The discovery learning course is a six-week course that takes place during your medical education in phase one. The goal of the discovery learning course is to provide you with hands-on experiences that will bolster your engineering-infused medical education. Your discovery learning experience may take several different forms, and you have the power to choose the immersion program that fits your goals and interests best. Some options include:

Global Studies

The global studies option in your discovery learning course allows you to consider a variety of issues that influence the health of different populations and countries. You will be introduced to globalization with projects that may include: the environment, nutrition, education, innovation, culture, the medical system, agency involvement in health, and other relevant issues. This course culminates in the Global Community Immersion Program, which can fuel data for your IDEA and Capstone Project.

Clinical Immersion

The clinical immersion option in your discovery learning course exposes you to a clinical specialty to learn more about treatment of disorders, lifestyle of the physicians and the experiences of the patients. Here you can deepen your interpersonal communication skills, gain a deeper understanding of the environment in which medical devices are used, observe therapeutic treatment in real-time, and strengthen your clinical skills. As a Carle Illinois student, you will have the opportunity to gain clinical experience very early on in your medical education, and as a result, you may be curious if a certain specialty is right for you. The clinical immersion option during your discovery learning course allows you to take a deeper dive into this specialty, which may help to inform your future residency decisions.

Research Immersion

The research immersion option in your discovery learning course will introduce you to the foundations of multi-disciplinary research in a field of medicine or engineering alongside Illinois faculty researchers, including our world-class research mentors. Here you will learn about the purpose for research, identify research issues, find, evaluate, and use sources effectively, recognize methods associated with different types of data and disciplines, and write a literature review. This course will prepare you for research papers and advanced research methods courses.

Self-designed Study

You may identify a separate interest or need in your medical education all together. In this case, you have the freedom and opportunity to pursue a self-designed study experience during your discovery learning course. Working together with your mentor or a designated faculty member, you may pursue a multi-disciplinary experience in the medical or engineering field in pursuit of a creative project of your choice.


The discovery learning course culminates in the PechaKucha event. This rapid-fire, storytelling event is designed for you to share your experiences during the course while also being in friendly competition with your classmates. Given only 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide to present your experiences, one winner is determined by judges and audience participation from each discovery learning category – clinical immersion, research immersion, and global studies.

Sponsored by the Center for Global Studies through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC Program.