MBBS Overview

MBBS rainbow diagram

Fundamentals of Clinical Science (Years 1 and 2)

Fundamentals of Clinical Science (Years 1 and 2) provides an underpinning learning experience in basic clinical sciences and the foundations of learning in the vertical themes that run through all years of the curriculum.

Systems based learning is delivered as a series of sequential, integrated, systems based modules. Each module: is based around a physiological system; provides integrated teaching across disciplines; is integrated with the learning within the vertical modules; and is designed to build on knowledge and skills learnt in previous modules.

There are opportunities for early patient contact and for meeting health professionals, to allow you to keep preparation for the practice of medicine firmly in sight.


The aims of the Fundamentals of Clinical Science years are for you to:

  • gain a firm understanding of the scientific knowledge and principles that are relevant to, and essential for, excellence in clinical practice,
  • develop an understanding of science in the context of its application to clinical medicine, organised according to physiological and functional systems (e.g., Circulation and Breathing), rather than by academic disciplines (e.g., physiology, biochemistry and anatomy)
  • understand the application of science to medicine and have the skills to appreciate the methods of scientific research, thereby enabling you to appreciate and understand future advances in medicine
  • gain a good foundation for the integrated BSc in Year 3
  • develop the key skills required for data collection and analysis, information retrieval and use of electronic databases, problem solving, report writing and presentation of information and case reports
  • have opportunities to appreciate the ethical, social and legal dimensions of medicine
  • have an opportunity for early patient contact and start to develop the foundations of the professional skills required for good patient care
  • start to develop an understanding of the value of health education, preventive medicine and the natural history of disease

Scientific Method in Depth (Year 3 iBSc)

The Medical School offers a wide range of 1 year intercalated BSc programmes. UCL medical students, except those who are already UK graduates, are required to take an intercalated BSc as a compulsory part of their 6 year MBBS programme after completion of Year 2 of the MBBS. 

More information can be found on the iBSc webpage

Integrated Clinical Care (Year 4)

This year aims to integrate knowledge of the clinical sciences into clinical practice and, by utilising extensive clinical practice and workplace based learning, in conjunction with formal teaching sessions, it also allows further development of the Vertical Themes and Patient Pathways and builds on the systems-based modules of years 1 and 2.

The year is divided into four parts: a short Foundation of workplace based and patient centred learning course followed by three long attachments based in hospitals and associated community and GP settings. During the year you will focus on core presentations and the three broad categories of clinical care: community based care, ward based care and emergency care. In each attachment you will have a substantial period within a hospital to begin to know your teachers and the healthcare teams and how the hospital works. You will have opportunities to learn from patients and clinicians in the broad areas of medicine and the general medical specialties and interventions including surgery and anaesthesia.

The theme of Year 4 is ‘integrated clinical care’. The aims of this year are to:

  • help you to learn from healthcare experiences
  • become familiar with the ways in which patients access the healthcare system and the pathways of care for a range of common presentations
  • become skilled at interviewing and examining patients with a range of problems across the range of healthcare settings
  • understand the integrated approach to diagnosing and managing patients’ problems
  • safely and clearly document information about patients and their care in a clinical notes system

The Life Cycle (Year 5)

The theme of Year 5 of the MBBS curriculum is “the life cycle”, and you will be exposed to medical conditions as they present across the life course. A large part of the year is dedicated to beginnings of life, through women’s health and child health, but a substantial amount of time is also spent learning about family health and brain and behaviour. Students undertake three modules over the course of the year:

  • Child and Family Health with Dermatology
  • Women's Health and Men's Health
  • Health of the older person, Ophthalmology, Oncology, Psychiatry and ENT

Each module is approximately 13 weeks in duration, and has its own introductory week to orientate you to that module.

Preparation for Practice (Year 6)

The new final year for the MBBS programme at UCL, to be introduced over the next two years, will ensure students think and act like doctors. By focussing on thinking, students will be encouraged to integrate their prior learning in biomedical and human sciences with all their clinical experience and apply it to patient management during longer attachments. Ensuring students act like doctors focuses on learners mastering key practical procedures in real clinical settings, as well as demonstrating impeccable patient-centred professionalism.

Our new final year will place patient-based student led learning  at its heart. Incorporating assistantships, it will be intellectually demanding and ‘hands-on’, creating UCL graduates who will become knowledgeable, decisive and practical doctors, able to work in teams and aware of patients’ needs and their own limitations.

The aims of your final year:

The MBBS Final Year is designed to ensure you have opportunities to think and act like a doctor and to practise and reflect on the areas that will be of use to you on becoming an FY1 doctor.

Thinking like a doctor:

  • You should aim to make evidenced-based clinical decisions that promote patient-centred practice. You will integrate and synthesise prior knowledge of biomedical and human sciences to enhance your interpretation of the patient’s own narrative, physical signs and other clinical and social data.

Acting like a doctor:

  • You should be able to demonstrate your professionalism through commitment, time keeping, initiative, respect for colleagues, an understanding of patient safety and the  application of ethical and legal principles. You will be able to perform general clinical tasks and specific practical and clerical procedures (including BLS & prescribing) to the level expected of a Foundation Doctor.

Page last modified on 20 nov 12 11:54