Integrated courses are quite similar to traditional courses but have one major point of difference: you will start some clinical work from day one.
This page answers the following questions about integrated courses:
- How do integrated courses work?
- Is an integrated course structure right for me?
How Do Integrated Courses Work?
With an integrated course, scientific knowledge will be delivered alongside clinical training. The main difference in terms of your academic work is that you learn the material by topic, rather than by discipline. This is the General Medical Council‘s recommended approach to Medicine – and most universities now use this method.
In traditional courses, the material you learn is covered by subject discipline (with separate modules on, for example, physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, etc.).
However, with integrated learning, the material is covered by looking at body systems or topics. So, for example, when learning about the digestive system, you learn all the physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, clinical skills etc. relevant to that system.
Is An Integrated Course Right For Me?
Integrated courses give you the chance to get some early clinical exposure, while still offering the support structure of scientific teaching, which is delivered in the form of lectures and seminars.
This can be a good compromise for those who aren’t sure about either problem-based learning (PBL) or traditional courses.
The main benefit of an integrated course is that you’ll get the chance to learn the material first, and then use that as a basis to apply it in a clinical or interactive setting.
However, you might feel that you are confronted with patients before you feel you know enough. If this is likely to be the case, then the traditional method might be more your style.
An integrated course may involve a fair amount of PBL, or none at all. Remember, many courses use a combination of learning techniques, so it is best to look at the university prospectus or website to find out exactly how the courses you are interested in are structured.