School of Medicine

What will you study?

RCSI Bahrain's medical programme is a core five-year programme.The six-year programme provides a one-year preparation stage in advance of entry to the core five-year programme.

The Medicine programme for School Leavers and Mature Entry students is outlined below:

  • Foundation Year (two semesters)
  • Year 1 (two semesters)
  • Year 2 (two semesters)
  • Year 3
  • Year 4 (Senior Cycle 1)
  • Year 5 (Senior Cycle 2)
Undergraduate entry graphic 

RCSI’s Medicine curriculum is innovative, future-focused and integrated. Our programme is centred around our students and is delivered in our state-of-the-art healthcare education facilities in Bahrain.

During your time with us you will be taught by RCSI academics, clinicians and researchers primarily in small groups or in an interactive manner when you are in large group settings. Your whole academic journey will be enabled and tracked by a dedicated e-portfolio system.

The Medicine programme is structured so that the focus is on knowledge and excellent clinical skills development. From day one, we also put intensive focus on the acquisition of clinical and communications skills, as well as understanding the central tenets of Personal and Professional Identity formation: professionalism, resilience and leadership. This ensures that you will be prepared for a personally and professionally demanding career in tomorrow’s healthcare environment.

RCSI’s Undergraduate Medicine programme is five years in duration. Depending on the qualifications presented at application, some students are required to complete an additional Foundation Year (six-year programme). Students may also enter through the Medical Commencement Programme (seven-year programme).

The five-year programme is structured as follows: Foundation of Practice (Y1 and Y2); Integration into Practice (Y3), and Preparation for Practice (Y4 and Y5). The programme has three vertical pillars of learning: Knowledge (Head); Skills (Hands), and; Personal and Professional Identity (Heart).

Case-based learning (CBL) is a core teaching and learning approach in Year 1 and 2. You will work in groups of approximately 12 students with a facilitator. You will also have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of tailored and credit-bearing student choice topics. These will allow for experiences that facilitate your personal growth.

Each Medicine student is assigned a personal tutor who will support you throughout your time in RCSI. The personal tutor programme is intended to: provide you with a safe space for informed reflection on academic, personal and professional performance; assist you by ensuring you have the relevant supports (academic, well-being etc.); provide resource and referral information to enable you to move towards improvement, and; encourage you to establish habits of continuous reflection, goal-setting and lifelong learning.

At RCSI our curriculum is informed by principles of positive education. This combines the science of positive psychology with curriculum development, delivery and assessment. As part of the core curriculum, you will be taught skills and behaviours that encourage you to prioritise your health and well-being, thus supporting your capacity to flourish. This approach to learning actively promotes positive growth, resilience and well-being.

Knowing how you are progressing at any point during the academic year is very important. Personalised student feedback will help you to remain on course to achieving your educational objectives. Our curriculum is supported by a new and innovative technology platform that will provide you with feedback on assessments, CBL and other learning activities. The same platform will contribute to and support the personal tutor component.

You will be evaluated using programmatic assessment and the application of a grade point average (GPA) scale. This approach provides multiple opportunities for measurement – coupled with ongoing feedback during the learning process. It reduces emphasis on end-of-semester/year high-stakes assessment and provides a range of different assessment types which facilitate the measurement of competencies.

Programmatic assessment also places emphasis on your role in taking responsibility for your own learning, and identifying and remediating areas where necessary. There is proportional assessment, based on the number of credits attaching to a module, which avoids duplication and over-assessment. It also permits data from multiple sources, using different standards that can be aggregated (across modules, pillars, years and the overall programme).

From your first day at RCSI, you will be placed in one of four learning communities, which are designed to allow groups of students to become actively engaged in learning with and from each other. These communities have a cohort of students from every year in your programme and are an integral part of our teaching philosophy in the education of future healthcare professionals.

The learning communities will allow you to build an academic relationship with your peers and to support each other in your learning. Together you will practice case-based learning, clinical skills, practical skills, anatomy practicals, laboratory practicals and other small group teaching activities such as clinical microbiological cases, clinical pathological cases and integrated case-based workshops.

Learning communities are aligned to academic learning and teaching activities, and have the capacity to organise extra-curricular events that contribute to their educational and social experience in RCSI. You will also be part of a broader inter-professional learning community made up of Medicine and Nursing students which will allow you to take part in specific inter-professional academic activities.


Length and structure

Foundation Year (FY) consists of two semesters - delivered from September to May of the first year in the six-year Medicine programme.

  • Semester 1 (FY1) - from September to January
  • Semester 2 (FY2) - from January to May

Each semester comprises direct-contact teaching weeks, one week of revision and two weeks of examinations.

FY will provide you with a solid grounding in the biomedical sciences and professionalism, as well as the necessary IT skills to operate efficiently within the College's virtual learning environment (VLE).

The course is delivered as a series of stand-alone five credit modules taught in a single semester and integrated, systems-based modules, delivered across two semesters.

The FY structure is as follows:

First semester

  • Fundamentals of Medical Physics (5 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (5 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Human Biology (5 credits)

Second semester

  • Disease Diagnostics and Therapeutics (5 credits)
  • Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (5 credits)

Both semesters

  • Musculoskeletal System, Nervous System, Skin, Special Senses, Reproduction and Endocrine Systems (10 credits)
  • Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Immune, Gastrointestinal and Excretory Systems (10 credits)
  • Professionalism in the Health Sciences (10 credits)
  • Biomedical Laboratory Sciences (5 credits)

Teaching styles

A blended approach to teaching and learning is applied. FY is delivered as:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals

Tutorials serve to reinforce and enhance your understanding of the fundamental concepts covered in lectures and test your basic understanding through applied problems in a practical context.


Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (laboratory write-ups, mid-semester MCQ assessments, reflective assignments, group projects) and summative end-of-semester MCQ and short note question (SNQ) papers.

In Year 1, you will learn the basic anatomical, molecular and biochemical bases of human life, the principles of pharmacology, and acquire a basic understanding of the epidemiology and mechanisms of disease. You will also learn about musculoskeletal and skin systems, and how to diagnose and manage common and important cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Student Choice modules will facilitate your exposure to various social and environmental experiences that will enable personal growth and the formation of your professional identity.

Case based learning (CBL) is a teaching tool used throughout Year 1. This is a learner-centered approach that involves interaction between students (approximately 12). It focuses on the building of knowledge through group work.

CBL encourages the application of basic science knowledge, the linkage of knowledge between the basic and clinical sciences, a deeper understanding of content, and the development of clinical reasoning skills.

First semester

  • Foundations for Practice 1
  • The Body: Movement and Function

Second semester

  • Foundations for Practice 2
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Student Choice
  • Respiratory System

Through an integrated teaching and learning approach, Year 2 modules are focused on ensuring that you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to communicate effectively and to work professionally and collaboratively to diagnose and manage common and important gastrointestinal and hepatological, central nervous system, endocrine and breast, renal and male and female genito-urinary diseases.

You will use an evidence-based approach that is grounded in best practice and safe patient care. Student Choice will continue to be integrated and you will have continuing opportunities to explore areas of interest such as innovation in research, education, global health, health systems and translational medicine. The Preparation for Clinical Placement module will teach you how to navigate the hospital environment prior to clinical placements in Year 3.

First semester

  • Gastrointestinal and Hepatology
  • Student Choice
  • Central Nervous System

Second semester

  • Endocrine & Breast
  • Renal System
  • Student Choice
  • Preparation for Clinical Placement

Length and structure

Year 3 is delivered from September through to May.

During this year your class will be divided and undertake the prescribed modules in at different times throughout the year. You will participate in hospital-based clinical placements in medicine, surgery and orthopaedics and will be located in one of the RCSI-affiliated teaching hospitals throughout Bahrain.

You will also participate in a Student Selected Project when you complete an individual research or audit project. This project is composed of a six-week research placement. The research project is a flexible programme which is undertaken either at an RCSI institution/affiliated hospital or overseas.

Further modules focused on evidence-based health, population based health, quality improvement, leadership and precision medicine are also completed in Year 3.

Year 3 Modules

  • Clinical Medicine & Surgery (20 credits)
  • Evidence-Based Health (5 credits)
  • Health Psychology (7.5 credits)
  • Musculo-skeletal & Ocular Disease (5 credits)
  • Public and International Health (7.5 credits)
  • Student Selected Project (10 credits)
  • Tomorrow's Health Professionals (5 credits)

Teaching styles

Year 3 is delivered through:

  • Tutorials
  • Case/team based learning
  • Core didactic lectures
  • Clinical attachments
  • Simulation teaching
  • Individual and team projects
  • Supervised research


Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. MCQ quizzes, clinical competency skills assessment) and summative end-of-semester written papers (MCQ, SNQ, Logbooks, Clinical OSCE, Clinical Long Case, written report and oral presentations).

Length and structure

During the final two years of the Medicine programme you will be attached to various RCSI-affiliated teaching hospitals located throughout Bahrain, providing you with different learning opportunities. The structure is as follows:

Year 4 rotations Year 5 rotations
Medicine and Surgery, Ophthalmology, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Medicine and Surgery (24 weeks)
Medicine and Surgery of Childhood and Neonatal Medicine Sub-internship (4 weeks)
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Student-selected Clinical Attachment (4 weeks)
Family Practice

Teaching styles

During Year 4 you will be attached on a rotational basis for six weeks to Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine and Surgery, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Paediatrics/Neonatology. You will be fully immersed in the speciality during each attachment and will participate fully with the clinical teams in both hospital and community settings.

During the final year (Year 5), you will be attached to Medicine and Surgery disciplines at local, national and international hospitals. Of particular interest during Year 5 is the sub-internship programme. This offers you the opportunity to function as a member of a clinical team in preparation for internship following graduation.


Each rotation is assessed independently by a selection or combination of continuous assessment, portfolio, logbook, case presentations, end-of-rotation/end-of-year clinical examination, end-of-rotation/end-of-year written examination (MCQ, data paper, EMQ, SNQ).


Below is an example of a six-week rotation in Paediatrics/Neonatal Medicine for a Year 4 student:

  • Weeks 1-5: During this rotation you will spend one week focusing solely on neonates and five weeks assigned to Paediatric teaching units. Three of these five weeks of teaching will be conducted in Dublin sites and for the other two, will be assigned to hospitals outside of Dublin.
  • Week 6: This week is dedicated to revision and exams.

During your clinical attachments in the 3 major teaching hospitals in Bahrain you will spend time on the wards, in outpatient clinics and get some exposure to a paediatric Intensive Care Unit. You will work closely with the hospital team, with an emphasis on problem-based, consultant-delivered teaching.

During your 2 week attachments in RCSI you will have one week of paediatrics including simulated patient histories and a week of Neonatology also with simulation manikins.You will a learn to take a comprehensive perinatal history of an infant and perform new-born checks. You will also learn about the well and sick new-born with emergency training.

  • End-of-rotation OSCE clinical paediatric/neonatal exam
  • Continuous assessment, which consists of your paediatric logbook, a series of online quizzes, topic and case reports
  • Paediatric written MCQ exam in the summertime end of year examinations