Course Structure

Phase 1 (Sept Year 1 - June Year 1)
Introductory Clinical Competency

  • Introduction to Medical Studies and Medical Sciences
  • Introductory clinical competencies
  • Systems based learning and teaching (Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal and Liver, Musculo-skeletal, Skin, Nervous, Genitourinary, Endocrine, Reproductive, Haematology, Immunology)
  • Integrated Clinical Demonstrations
  • Multi Professional Experience
  • Early Years General Practice Placement
  • Community Attachment Scheme
  • Public Health and Population Health Science
  • Medical Ethics
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Student Selected Components (SSCs)

The structure of Phase 1 follows the General Medical Council's (GMC) Guidelines and is largely 'systems-based'. Information is presented in a series of modules which cover the basic systems of the body and also involves Public Health and Population Health Science, Medical Ethics, Personal and Professional Development and Student Selected Components. Each of these takes place not only in the Medical School which is sited next to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, but a significant part of Phase 1 involves working outside the main campus, for example at the clinical skills units at the Northern General Hospital and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, on the wards of nearby hospitals or within a community setting including general practice and some social service locations. Phase 1 includes a two-week hospital-based Multi Professional Experience (MPE), which introduces you to working on the ward with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.  Students also have regular placements in a General Practice throughout the first year, starting in the first term.

Phase 1 focuses on the normal structure and function of the human body.  Whilst it is obviously important to cover subject disciplines such as Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, these are presented in an integrated way within the relevant body system under study. For example, in the cardiovascular system module, the structure, function and metabolism of the heart will be studied. In addition, aspects of Public Health, Ethics and other relevant topics are integrated into the course through the Public Health/Population Health Sciences module. Learning is by practical classes (including dissection of the human body), lectures, tutorials and self-directed study. Computer-based learning is used routinely within Phase 1 and student evaluations of these packages show that they are very well received.

Students complete summative pieces of coursework during Phase 1, which develops generic graduate skills.  These student selected components focus on the history of medicine, critical analysis and communicating health information.  The first of these is launched in the first week.

Formal assessment in Phase 1 consists of a written examination paper (multiple- choice and clinically related 'scenario' questions) and a practical examination. The whole examination must be passed before progression to the next stage. However if a student fails there is an opportunity to resit the examination during the summer vacation period.

Phase 2 (September Year 2 - Dec Year 3)
Basic Clinical Competencies

  • Research Project
  • Early Years General Practice Placement
  • Clinical Attachments 
  • SSCs
  • Clinical Medical Sciences
  • Clinical Skills

Phase 2a of the course lasts for one academic year and starts with a six-week research project.  Students are attached to researchers within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health and have an opportunity to develop their research skills.

Medical Sciences feature strongly in Phase 2a.  Your knowledge and understanding will be developed through both lectures and clinical experience in general practice placements.  You will build on the knowledge that you gained in Phase 1 by learning about the clinical presentation of disease (symptoms and signs), pathology, microbiology, immunology, the investigations that are used in diagnosis and the way that specific diseases are treated (pharmacology and therapeutics).  Medical sciences are assessed in written examinations (multiple choice and clinically-related scenario short answer questions) at the end of Phase 2a.

In Phase 2a, you will also receive training in a large number of procedural clinical skills in simulation (e.g. obtaining a 'blood sample' from a manikin arm).  Your ability to perform these procedures safely will be assessed in simulation during Phase 2a, so that you are ready to perform them under supervision in clinical practice for the remainder of the course.

Phase 2b commences in June of the second academic year and is the stage of the course where students really begin to feel like trainee doctors.  You will spend most of your time in hospital wards, operating theatres and outpatient clinics, learning the skills that you will need to join the medical profession.

At the start of Phase 2b, you will receive a three-week introduction to basic clinical skills.  You will receive training from specialists in history taking and physical examination of all of the major body systems.  This teaching is delivered to students in small groups, at the bedside, with the assistance of real patients who volunteer to assist with your training.  This introductory course will equip you with the basic skills that you need before you start your clinical attachments.

You will then undertake a 12* week longitudinal integrated clinical placement (LICP1) in one of the hospitals in or around Sheffield.  (*14 weeks duration with a 2 week holiday at the start of August).  LICP1 is designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop the skills that are fundamental to clinical practice (history and physical examination.  You will be encouraged to use the information that you have already gained to formulate diagnoses.  You will become part of the clinical team and will attend and observe many of the everyday activities of the team, such as ward rounds, surgical operation, pathology meetings, and outpatient clinics.  In addition you will gain broader experience in other departments in the hospital and develop your knowledge and understanding of clinical medicine in regular classes in the medical education departments in the hospitals.

During this time, you will also continue to develop the professional attributes that are essential to becoming a successful practicing doctor.  You will also complete an SSC in medical ethics and law, based on a real case that you have seen in clinical practice and the ethical issues this case raised (e.g. end of life care).

Phase 2b will give you a firm foundation for all future clinical Phases of the course.  By the end of Phase 2b, you will have gained a knowledge and understanding of disease and a set of clinical skills (history-taking, physical examination, procedural skills in clinical practice) that you will continue to use throughout your career.  The assessment at the end of Phase 2b is an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in which you will demonstrate your clinical learning by taking histories and performing physical examinations on real patients.

Students who pass the Phase 2b OSCE at the first sitting will complete an SSC in social accountability in which they will complete some voluntary work with patient or community groups in Sheffield or the surrounding area and through this, will increase their understanding on health inequity and the role of medicine in society.

Phase 3 (Jan Year 3 - August Year 4)
Extended Clinical Competencies

  • Clinical Team Attachments
  • Child Health
  • Women's Health
  • Mental Health
  • SSCs (including Community-based and an Elective)
  • Medical Sciences
  • Acute Clinical Care
  • Continuing Clinical Care
  • Community and Public Health
  • Specialty Clinical Attachments
  • Further SSCs including Medical Audit

Phase 3 lasts just under two years and is clinically based. It is a period of study and clinical experience taking students into both primary and secondary care of the patient with an emphasis on 'hands-on' medicine.

The primary care element involves community placements centred on General Practice.

The secondary care of patients covers mainly hospital work in sub-speciality subjects including child health (Paediatrics), women's health (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), mental health (Psychiatry) and General Practice.  Students rotate in small groups through these disciplines and receive various forms of back up including small group work, seminars, tutorials and lectures.

The emphasis is on evidence-based learning and you are encouraged to learn by investigation and teamwork. The speciality teaching includes projects and team presentations. You also have an opportunity to study areas of particular interest to you in the Student Selected Components elements of the course.

Phase 4 (Year 5)
Advanced Clinical Competencies

  • Final Preparation for becoming a Junior Doctor
  • LICP2 and LICP3
  • Student assistantship

The final year of the course will provide you with the opportunity to prepare for clinical practice after graduation.  The year begins with a series of lectures that will allow you to consolidate and further develop your knowledge over a wide area of clinical medicine.

You will then undertake of the longitudinal integrated placements (LICP2) which will be in a different hospital and clinical area from LICP1.  The structure of LICP2 will be similar to LICP1 (attached to a clinical team, defined role and responsibilities, additional experiences in other departments and regular classes) but will reflect your increased experience and competence.  After the Christmas break, you will continue to develop your competence in LICP3 in another hospital and clinical area.

Most graduates continue their medical training in postgraduate foundation programmes.  The student assistantship will provide you with 6 weeks of experience in the post you will take up in August (this can only be guaranteed for students who will be staying in the local area).

The confidence of the University in you will be when it awards you the degree of MBChB after you have been successful in the clinical examination in May. Phase 4 s an exhilarating, exacting and rewarding time and will prepare you well for your duties as a junior hospital doctor.