School of Medicine

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The Asheville campus provides clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students at MAHEC, regional hospitals, and outpatient practices in Western North Carolina utilizing an innovative longitudinal curriculum that has been replicated across the nation.

UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus opened with four students in July 2009 with the support of the UNC School of Medicine, Mission Health, and MAHEC. Since then, the Asheville campus has grown to more than 30 Application Phase students per year.

Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum

The foundation of this program, the longitudinal integrated curriculum, is similar to Harvard's "Cambridge Model" in which third-year medical students are placed in longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) in outpatient settings for the majority of their curriculum allowing them to follow patients across healthcare settings.

The Asheville campus has a cadre of dedicated teachers and a greater reliance on outpatient teaching. Students have more exposure to experienced practicing physicians and are more likely to see the same patients over an extended period of time and through the continuum of care.

The Asheville community is well suited to this type of curriculum with its diverse specialty practices and robust primary care services.

LICs have the following core principles:

  • Continuity of Ps:
  • Active, hands-on roles with patients
  • Flexibility of unscheduled half days for self-directed learning

The Application Phase

The Application Phase academic calendar at Asheville is comprised of three blocks with a mix of two types of clinical experiences. The inpatient experience is 15 weeks and includes surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, cardiology, and ob/gyn. In addition, students complete twenty 5-hour emergency medicine shifts throughout the course of the year. The remainder of the weeks are spent in the longitudinal outpatient setting.

The three blocks are as follows:

  • Block A: 12 weeks of inpatient care/3 weeks of flex time
    • Flex weeks
      • These weeks are not consecutive but are spread out over the trimester
      • Flex weeks can be used for studying, assignments, research, exploring specialty interests, ED shifts, making up clinical time, shelf exams, additional inpatient/outpatient time, etc.
  • Block B: 15 weeks of outpatient care
    • Students will receive a personalized outpatient schedule with assigned preceptors for family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and ob/gyn
    • Students will work one-on-one with their preceptors and have the opportunity to follow continuity patients throughout their longitudinal outpatient time
  • Block C: 12 weeks of outpatient care/3 weeks of inpatient care
    • Student inpatient weeks in this block will be consecutive to allow for maximum continuity
    • Student outpatient preceptors and schedule will stay the same for Blocks B and C

The Individualization Phase

The fourth-year curriculum reverts to block months. Asheville campus students have the same fourth-year requirements as Chapel Hill students. All required courses and many electives are available in both Asheville and rural settings.

Admissions Process

The ideal student for this program:

  • Demonstrates flexibility, self-reliance, and internal motivation
  • Has a strong academic record
  • Brings life experiences in self-directed learning and/or work

Also taken into consideration, but not required:

  • Has connections to  Western North Carolina
  • Expressed interest in primary care, surgery, psychiatry and/or rural practice goals

UNC SOM Asheville Campus

For detailed curriculum information, please visit

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