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In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of medical practice, St George’s Medicine MBBS course curriculum is designed to enable students to make connections in their learning across different subjects.

The section for Integrated Teaching contains individuals who, as well as having subject expertise, have roles and expertise that cross-cut individual subject disciplines. This includes Student Selected Components (SSC), Problem-based Learning (PBL), research skills and integrated curriculum design. The section have scholarly interests, as well as MBBS teaching roles and experience.

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What is Problem-based Learning (PBL)?

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an integral part of the St George’s curriculum in the early years. The MBBS4 Year 1 and the MBBS Transition year curriculum are organised around engaging PBL clinical case scenarios which mirror real-life events and at the same time serve to address curriculum objectives.

Basic and Clinical Science curriculum objectives are the main focus of the PBL cases, but where relevant, the cases often include other St George’s curriculum themes. Students consider the public health, socioeconomic, ethical, and legal aspects of medicine as well during the group discussions. Vice Versa, all other teaching sessions in the St George’s curriculum (Patient and Doctor, Medical Law and Ethics, Community and Population Health, Critical Evaluation of Evidence) include aspects of the PBL case of the week.

PBL is a learning strategy that stimulates learning through problem-solving. It differs from traditional problem solving methods in that the problems are encountered before all the relevant knowledge necessary to solve the problem is acquired. In PBL, the students are introduced to complex clinical concepts before they acquire the knowledge to understand them. During the process, students are guided through prompts and open questions. They are encouraged to think deeply and to work in a collaborative manner to identify their learning needs. Understanding is through self-directed learning and through group discussions during feedback.

This problem-solving strategy encourages independent and collaborative learning, promotes team work and produces more motivated student with a deeper understanding of the subject. Research shows that PBL students acquire lifelong skills with respect to their approach to learning and study, long-term retention of knowledge, motivation, and information sourcing.

What are Student Selected Components (SSCs)?

The medical training at St George’s follows a carefully designed core curriculum ensuring that you will experience a specific range of clinical medicine. The Student Selected Component (SSC) offers you the freedom to choose your own clinical or non-clinical placement. 

The choice is yours. For example, in year two, you can select a clinical or humanities project. In transition year, you may select from a variety of clinical and research-based projects and humanities. In final year, you will be able organize a five-week experience in any clinical area of your choosing in the UK or beyond, provided you are supervised by a consultant doctor. This will allow you to consolidate and develop your clinical expertise in areas of particular interest to you, or to experience a specialist area of medicine not included in the curriculum.

Alternatively, you may wish to undertake a five-week non-clinical placement. St George's offers a broad range of opportunities in subjects like medical humanities, arts and health, medical education and self-development, such as mindfulness.  

All SSCs are assessed by a written report, poster or essay, depending on the type of component or placement. SSCs are fun, and feedback on SSC project presentations will shape your progression.


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