First Year

Year 1 exposes students to foundational scientific principles and core patient care competencies. Through in-depth study of the structure and function of the human body from genes to organ systems and by partnering with patients and their healthcare teams from the very first day of medical school, students are absorbed into the culture of medicine.

The Year 1 curriculum includes a formal skills-based curriculum in research methods to prepare students for innovative scholarly activity. Core content in Frontiers in Science, global health, service learning, epidemiology, and health policy rounds out the Year 1 curriculum. Finally, students pursue self-directed learning, discovery, and leadership development opportunities during protected half-days of Flex-Time.

Innovative opportunities in the Year 1 curriculum include:

  • Early clinical contact and longitudinal partnering with patients and their doctors
  • Exposure to imaging and surgical approaches to learning human structure
  • Personalized pharmacogenetic testing and interpretation
  • Hands-on physiology training at the simulator
  • Exposure to thought leaders and real world science in all courses through Frontiers in Science
  • Guidance and mentorship to develop a required research project
  • Core competency training in research skills, global health, health policy, and service learning
  • Protected half-days of "Flex-Time" for self-directed individualized learning, discovery, and leadership development

Year 1 Courses

The Art and Science of Medicine (ASM): This integrated two-year experience provides medical students with the core knowledge, clinical skills, and professional attitudes essential for clinical practice. Through early, meaningful, and sustained patient contact in ambulatory and inpatient settings, students establish a strong foundation in patient-centered compassionate care. A central patient-care experience in ASM is the Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE). LCE partners patients cared for at Mount Sinai with first-year medical students. Through a long-term relationship with LCE patients and mentors, students gain an appreciation for the patient experience and develop critical skills in team-based care and advocacy.

Structures Block: Using a variety of innovative modalities, students are introduced to the human body, from basic development of the human embryo to microscopic structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, and gross anatomic structure and function.

Molecular, Cellular and Genomic Foundations: This interdisciplinary course includes four core content areas: biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, genomics, and metabolism. The relationship of cellular processes to human disease is emphasized in lecture, in small group discussions involving clinical cases, and in the presentation of patients with diseases that have a well-characterized molecular basis.

Immunology: This course introduces the organization and development of the immune system and how it functions to protect us from disease. Students will learn about the organs and cells that make up the immune system, molecules that mediate immune responses, and regulatory mechanisms that amplify and limit the responses elicited. Both normal and pathological immune responses are covered.

Pathology: The goal of this course is to examine the basic and common responses of cells and tissues to various stimuli, recognize the resulting morphological changes, describe the pathogenetic and molecular mechanisms underlying these changes, and correlate these processes with the clinical presentation of disease.

Physiology: Physiology is the study of normal human body function, from the cellular to the organ level. It also teaches how the organ systems work in concert to ensure homeostasis and the ability to adapt to different environmental and internal conditions.

Medical Microbiology: This course serves as an introduction to the epidemiology, mechanism of disease, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the major bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic pathogens responsible for human disease. Students learn basic microbiologic laboratory techniques and have small group sessions to discuss real-life cases of patients with infectious diseases acquired both domestically and abroad. The interaction between the immune system and individual pathogens is a major theme of the course, and the basic pharmacology of antimicrobials is introduced in the setting of individual pathogens.


InFocus weeks across all four years provide core curricula in topics critical to medical practice and biomedical research in the 21st century. These in-depth immersion experiences bring together outstanding interdisciplinary faculty and emphasize skill development and knowledge application. During these weeks students do not have other class obligations. Year 1 InFocus weeks are devoted to developing critical research training skills and promoting exposure to content areas relevant to scholarship and leadership.

  • Research and Scholarship: The goal of this Year 1 InFocus theme is to provide students with fundamental research skills and mentored research training to support discovery and innovation. The course includes longitudinal sessions on research skill development, as well as didactic components. In Year 1, students will learn the principles underlying rigorous research including fundamental concepts of study design, epidemiology and concepts of hypothesis testing and statistical inference.

  • Global Health, Service Learning, and Health Policy: This Year 1 InFocus curriculum will integrate regional, national, and international health and health policy, taking students from local to global understandings of disease and disease prevention. Through active and experiential learning methods led by faculty experts, students will explore environmental, sociologic, and policy impacts on health and disease, both in the local community of East Harlem and globally in impoverished regions of the country and the world. Cost-conscious care, resource-allocation, health care access, prevention, poverty, and health literacy will be central themes emphasized in these sessions.

Frontiers in Science

Frontiers in Science talks showcase cutting edge translational biomedical research and real world applications of scientific knowledge. By introducing students to impactful ideas we hope to foster intellectual curiosity and inform clinical practice.

Each Year 1 course invites a translational researcher who is doing relevant and meaningful work to lead an interactive session with students.


A protected half-day per week in Year 1 allows students time and space to pursue self-directed learning, discovery, and leadership development opportunities. Flex-Time also permits students to meet competency-based milestones as well as participate in relevant content sessions focused on cross-cutting themes like mentorship, feedback, careers in medicine and science, and learning skills.

Nexus Learning

Nexus Learning comprises a diverse range of courses aligned with the mission and vision of the Icahn School of Medicine. Nexus courses are geared toward Year 1 and 2 medical students and reflect the remarkable interests and talents of faculty and programs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Nexus Learning builds on the required curriculum and allows students to gain new insights, knowledge, and skills to enhance their practice of medicine. These optional course offerings give students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge in particular areas of interest or discover an entirely new discipline, as well as to engage with faculty and students with shared interests.