Traditional courses have a clearly divided structure, with 2 to 3 pre-clinical years followed by 3 clinical years. Oxford and Cambridge Universities have traditional course structures.
This page answers the following questions about traditional courses:
- How do traditional courses work?
- Is a traditional course structure right for me?
How Do Traditional Courses Work?
Lectures and tutorials at your medical school will make up the bulk of your first two or three years of study (as well as plenty of homework).
These will be purely science-based and will not focus on individual cases. You will mainly be learning about the scientific theory of Medicine, covering lots of different disciplines.
You will be taught modules in distinct scientific fields — things like Physiology, Biochemistry and Anatomy. This is unique to traditional schools.
For the rest of your course you will be taught in clinical settings. These might include ward rounds or GP placements.
There may still be some lectures and tutorials at this stage, but they will be complementary to your clinical learning.
Is A Traditional Course Structure Right For Me?
A traditional course gives you a strong grounding in the sciences that underpin medical practice. If you like learning about scientific facts, then you might like a traditional course.
Waiting until you have a strong knowledge base can mean that you feel more confident when you come to do clinical work. But you might prefer to dive right in; it’s up to the individual student to decide what they feel comfortable with.
Tutorials are an important part of a traditional course. These are generally carried out in small groups, and take place with an expert in the particular field you are studying. This can be brilliantly instructive or quite intense, depending on which way you look at it.
Traditional courses involve writing a lot of essays. This will give you good academic training, as well as preparing you for a medical career. But if you want a hands-on approach, you might prefer one of the other course types.