• masters in anatomy;
  • medical education;
  • curriculum revision;
  • student assessment;
  • preadmission scores;
  • learning;
  • medical board examinations;

In this retrospective study of medical student data from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, we examined the impact of the Master of Science in Applied Anatomy (MS) program on medical student performance on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 and Step 2. From 2002 to 2010, 1,142 students matriculated as either students in the medical curriculum (MD group; 1,087 students) or MD students who also participated in the MS program (MD/MS group; 55 students). In addition, students were grouped as in either the Western Reserve Curriculum (2002–2005; WR1) or the Western Reserve 2 Curriculum (2006–2010; WR2). Data were analyzed using SPSS statistical package. The mean Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) score of all students increased significantly between the WR1 and WR2 curricula [from 32.48 ± 3.73 to 34.00 ± 2.92 (P < 0.00)], but MD and MD/MS students showed similar mean MCAT scores in each curriculum. In contrast, the mean USMLE Step 1 score for the MD/MS group (241.45 ± 18.90) was significantly higher than that of the MD group (229.93 ± 20.65; P < 0.00). The MD/MS group in the WR2 curriculum showed significantly higher USMLE Step 1 scores than the MD group. No significant difference was observed in the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge scores between the groups. The results show that MD/MS students performed better on the USMLE Step 1 than MD students in the WR2 curriculum, although MCAT scores were similar between the two groups. Together, these results suggest that medical student participation in the Masters in Applied Anatomy program enhances student performance on the USMLE Step 1. Anat Sci Educ 8: 31–36. © 2014 American Association of Anatomists.