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Medicine (A100) Course Outline

Pre-clinical Studies

Year First

In the first year, students take the following core subjects, which are evaluated for the second MB and part first 'A' of the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos.

  • Functional architecture of the Body consists of dissecting and examining the human body and involves living anatomy and the assessment of the body using modern imaging techniques
  • It comprises lectures on the applied and functional anatomy of organs and tissues
  • Students study the topographical anatomy of the human body, in area by dissertation, supplemented with demonstration using pre-dissected specimens, anatomical models, radiographic images, patient demonstrations and videos.
  • The strong emphasis is laid upon living, functional and surface anatomy and on the development of attitude and communication skills that promote students' effective application of anatomical knowledge and understanding

In Homeostasis, students learn about the physiological systems that underpin the body's regulation of its responses and internal environment to external threats. This consists of:

  • Muscle
  • Circulation
  • Respiration
  • Excretion
  • Digestion
  • Water balance
  • Absorption
  • Nerve function
  • Thermoregulation
  • Neuromuscular transmission

Students have relevant practical classes in history and experimental physiology. The molecules in medical science paper aims at providing students with thorough understanding of the molecular basis of how organism and cells work. Theme comprises:

  • Function
  • Structure
  • Biosynthesis
  • Control at molecular and cellular levels
  • The ways wherein the genetic information in DNA is expressed, organized and inherited
  • The metabolic processes that produce the energy required to enable organisms and cells to survive and grow

Students are given practical exercises that include a wide range of biochemical techniques to study the function and structure of cellular machinery. Students are given problem-solving exercises with the aim of honing their skills and enhancing their knowledge. In the first term, students are given three short papers introducing the principles of cell biology, the social context of health and illness and the scientific basis of medicine.

The next course, preparing for patients includes students' first meetings with patients aiming at relating students' basis science experience to the practice of clinical medicine. The course in medicine runs throughout first three years.

Year Second

Students study four core courses that will be evaluated for the second MB and part first B of the MVST. Students have an excellent opportunity for more self-directed learning a preparing patient course continues.

The subject biology of disease copes with the mechanism and nature of disease processes, integrating practical classes along with lectures. Students are offered extensive classes to study the abnormalities that may be found in the structure and functions of living organs and tissues and their causes. It may include:

  • Immunology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Cellular pathology

The mechanism of drug action aims at providing an understanding of the grounding of mechanism of drug action at the levels of the effects on body systems and drug-receptor. The special emphasis is given not only on a framework for assessing future therapies and the present use of drugs.

Neurobiology and Human Behaviour offers an integrated approach to study of the mind and brain. It incorporates the function and structure of the sense central nervous system and organs and the effects of drugs on brain function. It covers psychological aspects including:

  • The study of emotion and emotional disorders (especially anxiety, depression and schizophrenia)
  • Learning
  • Intelligence
  • Memory
  • Aspects of child development

Human reproduction copes with the biology of human reproduction, its social context, its clinical relevance and its demographic trends. Students shall be introduced to the legal and ethical principles surrounding the practice of reproduction in particular and medicine in general.

Year Third

Students choose from a wide range of other subjects offered by the university to qualify for the BA degree. Optional may include:

Part second biological and biomedical sciences in natural sciences that offers a wide spectrum of subjects comprising:

  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Zoology
  • History and Ethics of Medicine

A single subject from part second of natural sciences that is likely to consist of a research project. It must be noted that admission to such course is limited by numbers and may depend upon some extent on their performance in the part first exam.

A subject less noticeably associated to medicine such as management, anthropology, philosophy or studies. The preparing for patients course continues in the third year irrespective of which subject students choose to study. Approximately half of Cambridge medical students continue with their clinical studies at the Cambridge clinical school located at Addenbrooke's Hospital.


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