The GPPA Core Curriculum is comprised of four discussion courses, each carrying one credit hour. These courses complement the typical college preparation for entry into medical school to help students attain a critical understanding of the profession of medicine and its role in our society. Courses are designed and taught by medical school faculty. Class is limited to GPPA students only.


GPPA-Medicine Year 1

In the fall semester of the first year students are assigned a GPPA Medicine Advisor for their first year, often the member of the GPPA Executive Committee who interviewed them for admission to the GPPA program, to begin to plan their educational program and develop the student’s specific goals for their university education. You must meet with your GPPA Medicine Advisor once a semester.

First year students are also required to register and take the initial two GPPA Medicine Core Curriculum courses which are given in two 8-week blocks during the Spring semester:

Medicine as a Profession – 1st 8 weeks Spring Semester

The goal of this reading and discussion course is to examine the profession of medicine in terms of the education of physicians, the role of the physician in the social contract and the responsibilities and challenges of a life in medicine.

Course Objectives

  1. Understand the components of a liberal arts education and why being an educated person is important to a life in medicine.
  2. Understand how an undergraduate curriculum underlies a medical education and the components of a medical education.
  3. Discuss the social contract in the context of the profession of medicine.
  4. Define professional standards of conduct for pre-medical and medical students and physician.
  5. Discuss examples of professionalism and humanism in medical practice as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of the life of a physician.


The Evolution of Medicine– 2nd 8 weeks Spring Semester

The Darwinian theory of evolution is centered around the idea that natural selection, spurred by any number of environmental stressors, leads to the adaptation of an organism over the course of many generations. The organism that results, although different from its predecessors, is more fit to meet the demands of its surroundings, and thus forms the next link in the ongoing chain of evolutionary improvement. As suggested by the title of this course, medicine can be viewed through a similar lens: that is to say, as an entity which is constantly adapting in response to a multitude of contributing factors. To study the history of medicine is, thus, to study its evolution, and to appreciate the roles that societal factors such as religion, economics, and international politics played in shaping it into the profession we know today. Within this framework, this course provides an introduction to historical developments that have contributed to the present state of the medical profession, medical institutions, and medical knowledge, and touches on major medical advances and themes — from Antiquity to the present — in order to illustrate the changing role of the physician and the medical profession within society.

Course Objectives:

  1. Students should be able to read, discuss, and write critically about major themes in history and medicine.
  2. Students should be able to describe and give examples of the interactions between medicine and society and how these interactions changed over time.
  3. Students should be familiar with the roles, capabilities, and demands of a physician during various historical eras.


GPPA-Medicine Year 2

In the fall of the second year students will be assigned an Honors College Fellow who is also a faculty member in the College of Medicine. The COM Honors College Fellow serves advises on semester Honors Activities, independent study/research, study abroad and Capstone, and most importantly, is also is a mentor and guide for the student in developing the overall knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for medical school and life as a physician. You must meet with your Honors College Fellow once a semester.


During the second year students are required to participate in the final two courses of the Core Curriculum that are given in two 8-week blocks in the Fall semester.

Medicine, Health Policy and Society – 1st 8 weeks Fall Semester

This course concentrates on public policy, and political aspects of medicine and health care. The societal context in which the practice of medicine takes place is of primary consideration. Students review how public policy around health issues is developed, implemented and evaluated. The interrelationships between local, state and national policies are examined. Areas that have had widespread implications for medical care in the US and abroad are explored.

Course Objectives:

  1. Learn about the components of the US healthcare system
  2. Understand how the healthcare system is constantly evolving based on social and political pressures
  3. Learn how laws and the regulation of policy and procedures directly impact the delivery of healthcare
  4. Develop an appreciation of the physician’s role in trying to influence the healthcare system

The Art and Science of Medicine – 2nd 8 weeks Fall Semester

Dr. William Osler said “The practice of medicine is an art, based on science.” This course explores the interplay of scientific foundations of medicine, the skills of the physician-patient interaction, and the necessary use of emerging medical technologies. It does so through close examination of readings on a wide variety of perspectives offering a broad range for debate on the topic.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand the interdependence of medical “art” and “science” in medical practice
  2. Learn about the interdependence of medical art and science in the development of medical innovation
  3. Appreciate the interdependence of art and science in medical education
  4. Recognize the influence of personal and cultural beliefs in the practice of medicine
  5. Develop the ability to engage in the dialectical reasoning in discussions with others and of one’s own reading.