University Pediatric Hospital, the San Juan Veterans Administration Hospital, the Administracion de Servicios Medicos de PR (ASEM), and the University of Puerto Rico Hospital at Carolina. Other affiliated clinical sites include, but are not limited to: San Juan City Hospital, San Jorge Children’s Hospital, Pavía Hospital, and the San Pablo Hospital in the San Juan Metropolitan Area; Mayagüez Medical Center, La Concepción Hospital, San Antonio Hospital, and the Perea Hospital located in the west coast of Puerto Rico. New clinical sites may be made available throughout the year. In addition to these hospital teaching sites, the school is affilitated to various outpatient centers and clinics throughout the island.

The School offers a Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, and Master of Science degrees. The School also oversees 20 postgraduate medical training programs, with 18 subspecialties, all properly accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education. The Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees are granted by the Graduate Programs of the Division of Biomedical Sciences. In addition, the School offers the following concurrent degree programs:

  • MD-PhD UPR – Students spend their first two years at the medical school and begin their PhD studies upon completion of all second year requirements of the MD program. After completing their PhD requirements, they return to the MD program. Upon completion of the MD program, they receive an MD and a PhD as separate degrees.
  • MD-PhD UPR School of Medicine-Mayo Clinic–Students spend their first two years at the UPR School of Medicine and begin their PhD studies at Mayo Graduate School upon completion of all second year requirements. After completing their PhD requirements, they return to the MD program. Upon completion of the MD program, they receive an MD and a PhD as separate degrees.
  • MD-PhD UPR School of Medicine – Univerisity of Texas Healths Sciences Center at Houston and The Universityof Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – Students spend their first three years at the UPR School of Medicine in the MD program. Upon completion of all third year requirements, they begin their PhD program at The Universityof Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. Once they complete the PhD program, they return to the UPR School of Medicine for their fourth year of medical studies.
  • MD-PhD UPR School of Medicine- Yale University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences- Students spend their first three years at the UPR School of Medicine in the MD program and upon completion of all third year requirements, they begin their PhD program at Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Once they complete the PhD program, they return to the UPR School of Medicine for their fourth year of medical studies.
  • MD-JD UPR – Students spend their first two years at the UPR School of Medicine. Upon completion of all second year requirements, they begin their law studies at the UPR School of Law. Students spend three (3) years in their JD degree. They return to the School of Medicine for their third year of medicine. Their fourth year is a mixture of MD and JD requirements. Upon completion of the MD program and JD Program requirements students receive an MD and a JD as separate degrees.

The School of Medicine is located in the eight floor of the Guillermo Arbona Irizarry Building at the Medical Sciences Campus.


The UPR-SOM M.D. Curriculum is designed to be a four-year curriculum. Students have up to a maximum of six (6) academic years to satisfactorily complete all requiremements leading to the M.D. degree at our institution.


  • Complete all program courses with the minimum number of required hours
  • Complete 560 hours in elective courses within the minimum total number of hours required by the program
  • Have a minimum general grade point average of 2.00 (on a scale of 4.00)
  • Approve all program courses with a grade of C or higher
  • Approve the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA)
  • Approve the Clinical Practice Exam (CPX)
  • Approve the USMLE Step I test.
  • Approve the USMLE Step II Clinical Knowledge test.
  • Approve the USMLE STEP II Clinical Skills test (applicable to students admitted to the academic year 2016-2017 onwards)
  • The student must have shown such professional attitudes and behaviors in accordance with the institutional professionalism regulations, criteria and requirements.


The School offers a highly dynamic curriculum that calls for frequent updates and revisions in core areas. This assures the up‑to‑datedness of the students’ skills and knowledge upon graduation. Minimum Total Hours = 4,692. (Total hours may increase with additional hours in elective courses).


The School of Medicine MD Program is fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Official correspondence to the LCME should be addressed to both LCME Secretaries (at each sponsoring association).   Correspondence e-mailed will be distributed to both offices:

Association of American Medical Colleges
655 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2399

Phone: 202-828-0596

American Medical Association
330 North Wabash Avenue
Suite 39300
Chicago, IL 60611-5885

Phone: 312-464-4933