Undergraduate programmes

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Programme (MBBS) 5-year curriculum

The goal of the curriculum is to produce doctors who are competent in the understanding and delivery of effective, humane and ethical medical care, committed to lifelong learning, and ready to proceed to postgraduate training. The design of the course reflects the following educational principles:

Active, student-centred learning
Students are encouraged to be active in managing their own learning and to question both what and how they learn through problem-based, small-group tutorials. These tutorials foster the development of skills for interpersonal communication and teamwork, and help train students to become lifelong learners.

Integration
The curriculum emphasizes the inter-connections between different fields of knowledge. Essential elements of basic science and clinical practice are learnt through an integrated approach.

Early clinical contact
Students are introduced to clinical and clinical interpersonal skills, and are exposed to patient contact early in the curriculum. These clinical experiences relate closely to theoretical teaching. Students develop clinical skills in a purpose-built Clinical Skills Training Centre to achieve early and effective training.

Community-based experience
A wide variety of community-based teaching is employed to complement the activities that take place within hospitals, exploiting the educational experiences which family physicians, maternal and child health services, hospices and patient support groups can provide.

Core and options approach
‘Special-study modules’ are offered at the end of the third and fifth years which allow students to choose to explore specific areas of interest or experience in either medical or non-medical fields. At the same time, students learn a core of materials providing essential medical knowledge during term time.

Curriculum structure

The MBBS curriculum lasts for 10 semesters spreading over five years and is designed to emphasize and integrate four key themes:

  • Human Biology in Health and Disease;
  • Professional Skills: Diagnostic, Problem Solving, Effective Communication and Clinical Management;
  • Population Health, Health Services, Economics and Policy; and
  • Medical Ethics, Professional Attitudes and Behaviour.

The curriculum is built up of five major components: the Introduction to Health and Disease Block, the System-based Blocks, the Integrated Block, the Clinical Clerkships and the Special Study Modules.

Year I
Semester 1
Introduction to Health and Disease Block (around 14 weeks) The Block aims to provide an introductory overview of the structure and function of the human body. This also gives an overview of the processes of diseases and introduces the therapeutic strategies for modulating disease processes. From the beginning, students are encouraged to develop an understanding of the ethical and economic implications of modern medical care, as well as the importance of an approach to patient care that is based on sound scientific evidence.
Year I
Semester 2
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Gastrointestinal System
Through these nine interdisciplinary modules, each of around 4-5 weeks, students learn the structure and functions of the body systems through these modules as they relate to the patient both as an individual and as a member of a wider population group.
Year II
Semesters 3 and 4
  • Urogenital System
    Musculoskeletal System
  • Central Nervous System
  • Head and Neck Block
  • Haematology and Immunology System
  • Endocrine System
Year III
Semesters 5 and 6
Integrated Block (around 9 weeks) The Block adopts a ‘life-cycle approach’ to studying multi-system problems is introduced. The aim is to help students integrate the knowledge they have acquired during the earlier parts of the curriculum and prepare them for the subsequent clerkships.
Junior Clerkship
  • Medicine Block
  • Surgery Block
  • Multidisciplinary Block

(around 8 weeks each)

The emphasis shifts to the clinical management of patients.  During the clerkship phases, students are directly involved in the day-to-day care of patients.  They are expected to understand the basic concepts that underlie their patients’ problems and apply the knowledge they have gained in earlier parts of the course.  Much emphasis is put on the clinical aspects of care in diagnosis, treatment and patient management.  Students learn to apply their clinical and clinical interpersonal skills in an increasingly sophisticated fashion. During the period of the Specialty Clerkship, students are required to reside in the Madam S.H. Ho Residence for Medical Students or in an approved teaching hospital for specified periods.
Year IV/V
Semester 7
Senior Clerkship
  • Medicine Block
  • Surgery Block
  • Multidisciplinary Block

(around 8 weeks each)

Year IV/V
Semesters 8 and 9
Specialty clerkship
  • Medicine Block
  • Surgery Block
  • O&G Block
  • O&T/ Emergency Medicine Block
  • Psychiatry/ Family Medicine and Primary Care Block
  • Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Block

(around 8 weeks each)

Year V
Semester 10
Revision Block
Final Examination
The tenth semester comprises a revision block preceding the Final Examination.
Year III and V Special Study Modules
(around 4 weeks each)
Special Study Modules (“SSMs”) constitute an integral part of the curriculum.  They give students opportunities to explore areas of individual interest by means of either clinical attachment or laboratory/clinical research. Some students may undertake clinical attachment overseas.  Throughout the 5-year curriculum, students are required to undertake two SSMs, one by the end of Year III and another by the end of Year V after the Final Examination. 

Contact for further queries or information

Email: medfac@hku.hk
Phone: (852)2819 9346