University of Pittsburgh


Combined Clinical Years

Clinical Neurosciences Clerkship (CNC)

8 weeks     

Clerkship Director
Jason Rosenstock, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Jason Rosenstock, MD
Clerkship Director
Laurie Knepper, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Clerkship Co-Director
Clayton Wiley, MD, PhD
Department of Pathology
Clerkship Co-Director
Barton Branstetter, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroradiology

Course Description

The Clinical Neurosciences Clerkship integrates experience in psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, neuropathology, and neuroradiology. The clerkship is structured within an 8-week block, with 5 weeks in psychiatry and 3 weeks in neurology. Clinical teaching takes place within inpatient and ambulatory settings.

Students also attend neuropathology workshops, psychiatric emergency–department visits, and an AA/NA meeting. Students have the option of attending neurosurgery operating-room sessions. Teaching sessions consist of psychiatry and neurology core material as supported by evidence-based medicine, involving topics that highlight clinical conditions common to these areas of medicine.  Students also participate in formative standardized patient encounters, to develop higher-level skills in psychiatric assessment and patient management.

The objectives of the course are that students should become able to:

  1. describe the presentations, course, and treatment of common neuropsychiatric disorders.
  2. improve clinical skills by being observed by a faculty member while performing a history (focused or complete), neurological exam (focused or complete), and a psychiatric assessment (including mental status examination).
  3. establish rapport and a therapeutic alliance with patients/families.
  4. recommend, implement, and assess the benefits of common/important biopsychosocial treatments for specific disorders.


Educational Methods


Inpatient patient–care activities Ambulatory patient–care activities Workshops    
Structured readings Standardized patient encounters Lectures    



The Psychiatry Block contributes 62.5% and the Neurology Block contributes 37.5% to the final grade.

The Psychiatry Block evaluation is based on the following four components: inpatient experience evaluations (50% of the Psychiatry final grade), a reflective essay about the doctor-patient relationship (10% of Psychiatry final grade), a performance–based video exam (10% of the Psychiatry final grade), and the National Board of Medical Examiners subject exam score (30% of the Psychiatry final grade).

The Neurology Block evaluation is based on clerkship–preceptor evaluation (2/3 of the Neurology final grade) and the National Board of Medical Examiners subject exam score (1/3 of the Neurology final grade).

Grading: The clerkship is graded Honors, High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Jason Rosenstock, MD, is a recipient of the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award, the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education, and the Excellence in Education Award for Course Director. In addition, Dr. Rosenstock is a member of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.