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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

2019-20 curriculum changes

BSMS > Undergraduate > Our course > 2019-20 curriculum changes

2019-20 curriculum changes

This webpage provides an overview of the curriculum updates at BSMS. Students who join BSMS in 2019/20 are the first cohort of the expanded student intake. These students will also be the second cohort to sit the new national Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) in Year 5. 

As a result, we are currently in a period of change at BSMS to get ourselves fully prepared so that we can continue to provide the excellent student experience which keeps us among the top medical schools in the National Student Survey (NSS).

The new GMC Outcomes for Graduates document issued in June 2018 also drives a number of curriculum changes to ensure that our students are ready for the current NHS environment. 

Read Outcomes for Graduates > 

We will be enhancing our course in several domains, including:

  • Increasing focus on personal and professional development 
  • Increasing the number and type of settings in which students undertake placements 
  • Increasing student experience of learning to care for the growing numbers of patients with multiple morbidities and long term physical and mental conditions 
  • Focusing on the 'care of the unwell patient' as a spiral theme in each year of the course. 

Please note that these are subject to change.

Male student test reflexes on another student, watched by a teacher

Clinical structure

The clinical structure of the course from 2019/20 is:

  • Year 1 – Introduction to clinical assessment 
  • Year 2 – Learning from the ‘patient journey’ 
  • Year 3 – Learning in increasing depth in core and general specialties
  • Year 4 – Learning in specialist disciplines
  • Year 5 – Learning in an apprenticeship role focusing on foundation skills and patient safety.

Please note that these are subject to change.

Prof Claire Smith shows students a model of the skeleton in the anatomy suite

Teaching changes

The teaching changes from 2019/20 are:

  • Year 2 structural changes include four immersive clinical weeks
  • Moving some module 301 teaching into module 201 to increase clinical skills teaching
  • Students in Year 3 and Year 4 from 2020/21 will have placements in regional centres in East and West Sussex, as well as in Brighton.
  • GP placements will be a block in Year 4 (from 2021/22)
  • Shifting Year 5 to increase preparation for practice so that students are prepared for the challenges of being a foundation doctor.  
  • Introduction of Personal and Professional Development module from Year 1 in 2019/20.

Please note that these are subject to change.

Assessment changes

Assessment changes from 2019/20 include:

  • Year 1: end of year exam covering year 1 modules. Exam will be single best answer format.
  • Year 2: Reducing assessment in module 201. Students will be expected to complete 2 written assignments. One knowledge-based assignment (1500 words) like Year 1. There is a change in emphasis towards themes such as therapeutics and case-based discussion, reflecting the growing importance of these subjects moving towards Phase 2 of the curriculum. Then, the patient visits will be assessed by a 2,500-word essay focused on chronic disease management and support. In addition, students are expected to complete their ePortfolio, as part of personal and professional reflective development.
  • Changing to a sequential OSCE assessment in Year 2. This type of OSCE has two parts. The first part is similar to our current OSCE assessment which all students will sit (sequence 1). The results are processed. Students who have achieved a clear pass will have successfully completed this clinical assessment. Students who do not achieve a clear pass mark on this first sequence are then required to sit a second OSCE sequence containing different stations (sequence 2). These results are then combined with sequence 1 and so this gives a larger number of stations to assess student ability. This process increases the reliability of the test to determine if the standard to pass has been met by a student. Students who fail to achieve the pass mark after completing sequence 1 and sequence 2 will be required to repeat the year. OSCEs will take place, as now, in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5. 
  • Year 2: move of Patient Information Leaflet from module 203 to Year 4.
  • Year 2: Removal of SSC component of module 204 to reduce burden at the end of the year.
  • There will be no change to Year 2 KTs in 2019/20 but there is likely to be a change to an end of year exam in 2020/21.
  • Year 5: Reduce number of Case in Depth reports to 2.

Please note that these are subject to change.


Additional changes

  • Enhancing the Clinical/Academic tutor system. We intend for students to have a personal tutor throughout their time at BSMS (in groups of eight to ten) to support their personal and professional development. Academic skills will still be taught weekly in the first term of Year 1 but as a separate teaching component as part of module 102. 
  • It is expected that students will still sit the Situational Judgement Test in Year 5 as part of the application to the foundation programme.

Please note that these are subject to change.

Sample curriculum

Below is a diagram that shows the new curriculum you will follow as it is likely to look by 2022/23. Please note that this is subject to change.

Curriculum update 2019-20