The MB ChB course begins with two years designated Early Learning in Medicine. The ELM curriculum includes three programme modules primarily delivered through small group tutorials: Clinical Skills, Early Professional Experience and Integrated Cases. Medical Sciences including anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and behavioural science are taught via lectures, labs and small group tutorials. Students work in tutorial groups of around ten students led by Teaching Fellows/Professional Practice Fellows and part-time tutors from the staff of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Dunedin School of Medicine.
- Clinical Skills tutorials involve instruction in basic clinical skills and doctor-patient skills using the students themselves, actors and volunteer patients from the community for medical history taking and limited physical examination.
- Integrated Cases tutorials combine tutor-led, independent group and independent learning for each topic.
- Early Professional Experience (EPE) encompasses topics to help students understand the role and responsibilities of the doctor in practice. It includes students spending time in a variety of the healthcare environments that they may experience as doctors and meeting new patients.
- Medical Sciences learning takes place in block modules based around body systems. The course is designed so each block module of lectures, labs and tutorials intersects with the cases, clinical skills and EPE learning.
- Vertical modules throughout the two years provide ongoing learning in important areas of medical practice like professional development, ethics and evidence-based medicine.
All tutorials emphasise an active small group collaborative working environment; this occupies about 15% of student learning time. ELM students spend just under half their time in formal teaching situations (lectures, labs), with the remaining 40% of time allocated for independent (non-contact) learning. The aim is to model future working practice that balances working in teams with the ability to self-manage learning.
From early in the course, students will have contact with patients, on campus and in the patient communities, around Dunedin and during Community Contact Week, around the country.
Halfway through Year 3, the class is divided into approximate thirds for Years 4-6, according to student preference of campus where possible and otherwise by ballot. The School will confirm each student's destination well before the end of the year.