Currently, students study the following programme structure. King's reviews its programmes on a regular basis, in order to continue to offer innovative and exciting learning opportunities and this information is therefore subject to change. Please check here for updates, or contact the School/department for further advice.
Introduction to medical science
The medical curriculum is divided into Core, which is compulsory, and Student Selected Components, which contain a wide element of student choice.
The first two years start with a 12-week Phase 1 which introduces elements of the course and provides the information and skills necessary to embark on the next phase of the programme. Students meet patients throughout the phase and establish approaches to learning that will stand them in good stead in the rest of the programme and through their career.
The rest of the first two years is organised around clinical scenarios that introduce clinical problems as a focus for learning the basic biomedical, epidemiological and behavioural science necessary to understand the clinical situation. Setting the material in context in this way increases the interest and variation and has good educational theory to back up its medical relevance. Clinical contact continues in hospital and primary care.
The Student Selected Components (SSCs) are projects and short courses in medical, scientific and non-medical (for example humanities and languages) subjects. You will have considerable freedom in selecting from a wide range of approved modules. In a multifaculty College such as King's we are very well placed to offer a varied range of SSCs, which can draw widely from the different Schools of the College.
Possibilities exist to take SSCs not only from within basic medical sciences and clinical medicine but from the Schools of Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering and Humanities. There is, thus, considerable scope for you to widen and increase your knowledge.
The following is a small selection of the SSCs that are currently available:
Modern Languages; Library Projects; Teaching Children about Health; Molecular Medicine; Metabolic Regulation; Care of the Elderly; Demography of Ageing; Topics in Endocrinology; Social and Psychological Studies; Drug Design & Development; Liver Failure & Transplantation; Palliative Medicine; Population & Health; Gene Cloning & Analysis; Sign Language.
The SSCs occupy a day of the week, which varies according to the year of study. In the first year all students take one SSC. In years two to five, students select two SSCs each year. In addition, preparation for the elective project and the poster report on the project each make up one SSC. The elective requires you to study outside King's and you are encouraged to explore the developing world.
There are links with a number of universities around the world from Lille and Prague in Europe, to the West Indies and Baltimore in the West, and in the Far East in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
The clinical scenarios will vary from individual case problems to broader social and epidemiological issues. Most will be introduced by a clinician who will point to the relevance of the science to follow. A final summing up session for each week will bring together the important learning issues for the week and return to the clinical context.
Inter-professional education with the students of the many other health programmes at King's begins in the first term. The topics in the first year deliver communications and ethics. In the later years, inter-professional education moves in to the clinical placement involving patient pathways and plans.
The intercalated year could be taken at this point. This might include anatomy, biochemistry, computing for biologists, genetics, immunology, molecular biology, neuroscience, pathology, nutrition, pharmacology, physiology, psychology, as well as languages and humanities subjects.
Clinical teaching is integrated across the major specialities relating to diseases of the abdomen, chest and head, with an introduction to clinical pharmacology and therapeutics.
You develop the skills of history-taking first learned in the clinical contact sessions in the second year, and begin to learn the basic skills of clinical examination, diagnostic reasoning, interpretation of pathological and radiological data and practical procedures such as venepuncture and basic resuscitation.
The clinical attachments consist of two sections. One of a clinical immersion period when you will be part of a clinical team on a ward. The other is of a similar length and includes two days of SSCs and time to expand on the basic science and dealing with certain topics in therapeutics, imaging, pathology etc.
Students build on the basic knowledge and skills developed in the third year in adult medicine and surgery and psychiatry, and extend these to the special groups of patients. There are three blocks of training:
- Accident and emergency medicine, anaesthetics, orthopaedics, rheumatology, rehabilitation and neurology
- Reproductive and sexual health, including obstetrics and gynaecology, breast medicine and neonatology
- Health care of the elderly, child health and paediatrics, palliative care and dermatology.
You will develop the special communication skills required for these groups of patients, and will gain an understanding of ethical issues and their application in the context of the sensitive areas that the management of these patients presents. You will learn about the psychological and socio-economic circumstances of patients, particularly those who are more vulnerable and disadvantaged from age and dependency, and the role of the multi-disciplinary team in the care of dependant patients. There will be teaching in public health, epidemiology, pharmacology, therapeutics and the laboratory sciences as applied to the year four specialities.
The objectives of the fifth phase are different from those of the rest of the course. In the first four years you will acquire knowledge and skills, and develop the appropriate professional attitudes that are essential for starting your career in medicine. The prime objective of the fifth year will be to allow you to consolidate and apply this knowledge and to further develop your skills and attitudes so that you are ready for your pre-registration year. Thus, the emphasis in the fifth year is to develop the vocational qualities that a doctor should exhibit.
You will be required to demonstrate competence in the clinical skills appropriate to commencing work as a doctor. You will be expected to show professional attitudes in your work based on an informed understanding of ethical and professional issues. You will complete a series of clinical attachments in medicine, surgery, general practice, reproductive and child health and psychiatry.
These attachments will be taken at outside hospitals and you will return to the main campuses for short periods of learning in topics such as informatics, communication skills, presentation and teaching skills, radiation protection and advanced resuscitation. You will develop the skills you have learned in earlier years, and particular emphasis will be placed on clinical skills, time management, prioritising, problem analysis and solving, summarising and written communication. You will become a member of the care team, whether in primary care or in hospital, and will play an active role in the care team, linked to the work of other junior medical staff.