Introduction: Curriculum reform at Chinese medical schools has attracted a lot of attention recently. Several leading medical schools in China have undergone exploratory reforms and in so doing, have accumulated significant experience and have made considerable progress. Methods: An analysis of the reforms conducted by 38 Chinese medical colleges that were targeted by the government for upgrade was performed. Drawing from both domestic and international literature, we designed a questionnaire to determine what types of curricular reforms have occurred at these institutions and how they were implemented. Major questions touched upon the purpose of the reforms, curricular patterns, improvements in teaching methods post-reform, changes made to evaluation systems post-reform, intra-university reform assessment, and what difficulties the schools faced when instituting the reforms. Besides the questionnaire, relevant administrators from each medical school were also interviewed to obtain more qualitative data. Results: Out of the 38 included universities, twenty-five have undergone major curricular reforms. Among them, 60.0% adopted an organ system-based curriculum model, 32.0% adopted a problem-based curriculum model, and 8.0% adopted a hybrid curriculum model. About 60.0% of the schools' reforms involved both the "pre-clinical" and the "clinical" curricula, 32.0% of the schools' reforms were limited to the "pre-clinical" curricula, and 8.0% of the schools' reforms only involved the "clinical" curricula. Following curricular reform, 60.0% of medical schools experienced an overall reduction in teaching hours, 76.0% reported an increase in their students' clinical skills, and 60.0% reported an increase in their students' research skills. Discussion: Medical curricular reform is still in its infancy in China. The republic's leading medical schools have engaged in various approaches to bring innovative teaching methods to their respective institutions. However, due to limited resources and the shackle of traditional pedagogical beliefs among many faculty and administrators, progress has been significantly hindered. Despite these and other challenges, many medical schools report positive initial results from the reforms that they have enacted. Although the long term effects of such reforms remain unclear, curricular reform appears to be the inevitable solution to China's growing need for high-quality medical doctors.