PreClinical (Years 1 & 2)

The School of Medicine launched its new curriculum, Translational Education at Carolina (TEC) in August 2014.  TEC is composed of three phases: Foundation Phase (formerly Years 1 and 2), Application Phase (formerly year 3) and Individualization Phase (formerly year 4).  For more information on TEC, visit  UNC Dermatology offers several educational experiences for medical students.

Foundation Phase (formerly years 1 and 2)
For more information on Foundation Phase, visit

Course Objectives:

  1. To familiarize the student with the field of dermatology through an overview of types of disorders, procedures, and subspecialties available in dermatology.
  2. To familiarize the student with the possible sources of knowledge through their peers, faculty members, textbooks, and websites.
  3. Students should develop a basic dermatologic vocabulary that enables them to appropriately describe skin lesions.  For example, students should be familiar with primary and secondary skin lesions and the difference between them.  It is also important to learn some basic terms such as erythema, violaceous, zoseriform, verrucous, etc.
  4. By nescessity, the skin portion is an overview, and by no means comprehensive.  Therefore, the materials covered should serve as a foundation that can be built upon in medical school.  The contents of the course were determined by feedback from those who have taken it before, topics tested on the USMLE, and what the faculty feel is essential for a physician in any specialty to know.


Course Organization:

  1. Didactic lectures: The large group didactic lectures follow the syllabus in content and organization.  The lecturers will be using large numbers of clinical photos to illustrate their topic.  As dermatology is a visual field that cannot be fully appreciated through text alone, these clinical photographs are crucial to developing a full understanding of the lecture material.
  2. Small group sessions: Each small group session will be led by a faculty preceptor and comprise of two small group didactic lectures and one interactive kodachrome review.  The small group didactic lectures will introduce new groups of skin disorders.  The kodachrome review will show unknown clincial images of skin disorders from the prior day's large group didactic lectures and the same day's small group didactic lectures.  Students will describe the skin lesions and formulate a basic differential diagnosis based on the prior lectures.
  3. Mid-term examination: This is an opportunity for the student to apply the skills and knowledge gained through the course.  The examination will focus upon information presented in didactic lectures and small group sessions.  The test will have clinical images and multiple choice questions.  The total grade for the skin section will come from your performance on the mid-term exam, which is 34% of the musculoskeletal/skin block 10 grade.
  4. Self assessment: Self assessment questions are posted under course resources on the MS2 curriculum website.


Teaching Materials:

  1. Dermatology Online Atlases: There are many available.  Some have excellent quality images and didactic information.  Others have poor quality control.
  2. Dermatology Course Syllabus: The syllabus lectures will be posted on the MS2 webstie.
  3. General Dermatology References: These are available for students interested in further reading on a particular topic.  All these texts are available in the Health Sciences Library:
    1. Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Fitzpatrick TB (editors). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine.  This is the essential dermatology text for dermatologists.  It offers a comprehensive discussion of dermatology with color photos.
    2. Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 3rd edition, St. Louis, Mosby, 1996. This is a great book for the non-dermatologist interested in dermatology.  The outstanding facet of this book is the top rate photos.


Course Directors:

Dermatology Section: Chris Sayed () and Dean Morrell (

Contacting the faculty: During this course, the faculty will continue to work in clinics and laboratories.  Therefore, we individually have different office hours.  We are happy to answer any questions that may arise.  If there are specific questions about a lecture, contact the faculty member that gave the lecture or created the case scenario.  Please direct MSK questions to the instructors during lab for the most immediate response.  Other questions should be directed to the course director, Chris Sayed at .

We are also available to any student who might be interested in pursuing dermatology as a career.  Feel free to contact us with questions.


Link to CC2 website (will need username and password)


Learning Resources

LearnDerm: Excellent introduction to dermatology by VisualDx

Informed: Skin Cancer Education by VisualDx

Excellent library of dermatology images edited by physicians at UNC

Other Atlases:
DermIS: image atlases, differential diagnoses, case reports and additional information on almost all skin diseases

Brazilian Dermatology Atlas: images from Brazil

DermNet: 23,000 images of skin disease