The Course

Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge

Course Outline

MVST 1A (1st Year)

The first year of the course involves 3 core science components:

Medics: Functional Architecture of the Body (FAB) – layout and function of the body’s structures
Vets: Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology (VAP) – learning of the body systems, aided by dissections in small, inter-college groups (3-4 people)

– Molecules in Medical Science (MIMS) – chemical and molecular mechanisms underlying the functions of the body  (Medics and Vets)

– Histology and Homeostasis (HOM) – mechanisms underlying maintenance of a stable internal environment within the body  (Medics and Vets)

– Introduction to the Scientific Basis of Medicine (ISBM) – epidemiology and application to medicine (Medics and Vets)
– The Social and Ethical Context of Health and Illness (SCHI) – cultural aspects of health care
– Preparing for Patients (PfP A) – experience in meeting patients at GP surgeries
– Principle of Animal Management (PAM) – a wide-ranging course addressing subjects such as nutrition, welfare, behaviour, legislation and law, and species management
– EMS – vet students have to complete 12 weeks of pre-clinical ‘work experience’ in our own time, starting after completion of the animal handling PAM unit and being finished by the end of the Easter vacation of year 3. The 12 weeks must comprise of: 2 weeks dogs/cats (1 week of each/ 2 weeks of one), 2 weeks cattle (dairy advised), 2 weeks equine, 2 weeks pigs, 2 weeks sheep (lambing advised), 2 weeks optional. Following each placement, a report is written and submitted to your VSCS (Veterinary School Clinical Supervisor).

MVST 1B (2nd Year)

The second year of the course involves 5 core science components:

– Mechanisms of Drug Action (MODA) – mechanisms of drug action upon the body   (Medics and Vets)

– Biology of Disease (BOD) – processes underlying disease and its effects on cells, tissues and organs   (Medics and Vets)

Medics: Neurobiology and Human Behaviour (NHB) – structure and function of the sense organs and central nervous system and their role in determining behaviour. Also the study of psychology
Vets: Neurobiology and Animal Behaviour (NAB) – (mainly runs alongside NHB) – structure and function of sensory and motor systems, the CNS, and introduction to theories behind animal behaviour relating to brain structures.

Medics: Human Reproduction (HR) – structure and function of the reproductive system
Vets: Veterinary Reproductive Biology (VRB) – also available as a Natural Scientist’s module, VRB runs in Lent term and addresses both the physiology and anatomy of reproduction.

Medics: Head and Neck Anatomy (HNA) – overall structure of the head and neck
Vets: Comparative Vertebrate Biology – Head and Neck (CVB) – the Michaelmas part of the CVB course, this series considers the diverse, and rather complicated, structures of the head including sensory organs, glands, and the structures of the mouth

– Comparative Vertebrate Biology – Vertebrates (CVB) – the Lent part of the CVB course, this course addresses the increased expectation of vets to know what to do when confronted with ‘non-standard’ species such as amphibians and birds, how mammalian evolution has developed from these species, and why these species differ as they do

– Preparing for Patients (PfP B) – experience in meeting patients in hospitals
– Preparing for Patients (PfP C) – visiting community based health related agencies
– Preparing for the Veterinary Profession (PfVP) – a course considering the history, current state, and future of the profession, as well as an interactive introduction to clinical communication skills

Part 2 (3rd Year)

The third year can be used to study in a wide array of departments ranging from subjects such as zoology to philosophy, with an opportunity to complete either an experimental project or a literature-based dissertation

Clinical Years (4th to 6th Years)


The next 3 years focus on clinical medicine – Year 4: Core Clinical Practice
, Year 5: Specialist Clinical Practice
, Year 6: Applied Clinical Practice
You are exposed to general medical practice in community, primary and secondary care placements and to the specialist care provided in hospital settings, especially at Addenbrookes Hospital. The focus for teaching and learning is patient-centredness, such that you are encouraged to think of medical care from the patients’ perspective throughout. The curriculum is built around a common set of themes, which allow integration of a wide range of medical subjects around core principles of healthcare for the individual and for communities. Throughout the course there are opportunities for you to pursue areas of their own interest in a series of student – selected and research components.

Veterinary Medicine

For Veterinary Medicine, the fourth year sees students move up to the Vet School, located on the West Cambridge site, and start to apply knowledge gained in the first three years to clinical scenarios. The lecture course is supported by ‘rotations,’ with hands on experience gained at the University Farm (fourth years lamb the flock in January and February), the RSPCA Clinic in Cambridge, and with the horses at Merton Farm. Fifth year sees a continuation of the course focusing on practical and clinical skills, whilst sixth year is the nation-wide lecture-free year with 40 weeks of ‘rotations.’ The Clinical Skills Centre at the Vet School allows us to practise clinical skills such as taking bloods and inserting catheters. Entry into fourth year comes with the start of the compulsory 26 weeks clinical EMS.
All Robinson vets enjoy a formal and a talk from a professional in both Michaelmas and Lent term, ensuring pre-clinical and clinical vets get to know each other; Robinson has a very strong support network between vets from all year groups.

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