Overview and Curriculum

Overview and Curriculum

Overview and Curriculum

Overview and Curriculum

The medical curriculum at UCC is an integrated, systems-based curriculum. Students learn clinical skills and professionalism alongside basic medical sciences so that knowledge is acquired in an integrated, patient-centred and holistic way. Recognising the unique abilities of Graduate Entry students, the Graduate Entry Medicine Programme offers a special curriculum for the first four trimesters:

  • Small group, case-based learning
  • Tutorials
  • Clinical skills teaching
  • Laboratory sessions

Integrated Curriculum - 4 Streams

The curriculum is divided into four 'Streams' taught in an integrated way in each year (horizontal integration) and from First Year to Final Year (vertical integration).


Stream 1:  Biomedical Science (Basic and Clinical Medical Sciences)

These are the fundamentals of medical science modules (FM modules) and comprise systems based integrated modules in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology.

Students review the structure and function of the major systems at whole body, organ tissue cellular and sub-cellular levels exploring normal structure and function before developing an understanding of mechanisms and manifestations of disease


Stream 2: Clinical Science and Practice (The Practice of Medicine)

The early focus is on history taking and examination skills. Students learn how to examine each system in detail and are taught common clinical signs and clinical procedures. Students also learn communication skills. Initially, teaching is in the clinical skills labs using our experienced ‘role players’. Teaching then changes to the clinical environment and students spend most of their time in hospitals and Family Practice.


Stream 3: Person, Culture and Society

Stream 3 widens the lens through which patients and patient care is understood. In this stream, students explore biopsychosocial issues, public health and epidemiology, professionalism and communication and consultation skills.

Stream 3 has six key domains which map directly to the curriculum learning outcomes and integrate with the other streams.

  1. Mind-body interactions in health and disease: Biopsychosocial aspects of health and illness, functional problems, health related anxiety, stress and distress
  2. Patient behaviour: Psychological and social aspects of illness, patient centred care
  3. Doctor role and behaviour: Professionalism, management including self management, leadership
  4. Doctor – patient interactions and communications: Communication skills
  5. Social, cultural and ethical issues in healthcare: Social and cultural diversity, social determinants of health, medical ethics and legal medicine
  6. Health policy, informatics and economics: Health services, Epidemiology, public health, clinical decision making, global health


Stream 4:  Research and Student Selected Modules

The purpose of Student Selected Modules (SSMs) is to extend the depth of study, support evidence-based medicine (EBM), enhance professionalism and personal skills, and encourage effective communication.

Student Selected Components support the core curriculum and allow students to:

  • Learn about and begin to use research skills
  • Have greater control over their own learning and develop self directed skills
  • Study, in depth, topics of particular interest outside the core curriculum
  • Develop greater confidence in their own skills and abilities
  • Present the results of their work verbally, visually or in written format

Consider potential career paths through experience in different clinical environments

Year Overview

Year 1

  • Foundations of Medical Science (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Physiology)
  • Clinical Science and Practice
  • Professional Development
  • Behavioural Science and Communication Skills


Year 2

  • Foundations of Medical Science
  • Family Practice attachments
  • Clinical Electives
  • Behavioural Science, Medical Ethics, Professionalism, Communication Skills
  • Student Selected Module


Year 3

  • Clinical Practice and the Fundamentals of Adult Disease
  • Psychiatry and Behavioural Medicine
  • Reproduction, Pregnancy, Child Health and Development
  • Legal, Ethical and Governance Issues in Healthcare
  • Research and Professionalism in Medicine
  • Summer Clinical Elective


Year 4

  • Principles and Practice of Surgery
  • Principles and Practice of Internal Medicine and General Practice
  • Principles and Practice of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Principles and Practice of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Research and Professionalism in Medicine (Final Year Project)
  • Emergency Medicine simulated training
  • Intern 'shadowing' and preparation for practice

School of Medicine

Scoil an Leighis

Room 2.59, T12 AK54