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Would an Integrated Course Suit You?

Deciding which style of course you want to study can be a key factor in choosing which medical schools to apply to. In this blog, we’ll look at Integrated Courses and their key features to help you decide if this is the right course structure for you.

What is an Integrated Course?

There is often confusion as to what an integrated course actually is, but put quite simply it is one which involves early clinical exposure from the first year, encouraging the use of material learnt through lectures and PBL or tutorial sessions in a clinical setting. This doesn’t mean it is a course which necessarily combines PBL and lecture based teaching (although this often is the case) but that it takes teaching into the clinic from the start of the degree.

The vast majority of medical schools in the UK can be seen as integrated to some extent as it is now the General Medical Council’s recommended degree structure. However, some put more emphasis on this than others. UCL, for example, is technically integrated but actual clinical exposure in the pre-clinical years is minimal, whereas Barts and the London has fortnightly GP placements in the first year and weekly placements in second year. Southampton has lots of early clinical contact and UEA also has early clinical exposure with placements from week one.

What are the key features of an Integrated Course?

There are several key aspects to an integrated course which you can consider in deciding if it’s the course style for you.

Is an Integrated Course for you?

The good thing about an integrated course is that it tends to have something for everybody but it might be the course for you if:

  1. You enjoy using a wide variety of different learning techniques including PBL and lectures.
  2. You want to get early clinical exposure to put in practice what you are learning.
  3. You think you would prefer systems based over subject based teaching.
Would you suit an Integrated Course? Take the quiz!

Words: Ruari McGowan

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