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Frequently Asked Questions About Genes to Society

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Q. How is the curriculum different?

A. The Genes to Society curriculum provides students with:

  • Exposure to clinically relevant experiences from “day one”
  • Enhanced opportunities to explore specific areas of interest and/or additional degrees
  • Complete integration of basic, clinical and social sciences throughout the four years
  • A developmental curriculum that exposes students to increasing sophistication with increasing experience and knowledge
  • Opportunities to integrate new clinical topics with basic topics during the students’ tenure
  • Coordinated avenues for the incorporation of new biomedical knowledge, new technologies and emerging multidisciplinary topics

Q. What is the grading system at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine?

A. In the pre-clerkship curriculum (through March of Year Two), all courses are graded pass/fail. Our hope is that by integrating active learning and pass/fail system in the first two years, students will be encouraged to focus on team learning. Active learning will promote long-term learning and mimic more closely the practice of medicine in teams. All pre-clerkship courses require a final grade of 70 percent in order to pass the course.

In the clinical curriculum, students are graded on a four-tier system: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail.

Q. How am I taught?

A. We believe that everyone learns differently. To accommodate all learning types, we use several avenues for conferring knowledge. Our goal is to keep lectures less than 40 percent of class time. The rest of your curricular time is spent in lab (e.g., anatomy and virtual microscopy), small-group discussions, case‐ and team‐based learning, peer teaching and simulation. All lectures are recorded and available online for students to view from any computer.

Q. What about grades?

A. Basic courses in Year One and Year Two (Foundations courses, Genes to Society, Scholarly Concentrations and all TIME courses) are pass/fail.

The clerkships, clinical electives, advanced clerkships and clinical sub-internships remain on the four‐tier system because we believe that system really helps our students match into top-tier residencies.

A comprehensive validated assessment of basic science knowledge is taken before proceeding to the clinical curriculum.

Q. Is there an attendance policy at Johns Hopkins?

A. There is an official attendance policy for the pre-clerkship curriculum. Lectures are not required attendance; all lectures are taped and available online. Students are expected to attend small-group discussions, patient contact sessions and simulations in the pre-clerkship curriculum and all formal events in the clerkship curriculum.

Q. How many students at Hopkins do research during medical school?

A. On average, 80 percent of the Year One students do some form of research in the summer period after Year One. The Scholarly Concentration program facilitates this process for students. About 25 percent of Hopkins students leave the medical curriculum temporarily to pursue other degrees (M.S., M.P.H., M.B.A., Ph.D.). Over 90 percent of Hopkins students report scholarly publication at the time of graduation.

Q. Do I get a summer break?

A. When creating the Genes to Society curriculum, we felt that it was very important to maintain an ample amount of summer vacation. The first summer provides an excellent time to work on your Scholarly Concentration. However, you should also feel free to travel abroad, do research and, most importantly, relax!

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