Curriculum development

This theme encompasses two significant activities:

1. The development and implementation of new and innovative educational initiatives, and
2. The sharing of good practice in curriculum design across all our programmes.

The need for continuous development of curricula for all our professional clinical programmes is an essential activity to ensure (i) we continue to produce excellent and employable graduates, and (ii) for compliance with regulatory and accreditation bodies. Each professional programme curriculum review is undertaken by a series of specialised working groups overseen by a steering/management board. As such this work sits outside the day-to-day management of the CHSE and its theme leads. However, the Centre supports the sharing of good practice by ensuring working groups involve experts from outside the programme under review, provision of applicable staff development events, and advice and guidance on approval and implementation processes. There has been considerable review and development of our professional programmes in recent years with a highly acclaimed, case-based BVSc curriculum now fully delivered, the exciting and radically different case-based MB21 medical curriculum currently in its second year of delivery, and the undergraduate dental curriculum under review with a focus on student centeredness and earlier and more integrated clinical training planned for delivery from 2019.

The Faculty’s curriculum development work has resulted in the introduction of innovative programmes across the Faculty that will expand and diversify the student body and programme offering. New programmes that have recently been launched or approved are: 

  • The Centre for Applied Anatomy is in the second year of delivery of two new programmes, a three year BSc in Applied Anatomy and a new intercalated BSc programme, Functional and Clinical Anatomy, which offers a unique opportunity for human dissection supported by full body MRI scans. Whilst there have been challenges, not least around timetabling and teaching space, the student experience in both has been good, and places on the iBSc in Functional and Clinical Anatomy in particular, are highly in demand.
  • The Bristol Medical School has expanded its provision of clinically relevant programmes to postgraduate level by partnering with the Society for Clinical Perfusionists to deliver an MSc in Perfusion Science. Successful completion of this programme will be the only route for accreditation into the profession in the UK. 
  • A new graduate entry, case-based Veterinary Science programme will be delivered from 2019, supported by development of new state of the art teaching spaces. It is anticipated this programme will be attractive to overseas students, particularly once AVMA accreditation is obtained.
  • The new BSc Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour programme, first delivered in 2018-19, will complement the existing and revised BSc Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Science programme.
  • The Gateway programme is a central component of the Faculty’s widening participation strategy offering opportunities for students who have the potential to become doctors, dentists or vets but do not meet the academic entry criteria to apply directly into the three large clinical programmes. Students from a defined list of state schools and colleges in the UK may apply. The Gateway is now in its third year of running and we are encouraged to note that the evidence thus far is that Gateway students perform as least as well as direct entry student cohorts in each of the three professional programmes.
  • The new MSc in Public Health, currently in its first year of delivery prepares individuals for a public health career in a range of settings. The Epidemiology MSc starting in 2019/20 will follow on from the launch of the Public Health MSc and further build on the taught postgraduate offering from the Medical School.
  • Expansion of intercalation opportunities has been a long-term strategy for the Faculty. Significant work to market the Bristol offering externally has been successful with increased recruitment of students from other UK medical and dental schools in recent years, and now from overseas. Intercalation offers the opportunity to further internationalise our student cohorts with all the benefits this brings, and we are delighted to see significant numbers of overseas medical student applicants wanting to study here in Bristol for the 2018/19 academic year. The strategy to internationalise our intercalation programmes has been bolstered through a new partnership agreement with Hong Kong University medical school, and we look forward to welcoming many students from Hong Kong in future years.
  • A new BSc in Dental Hygiene and Therapy will run from September 2019, and will integrate, where appropriate, with delivery of a revised BDS programme with opportunities to enhance team working and understanding of scope of practice. This new BSc programme has proved remarkably popular with over 500 applications for the 12 places available.
  • An MSc programme in Orthopedic Surgery, will run from September 2019. This programme will involve students as co-creators in their learning, enabling each student to tailor their programme to fit their specific interest in Orthopedics.   
  • The opening of a new International Foundation Programme for Medicine and Dentistry in September 2019 provides an exciting opportunity to further internationalise the Faculty’s undergraduate student body. 
  • An exciting collaboration between Health Sciences and the Faculty for Social Sciences and Law will deliver a new Healthcare Management MSc programme and a PG Certificate in Healthcare Improvement for individuals working in the healthcare management arena. Initial delivery is planned for September 2019.

The Faculty has significant experience in developing new programmes and support is available to help anyone who has an idea for a new educational offering. Please contact us to discuss your ideas.


The curriculum development work has resulted in the introduction of innovative programmes across the Faculty

David Dymock, Theme Co-lead

2018/19 has been a busy and exciting year for staff

Kate Whittington, Theme Co-lead
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