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Clerkship Information

Students proceed directly into the Third Year Clinical Clerkships upon 1) successful completion of the Biomedical Sciences, and 2) obtaining a passing score on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Step 1. Occasionally, students may elect to delay entry into the clerkship program in order to pursue graduate studies.

Students begin the third year with a week-long Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM) block which focuses on providing clinical skills essential to success in the clerkships. During the clerkships, students focus their attention and efforts on patient problem-solving and experience an increasing level of responsibility throughout the rotations. Student workload in the third year is controlled by the director of each clerkship. The total amount of time allotted for third-year clerkships is 48 weeks, which is taken over a 64-week period. After completion of a minimum of three core clerkships, students may choose one or more electives to enhance their skills and understanding in a specific discipline before completing all seven required clerkships.

Background Check Required

The UT Health Science Center requires all matriculating students to undergo a Criminal Background Check (CBC) to enhance patient safety and protection. The College of Medicine does not require an additional CBC prior to entering the clerkships unless circumstances warrant.

However, some external clerkship sites may require an additional CBC at the time of participation. Based on the results of these checks, an affiliated clinical site may determine not to allow your presence at their facility.

The Veteran's Administration Hospital requires a criminal background check and security clearance, but they conduct their own (see VA Clearance and Security). The process takes 2 weeks and must be completed by the first day of the rotation. Completion of the security clearance is required for access to the electronic medical record, without which you will have little meaningful clinical participation.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital requires a background check within 90 days of beginning a rotation. All visiting students must have a criminal background check as a pre-requisite for any rotation.

Unless covered by the requiring institution, the cost for the background check is each student's responsibility. Please visit the Tennessee Hospital Association website for more information and to initiate your background check.


Please navigate to specific core clerkship information using the links below.

If you have questions about specific clerkships, please contact the director or contact person for that clerkship.

Information about clerkship electives can be found in the catalog.

More Clerkship Details

Core Clerkship DirectorsWhere Do I Report?Clerkship Calendar

Location of Clinical Clerkship and Elective Offerings Memphis Knoxville Chattanooga Nashville
Family Medicine x* x x  
Medicine x x x x
Neurology a x x x  
Ob/Gyn x x x  
Pediatrics x x x  
Psychiatry a x x x  
Surgery x x x  
Ambulatory Medicine x x x  
Capstone x x x  
Senior Clerkship Medicine x x x x
Senior Clerkship 
(any third year clerkship)
x x x  
Surgery Specialties x x x  
Specialty Clerkship x x x  
Longitudinal Scholars Program x x x  
Electives x x x x

a: Psychiatry and Neurology are scheduled in the same eight-week period.

*: The Department of Family Medicine seeks to expose all medical students to primarily ambulatory-based medicine in the real-life office setting of practicing community family physicians. The department places students in locales throughout the state of Tennessee including urban, suburban, rural, and under-served communities.

Whenever possible, student preferences for specific locations are taken into consideration. Students may request approved settings in their hometown or communities where they may stay with family or friends. Students are responsible for the costs associated with transportation, housing, and food.

May 26, 2022