Guidelines for Undergraduate Education in Emergency Medicine

Revised June 2023, June 2021, June 2015, April 2008

Reaffirmed October 2001

Revised January 1997

Originally approved September 1986


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes that all medical students should be taught the basic principles of emergency medicine in order to recognize a patient requiring urgent or emergent care and initiate evaluation and management.

ACEP believes that every medical student should receive clinical exposure to patients in the emergency department and be taught core principles of emergency medicine by American Board of Emergency Medicine/American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM/AOBEM) board certified emergency physicians.

The emergency medicine environment places a premium on focused history and physical exam skills, diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking, and collaboration as a member of an interprofessional team. These skills are essential for students entering any clinical specialty. Therefore, the prioritization of emergency care will benefit all students regardless of their ultimate chosen specialty.

The general educational objectives for all graduating medical students include general assessment skills for the undifferentiated patient, recognition and stabilization of life threatening illnesses, injury prevention and disease identification, unique content areas, basic procedural competency and understanding the role of the emergency department in the healthcare system.

An appropriate curriculum incorporates these objectives to create a progressive learning environment over the entire continuum of the undergraduate educational experience. The curricular design should be tailored to local abilities, resources, and needs, and should be driven by ABEM/AOBEM board certified experts in emergency medicine under direction of an academic department or division of emergency medicine.

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