Medicine and Surgery MBChB

Key information

Medicine and Surgery MBCHB banner

Module details

Programme Year One

The aim of the first two years is to ensure that students have established a core knowledge base, skills and understanding, fit for learning in the clinical environment and their future careers.

In Years 1 and 2, the emphasis of the programme’s study is on basic and clinical sciences. These are taught using an integrated ‘Systems’ approach. Each System Block includes physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology and anatomy, genetics and cell and molecular biology. The emphasis of Year 1 teaching is on the structure and function of the human body under ‘normal’ conditions. Teaching is delivered by lectures, practical and small group sessions and clinical skills sessions (where students will learn how to examine the components of the systems studied, as well as take part in simulation exercises). Communication for Clinical Practice sessions in small groups with simulated patients prepare students for the clinical placements. Students in Year 1 also take part in a unique leadership development course, which is run in collaboration with 208 Field Hospital.

Programme Year Two

In Year 2, the integrated ‘Systems’ teaching approach, begun in Year 1, is expanded to enable students to understand abnormality and illness- related change and the interaction with the environment. Secondary care placements also start in Year 2 as an experiential programme, with specific hospital- based tasks, recorded in our e-portfolio, aimed at enabling student to integrate safely into the clinical environment and begin to apply theoretical knowledge, skills and professional behaviour in clinical practice.

Alongside preparing students for clinical practice, the first two years of the programme also introduce students to the foundations of research.

Programme Year Three

Years 3 and 4 have an increasing focus on the application of skills learnt in the first two years of the programme into clinical practice, across a range of core and increasing complex clinical presentations and encounters.

In Year 3, students gain exposure to the key principles of medicine and surgery, with the focus on understanding core clinical concepts.

Students spend a series of 4-week blocks on clinical placement, where each placement block is preceded by an ‘Academic‘ week. This week incorporates approximately 1.5 days of lectures delivered to the whole cohort, and then rotation-specific teaching, e.g. pre-placement sessions, Community Clinical Teaching (Primary Care), clinical skills preparation, simulation sessions and time for student-led Research and Scholarship projects. This ‘Just in time’ approach to teaching, which encourages students to revisit and develop knowledge and skills just before they are needed, prepares students to learn to recognise health problems, develop the skills needed to diagnose illness and disease, and manage patients.

Students rotate through a variety of integrated hospital and community-based settings in order to complete placements. Students are expected to participate fully in clinical care in these settings, both through timetabled activities and additional opportunities (in agreement with supervising clinical staff). All of these placements provide opportunities (and expectations) to work with clinical teams and care for patients in a variety of healthcare settings.

Programme Year Four

In Year 4, the combination of Academic weeks and placement blocks is again used to provide students with more specialist and challenging placement experiences, including a focus on mental health, specialist placements in neurology, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology and a nationally-recognised placement of excellence in palliative care.

At the end of Year 4, students are also able to undertake a 4-week elective. Many students choose to study abroad during this period.

Programme Year Five

The final year is spent gaining intensive clinical experience in hospitals and the community to students transition successfully and begin work as a doctor.

Students experience Emergency and Acute Medicine, Surgery, GP and Psychiatry placements during this year, and have a ward shadowing experience block that allows them to consolidate complex clinical skills and professional attributes required of them for their Foundation Year post. Students are also able to undertake a 5-week research project such as an audit or Quality Improvement Project, a community based project or a specialist placement of their own choosing.

Placement experiences are supported by academic “Preparation for Practice” weeks, support for the required national examinations and a full week of interprofessional simulation, ensuring students are able to demonstrate the skills need to deliver complex, acute care within a multi-professional team.

Please note that the programme detail and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change. The MBChB programme is non-modular programme, and all components of the MBChB are mandatory.

The programme detail and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Teaching and Learning

The School uses an integrated teaching model. The learning of medical sciences is enhanced by the clinical context of a systems-based approach. The development of understanding of clinical practice is supported by a ‘just in time’ model of academic weeks that relate to each clinical placement and case-based teaching within each placement. Specialist clinical centres from across the region provide students with a wide range of exceptional placement experiences during which students complete structured learning activities as well as taking advantage of near patient learning opportunities.

The School is at the forefront of technology enhanced learning, utilising mobile learning, virtual reality, simulation and a personalised e-portfolio to provide our students with the best possible experience and prepare them for the technological developments that will shape their future careers in healthcare.

We take the development of clinical leaders seriously and use a programme of experiential learning opportunities to develop students’ leadership and followership skills in a range of situational contexts.

The remainder of the course is delivered using a mix of interactive and didactic lecturing; case based learning, small group teaching, clinical skills and simulation workshops, Human Anatomy Resource Centre (HARC) sessions, communication skills practicals and a staged programme of research skills development.

The breadth of learning and teaching activities used within the Medical School ensures students have the underpinning knowledge and skills to become the safe clinical practitioners of tomorrow.


Both formative and summative assessment take place within the programme. There is an emphasis on assessment for learning through the use of subject specific tests such as quizzes, anatomy spotters and formative Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs).

Summative assessment takes place at the end of each year and includes written papers and practical exams in the form of OSCES and LOCAS.

We use technology to facilitate online marking and annotated feedback of written assignments, deliver formative online tests for students at the end of each teaching block and collate and deliver OSCE data, providing students with more useful feedback as a result.

A bespoke electronic portfolio, integrated throughout the curriculum provides students with a personalised learning space where they can collect evidence and develop their skills through reflective activities. The e-portfolio charts the student learning journey over the course of the programme.