General Educational Philosophy and Policy

The faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine is engaged in the education of superior physicians. The college has developed a program that emphasizes the scientific disciplines and humanistic concerns necessary to achieve this goal. The practice of medicine, both in the community and in an academic setting, is an art with a scientific base. Prime consideration is given to development in the student of a sense of responsibility; of an understanding of the patient’s need for a compassionate, knowledgeable, and available physician; of a commitment to continuing inquiry and research, self-education, and the improvement of professional skills.

Students are invited by the faculty to become colleagues in a productive learning experience. Effort is made to maintain an informal atmosphere and an open-door policy to promote student–faculty interchange. The curriculum is under the continuous scrutiny of a committee in which students and faculty participate.

The faculty aims to familiarize the student with the basic knowledge, scientific principles, and clinical skills that provide a foundation for the practice of medicine. The student must be motivated to keep pace with the rapidly advancing body of medical knowledge by embarking on a lifelong program of scholarly, intellectual inquiry.

Learning techniques emphasize problem solving. Many opportunities for individual clinical and basic research are readily available. Such experiences are intended to train the student in the methods for gathering and evaluating valid information to find the solution of each patient’s problems.

Learning is interdisciplinary in nature, insofar as is practical. In clinical conferences, emphasis may be placed on the scientific foundation from which understanding of disease processes and their management necessarily derives. Preparation in the basic sciences is integrated with clinical training so that the student may have a sound scientific basis for development of clinical interests. Electives as well as research opportunities enable each student to find expression for his or her unique interests in medicine.

It is the goal of the faculty to help the student achieve professional competence with a sound grasp of the principles of human behavior and humanistic values. Students interact with patients and physicians in a variety of settings. Students are expected to strive to develop, along with the unique professional skills of the physician, a thorough commitment to those who come under their care, whether the student’s future vocation will be medical practice, research, or administration.

The College of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.