AUA prides itself on offering a unique preclinical sciences curriculum that extends beyond acquiring foundational knowledge to encompass the development of essential skills crucial for a successful and impactful medical career. It stands out for its distinctive emphasis on integrating clinical skills during the preclinical years, fostering a unique and comprehensive approach to medical education.
The preclinical studies curriculum is strategically designed to go beyond traditional theoretical learning, actively immersing students in the practical aspects of patient care even before entering the clinical phase. This emphasis on clinical skills integration distinguishes AUA’s approach, allowing students to bridge the gap between theory and real-world application very early on in their medical education.
AUA’s preclinical sciences curriculum boasts several distinctive benefits. Firstly, arguably, the most significant advantage is that it provides early training in clinical skills. By focusing on clinical skills from the start, such a curriculum makes it easier for students to transition to the next phase of their medical education, where they work directly with patients in hospitals or clinics.
The curriculum’s commitment to interactive and engaging teaching methods, including active learning in groups, case-based learning, and problem-based studies, fosters a learning environment conducive to enhanced understanding and retention of crucial medical concepts.
Moreover, incorporating large group active learning techniques, such as team-based learning and flipped classroom lectures, further enriches the overall educational experience.
Active Learning in Groups
In the first academic period, AUA places students into small groups, typically 10 students or less. Each group has its own small-group learning center to assist with the learning activities. Each setting is equipped with the digital tools necessary to access learning resources, and serves as an academic base of operations for the individual student groups. By having a permanent study center within campus and a close-knit group of classmates and facilitators, students keep each other accountable, support each other, and get a medical education that maintains the highest standards while still being able to be adjusted to suit a student’s individual learning style.
In the first year, students focus on the normal foundations of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology behavior in the eight organ systems. In the second year, the emphasis is on pathophysiology, microbiology and pharmacology of those same organ systems. Clinical skills are also incorporated into the preclinical curriculum.
Students need to complete 86 credits from Year 1, Year 2, and the Basic Science Integration Course (BSIC). This curriculum is effective as of Fall 2020. All courses are graded on a pass/fail system: Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P), and Fail (F).
FIRST ACADEMIC YEAR
Med 1 (Period 1)
Course No. of Credits Preclinical Science I 19 This yearlong course in the preclinical sciences is based on an integrated, organ-system-based structure and gives the student an understanding of the embryology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, neuroscience and behavioral science, and introduction to clinical medicine, in the context of organ systems of the human body.
Med 2 (Period 2)
Course No. of Credits Preclinical Science II 19 This yearlong course in the preclinical sciences is based on an integrated, organ-system-based structure and gives the student an understanding of the embryology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, neuroscience and behavioral science, and introduction to clinical medicine, in the context of the organ systems of the human body.
SECOND ACADEMIC YEAR
Med 3 (Period 3)
Course No. of Credits Preclinical Science III-IV 19 The second yearlong course begins Preclinical Science III-IV, which is based on an integrated, organ-system-based structure and gives the student an understanding of pathology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and immunology, as well as clinical medicine topics, including evidence-based, community and preventive medicine, ethics, and clinical skills acquisition.
Med 4 (Period 4)
Course No. of Credits Preclinical Science III-IV 19 The second year begins Preclinical Science III-IV, which is based on an integrated, organ-system-based structure and gives the student an understanding of pathology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and immunology, as well as clinical medicine topics, including evidence-based, community and preventive medicine, ethics, and clinical skills acquisition.
Basic Science Integration Course (BSIC)
The Basic Science Integration Course (BSIC) is an integrated intersession course essentially designed to reinforce with Q&A sessions, relevant material and concepts in the Preclinical Sciences disciplines. It is also designed to enhance integration of knowledge acquired in the Preclinical Sciences, and help in the application of this knowledge to clinical scenarios. The 15-week BSIC course is conducted during the intersession following the end of Year Two. After 15 weeks, the students will take the mandatory Comprehensive Examination.
The immersive nature of this curriculum cultivates a deep understanding of the practical intricacies of healthcare delivery, setting a solid foundation for the challenges students will encounter in the clinical phase of their education. Moreover, AUA recognizes the importance of instilling a patient-centered approach in aspiring medical professionals.
By integrating clinical skills within the preclinical curriculum, students refine their technical abilities and develop the interpersonal and communication skills essential for building strong doctor-patient relationships. After completing the preclinical curriculum, the next step for aspiring doctors is to enter the clinical phase, where they work with real patients in hospitals or clinics.
This involves hands-on rotations in various medical specialties, during which students explore different medical fields and gain practical experience.
What is the difference between clinical studies and preclinical studies?
The primary distinction lies in the focus of the curriculum. Preclinical studies emphasize foundational sciences, anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry, while clinical studies delve into patient care, diagnosis, and treatment in a real-world healthcare setting.
What do you do in preclinical studies?
In preclinical studies, students explore the fundamental sciences underlying medicine, understanding normal and abnormal conditions of organ systems. The curriculum involves active learning in groups, case studies, and hands-on experiences.
How long do preclinical studies take?
Preclinical studies typically span the first two years of medical school.
What is basic science in medical education?
Basic science in medical education refers to the fundamental scientific principles that form the basis of medical knowledge, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology.