Medicine

MB, BCh, BAO (Hons)
School of Medicine

What you will study

The Medicine programme for School Leavers and Mature Entry students is divided into four cycles:

  • Foundation Year (one year)
  • Junior Cycle (18 months)
  • Intermediate Cycle (18 months)
  • Senior Cycle (two years)

In Foundation Year and Junior Cycle, you will be taught in a mixture of lectures and small group teaching involving tutorials, anatomy practicals and clinical skills training.

In Intermediate Cycle, you will participate in small group simulation scenarios with state-of-the-art simulators, progressing to Senior Cycle, where you will be attached to consultant-led (senior physicians) teams in a hospital setting.

Throughout your studies you will be provided with continuous appraisal, mentoring and case presentations on an individual basis, along with frequent reviews of your clinical progress with senior clinicians in the clinical years.

Curriculum

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 December
  • Semester 2 (FY2) - from January to May

Each semester comprises 12 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
  • Electives

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.

Elective opportunities facilitate your growing awareness of the crucial roles that communication, culture, collaboration, critical thinking, medical ethics, information literacy, project management and self-reflection play in the professional practice of medicine.

Assessment

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.

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for an FY student.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Tutorial    Tutorial Tutorial IPE tutorial
Small
group
tutorials
   Chemistry
practical
(group 3)
Chemistry
practical
(group 4)
Tutorial
Chemistry
practical
(group 1)
       Lecture
     Tutorial Tutorial Lecture
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Lecture Tutorial Tutorial Lecture
Lecture Chemistry
practical
(group 2)
    Lecture
Lecture        

Inter-Professional Education (IPE)

IPE is an important step in developing competent healthcare professionals, who work in teams with professionals from different disciplines and specialities.

At RCSI, students in Medicine, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy work in teams on inter-professional themed projects. Through learning together, you will understand more about the healthcare professionals you will work with in the future.

Throughout your course (from first to final year, in the classroom and clinical setting) you will come together with your colleagues in Pharmacy and Physiotherapy in a range of IPE-themed activities from stroke care, to diabetes, low back pain, frozen shoulder and infection control. Working in small groups, facilitated by your lecturers and tutors, you will work through clinical scenarios together; each student is bringing their professions' perspective to the discussion to develop an appropriate care plan for the patient.

Length and structure

Junior Cycle (JC) consists of three semesters delivered from September in the first year of the five-year programme to December of the second year.

  • Semester 1 (JC1) - from September to December
  • Semester 2 (JC2) - from January to May
  • Semester 3 (JC3) - from September to December

Each semester comprises 12 direct-contact teaching weeks, two weeks of revision and two weeks of examinations.

The course is delivered through systems-based modules, teaching you about how the body works in the healthy state.

The JC structure is as follows:

First semester/JC1

  • Fundamentals of Medical Biomedicine 1 (FUN1) (10 credits)
  • Cardiorespiratory and Upper Limb (CVR) (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice 1 (ICP1) (7.5 credits)

Second semester/JC2

  • Fundamentals of Medical Biomedicine 2 (FUN2) (6 credits)
  • Gastrointestinal and Hepatology (GI/HEP) (8 credits)
  • Renal, Endocrine, Genitourinary and Breast (REGUB) (10 credits)
  • Health, Behaviour and Patient Safety (HBPS) (8.5 credits)
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice 1 (ICP1)

Third semester/JC3

  • Molecular Medicine (MM) (4 credits)
  • Neuroscience (NS) (10 credits)
  • Evidence Based Health/Public Health and Epidemiology (EBH/PHE) (8.5 credits)
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice 2 (ICP2) (7.5 credits)

Teaching styles

JC is delivered as:

  • Lectures
  • Small group tutorials
  • Large group tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Anatomy dissection
  • Projects

Tutorials and practicals 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.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of one or more continuous assessment modalities (fortnightly MCQ quizzes, anatomy card signings, clinical case reflections, assignments and group projects); and summative end of semester examinations (MCQ and SNQ written papers, anatomy practical examinations and clinical competencies: objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)).

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for a JC student.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Small
group
tutorial
Lecture Lecture Lecture
Anatomy
practical
(group B)
Lecture Small
group
seminars
Lecture Lecture
Anatomy
practical
(group A)
Lecture   Anatomy
practical
(group D)
 Lecture
  Large
group
tutorial
  Anatomy
practical
(group C)
 
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Small
group
clinical
skills
tutorials
Small
group
seminars
Lecture Small
group
clinical
skills
tutorials
Lecture Small
group
clinical
skills
tutorials
Small
group
seminars
Lecture Small
group
clinical
skills
tutorials
    Small
group
seminars
   

Length and structure

Intermediate Cycle (IC) consists of three semesters delivered from January in the second year of the five-year programme to May of the third year. 

  • Semester 1 (IC1) - From January to May
  • Semester 2 (IC2) - From September to December
  • Semester 3 (IC3) - From January to May

IC1/2 is delivered as systems-based modules, where you will gain an understanding of the basic pathological and immunological principles underlying human disease; learn how to take a systematic medical history and perform a problem-focused physical examination; learn to construct a reasoned differential diagnosis based on history, physical examination and diagnostic investigations for common human diseases; and learn the current management of common human diseases.

In the third semester, you will participate in a Student Selected Component, when you complete an individual research or audit project. This project is composed of a short introductory skills week followed by a six-week research placement. The research project is a flexible programme which is undertaken either at an RCSI institution/affiliated hospital or overseas.

The IC structure is as follows:

First semester

  • Foundations in Pathology (10 credits)
  • Foundations in Microbiology (10 credits)
  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory (10 credits)

Second semester

  • Tropical Medicine (2.5 credits)
  • Gastroenterology/Hepatology (7.5 credits)
  • Renal, Endocrine, Genitourinary, Breast (10 credits)
  • Central Nervous System, Locomotor, Forensics (10 credits)

Third semester

  • Clinical programme (20 credits)
  • Student Selected Component (10 credits)

Teaching styles

IC is delivered as:

  • Core didactic lectures
  • Laboratory-based teaching
  • Case-based teaching
  • Clinical skills
  • Simulation teaching

You will also participate in 10 weeks of hospital-based clinical placements in medicine, surgery and orthopaedics, located in one of the RCSI-affiliated teaching hospitals throughout Ireland.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. MCQ quizzes, clinical competency skills assessment, written report and oral presentations) and summative end of semester written papers (MCQ, SNQ, clinical pathological correlations (CPCs)) and observed clinical examinations.

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for an IC student.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Small
group
clinical
examination
tutorial
Small
group
clinical
examination
tutorial
  Small
group
clinical
skills
 Lecture Clinical
therapeutics
Pathology
lecture
Small
group
clinical
skills
Lecture Clinical
therapeutics
Lecture Lecture Small
group
clinical
skills
         
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Lecture Lecture Lecture/MDT
Small
group
clinical
skills
        Small
group
clinical
skills
Small
group
pathology
practicals
Small
group
pathology
practicals
Small
group
Microbiology
practicals
Small
group
Microbiology
practicals
 

Length and structure

Senior Cycle (SC) is delivered over the final two years of the Medicine programme in RCSI-affiliated teaching hospitals located throughout Ireland, providing you with different learning opportunities.

The SC structure is as follows:

SC1 rotations SC2 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)
Psychiatry
Family Practice

Teaching styles

During the first year of SC (SC1), you will be attached on a rotational basis for seven weeks to Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine and Surgery, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Neonatal and Paediatrics. You will be fully immersed in the speciality during each attachment and will participate fully with the clinical teams in both urban and rural settings.

During the final year (SC2), you will be attached to Medicine and Surgery disciplines at local, national and international hospitals. Of particular interest during SC2 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.

Assessment

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).

Timetable

Below is an example of a seven-week rotation in Paediatrics/Neonatal Medicine for an SC1 student.

  • Weeks 1-6During 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 7This week is dedicated to revision and exams.

You will be assigned to a day in an Emergency Department (ED) in which you will shadow the ED Registrar or Consultant. While in ED, you will work with your assigned classmate and practise taking patient histories under the supervision of a qualified doctor.

When you undertake the neonatology rotation week in either the Rotunda Hospital or the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, you will receive a brief introductory lecture on the care of the newborn, and small group teaching on neonatal examination and common problems in the neonate. You will spend time on postnatal wards, in outpatient clinics and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as part of a teaching ward round. You will work closely with SHOs and Registrars, with an emphasis on problem-based, consultant-delivered teaching. You will also learn to take a comprehensive perinatal history of an infant and perform new-born, discharge and six-week checks. You will also learn about the well and sick new-born.

The Paediatric rotation is assessed using the following means:

  • End of rotation short case clinical paediatric exam
  • End of rotation short case clinical neonates exam
  • Continuous assessment, which consists of your paediatric logbook; a series of online quizzes; topic and case reports
  • Paediatric written exam in the summertime examinations