Timeline

You wanted to become a doctor so you applied to medical school and were accepted into the UT College of Medicine. Now the question remains: "What kind of doctor will you become?" With such a large number of specialties available how will you know which specialty best suits you and how do you go about obtaining a residency in that specialty? These decisions do not need to be made right away. A specialty choice isn't usually made until the beginning of the fourth year and other decisions may not be made until you finish your residency training. But we certainly don't suggest that you wait until the last minute to begin the thought process. The below timeline is recommended to assist you in your decision making process.

M-1 Year| M-2 Year | M-3 Year | M-4 Year

M-1 Year

August (1st semester)

Brief orientation to Careers in Medicine (CiM) and to the UTHSC Careers in Medicine web site during orientation week.

February (2nd semester)

Class meeting for introduction to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC): Careers in Medicine (CiM) program and overview to four year career planning.

  • AAMC Careers in Medicine program and overview:
    • Begin CiM Phase I (Self-Assessment)

      Basically, self-assessment is the process of gathering and understanding information about yourself. To know yourself is, of course, the task of a lifetime, but it is also the essential first step in the career development process. It involves analyzing four elements of your personal characteristics - interests, values, personality, and skills - to figure out what you want in your medical career. The goal is choose a specialty that meets as many of your important personal characteristics as possible.1

    Summer (between M-1 & M-2 years):

    Shadowing, volunteer and research experiences

    • UTHSC Careers in Medicine web site provides information via :
      Department contacts
      One of the most valuable resources students have when choosing their career path is our very own distinguished College of Medicine faculty. Mentoring is a critical factor throughout all career stages. The choice of medical specialty for some may be difficult. The contact information provided below serves to open the door for students to make contact with the various specialties he/she may be considering.

      Summer research opportunities posted online
      Throughout the year, programs outside the University of Tennessee will send application information regarding summer research opportunities to our office for distribution among our student body. Once posted on our site, students may obtain the necessary contact information and application materials for summer reseach opportunities he/she might be interested in.

      Information regarding research opportunities here at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center can be obtained from the UTHSC Student Research Programs web site.

      (Note:Adobe Acrobat Reader is required for some links offered on this site)

M-2 Year

August (1st semester)

Beginning 1st semester (and running through 2nd semester), AMSA sponsored lunches featuring invited community specialists.

  • American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

    The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), with a half-century history of medical student activism, is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States.

    Today, AMSA is a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. With a membership of more than 67,000 medical students, premedical students, interns, residents and practicing physicians from across the country, AMSA continues its commitment to improving medical training and the nation's health.2

February (2nd semester):

Follow-up session, complete CiM Phase I and begin CiM Phase II (Exploring Options) working with faculty advisors.

  • AAMC Careers in Medicine program:
    • Complete CiM Phase I (Self-Assessment)
    • Begin CiM Phase II (Exploring Options)

      Now that you have a good understanding of your personal characteristics, it's time to learn more about your future career and specialty options. The following information and resources will assist you in researching specialties, and narrowing your choices. You will also have the chance to see what other options are available including non-clinical careers and academic medicine.3

    • Preparation for 3rd year focusing on specialty interest during the third year core clerkships.

Summer (between M-2 & M-3 years)

Additional shadowing, volunteer and research experiences

  • See above

M-3 Year

Fall (1st semester):

Complete CiM Phases I (Self-Assessment); continue working on Phase II (Exploring Options) in preparation for CiM Phase III (Choosing a Specialty).

  • Meeting with COM alumni during Fall alumni week
  • Career Day during which individuals may select up to four specialty breakout sessions to pursue in depth specialty information.

Spring (2nd semester):

By now, you should have completed both CiM Phases I (Self-Assessment) and II (Exploring Options) in preparation for CiM Phase III (Choosing a Specialty).

  • AAMC Careers in Medicine program:
    • Begin CiM Phase III (Choosing a Specialty) working with faculty advisors.

      Choosing a specialty (or making a decision) that is right for you involves comparing your self-assessment results with the information you have collected about the specialties. Often there will be several options that could bring you high levels of career satisfaction and success, and the exploration activities you've completed should have helped you identify those specialties. Now it's time to evaluate your options and make a decision.

      There is no magic formula to decision-making. This is especially true when deciding on something as important as your career direction. Different people have different strategies for making important decisions. Some use a systematic approach such as weighing pros and cons and some use a spontaneous approach by choosing whatever intuitively feels right. Here are some other strategies to assist you in your thinking about this decision.4

  • Strolling Through the Match (April) during which time the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) are reviewed in depth with staff from the Office of Student Affairs.

    For questions about applying for residency: visit our Residency Contact Information.

M-4 Year

Fall (1st semester)

By now, you should have completed CiM Phases I (Self-Assessment), II (Exploring Options) and III (Choosing a Specialty).

  • Begin CiM Phase IV (Applying to Residency)

    The last step is the ever-important process of applying and matching into residency. You will be preparing materials, interviewing, ranking your choices and tracking deadlines in this race to the finish!5

  • Meeting with author of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) to discuss final decision of specialty choice.

Spring (2nd semester)

Strolling Through the Match (April) during which time the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) are reviewed in depth with staff from the Office of Student Affairs.

For questions about applying for residency: visit our Residency Contact Information.

1Phase I: Understanding Yourself - An Introduction to Self-Assessment , Association of American Medical Colleges, Careers in Medicine, viewed 12 January 2009, (http://services.aamc.org/careersinmedicine/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.getContentItem&contentID=1).
2About: Mission Statement, American Medical Student Association, viewed 12 January 2009, (http://www.amsa.org/about).
3Phase II: Exploring Options - Getting Started, Association of American Medical Colleges, Careers in Medicine, viewed 12 January 2009, (http://services.aamc.org/careersinmedicine/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.getContentSection§ionID=2).
4Phase III: Choosing a Specialty - Decision Making, Association of American Medical Colleges, Careers in Medicine, viewed 12 January 2009, (http://services.aamc.org/careersinmedicine/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.getContentSection§ionID=3).
5Phase IV: Prepare for Residency, Association of American Medical Colleges, Careers in Medicine, viewed 12 January 2009, (http://services.aamc.org/careersinmedicine/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.getContentSection§ionID=4).

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Contact Us

Office of Student Affairs

910 Madison Ave, #1043
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5684
Fax: (901) 448-7085

Associate Dean

Owen P. Phillips, M.D.

Executive Dean:
David M. Stern, M.D.