Course Content (including module information)
The Queen's medical graduate is a caring and compassionate doctor who is a critical thinker, problem solver and reflective practitioner with excellent clinical skills who values, above all else, service to patients.
On completion, the degrees of MB BCh BAO are awarded, where MB is Bachelor of Medicine, BCh is Bachelor of Surgery and BAO is Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics.
The degree, which extends over five years, is integrated, systems-based and student-centred. The scientific background to medicine is taught alongside clinical medicine.
The focus throughout our degree programme is on learning rather than teaching, and there is a strong emphasis on clinical skills with teaching in hospitals from as early as the second semester of first year. Clinical teaching increases in the third, fourth and final years of the course.
As well as early clinical contact with patients there is a dedicated Clinical Skills Education Centre. It provides both clinical skills training, revision and assessment and is used extensively by students. In addition, students have access to high fidelity simulation. A strong emphasis on bedside teaching and clinical skills underpin this, with learning materials delivered using the latest technologies.
In the early stages of the course, students have several opportunities to explore areas of personal interest for in-depth study through ‘Student Selected Components’ (SSCs). Modules include SSCs based in the community and clinical and research environment.
Years 1 and 2
During the first two years of the degree you learn about the scientific basis of medical practice. You gain knowledge about each body system, focusing on the mechanisms of cellular structure and function. You also study pathology, microbiology, therapeutics and genetics. Teaching of basic science subjects is integrated with clinical skills training which you acquire through clinical simulation and practice with patients.
The third year begins to take greater clinical focus. Classroom-based and clinical teaching takes place in each of the medical and surgical disciplines, which is integrated with therapeutic, pathological and microbiological principles relevant to clinical medical practice.
Years 4 and 5
During the fourth and fifth years you gain further experience in a range of surgical and medical disciplines. Training in a range of specialities offers an opportunity for you to consolidate and advance your clinical skills and enhance your clinical and related knowledge. In fifth year you have the opportunity to undertake an assistantship, during which you complete the range of tasks undertaken by a Foundation Doctor. Teaching and learning in ethics, communication, teamwork, and related behavioural science is embedded throughout the curriculum.
At the end of second or third year, students may apply to take a year out of their medical degree to study for an intercalated degree. This extra research focused year will lead to either a qualification at Bachelor or Master's level.
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment (general): The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning Outcomes of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations, which may include OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations). Details of how each module is assessed are outlined in the Study Guides which are provided to all students at the beginning of the academic year.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources, including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Feedback comment from Clinical Supervisors
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services, such as Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Learning and Teaching
Queen's University Medical School has a long tradition of excellent medical education which is constantly updated in response to developments in medical science and practice. We aim to deliver a high quality course utilising innovative teaching methods and best practice to create a supportive environment designed to enable students to achieve their personal and academic potential. Queen's lays particular emphasis on the development of clinical skills. Students are introduced to patients and their problems from the beginning of the course. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course include:
- Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions and gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Practicals: there are practical classes throughout years one and two – these are designed to support learning in the basic sciences. Students will have the opportunity to undertake cadaveric dissection during the Anatomy components of the course.
- E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree. In years three, four and five, learning in the clinical environment is supported by on-line lectures and DVDs. An extensive suite of on-line clinical and communication skills training resources is also available. Interactive learning is supported by the use of audience response systems during lectures.
- Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in groups (typically 8-40 students). These provide the opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a medical student when important directed reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date, research and preparation work for assignments are carried out. The development of reflective skills is supported through the use of portfolios.
- Clinical Placements: Students undertake placements from year one and at the early stage of the course these are usually located in the greater Belfast Area. From year three students will have opportunities to undertake placements in hospitals and general practices throughout Northern Ireland.
- Placement Abroad. As part of the medical degree there will be opportunities for students to take a clinical module in a European institution participating in the ERASMUS programme. Student may also opt to travel to other counties as part of the final year Elective module.
- Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during years 1 and 2. During years 3-5 students will have a clinical mentor.