Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Medical curriculum overview

RCSI runs four-, five- and six-year medical programmes. The five- and six-year programmes are primarily for school-leavers and the four year Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) is for those who already hold a degree in another subject

RCSI Medical Programmes Chart Medical Doctor

Curriculum structure

The curriculum is divided into cycles called Foundation Year (FY), Junior Cycle (JC), Intermediate Cycle (IC) and Senior Cycle (SC). The Graduate Entry Medicine Programme condenses the three years and six semesters of the five/six year Junior and Intermediate Cycles into two years and four semesters (GEM JC1/2 and GEMIC1/2). Each cycle is taught over one, two or three semesters with the Senior Cycle being delivered over two years, Senior Cycle 1 (SC1) and Senior Cycle 2 (SC2).

Within each cycle, the content is delivered as modules which are largely based on the systems of the human body (systems-based). Each module integrates the biomedical and clinical sciences (integrated) and is defined by a series of learning outcomes (outcomes-focused).

Teaching, learning and assessment

RCSI employs a hybrid approach to teaching and learning, mixing traditional didactic teaching (lectures, tutorials etc.) with problem-based learning where appropriate.

The delivery of course objectives utilises a variety of teaching methods throughout the programmes, including traditional lectures; case based learning (where a clinical case is used to illustrate or contextualise learning); small group tutorials (both staff and student directed); practicals (e.g. anatomy dissection); computer assisted learning; bedside clinical teaching; grand rounds; shadowing; observation; skills workshops; tutorials; theatre attendance; ward attendance and home visits.

Assessments take place during a module (continuous) or at the end of module (summative) and take many forms including, multiple choice questions (MCQs), short answer written questions, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), practical exams, oral exams, team / individual projects and online assessments.

Assessment modes are matched to the different types of learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for each module.

Hierarchy of learning outcomes

The RCSI Medical Graduate Profile (MGP) is a list of the 'exit' outcomes that represents a shared understanding of knowledge, attitudes and skills that RCSI medical graduates will possess on exit from the undergraduate medical program (click here for a copy of the MGP). These outcomes are grouped into five 'level one themes' which are 'inter-woven' throughout the course. These themes are:

1. Biomedical science and research
2. Clinical medicine
3. Clinical competence
4. Population and international health
5. Personal and professional development

Each of these themes is broken down into a number of level two outcomes which are in turn further broken down into a number of level three outcomes. Each level three outcome links to one or more module outcomes (level four) in the taught curriculum which in turn link to multiple activity outcomes (level five).

RCSI Learning Outcomes Hierarchy