The impact of an elective curriculum in pathology.
Under the revised medical curriculum at Duke University, elective courses were offered in the third and fourth years beginning in 1968-1969. Departmental electives in autopsy, surgical, and systemic pathology were offered as major courses, and the subspecialty courses in cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary, pediatric, and neuropathology were taught by specialists in those areas. Special topics in subcellular and molecular pathology, neoplasia, environmental diseases, and experimental pathology were subscribed by medical and graduate students alike. To determine the impact of elective courses in pathology, these electives were compared to those offered by other basic science disciplines. Tabulation of total courses offered, student enrollment, and total academic credit hours were constructed for each basic science area. The data show that over the six year study period the students elected more courses in pathology than in any other basic science. The most heavily subscribed electives in pathology were those that were clinically oriented, such as cardiovascular or renal pathology. One impact of this elective system may be to enhance recruitment. During the period studied, 29 Duke graduates interned in pathology compared to six under a comparable time period in the traditional curriculum.
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