The University of Minho' Degree in Medicine was structured, since its origin, in full compliance with the Bologna process.
The first three curricular years correspond to a "Licenciatura" degree in Basic Sciences in Medicine and at the end of the six curricular years; the students obtain a Master's degree, being qualified to access all the medical specialties available in the European space.
The new study plan, MinhoMD, was introduced in 2020/21 with a more diverse, customized and autonomous curriculum - in which students can define their own path.
The MinhoMD was jointly designed by the entire community of the School of Medicine (teachers, researchers and students), as well as by representatives of health institutions, former students or patients.
You can download here the MinhoMD leaflet
Why Medicine at the University of Minho?
(1) The central role of the student
Curricular activities are designed to promote the active role of the student in the learning process, as opposed to more passive methods of teaching, in which the teacher has the main role.
The School of Medicine promotes the appropriate learning moments, the constant availability of tutors, teachers and learning tools that students need. In return, the student is required to show maximum commitment, interest and self-discipline. Assessment is a tool for continuous improvement. Student's assessment is distributed throughout the school year, which requires the students to have a continuous investment in their learning. In addition to the students, the teachers and the curricular areas are also assessed.
Quoting João Cerqueira, director of the course:
"It is a curriculum that provides answers to the problems and concerns raised by the students"
The practice of medicine is a social act. Therefore, the teaching is not only within the walls of the school but also in the community in which it operates. From the 1st to 6th year, different curricular areas promote inclusion and skills development in locus. If a big practical component already existed, the new curriculum offers a more pressing contact with patients and healthcare units - right from the start of the course. That is, since your 1st year at our School.
(3) Teaching method focused on clinical reasoning
Our teaching method always was innovative and aimed at giving the best tools to train doctors with a clinical effective reasoning and transversal skills.
With the MinhoMD we go beyond how the students learn. Instead of memorizing diseases (signs and symptoms, means of diagnosis, treatment and management of the patient) and only after understanding if they fit the symptoms of the patient, our student learn to think from what they hear from a patient in an medical appointment or emergency, for example. Thus, the reasoning starts with the complaint of the patient and, from then on, the student must reach the diagnosis and the treatment - exactly how patients who seek for help at the healthcare units.
In addition to being more relevant to the future medical practice, it is worth mentioning that this approach is quite similar to the current structure of the access exam to the medical specialties (in which our students have had the best average rankings in the last ten years).
(4) More customized and flexible education
The student has the opportunity to complete its course, exploring personal interests and future professional paths.
The new curriculum is highly focused on the student and allows them to explore and develop all their interests and potential.
Therefore, the students are responsible for building their own curriculum by designing their path through optional units (that correspond to approximately 20% of the course), choosing majors and minors in various areas (such as economics, management, data science or biomedical research, for example) or take part in volunteering initiatives, mobility experiences (ERASMUS+), research or other activities, setting their own completion pace (which can be completed in less time or extended with the achievement of a PhD during the course).
The study plan now entails a range of larger options that allow the training of differentiated doctors and health professionals oriented to areas such as economics, management or computer science, for example.
In addition to the different experiences and realities with which the student comes across, this path will lead a future generation of empowered doctors.
(5)Investment in Scientific Research
•Research at ICVS- The Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), classified as Excellent by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), consists of a multidisciplinary team, that conducts research in Development and Neoplasia, Microbiology and Infection, and Neurosciences, in collaboration with research centers around the world, publishing several dozen articles per year in journals of international impact.
Students have the possibility of taking part in the projects developed at ICVS. (www.icvs.uminho.pt)
• Integrating research in the curriculum - The curriculum features lab activities designed to develop research skills. Also in the Option Project, students can invest in this area.
•Integrated Program MD-PhD - For the first time a Portuguese university, in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, USA) and Columbia (New York, USA), offers students the possibility of obtaining a PhD during the degree, thereby obtaining a double degree of MD / PhD.
As part of the preparation for the programme, the School allows the candidates to develop experimental skills in lab rotations taking placeICVS.
(6) Clinical skills
The School of Medicine created the Clinical Skills Laboratory (LAC), an innovative space, open every day after school hours, where students can improve their clinical skills, under the supervision of a clinical tutor.
• Procedures Training - All clinical procedures, from the physical examination of the patient, to a suture, require a correct technique and lots of practice. The LAC provides students with personalized support and the latest technology in medical equipment and clinical simulation in order for them to learn and train procedures and perform them both correctly and with confidence.
• Practice with standardized patients - The clinical history is often the key to diagnosis. So learning how to take it properly and manage the relationship with the patient is critical to the future doctor. The LAC uses actors trained to simulate various conditions and environments close to the real (urgency, consultation etc.).
(7)Arts and humanities
A humanistic conception of medicine has led to the creation of curricular areas beyond the strictly biological and clinical. Vertical Domains (1st to 5th grade) explore areas of knowledge such as philosophy, ethics, history, literature and other art forms.
Like our founder, Professor Joaquim Pinto Machado said, "nothing of what is human, is strange to the doctor".