Our MBBS curriculum aims to produce doctors who are forward-thinking, well-informed and capable of delivering effective, humane and ethical medical care. We also prepare you to engage in lifelong learning and to have the skills necessary for postgraduate training.
These goals are delivered across each of our four themes covering areas pertinent to doctoring:
- Human Biology in Health and Disease
- Professional Skills: Diagnostic, Problem Solving, Effective Communication and Clinical Management
- Population Health, Health Services, Economics and Policy
- Medical Ethics, Professional Attitudes and Behaviour
The MBBS curriculum is not only about training doctors but also personal development and fulfilment. Our programme provides you with ample opportunities for personal growth that will carry you well into your later years when you will serve and excel as responsible citizens, colleagues, teachers and friends within our profession and community.
Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) is our major teaching hospital. It is also a tertiary referral centre for complex and advanced medical services for the entire Hong Kong territory. Most of the Faculty’s clinical departments are located at QMH, which offered dedicated teaching and learning activities and professional clinical training for our students.
Apart from QMH, learning also takes place in other public hospitals of the Hospital Authority and private hospitals such as the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, and cross the border at the University of Hong Kong–Shenzhen Hospital. All these hospitals are the key partners of the Faculty in teaching, training and research under the HKU Health System.
To cater for the special curriculum structure of the MBBS programme, you will first be taken care of by a Preceptor in Year 1 and 2 study, followed by an Enrichment Year Mentor in Year 3 and a clinical teacher as Clinical Academic Adviser when proceeding to Year 4 until graduation.
Many of these teachers of our Faculty are graduates of our own MBBS programme and experienced clinicians who are passionate in teaching and mentorship of our students. They are committed to providing a comfortable environment for you to adapt to the distinct challenges of medical school life.
Problem-based, small-group tutorials require every student to participate and be active in managing their learning, and to question both what and how they learn. These tutorials are also effective for developing your interpersonal communication and teamwork skills – how to argue, agree, disagree and agree to disagree.
Our programme goes well beyond vocational training. Your third year of study, which we call the Enrichment Year, will give you an unprecedented opportunity to explore areas of interest to you in either medical or non-medical fields, in Hong Kong or abroad, and design your own learning program. Similarly, in Year 6, after the final examination, the four-week MBBS Elective lets you delve into a medical area of your choice.
Your learning will take place through an innovative “blended” approach of conventional classes, small- group tutorials and e-learning resources. The latter will enable you to learn at your own pace and time, and they will be supplemented by interactive forums to discuss clinical cases that give you an opportunity to apply your learning.
Alongside learning that takes place within hospitals, you will gain first-hand experience in a wide variety of community-based settings that involve family physicians, maternal and child health services, hospices and patient support groups. You will gain a holistic perspective on patient management and understand the importance of judicious use of health care resources and effective integration between primary and secondary care.
From as early as the first semester of Year 1, you will start learning the interpersonal and clinical skills necessary for effective and compassionate care for patients. This exposure will gradually increase in terms of mastery and complexity. Much of the learning will take place in the purpose-built Clinical Skills Training Centre, assisted by a well-developed clinical skills e-platform.
Ethical principles and humanitarian values are absolutely essential for doctors to meet the needs and demands of 21st century healthcare. You will learn how these principles and values underpin health care practice, as well as your professional and legal obligations, through the medical ethics and medical humanities programmes.
Research requires you to develop intellectual and analytical skills, which can apply across a wide range of situations, and HKU actively encourages its undergraduate to undertake research. As a medical student, you will participate in Health Research Projects that lead to output in the format of a scientific journal. Your research can be clinic-based or laboratory-based research and it can either be part of a project with Faculty staff members or one that you initiate on your own under the supervision of a teacher during the Enrichment Year/MBBS Elective.
Inter-professional education is an emerging and progressive area in modern health care where students will learn with and learn from those in other disciplines. This Faculty has taken the lead to introduce an inter-professional pathway so that medical, nursing, pharmacy students can have the opportunities to interact and to work with each other – much like the real-life situation after your graduation. For students with demonstrated academic potential and a genuine interest in developing inter-professional knowledge, skills, competence and expertise, the Faculty will offer them the opportunity to enrol in intercalated programmes, e.g. with Master of Public Health, with the support of scholarships.
Six Years, In A Nutshell
The MBBS curriculum runs for six years, or 12 semesters. During your studies, you will build on acquired knowledge, starting with pre-clinical education and advancing to clinical clerkships, where you will put your skills and understanding to work. The structure is as follows:
- Introduction to the Art and Science of Medicine
- System-based Blocks
- The Enrichment Year (EY) is a credit-bearing component giving each MBBS III student the means to take charge of your learning and tailor activities to your interests and desires
- Clinical Foundation Block
- Clinical Clerkships
- MBBS Elective
The MBBS / PhD is a full-time combined programme extending over not less than nine years and leading to the award of both MBBS and PhD degrees upon graduation. If you are admitted into this programme, you will pursue full-time research under the supervision of Faculty teachers, and undertake coursework prescribed by the Graduate School and the Faculty, and you can attend optional clinical study sessions that are of your interest.
An exciting feature of this programme is that you can receive part of your training at internationally-renowned institutions overseas through the Faculty’s international network for research collaborations.
HKUMed also has joint-PhD / joint educational placement for PhD programmes with King’s College London and the University of Toronto.
Starting from 2018-19, the HKSAR government has waived PhD composition fees for all local students. In addition, Croucher Foundation Scholarships are available for a maximum of three outstanding MBBS/PhD students each year to cover the monthly postgraduate studentships, research bench fees and allowances for overseas conference attendance and/or exchange. MBBS/PhD students not supported by the Croucher Foundation will still be awarded a monthly Postgraduate Scholarship by the University.
If you undertake the intercalated MRes[Med] during your Enrichment Year, you can apply to transfer your candidature to the MBBS/PhD programme no later than the 8th month of the MRes[Med]. The time you spent on MRes[Med] would be counted towards the probationary period for your PhD study. After submitting your thesis in the last year of PhD study, you would then re-enter the MBBS programme in Year 4 and complete the remaining years up to Year 6. In a nutshell, this pathway involves two years of MBBS, one year of MRes[Med], three years of PhD, and three more years of MBBS, enabling you to earn the two degrees in 9 years.
Another pathway is to complete four years of MBBS, followed by three or four years of PhD, then the final two years of MBBS. To be qualified for this route, you would need to have: 1) good results in the MBBS I-IV Summative Examinations and 2) a Bachelor’s degree with 1st class honours or a Bachelor’s degree with honours, plus a taught Master’s degree (e.g. MSc) prior to admission to MBBS for 4-year PhD; or a research Master’s degree (MPhil) awarded prior to admission to MBBS for 3-year PhD. After submitting your PhD thesis, you would re-enter the MBBS programme and complete Years 5 and 6. The entire study period for the two degrees would be 9 or 10 years.
Professional Recognition & Career Prospects
Your MBBS is a registrable primary qualification by the Medical Council of Hong Kong and an important milestone on your path to becoming a doctor. But there is one final requirement before you can practice as a licensed doctor in Hong Kong. After graduating, all MBBS holders are required to undergo one year of internship in a public hospital. The internship will take you through rotations in the major medical specialties and give you hands-on exposure to clinical medicine, while receiving close supervision and teaching from experienced doctors. That basic training will open the door to a multitude of career options.
If you want to become a Specialist, you should then be prepared for more years of postgraduate training and further examinations. Postgraduate and specialist training is administered through the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine and its constituent colleges.
HKUMed graduates are a heterogeneous group of doctors, many of whom are now in leading positions in a variety of fields, not just medicine. Some serve the community as public hospital doctors, others run their own clinics as private practitioners. Some love clinical teaching and research and have pursued academic careers in Hong Kong or overseas, with many becoming world-renowned clinical experts and scientists. Some have become health administrators involved in policymaking and health care planning for our community, others have made their mark in non-medical careers, such as law, business, or pharmaceutical development. Whatever path you with to take, HKUMed is here to help your dreams come true.