Programme delivery

This year, students will be taught in smaller groups, known as ‘learning communities’. These learning communities will provide you with a more personalised learning experience. You will experience learning and teaching within your community group, and extracurricular/co-curricular activities will also be based around these learning communities or sub-groupings.

Typically these learning communities will consist of a maximum of 45 students per six-year medicine group and a maximum of 70 students per five-year medicine group. The number of students within a lecture theatre or classroom at any one time will be much smaller than in previous years due to current social distancing requirements and will remain in place until these restrictions are lifted.

Classes will be a mixture of online and campus-based for the 2020/21 academic year.

For our new first year students, lectures and tutorials will be taught in smaller groups than is usually the case. Part of the class will be physically present on campus, with the remainder participating online.

Our experts in digital learning are collaborating with lecturers to develop truly interactive lectures that use techniques such as online polls and quizzes. Students can expect to engage in virtual ward rounds, online case studies with simulated patients, flipped laboratory sessions and online patient history taking exercises.

We are extending our timetables to enhance the amount of on-campus learning. Our classes are ordinarily delivered between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, but to allow for students to be taught in smaller groups, classes will now take place between 9am and 9pm, and some classes will be delivered on Saturday. Please note that the above does not mean that students will have more class time this year, it simply means that more classes will be run over a longer period of time each week. This is due to the fact that the number of students within a lecture theatre or classroom at any one time will be smaller than in previous years due to current social distancing requirements, which will remain in place until COVID-19 restrictions are eventually lifted. Students can expect to spend a number of hours per day on campus for at least three days (perhaps, four days) per week.

We are also expanding our library facilities and each student will have protected time for individual study on campus during the week and at weekends.

Please note that the first two weeks of the programme will be delivered online to facilitate compliance with the Irish Government's regulations on restricted movements for international visitors. We have designed these first two weeks to be very productive. Registration and orientation will also take place during this period. From week three onwards, when our students have completed the 14-day restricted movement requirements, face- to-face classes will commence on campus.

Laboratory practicals, anatomy and experience of professional practice are essential parts of the first-year experience. We are restructuring these activities to provide high-quality and safe learning experiences. Some elements will be taught online, whilst others will be taught on campus.

For the on campus elements, RCSI will supply PPE when required and students will be educated in the use of PPE.

All students who join the Foundation Year Medicine and Physiotherapy programmes and pass all examinations (including summer repeats) are guaranteed progression to second year.