Attending Medical School

Attending Medical School Header

If you are in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) or if you are receiving a stipend for Reserve or Guard service, you will focus on your medical studies and receive training that will serve you well no matter what career path you take.

Medical School Curriculum + Timeline

Ultimately, to be successful, medical students must hit the ground running. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with this year-by-year overview of the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).

Please consider that the information presented here is the standard timeline for students with a four-year scholarship. If you have a three-year scholarship, your timeline will entail the same milestones, but in a compressed format.

All Military Medical Students

  • Commission as a second lieutenant in the Army or Air Force, or as an ensign in the Navy, at the time of entry into the scholarship program.


  • Attend officer training if openings are available.
  • Begin your civilian classroom studies.


  • Attend officer training.
  • Begin 18 months of your pre-clinical curriculum and participate in field exercises, including Military Field Practicum 101 (MFP 101), in which students learn austere medical and warrior skills, and Antietam, a reenactment based on one of the Civil War's major battles.


During your rotations, you will need to start thinking about where you would like to do your residency. You will need to choose your rotations wisely and think of them as auditions. If you have a family, or are considering starting a family in the future, this is also a great time to begin researching the military benefits that will be available to you and your family when you begin service.

If you are an HPSP student, you should perform at least one rotation at a military medical facility where you think you may want to do your residency, while USU students will perform all of their rotations at military medical facilities.

Match Day

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) students have the same chances of “matching” with their residency of choice as civilian students, and the Military will never dictate which specialty you choose. For reference, this process (i.e., “Match Day”) is a system by which residency candidates and residency programs simultaneously “match” to fill postgraduate training positions. In general, the more competitive you are as a student, and the more programs you apply to, the better your chances of matching. The availability of residency slots, however, depends on the Military's needs at that particular time and how competitive the residency is overall.

Students who do not receive their first specialty choice may elect to take a transitional year internship and reapply for their first specialty choice in the following years.

If you have a specialty in mind and are wondering about the chances of getting the residency of your choice, contact a recruiter.

If You Do Not Match

If you do not match into the military or civilian residency of your choice, you will still have options. In some cases, you could switch to a military residency in another field if a slot is available. Otherwise, you should plan on completing a one-year civilian or military internship. After the internship, you will be able to obtain your license to practice medicine. Then you can either reapply for a residency, or you can serve as a General Medical Officer (GMO).