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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Organizing Principles

Our educational program is structured around and continuously informed by the following nine organizing principles.

  • Adaptive and Personalized
    While learning outcomes need to be standardized, the curriculum recognizes the strengths and potential of each student in order to optimize outcomes for each individual.
  • Community Engagement and Service Learning
    Students must be able to develop the skills to serve patients, society and the profession. By participating in learning environments in the community and developing the skills to effect change, students will develop into leaders capable of making a difference.
  • Competency-Based
    Feinberg’s competency structure forms the basis for setting educational goals and objectives and defining our assessment system.
  • Continuity
    When possible, student exposure to mentors and patients will be longitudinal to optimize learning and clinical skills acquisition. Continuity with mentors and peers will help students develop deeper relationships and more meaningful collaborations through our four-year college system and Educational Centered Medical Home.
  • Evidence-Based
    State-of-the-art teaching methodologies, strategies and technologies are used throughout the curriculum, with an emphasis on the evidence-based practice of medicine.
  • Inclusive and Bias-Free
    Feinberg is committed to an inclusive curriculum that is free of bias and promotes health equity for all. Learn more about our inclusive and bias-free guidelines.
  • Inquiry-Driven
    Our learning environment motivates and prepares students to efficiently seek, acquire, synthesize and apply new knowledge to solve complex problems. The physician of the future needs to be able to filter, archive and evaluate information accessed in multiple formats.
  • Integrated
    Content is integrated within all parts of the curriculum both longitudinally and vertically. Clinical and foundational sciences are present throughout all phases of learning. Learning is always in the context of patient care, and patient care is always based upon scientific principles.
  • Professional Development
    Feinberg emphasizes professionalism, reflection, personal growth and accountability, while providing trainees with a learning environment that supports and reinforces their humanity and compassion. Students are placed into one of eight colleges. Their college mentor oversees their growth and development over all four years and hoods them at graduation.