Two medical students in white coats walk along corridor)


MB, BCh, BAO (Hons)
School of Medicine

Your journey

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)

Approved term dates for Undergraduate Medicine, Physiotherapy, Graduate Entry Medicine, MPharm and Advanced Therapeutic Technologies for the academic year 2022/23 can be found here.

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 Dublin.

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 track). This is outlined in further detail in the application information section.

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).


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

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 University's virtual learning environment (VLE).

The course is delivered as a series of stand-alone 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
  • Fundamentals of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Human Biology

Second semester

  • Disease Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Both semesters

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

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 (up to 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: Global Epidemiology, and Pathogenesis and Prevention of Disease
  • 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

During this year, your class will be divided and you will undertake prescribed modules at different times throughout the year. You will participate in hospital-based clinical placements and be located in one of the RCSI-affiliated teaching hospitals throughout Ireland. You will build on the knowledge and understanding of normal biology and diseases acquired during Years 1 and 2 and have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to real patients in multidisciplinary clinical settings.

Building on other relevant learning from Years 1 and 2, the New Horizons and Simulation module will provide you with the framework to interact and engage with a variety of new technologies that are being translated from the research to the clinical domain, including genomics and novel imaging approaches. You will also participate in a Student Selected Component, where you complete an individual research or audit project.

Students will also have options relating to research projects overseas.

Year 3 modules

  • Clinical Medicine and Surgery Attachments
  • New Horizons and Simulation
  • Student Selected Project
  • Clinical Attachment Academy (x2)

Year 4 modules will provide you with wide-ranging clinical exposure running in parallel with an integrated teaching and learning programme that focusses on knowledge and skills in areas including clinical competence, professionalism, communication, scholarship, leadership and global outlook.

You will be anchored full-time within a clinical team at an RCSI Teaching Hospital working in medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, surgery, paediatrics, child health and general practice.

You will have the opportunity to practice your clinical skills and take an active part in the care pathways of individual patients, while simultaneously gaining experience in multi-disciplinary frameworks in both hospitals and community settings.

Year 4 modules

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • General Practice
  • Medicine and Surgery Elective

Year 5 will represent your final stage of preparation towards become a working clinician. Gaining clinical exposure and experience in the setting of a teaching hospital is a fundamental step towards ensuring competency in this professional role.

The clinical attachment block in Year 5 is the final mandatory clinical placement at an RCSI Teaching Hospital.

Clinical clerkship modules can be completed in any clinical discipline, although at least one of the two clerkship blocks must be completed in an acute hospital in the form of a sub-internship. There are also student elective options available outside Ireland.

The Preparation for Practice module (sub-internship) will allow you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and professionally, as well developing your skills to manage challenging clinical scenarios and critical incidents through the application of leadership, professionalism, and resilience.

First and second semester

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Elective
  • Clinical Attachment
  • Preparation for Intern Practice

Learning experience

Meet Dr Gozie Offiah, Senior Lecturer and Director of Curriculum Implementation who explains our learning philosophy and how we integrate clinical and communication skills with knowledge acquisition and the formation of professional identity.

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Your learning community will allow you to connect with students from other years, both academically and socially, throughout your programme. Learn more about the six communities in the School of Medicine and how they will shape your RCSI experience.

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Find out about the wide range of teaching methods you will experience as an RCSI Medicine student. From our Anatomy Room, built more than 200 years ago, to our high-tech simulation labs – best practice and innovation are central to your learning.

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Formative assessment will help you to track your progress and decide how best to integrate feedback during your learning journey. Engagement with your personal tutor and your personalised e-portfolio will support your progress.

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Learn more about our wide range of student supports available to you. We have a large multidisciplinary team that can help you to overcome educational challenges and provide training and guidance as well as practical and emotional support.

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Discover how your exposure to clinical experiences at the earliest stages of your programme will shape your learning at RCSI. You will take increasing levels of clinical responsibility throughout your degree and experience domiciliary, community and hospital care settings.

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RCSI places a high value on supporting international clinical experiences for our students. Accordingly – through a network of international partnerships with other world-leading universities and healthcare institutions – we offer a significant number of clinical elective opportunities.

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Learn more about the RCSI Research Summer School, research electives and other intensive experiences that allow you to be exposed to core research skills in topics such as scientific writing, presentation, data management, statistics and ethics.

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