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A head start in your medical career!

Throughout the six-year curriculum, training in bioethics, communication skills and professionalism are offered. These are all important attributes of CUHK graduates before they are ready to serve the community as junior doctors.


Pre-clinical Studies
This course introduces students to the foundation knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology, including cellular processes and the molecular aspects of cells and tissues in the human body, before they embark on the journey of Health Sciences II to gain an overview of human physiological functions. Topics in this course range from introducing the ingredients of life and biomolecules, the mechanisms of membrane transport and cellular transport, cellular events leading to energy production, cell cycle and its regulation, overview of cell signalling and its relationship with neurotransmission and drug responses to basic blood components and the biology of blood cells. Selected topics are supplemented with case studies to demonstrate the relevance of these concepts to medical conditions or their applications.
Students will learn the structural organisation of the major organ systems in the human body, and how the different components of each system function intimately to accomplish their roles. The understanding of the subject will be further enhanced with the use of models and plastinated human bodies in laboratory demonstrations.
The human body is organised at multiple levels, with each representing different features of life. At the cellular and molecular levels, one can see how excitable cells such as neurons communicate using electrical voltages created by the movement of electrolytes across cell membranes. The generation of these microvoltages is an important functional basis of various organ systems, such as the nervous and cardiovascular systems. In physiology, one of the primary ions in these electrolytes is the sodium ion, which plays an essential role in determining plasma osmolarity, water balance and even blood pressure. In this course, students are introduced to various aspects of organ-specific human physiology that are essential for understanding how the human body functions. Students learn important concepts in chemical and physical sciences that relate to human cell and organ functions. Selected case studies and e-learning micro-modules are also used to aid students in understanding the relevance of these concepts to medicine.
Offering a broad intellectual perspective of the main public health issues impacting our world, this course introduces students to the discipline of public health. Using the tools of public health to investigate topics like climate change, emerging infectious diseases, the management of non-communicable diseases and pollution, students will debate the challenges faced by health services as they assess various public health options. Students will also learn how to make a professional argument and understand the importance of effective communication with colleagues, the professionals and the general public.
With the use of virtual microscopy, students will learn to recognize the microscopic structure and histological features of human tissues and organs and explore how these features connect to their functions. In addition to the histology of the four basic tissues (epithelial, connective, muscular and nervous), students will also examine the skin and appendages and musculoskeletal tissues (tendons, ligaments, cartilages and bones).
This course invites students to experience medicine in real life by learning basic life support medicine in the simulation setting, and by studying the history and evolution of Hong Kong’s healthcare system. Students will also come to understand the importance of making full use of the medical library, both to assist their current medical studies and foster the development of their career.
In this course, students will learn the critical thinking skills needed to address ethical questions related to biomedicine. Using insights drawn from fields like history, philosophy, health policy and medicine, students will debate the core ethical principles faced by healthcare workers, including autonomy, beneficence, justice and the theoretical concerns associated with these principles. Focusing on ethical problems arising from clinical practices, public health and research, students will develop new tools to analyse problems, formulate and defend positions using sound arguments, and they will learn to identify, offer and accept constructive criticisms.
Students will learn about the healthcare system in Hong Kong and the roles of medical and allied professionals in health care. Students will interview patients from The Alliance of Patients’ Mutual Help Organisation (APMHO) and understand chronic health problems, patient experience of hospital and community care and professionalism. Students from different disciplines are required to work collaboratively in group to complete a reflective digital assignment. They would be divided into groups and arranged to interview health care service user, including individual(s) with chronic health problem or family carers, to share their experiences related to interactions with health professionals in various situations. The group will then have to capture either their positive and/or negative experiences, and present it through the means of digital storytelling (a short video clip that combines multimedia, including images, sound, text or video).
With increasing interest and usage of traditional, complementary and integrative medicine (TCIM) worldwide, it is recognized that public education is a key to promote safe and effective use of TCIM in the community. The World Health Organization Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-23 has specified the strategic direction of ensuring consumers of TCIM can make informed choices about self-health care and promoting proper use of TCIM products and services. This course aims to serve as an education intervention for achieving these two goals. As the most important form of TCIM in China and Hong Kong is traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this course aims to introduce the basic theory and practice of TCM to students. It also briefly introduces the cultural and philosophical aspects of TCM. It aims to empower informed healthcare choices by promoting awareness on TCM diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Students can gain a basic understanding on TCM, and are better prepared for future interprofessional learning and practice of integrative medicine.

The foundation year of preclinical studies, Year 1 prepares students academically, intellectually and mentally as they embark on their medical education journey. The curriculum is designed to equip students with a common core of biomedical science knowledge in public health, physiology, anatomy and histology to ensure all students possess the basic knowledge essential to pursue their pre-clinical and clinical endeavours. Students also follow our bioethics course, a key feature of the Faculty’s SMART curriculum. The course uses real-life scenarios enacted with peers in order to stimulate students’ critical thinking and evaluation skills and help them understand how their preconceptions can impact ethical decision-making.


The University’s college system ensures students have the opportunity to interact and work with people from diverse backgrounds while its General Education Foundation Programme invites students to think critically and intellectually with professors by developing the analytical and evaluative skills necessary to challenge their pre-existing notions and prejudices. The rich diversity of experiences - both medicine and non-medicine related - is essential for students to succeed in their academic and intellectual pursuits.

Pre-clinical Studies
This course introduces students to the various structures found in the human body, which is the foundation for further studies in medicine. The organisation of organs and tissues in the body, and how they relate to each other, are taught through lectures, histology practical, embryology and human gross dissections. The clinical relevance of anatomical knowledge is demonstrated during the Clinical Skill sessions. Anatomical topics taught includes: thorax and the cardiovascular/respiratory system, abdomen and the digestive system, pelvis/perineum and the urogenital system, and the musculoskeletal system. With the completion of the course, students will be able to describe the organisation and function of various body systems; identify structures in a specific region and its relationship to adjacent structures; and appreciate the importance of anatomical knowledge in clinical examination of various body regions and systems.
This course introduces basic principles of physiological control and drug actions of various body tissues and systems. It is taught through lectures, case discussion, demonstrations, practicals and small group tutorials. The topics covered include: physiology of excitable cells, muscles, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal systems, mechanisms of drug actions and pharmacokinetics, and drug actions on peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular system and gut.
Students will learn the key building blocks essential in the establishment of a sound doctor-patient relationship and communicating effectively in the community. There are many opportunities for doctor and patient contact from shadowing family doctors, sitting in on clinical consultations as well as visiting a family with a newborn in the hospital and at their home. This immersive course enables understanding of factors such as the socio-economic background and health, health beliefs and practices, social and child-care support; which will help students appreciate various elements that may impact the health prospects of a baby.
Students will learn the basic principles of cellular structure, cell division and death, cellular metabolism, molecular genetics and genomics. Students will not only get to know the science behind the biochemical and molecular controls across various cell functions but also review new advances in genomics with the potential development of personalised treatments to patients.
Bioethics inform healthcare policy and guide the relationship between doctors, patients, researchers and their subjects. In this course, students will delve into how society can allocate scarce healthcare resources fairly. They will explore the balance between our collective interest in public health and safety with concerns for individual liberties, especially in relation to the beginning and end of life issues. Students will also examine the professional responsibilities of doctors and researchers, learn to manage conflicts between medical duties and patients’ wishes, and reflect on the ethical implications of technology for medicine. Finally, they will gain the tools to think critically about bioethical issues.
This multi-year course, which is integrated into the curriculum from year 2 onward, is designed to help students develop the resilient personality and openness required to engage with patients in a meaningful way. Students will first learn how to use empathic engagement to establish a sound relationship with patients before being called to reflect on their experiences in order to improve further.
Pre-clinical Studies
Students will examine the anatomy of the head and neck and learn the organisation of the extra-cranial structures before focusing on the central nervous system. After investigating the different regions of the head and neck from their bony components to their associated organ systems, students will examine how blood supply and cranial nerve innervation work. They will also analyse the organisation of the brain and the role of the spinal cord while reviewing the development of the head and central nervous system within the embryo. Featuring numerous practical sessions, the course also makes use of the Dissecting Laboratory.
This course focuses on the physiological function and pharmacological regulation of respiratory, endocrine, reproductive and nervous system as well as the integrated control of various body functions that involve hormonal, neural and immunological mechanisms. The course includes lectures, practicals and small group tutorials. Topics include: respiratory physiology, endocrinology, reproductive physiology, nervous system function, basic immunology and drug actions in pain control, CNS function and inflammation
The doctor-patient relationship is a core area of medical study. Following from Doctor and Patient I, students will explore the patients’ perspective and doctors’ strategies and challenges in communication and within the consultation as they diagnose and treat patients. Students will witness the bio-psychosocial components involved in the patient narrative and clinical presentations while gaining a new understanding of the importance of communication when delivering patient-centred care as a doctor. Students will also continue to engage with the family and the baby they met in the previous year and insights into the biological, social, psychological and medical context of child health as the child celebrates his first birthday.
Building upon what they have learned about ethics and public health over the past two years, students will examine important dilemmas in biomedicine by retracing the history of these issues, understanding key actors shaping how we think about these questions and identifying current trends and latest research impacting these debates. After examining major philosophical issues of bioethics linked to clinical practice and health policy, students will explore issues of public health ethics relevant to Hong Kong before investigating how ethics guide doctors, researchers and administrators involved in medical research projects.
In this course, students are expected to build their reflective capacity and empathy skills to consider the role of doctors across a range of challenging medical situations, including war zones and humanitarian crises, poverty, disability & impairment and life & death studies. By exploring how doctors and healthcare workers connect with communities and society in such critical situations, students will go better understand what is expected of doctors, not only as medical professionals but also as human beings.

Year 2 and Year 3 offer mainly pre-clinical science training. Students receive a solid, comprehensive and continually updated grounding in biomedical sciences and also some community exposure.

Pre-clinical Studies
Students will learn about the causes of diseases by analysing the principles behind the pathological changes occurring in various systems across the body. Taught as an intensive course for students about to begin their clinical training, Basic Pathology will equip students with foundation knowledge in anatomical general pathology, microbiology and forensic pathology required in clinical practice.
This intensive 3-week bridging course is organised at the end of Year 3, which serves as a capstone course on pre-clinical education and prepares students for their clinical rotations during clinical studies in Year 4, 5 and 6. It is aimed not only to help students revise their knowledge of anatomy, but also gain a better appreciation of the importance of basic clinical examination skills through meeting real patients and attending radiology sessions.

Clinical skills training is introduced in the pre-clinical years. Bridging courses are offered before students are promoted to clinical years to further equip them with the essential knowledge of pathology and clinical skills.

Clinical Studies
Building on course Basic Pathology, students will explore further the mechanisms of laboratory medicine, with an emphasis on genomics and personalised medicine. Using an organ system approach, students will learn the principles and pathogenesis of common diseases, focusing on histopathology and hematology. Students will also learn case management and diagnostic approach for both these disciplines and study laboratory methods used in hospitals.
Students will examine the pathophysiological basis of diseases and associated biochemical changes and learn to investigate and interpret laboratory results in both Chemical Pathology and Clinical Immunology. By analysing how disease presentations and laboratory results correlate with pathophysiology, students will understand the crucial role played by clinical laboratory investigations in the diagnosis and management of diseases. Students will also explore recent developments in laboratory genomic medicine.
Students will investigate the causes of human infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. They will also learn how to diagnose and manage infectious diseases, and acquire how to limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Students will also be trained to prevent infections by employing proper infection control measures.
Students will work in surgical wards across various hospitals to learn how to take a surgical history and perform surgical examinations on patients. They will also train to manage patients suffering from various surgical problems and participate in operative procedures held in actual operating theatres. Using their knowledge of the anatomical, physiological and pathological causes of common diseases and disorders in surgical patients, students will be asked to make reasonable differential diagnoses based on clinical presentations and the results of common diagnostic tests (laboratory and radiological) relevant to these diseases. Students will also propose the outline of management plans for the care of patients with common surgical conditions.
Learning in medical wards in Prince of Wales Hospital and other peripheral hospitals, students will be taught to take histories and examine patients, as well as interpretation of investigations. By critically assessing evidence to make a diagnosis or formulate a list of differential diagnoses, students will learn how to manage patients suffering from different medical problems. Often acting under pressure, they will need to make ethical decisions rationally while communicating effectively - and with compassion – to their patients, medical professionals and other caregivers.
A continuation of the Doctor and Patient I & II, students will gain additional insights into the biological, social, psychological and medical aspects of child health as the child is now in their second year of life. Learning to appraise the context of child’s health and development within the reality of his family’s conditions, students will gain a better understanding of their role as health professional while developing the skills and attitude needed to deliver care within the community.
This course is a continuation of the teaching of clinical skills in junior years and includes: history taking, assessment of competence in community-based Basic Life Support plus introduction to hospital-based Basic Life Support, insertion of the nasogastric tube, examination of the peripheral vascular system, ophthalmological examination, as well as recognition and documentation of red flags and neurological status in patients.
This module allows students to select a medical research topic of their choice. They will acquire the skills required to conduct scientific research, such as topical analysis, critical analysis and systematic review of scientific literature. This module will span throughout the academic year, thus allowing students to appreciate the importance of life-long, self-directed learning.
The course builds on the foundation of Years 1-3 studies in bioethics to consider physician obligation expressed in law, regulations, professional codes and widely held norms of medical ethics. Areas considered include the doctor-patient relationship, patient capacity, consent, confidentiality, medical error and negligence, forensic pathology and related medical-legal issues and end of life care. Students would learn about the legal system, the difference between civil law and criminal law, law and procedure, the court system and the law making process. Students should know their important role in society as physicians and as law-abiding citizens, in upholding justice and being a role model for others, in protecting the weak and vulnerable and in the prevention of crime.
Whether consulting with patients to diagnose diseases or working with colleagues to effectively administer treatments, communication skills are essential for healthcare workers. By using a longitudinal developmental approach spanning preclinical and clinical years, which includes formal teaching, e-learning as well as interactive training such as self-reflective video reviews, skills workshops interwoven within their general medical and specialist rotations to help students develop the skills needed to communicate effectively with different stakeholders.
Not only be able to foster a therapeutic alliance with patients and connect with the public and society, students are also expected to explore more about self and teamwork in a clinical environment with a good sense of professionalism. In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore and reflect to be an effective team player, to understand their personality and professional care style as well as to learn the mindfulness and cognitive techniques.

In Year 4, students acquire the skills and knowledge of handling basic clinical problems through attachment to the Prince of Wales Hospital, our primary teaching hospital, and other partner hospitals. Subjects such as anatomical pathology and clinical haematology, chemical pathology, clinical microbiology, medicine and surgery are covered.

Clinical Studies
The integrated approach of this module will help students develop a holistic, patient-centred philosophy of Community and Family Medicine. Implementing the principles and practices of public health, students will learn to use epidemiological methods to prevent and control communicable, non-communicable and occupational diseases. In addition to attending training activities in various family medicine clinics, both private and public across Hong Kong, students will work alongside family medicine doctors and learn to diagnose and manage common medical conditions using a holistic and patient-centred approach to primary care delivery.
Students will learn to manage and counsel patients suffering from common obstetric and gynaecological problems by completing four clinical rotations in primary care settings. After gaining a better understanding of the course of a normal pregnancy and learning to perform obstetrics examinations, students will participate in the care and delivery of normal pregnancies while learning the common problems and emergencies associated with childbirth and postpartum. In gynaecology, students will learn common gynaecological conditions and neoplasm of the female reproductive tract while training to perform gynaecological examinations and communicate effectively about sexuality and reproduction. An attachment to the O&G unit of a major hospital and to the Family Planning Association completes the module.
Students will gain valuable exposure to paediatrics by participating in a range of activities in the hospital and the community. Learning activities will take place in wards and out-patient clinics of various hospitals, as well as community-based centres and private paediatric clinics, so that students gain a robust foundation in both hospital-based and primary care paediatrics. Activities include history-taking, diagnosing conditions and recommending treatments. As part of the mentorship programme, students will attend interactive teaching covering bioethics and communication.
Investigating the relationship between the psychological, biological and social determinants of psychiatric disorders through a series of attachments with various hospitals, community centres and private clinics, students will acquire the basic practical knowledge to diagnose and manage psychiatric disorders while also studying the organisation of psychiatric services in Hong Kong. After learning how to take a psychiatric history and perform mental status examinations as well as cognitive and neuropsychiatric assessments, students will examine the therapeutic use of psychotropic drugs and how basic principles of psychological interventions intersect with ethical and regulatory constraints linked to mental capacity and consent.
Rotating between Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Psychiatry and Community & Family Medicine, students will consolidate their skills in history taking and physical examination by meeting patients to gather relevant clinical information and to reach a working diagnosis across these four disciplines.
Healthcare professionals often confront ethical dilemmas that go beyond medical issues. This course introduces clinical ethics and decision at the bedside arising from some special circumstances in the clinical practice of paediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology and psychiatry. Common bioethical challenges include child abuse, patient confidentiality, reproductive right and autonomy, and consent for treatment in psychiatric illness. Students will acquire analytic and critical thinking skills to resolve ethical dilemmas in clinical settings.
Communication skills are core clinical skills essential for effective diagnosis, management planning and teamwork coordination. This course enhances basic communication skills and extending into managing consultations, breaking bad news and communication skills necessary for the specialties of family medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and psychiatry. Similarly, this will involve self-reflective video reviews, role-play scenarios and skills workshops, in parallel with specialty training in year 5, this course extends and advances consultation skills necessary for clinical practice in hospital and in the community and in dealing with a diverse range of real and simulated clinical scenarios.
Under the guidance of, and with the approval of, the Course Coordinator of Clinical Electives, each student will arrange an attachment of the student's choice, preferably abroad with the objective of broadening their horizons. Although most students will take clinical attachment, students can also engage in laboratory-based attachment.

In Year 5, students rotate among four clinical disciplines: community and family medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, and psychiatry. At the end of Year 5, students will have broadened their learning, research and clinical horizons through attachments to other healthcare institutes in Hong Kong or overseas during their 4-week clinical elective.

Clinical Studies
Building experience in the diverse reality of practising medicine, students rotate between the medical wards of five hospitals before being assigned to small groups attached towards specialised in Medicine and Therapeutics, Clinical Oncology, and Accident and Emergency Medicine at the Prince of Wales Hospital. Involved in daily clinical activities, students will clerk patients and participate in subspecialty rounds, following both in-patients and outpatients. In addition to shadowing resident mentors as they meet patients, students will learn communication skills ranging from writing patients' scripts and referrals and explaining medical matters to ordinary people to handling complaints and presenting in conferences.
Assigned to small groups, students gain exposure to surgical disciplines by rotating in the outpatient clinics and operating rooms of various hospitals in specialties like Surgery, Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Imaging and Interventional Radiology, and Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Immersed in the daily activities of the mentoring doctors, students attend bedside teaching sessions and experience first-hand the complexity involved in the clinical management of patients.
Skills Modules for Medicine Year 6 is embedded in the medical and surgical modules. Lifelong learning skills provide a “medical professionalism” component. Medical professionalism is primarily concerned with the attributes and behaviours of physicians in the practice of Medicine. The teaching of medical professionalism builds on introductory lectures provided in prior years and informal "role modelling" that occurs during the clinical curriculum. The module is designed to expand the students' cognitive base for professionalism, and to provide opportunities for internalizing related values and behaviours by collaborating in small group problem solving sessions. The workshops require analysis and development of moral solutions for simulated ethical dilemmas. Feedback provided by small groups to their whole class enables reflection and informed discussions.
Besides the relevant medical knowledge necessary for day-to-day care, students must also learn to navigate the complex and multifaceted terrain of healthcare relationships between all stakeholders and the ethical challenges that arise therein. Parallel to clinical teaching, the year six bioethics course will enable and allow students to apply the theoretical models of clinical ethics in healthcare delivery. The curricular design leverages clinical experiences towards ethical decision making and resolution of dilemmas. In so doing, students will develop tangible critical thinking skills in the prevention and resolution of doctor-patient conflicts, a critical step in the transition to medical professional. Emphasis is placed on navigating difficult interactions at the bedside arising from ethically complex circumstances in the practice of each discipline. Students are expected to identify ethical issues in the patient experience inclusive of the descriptive steps required to forego or resolve ethical issues.
Communication skills are essential to accurately diagnose medical conditions, plan treatment and work with other healthcare workers. Integrated within the rotations in medical and surgical specialties, this course features a wide range of pedagogical methods to replicate the reality experienced by doctors. From delivering news about serious illnesses to their families to communicating effectively as a member or more commonly a leader of a healthcare team, students will be exposed to situations that will help them acquire the communication skills needed to succeed as a medical professional.
The Pre-internship Block aims to facilitate graduates for the smooth transition to internship training. It is an integrated programme which includes web-based training, clinical management system (CMS) training, AHA basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), simulation training, orientation and 3-week hospital attachment following the first rotation interns are assigned. Students should complete the Pre-internship Block in order to meet the MBChB Programme requirements for graduation.

In Year 6, students go through rotations for further clinical teaching in medicine, surgery and other clinical disciplines, including anaesthesia and intensive care, clinical oncology, diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology, emergency medicine, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, orthopaedics and traumatology.