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Ross University School of Medicine Clinical Rotations

Clinical Sciences Curriculum: Years 3 and 4

After successful completion of the Medical Sciences curriculum in years one and two on the Caribbean island of Barbados, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students finish the Clinical Sciences curriculum in years three and four at teaching hospitals in the United States or in the United Kingdom. Also in years three and four, Ross students prepare for and take the United States Medical License Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 and Step 2 where they demonstrate their medical knowledge and clinical skills. (Step 3, the final exam before licensing, is typically taken during residency.)

RUSM students begin clinical training and patient interaction during the first week of year one of medical school and are well prepared to apply their skills in the Clinical Sciences curriculum.

What Are Clinical Rotations?

Years three and four involve clinical rotations, during which time students receive basic instruction in the major medical specialties and receive hands-on experience with patients. While many medical students move from city to city to complete clinical training, RUSM students may benefit from remaining in one location throughout the core Clinical Sciences curriculum. This allows students to concentrate on medical school without worrying about the hassles and expenses of moving.

Clinical training is one of the most exciting—but also challenging and complex—periods of a student’s medical education experience. RUSM students may leave the island of Barbados, but they never leave the protection and support of RUSM. Every student maintains contact with a dedicated team of advisers throughout clinical training. Students can receive vital help and support to stay focused on the Clinical Sciences curriculum while also tackling USMLE exams and applying for residency after graduation.

Eligibility for Clinical Training

To be eligible for clinical core clerkships, RUSM students must first:

  • Successfully complete the RUSM Medical Sciences curriculum 
  • Pass the USMLE Step 1 and submit the USMLE Score Report 
  • Receive approved health clearance and complete a background check

Securing Clinical Placement

During year two of the RUSM Medical Sciences curriculum, students work with the Office of Career Advisement to secure clinical placement in a teaching hospital. Students apply to teaching hospitals in a graded preference system and have options based on such factors as academic performance, available space, location, and elective and specialty interests.

Where Does Clinical Training Take Place?

RUSM students complete their clinical training at one or more of 27 teaching hospitals in the United States. Clinical rotations in medical school provide supervised experience working with patients and help students narrow down which medical specialty appeals to them most. During rotations, students are part of a medical team led by an attending physician that includes residents (doctors-in-training) and interns (first-year residents). In the fourth and final year of medical school, students continue clinical training and dive deeper into specialties of interest.

Students begin applying to residencies in year four and attend residency interviews with the help and guidance of the RUSM Office of Career Advisement.

Core Clinical Rotations in Medical School

Students must complete 48 weeks of core clerkship rotations before fulfilling the 42 additional weeks of elective rotations (unless otherwise approved). Those core rotations are:

Internal Medicine (12 weeks)

Students are introduced to the foundational behavior, knowledge, and clinical skills required to diagnose and treat common medical problems in adult patients.

Surgery (12 weeks)

Students explore conditions requiring surgical intervention and have opportunities to observe how surgical patients are managed. Students also become familiar with the policies and procedures of the operating room.

Pediatrics (6 weeks)

Students learn skills and knowledge required for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.

Family Medicine (6 weeks)

Students learn principles of family medicine and of how those principles apply in community practice. Emphasis is placed on continuous and comprehensive healthcare for people of all ages and genders within the context of their communities, families, and social groups. Particular attention is paid to the diagnosis and treatment of common medical problems and to ambulatory care, continuity of care, and health maintenance.

Obstetrics/Gynecology (6 weeks)

Students learn about the changes that take place in a woman during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum period—both normal and pathological changes. Students also learn about the diagnosis and treatment of major gynecological diseases and various methods of family planning.

Psychiatry (6 weeks)

Students learn about the major categories of mental disorders, including diagnosis and some methods of therapy. Students also learn how to take a psychiatric history and evaluate a patient’s mental status.

All Clinical Rotations

Required clerkships (48 weeks) are listed alongside subspecialties in each area (numbered 321 through 338).

320 MEDICINE 321 Cardiology 329 Nephrology
322 Critical Care Medicine 330 Oncology
323 Emergency Medicine 331 Pulmonary Disease
324 Endocrinology 332 Rheumatology
325 Gastroenterology 333 Rehabilitation Medicine
327 Infectious Disease 336 Sports Medicine
328 Allergy and Immunology 337 Tropical Medicine
338 Medicine Subinternship  
410 OBSTETRICS/ GYNECOLOGY 411 Obstetrics/ Gynecology Subinternship  
490 PEDIATRICS 491 Pediatrics Subinternship  
610 SURGERY 611 Colon and Rectal Surgery 623 Ophthalmology
612 Neurological Surgery 626 Hand Surgery
613 Orthopedic Surgery 627 Surgical Subinternship
615 Plastic Surgery 628 Pediatric Surgery
617 Urology 640 Burn Surgery
618 Vascular Surgery 641 Shock Trauma Surgery
619 Otolaryngology 642 Cardiothoracic Surgery
620 Trauma Surgery  

After core training, students participate in 42 weeks of elective clerkships.

ELECTIVES (4-8 weeks each) 820 Neonatology 837 Intensive Care Unit
803 Neurological Pathology 839 Ob/ Gyn Anesthesia
805 Ambulatory Internal Medicine 840 Medical Ethics
806 Neurology 851 Pathology
807 Anesthesiology 853 Pediatric Infectious Disease
808 Emergency Room 854 Pediatric Genetics
812 Clinical Pathology 857 Preventive Medicine
813 Clinical Radiology 858 Primary Care
815 Radiation Oncology 859 Psychiatry Elective
816 Radiology  866 Substance Abuse
817 Dermatology 872 Pediatric Orthopedics
819 Public Health 873 Surgical Elective 
821 Electrocardiography  875 Medicine Elective
822 Family Medicine Elective 877 Podiatry
825 General Surgery Elective 879 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
828 Hyperbaric Medicine/Wound Care 882 Pediatric Elective
830 Gynecological Surgery 892 Ob/ Gyn Elective
833 Perinatology 896 Adolescent Medicine
834 Infertility 897 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
RESEARCH ELECTIVES 860 Pediatrics Research Elective 870 Clinical Research Elective



Are you trying to decide how to choose a medical school? Learn more about why the MD Program at RUSM may be the right choice for you.


The Ross University School of Medicine curriculum is designed to enable students to acquire and master basic sciences concepts and prepare to integrate knowledge of these concepts into clinical care.

Student Support

The Ross Advantage: personalized support throughout your medical education. We support your success every step of the way.


The majority of our graduates secure residencies through the National Resident Matching Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are core rotations in medical school?
What year of medical school has core rotations?

Core rotations take place during the first year of the Clinical Sciences curriculum, which occupies year three of medical school.

What are the six core rotations?

The six core rotations are Internal Medicine (12 weeks), Surgery (12 weeks), Pediatrics (6 weeks), Family Medicine (6 weeks), Obstetrics/Gynecology (6 weeks), and Psychiatry (6 weeks).