ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For more than a century, going to medical school has meant basically the same thing across the country: four years of learning about human anatomy and physiology, and how to diagnose and treat the diseases that afflict us.

Every med student got roughly the same education, then chose a particular type of care to focus on in their residency.

But in the last few years, more med schools have added optional “scholarly concentration” tracks that students can pursue even while earning their medical degree. You might think of it as a “minor” – an add-on to their “major” in medicine.

Most top schools offer them, study finds

A University of Michigan Medical School(link is external) team has just published the first national study of this phenomenon. It shows that 74 percent of the top American medical schools now offer scholarly concentrations to their students.

Most schools offer five or six choices, the team reports in the journal Academic Medicine(link is external). The topics vary widely, with 199 distinct options available across the 43 schools that rated in the top tiers of U.S. News & World Report’s two medical school ranking charts.

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