Planning a Medical Career

Choosing a specialty and planning a suitable career remain critical components of the development of each P&S student as a physician. At P&S, the career planning program begins at matriculation and continues throughout medical school. There is no “right way” to do career planning. Some students decide on their specialty before medical school and end up pursuing that specialty, and many students either do not know or change their mind. Most students select their specialty by the end of the summer of their final year. Students often find it helpful to consult fourth-year students, residents, and faculty in the specialties they are considering. The best way to contact them to arrange a meeting, phone conversation, or shadowing experience is usually by email. 

Extensive career advising materials are available to P&S students on the CourseWorks website.

The career planning program at P&S includes:

  • Shadowing opportunities
  • Exposure to a wide variety of specialties and careers formally through the Advisory Dean Program, the Major Clinical Year and electives, and informally through shadowing, contacting P&S graduates, speaking with faculty, and other opportunities
  • Access to information about dual degree programs
  • Research opportunities, fellowships, and scholarly project
  • Timely information about residency applications and interviewing
  • Group and individualized advising to meet the needs of each student

The career planning program offers the following activities by year:


Preclinical Years/Fundamentals

  • Exposure to specialties and careers through advisory dean lunches
  • Shadowing opportunities
  • Research, teaching, service, and global health opportunities for first year Summer


Major Clinical Year

  • Individualized career counseling meeting in first half of year with Advisory Dean
  • Late Fall class meeting to explain elective program in Differentiation & Integration phase, its structure, and components
  • Individualized Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and career counseling meeting with Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs from mid-November of MCY to April of D&I


Differentiation & Integration

  • Three late winter breakfast panel discussions with Dean Goldman, CUMC chairs of clinical departments, and residency training directors to discuss residency application in the specialty
  • Pizza dinners by specialty in March of D&I with senior students applying to the specialty, providing informal discussion and Q&A
  • Class meeting in April to review residency application timeline and components
  • Meetings by specialty in May with CUMC residency training directors and students interested in the specialty
  • Selection of a specialty-specific residency advisory
  • Class meeting in June to discuss residency application and self assessment
  • Assistance with personal statement writing and editing with students' advisory deans, student affairs deans, residency advisors, and staff
  • Class meeting in September to discuss interviewing, program assessment, and ranking programs
  • Mock interviews in October through Center for Student Wellness
  • Daily walk-in hours and email contact for career advising