Since I did my final exams in this course just last month I thought I'd share my experiences. I've had an incredible three years doing this course and couldn't be happier with my choice. To help those of you considering it I'll go through it Semester by Semester. Before that just some general info...
Quinn School of Business is a great facility, if you're considering a degree here you should really come visit, it has lots of study areas and places for group meetings. Nearly 300 people start in commerce every year and these are split into 6 groups of just under 50, you will be with the same group for all classes for the first two years, meaning you make great friends with them. The classrooms are small (holding about 50) with comfortable seating and connections for internet and power supply at every seat. If you do a course in Quinn you'll have to have a laptop with the required software installed. You can buy a new vendor laptop from Dell at a discounted rate and if you need any service on this it can be done at ILTG which is a room in Quinn, they also give you a lend of a laptop to use if yours needs to be repaired. If you have a laptop already and it is up to spec you just need to get it on the network which is simple, but you may also need to buy and install essential software.
UCD is a massive campus with a diverse student body. Of course the stereotypes can be found and noticed but there're actually LOADS of different people with many different tastes. Plus you'll have plenty of opportunities to mix with people doing other courses, by just getting involved in student life you'll get to know people doing all sorts of things from Medicine and Science to Arts and Engineering.
The way stages and semesters work in the college: A stage is a year, which is split into two 15 week semesters, which cover 12 weeks of classes a one week study break and two weeks of exams. Semester One runs from the second week in September to just before Christmas. All exams will be complete by the Friday before Xmas, with some finishing up well before this. This means that the whole semester and all six modules (courses) in that semester will be fully complete before Xmas and you can enjoy your Xmas and New Year break without having to worry about assignments of exams coming up at the start of the New Year. The Xmas break lasts about a month then towards the end of January you start back for Semester Two with completely new modules. Semester Two usually runs for seven weeks of classes before taking a two-week study break in March, then the last five weeks of classes are covered before the one week study break and two weeks of exams to wrap up the year by the second week in May.
Stage One - Semester One
You get to know your classmates, your laptop, the campus and the system. There's the whole UCD Horizons Elective thing to get used to and find out about, this is where you can pick a module from anywhere in the university (or within Quinn if you wish) to do in addition to your business subjects which currently are:
- Maths for Business 1: Basic algebra/calculus and how they relate to the business world, delivered through large lectures and small tutorials, assessed through weekly tests, mid-term & final.
- Business Law: Covers contracts, the Irish legal system etc. Delivered through small class groups, assessed through assignments, field trip report and final.
- Management: Covers basic management, such as models from Porter. Delivered in small groups, assessed through weekly online tests(Multiple Choice Questions/MCQ), reports and final
- Micro-Economics: Intro to Economics at a micro level. Delivered in large lectures, assessed through mid-term and final exam (all MCQ)
- Computers and Information Systems: Intro to computers. Delivered through small groups, assessed through group work... presentations, reports, building a website & final.
You'll now know the system fairly well and get on with your classmates. There's more group work, presentations and reports this semester.
- Macro-Economics: Intro to economics are a wider level. Delivered in large lectures, assessed through mid-term and final.
- Financial Accounting I: Gives basic introduction to Financial Accounting. Delivered in large lectures, assessed through mid-term & final exam.
- Organisational Behaviour: Covers the ethics involved in business and HRM. Delivered through small groups, assessed through group presentations, reports and final.
- Quantitative Analysis: Lots of Excel work with numbers. Delivered to small groups, assessed through group project and final.
- Applied Business Competencies: Teaches practical aspects of business such as giving presentations in groups and individually, writing reports, analysing annual results and using stock exchanges.
· Financial Accounting II: Covers financial accounting in a more applied way, instead of just doing the equations you'll do some analysis. Delivered to small groups, assessed through essay, mid-term and final.
· Operations Management: Covers Supply Chains and how to handle multiple tasks. Delivered to small groups, assessed through group work and final.
· Finance: Covers a lot of the stuff used by top financial firms to assess potential of investments. Delivered through large lectures and small tutorials, assessed through final.
· Marketing: Intro to the basics of marketing. Delivered to small classes, assessed through presentations, reports and final.
· Cross Cultural Management: Gives some insight into how management can be different in different cultures. Delivered through small groups, assessed through presentations, debates and final.
Stage Two, Semester Two
This is where you'll have the opportunity to go on international exchange. Destinations include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Netherlands, Norway and the UK. Where you go depends on your preferences and your performance in first year. I went to Vancouver for four months which was an incredible experience. When you're on exchange you'll do the equivalent of the courses people who stay in Quinn School.
The Quinn courses are Database Systems Development, Managing Employee Relations, Management Accounting, Understanding Entrepreneurs and Intermediate Micro-economics.
You will choose if you want to specialise in Accounting, Banking and Finance, General Management, International Business, Human Resource Management, Marketing or Management Information Systems. You decide in semester two of stage two, by which stage you will have experience in each of the areas, which to do. The one you choose still doesn't tie you into a career and there are plenty of postgraduate opportunities.
Hopes this helps, PM me any questions or join www.bebo.com/UCDBusiness and comment your questions there!
I've done First Year Physics (CK408) and a lot of the course content is similar to Chemical Science.
You have 3 options in CK406: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ck406/
If you choose option 3 I can share my wisom with you!
If you're thinking about Option 2 I can help you with most of it.
If you want info on Option 1 I'm afraid I can't help you.
The main Chemistry module is CM1000, which I did even though most on my course didn't.
It's worth 15 credits and split into 3 sections - Inorganic, Physical and Organic. You also have labs every week (which are compulsory) and tutorials/workshops (which, despite what the lecturers tell you, are optional!)
The worst thing is that you have to do 3 MCQ (Multiple Choice) exams, which are a pain because they have negative marking.
Overall, it's an interesting module (apart from Organic which I found boring and difficult). The Inorganic and Physical are simple enough, slightly dull at times, but you do learn a lot of different types of Chemistry, so it's definitely worth doing.
The other module is called History of Chemistry, CM1100. I don't know anything about it because our course doesn't have it, but it's only worth 5 credits so it's likely to be straightforward enough.
If you're considering doing Option 3 and want information on it (The 2 Physics modules, 2 Applied Maths modules and the Maths module) don't hesitate to PM me!
I'm out on work placement as the second semester of Year 3 of Law and Accounting. First off, UL is a savage college, so close knit and great socially, so no worries from that aspect.
Are you interested more in Law or Accounting? I know you may think you're not sure yet, but if its law you're into, go for Law Plus instead, god I wish that course was around in 2005! The vast majority of L&A students go down the Accounting route, so choosing to go for law can be lonely!!
What way is it divided? It is basically 50-50, 3 law modules and 3 accounting, sometimes 2 - 3, and there is a good bit of Economics involved for the first year and a half or so. If you haven't done Accounting before, I would say don't do this course. They say they teach you from scratch but believe me, my sister did Accounting for the Leaving this year and she knows more about it than me, even though I'm one year away from having a degree in it!! If you did Economics for Leaving, you'll have a head start, but it is not necessary.
What can you expect if you do the course? Not overloaded with hours, about 20 a week at most. The lecturers are for the most part very nice. The law tutorials are generally good, depends of course, but if you get Eddie Keane, thank your lucky stars, a legend! The Accounting tutorials are hit and miss, some are worse than useless, others are very step-by-step and helpful. It can be a competitive course, don't fall behind, do a bit of work and it'll stand to you later.
Overall, I'm not sorry I did this course. You are eligable for either Kings InNs (barrister) exams or Blackhall Place (solicitor) FE1s, as well as being exempt from several of the accounting exams (don't know details).
Hope that helps, feel free to PM me if you have any questions you think I could answer!
If you don't think that traditional study methods will suit you, consider the Open University. It is not cheap, but if you are working fulltime, it is possible to fit study around your other activities, and employers can sometimes be persuaded to contribute to your fees.
BSc International Studies
Diploma in Politics and Government
No entry requirements
Number of students:
N/A - distance learning. 16 students per tutor max.
Depends very much on the course you are studying. You have to accummulate 360 points of study credit, 120 at each of Levels 1,2 and 3.
Courses are usually 30 or 60 points in value, 120 points of study is equivalent to one year of fulltime study at university. Credit transfer from previous study is also possible, depending on the specialism. You can complete a degree in as little as 2 years, or stretch it out over ten, depending on your particular needs and learning style.
12-16 a week, depending again on the course you are taking.
You can take a variety of courses from a number of disciplines to gain a BA/BSc (Open) or specialise in a particular area. See http://www.open.ac.uk for details and student feedback for almost every course.
There are courses to suit everyone, you can tailor your degree to suit your interests.
OU degrees are esteemed by both employers and universities - I had no problems getting onto the postgrad of my choice, and employers recognise the skills an OU student needs to be able to combine distance learning with work/life committments.
I can't really comment on individual courses, as people may take different routes. I will say that the newest courses are always the best. Older courses can be very dated as the structure of distance learning means that the materials can't be updated easily. However, they are revised regularly and I rarely had serious problems with this.
You receive all the materials you will need to complete the course. You are given access to the online library, including the EBSCO journal database. You are also provided with all the software you will need, including the OU's conferencing toolkit which is used for online tutorials, student forums and email services.
It is an excellent learning environment with the focus very much on the student and catering to their learning style. The OU has taken overall first place in UK student satisfaction surveys for the last five years.
I nearly chose Music with Arts last year but ended up accepting Communications in DCU (btw if any of you are looking for info on that course, either ask away here, PM me, or crawl through that huge Communications topic on the DCU forum )
From what I hear it's pretty popular. I didn't look a huge amount into it but the one thing that did stand out for me is that the Music Department is actually a fair bit away from the main UCC campus...a good 15/20 minute if you're going to be staying in one of the apartments near the college. That aspect did put me off it a small bit because your classes and lessons won't just take place in the Music Dept. but also back on-campus, so you may have to go from the one place to the other during the day too.
One of my friends is just going into 3rd year in that course. If ya want to hear from him personally about the course itself, PM me and i'll send you on his e-mail address
Print Journalism - Ballyfermot College of Further Education (Two Year Ord.Degree)
3 Higher C3+ add 3 Ord.Level passes plus interview and portfolio (these all can be waivered, contact the college)
Number of Students
Max of 28
Approx 15 in class per week. Unlimited thereafter.
The aim of the course is to produce journalists with the skills and abilities to enter the world of the media as highly employable and workplace-expericenced individuals. It is not to produce a bunch flower-tongued Hemingways capable of winning the pulitzer prize the year after they leave Ballyfermot. All the lecturers are experienced, or still working in the media enviroment and encourage you to begin submitting peices to papers, local and national once you reach the standard expected, for most this is in the first year. They are all very approachable also due to the small class size. The modules cover all aspects needed for working in the print media. Research, Subbing, Layout & Design, News gathering and reporting, feature writing, creative writing, Media Analysis, Multimedia, Newspaper Production.
You'll learn how to pitch ideas (offer an idea to an editor), write in the various styles, layout news pages, HTML, analyse media, act in a media-related job interview and how to operate in all the roles of the newsroom.
Through out the first year the class will practice combining all these skills on various 'Newsday' excercises. On these newsdays all lectures are cancelled and the class are told they have to produce a certain number of newspaper pages from scratch by a set deadline. Each student is given a position, Editor, Deputy Editor, Sports Editor, Reporter, Sub-Ed. Layout Designer etc and the class must work together to complete the task. The final newsday is analysed and goes towards your final grade. You are also expected to source and complete 2 seperate weeks of work experience in a media organisation. There are seven modules and you submit assignments over the course of the year for all of them. Five of the modules are graded solely on the assignments submitted, and the remaining two are 50%-assignment 50%-exam, so you only sit two exams at the end of the year.
In the second year the class must produce the college newspaper off their own backs. Unlike other colleges the SU doesnt fund the paper so the class has to source its own funding - although the college will help if needed, youre expected to break even though. Last year the student newspaper won Small Publication of the year at the Student Media awards. You are expected to source and complete three weeks of work experience in the media.
If you ask anyone in the print media about the BCFE print journalism course you will recieve a postive response. It is highly regarded due its "focus on employability" ethos. Although BCFE is a small college it has produced a few of the biggest names in the Irish media. The Print Journalism course does not confine you to working in print media either, most of Newstalk is made up of MJH (Print Journo) graduates, many of the original presenters from the early days of TV3 were from the media courses, the employment opportunities are highly varied. I'm in my second (final) year and the majority of my class already have part-time/weekend work in local newspapers around Dublin. Many of us have been published by national publications also.
Graduates of this course recieve an ordinary degree and have the opportunity to apply for an extra year to achieve a BA (Hons Degree) in Media Production Management (THREE YEAR B.A... BARGAIN!) which is issued by DCU but completed in BCFE. Alternatively you could go to the UK to do another year and recieve the BA in Print Journalism, or go to UCD/DCU/DIT for two more years (four year BA, same as starting in a Uni.) to complete a BA in Print Journalism/Alt-Media-related-course.
Points of Note:
Although this course will provide you with an excellent base to enter the media dont expect to trot along to BCFE and trot out two years later with a degree and into a job. You will get out what you put in, although the college is small and the class and lecturers know you by name they arent going to hold you by the hand and pull you through your time there. The staff will allow you make mistakes because you learn from them, they will let you make mistakes so you become more self-sufficient and use your initiative, two things needed to make it in the highly-competitive Print world. The media department is a great place to make contacts for future employment, the media is all about who-you-know unfortunately and in ten years time the who-you-know could well be the person from the Television Production course who sat two tables down from you at lunch in your BCFE days who is now sitting across the table from you at the interview.
BCFE is not DCU, DIT or Trinity, it doesnt have 20'000 students and 50 societies. The college is very friendly but not 'buzzing', although this year the SU looks very promising and highly motivated. Music and creativity are the main interests of many of the students due the abundance of music, art and fashion based courses. The average age of a first year is around 20 also, so mature students are very common. You wont find BCFE the wildest place on earth but you wont be lonely due to the small classes. I'd recommend it to anybody looking to get into the media enviroment especially those you didnt achieve high points in their LC or have been out of school a few years who always wanted to work in journalism but thought it was unattainable.
Any other info PM me.
Course: Law and arts in NUIMaynooth (New)
480 points or so
The classes are small and neat with good intro material.The course is only new and the college is still trying to get a handle on it but its looking positive.
Hours are minimal and given the first year modules, alot of time is left free for the student bar Maynooth also won university of the year in the sunday times.
(This is more an plee to Dublin people, please come to maynooth and save my sanity...just too many 'cavan' people) .....damn 5 points of ucd law
May as well add a bit about my course
Politics (NUIM) - 360 points (2008).
The course topic at the minute anyway is very broad, and the topics are taught in a Socratic style, discussion would be promoted, and you would learn that way and by doing the readings also. You do two other arts subjects in first year, I'm doing Philosophy and Computer Science. As with the law course Barry is talking about up there, theres plenty of free time, which is also another thing I like about it .
Just in second year in Law and French in UCC, absolutely love the course and everything about it.
It was 530 2 years ago when I did my LC, dropped to 515 last year. Law and Irish is higher, around the 540 mark. Straight law is around 500 and Law and German always comes in a bit lower with around 480.
In Law and French there's about 10-15 but for all core modules we're in with all the law students, straight, Irish, German etc. We have French classes and legal French classes in just our small group then.
What it's like
First year: Completely daunting at first, law in particular. It's hard to get accustomed to self-directed learning and a lot of reading is expected of you (although not a lot of it ever gets done.) French is easy in First year, all simple grammar stuff which you would have done in secondary school numerous times.
Second year: Harder and easier at the same time. Easier because you now know how to approach the law subjects but harder because they expect a lot more of you. Also you have no choice of law subjects in second year like those in straight law (because you have to complete certain modules in order to be allowed to sit Kings Inn/Blackhall exams.)This means we rarely see friends from straight law/german/irish etc. French is still handy enough though.
Third year is spent on Erasmus in a choice of four universities - Rennes, Lyon, Strasbourg or Montpellier and then you have another year of optional law subjects..
I absolutely adore my course. I love being mixed in with the big law group but still having my class of 11 who I get on really well with. It's brilliant having Erasmus to look forward to next year. If thinking of doing law I'd definitely recommend doing a language. It makes the workload so much easier to bear and learning a language provides such a relief to the heavy burden of pure law. Aswell as that, French is definitely the most useful as its used predominantly in Europe, which means that LawFrench graduates generally find it easy enough to get employment.
UCC itself is wonderful. Cork's a beautiful city and is the perfect size for a college city. Clubs and societies in UCC are brilliant and there's always something to do.
Any questions etc. just drop me a pm..
Business Studies with German- University of Limerick
2008: 385 points.
Ok so basically this is two courses, you do the entire business course with german on top of it.
The business course is basically the same as any other business or commerce course in Ireland though UL has mandatory co-op which is not the case in all commerce courses (e.g NUI galway).
I think its a great course and I find it really rewarding doing it with a language.
I'm still only in 1st year so my experience is limited but so far I can say that it is a really interesting course and the job prospects are very good.
Business Information Management
Principles of Accounting
So its about 16-18hrs a week of business and around 4 hours of german.
The work load in business is not overly stressful if you keep up with the work. They really ease you into the course in the 1st semester.
As for UL I couldn't recommend the place enough, from my experience Limerick has the best night life in Ireland and UL definitely adds to this. Around 14,000 students and in my opinion has the nicest campus in Ireland, if your into sports your sorted too as it has been nicknamed Irelands sporting campus as the facilities are top notch. The campus itself is the biggest campus in size terms in Ireland due to it being located out in the suburbs unlike most other universities.
Any questions feel free to ask.
Computer Science - UCD - I'm 4th BSc CS, and am also ex-Mathematical Science.
(2008 - 335 points)
Class size: ~60 (that's from a combination of the BA and BSc streams, and a few people from DN008 Science will go down the CS road too), but there are only about 35 of us left in 4th year.
Hours: In 1st year, this will very much depend on what else you're doing with it. BA students will most likely have fewer lecture hours, but BSc students will have a better maths foundation. Overall - about 24 hours a week in 1st year, this will decrease to about 10 hours a week in 4th year.
1st year BSc students will take
Introduction to Programming 1 and 2 (Java programming with Fintan Costello, no previous knowledge of programming is assumed - I hadn't programmed before I came to UCD and I pulled an 86 in the pre-Horizons version of this, it's a very easy course and it's worth it as an elective for TP students too)
Introduction to Computer Architecture (circuits, logic and all that fun stuff with Chris Bleakley)
Formal Foundations (logic, proof and all of that, John Dunnion teaches this)
Algorithmic Problem Solving (basically a puzzle class, Henry McLoughlin teaches this and he's lovely)
Software Engineering Project 1 (Michael O'Neill is teaching it this year)
3 maths courses are taken in 1st year too - I didn't have any difficulty really with the level required but I am slightly biased as I got an A1 at higher level in the LC. Students entering with close to the minimum requirements (OB3/HD3 Maths) may struggle.
2nd, 3rd, 4th year modules here. I'm currently in 4th year, and my favourite module this semester has been Machine Learning - but then again I'm a horrible nerd that likes that sort of thing.
Other things you should know:
- Laptops are now compulsory. I can't imagine doing a CS degree without one though.
- The school can be quite disorganised at times (for example, the 2nd and 3rd year labs were closed for the study week, and lectures were cancelled in the first week of term due to a conference taking up the lecture theatre)
- Get involved with clubs and societies! UCD is bloody huge, they're the best way to get to know people. I've been a member of the taekwon-do club for 6 years.
I'm doing Psychology in NUIM.
It was 515 in my year, I don't know about last year. Also you can enter via arts so ~350 points I'd guess that way. But you have to compete for your place.
Number of students:
Any number in first year, there was about 200 in my psychology class. Then 70 in second year, and whoever doesn't drop out of that 70 will be around in three years.
Three years degree. In first year you do psychology and 2 other arts subjects that don't clash. I did Spanish and Philosophy which were both pretty good.
Then in second and third year you just study psychology.
About 16 hours or so in first year depending on your subjects. In second year we have two hours of computers/statistics, six hours of lectures, and four hours of practical sessions per week.
The first year course has actually changed now so you don't do any practicals in first year, the classes were just getting too big, so I'm not exactly sure about the first year course in that respect. But for the other modules you study -
Biological and Developmental Psychology - 4 weeks of biopsych which is a more advanced look at the way our brain and nervous system work than you would have done for LC. I didn't do Biology for LC so it was a bit tough. And then 8 weeks of Developmental which is fairly interesting.
Cognitive and Social Psychology - Cognitive Psych is really good, it's about perception and memory and all that jazz. Social psych I found a little duller, but some of the studies were really interesting like Stanley Milgram's study.
Statistics of some description - This is pretty boring, but it's really easy, it lasts both semesters so you're only examined at the end. But don't worry, it's the easiest exam.
Experimental Methods - So in this class we used to do practicals and methodoly, but I don't know what they do now. I think there's some history and methodology etc.
So that's it for first year! In second year.......
Learning, Language and Behaviour - This class is the bane of my existance... Obviously everyone has their own tastes but I find it hideously boring. Me and my friend refer to it as - how to train your rat class.
Biological Basis of Behaviour - Alright! This is more like it. A really interesting class. Looks at cognitive neuropsych methodologies (e.g. neuroimaging). Looks at diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and their neurological basis. Looks at what different areas of the brain do, and what happens when we damage them etc. Really good stuff
Perception and Memory - Another pretty good lecture. It's like a WAY more indept version of the Cognitive Psychology you study in first year. Basically breaks the two areas down into their respective parts, and also studies the deficits that can occur - aphasia and amnesia for example. A really interesting class, quite biological, and requires a lot of study.
Statistics version 2.0 - So in this class you sit at a computer for 2 hours, and learn how to do everything you learned about in first year in the program SPSS. It's not really the most riviting class but it's definitley essential.
That's it for semester one anyway. In each module (except stats where you have a small test and hand outs to complete and be returned), you do one practical worth 22% (5000 word limit) and an essay worth 18% (1500/2500 word limit). You have two weeks to do each. So it's pretty tough going in terms of your work load.
A good course, I'd recommend it. I really enjoyed getting to study another two arts subjects in second year. And if you find you prefer them to psychology you can continue on doing those! The workload in first year is pretty ok, and exams are easy enough to pass if you do a bit of study. In second year things really get taken up a notch however, you have 24 classes per module unlike the 12 you had in first year (shared between unrelated areas), and four modules instead of three. So even though you have less hours overall, you've got a LOT to learn.
One thing I would say is that you should make sure you wouldn't be more interested in psychiatry
Course: Medicine (5 years) at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK.
Points: When I applied (2007), the grade requirement was AAABB with at least one A in a science subject; however demand for the course is increasing so I think those requirements are going to go up.
Application: Apply through UCAS. Deadline is mid October for entry the following year. Grades or grade predictions required along with a personal statement and a letter from a referee. UKCAT also required or if you have a previous degree and/or are over 21, you'll be required to sit the GAMSAT.
Number of students: 214; 14 are international students; for first and second year we are split between two campuses in Exeter and Plymouth, 107 of us at each; we are split between Exeter, Plymouth and Truro for years 3-5. Small group sessions involve 6-8 students usually.
Hours: average 15 hours contact time during first year; however we have quite a large workload outside these hours referred to as 'self directed learning' (SDL).
Course Content: I think we're quite different from the Irish colleges in that we have patient and clinical skills experience during 'pre clinical' years. We work on a two week timetable (for first year, I don't know about second year) and have various different sessions...
Plenaries: The PC term for lectures, apparently they don't like lecturing 'at' us, they still do but anyway. I suppose some of them are good and including 'audience participation time' which can be good craic. We have three hour long plenaries one week and four the next. We have something called telematics which means that sometimes the lecture takes place at the Exeter campus and is streamed live to Plymouth and vice versa. We have microphones in case we want to ask the lecturer something and they're at the other campus. Streamed plenaries are available online about 48 hours after so we can use them for revision, which is pretty awesome.
LSRC: Life Sciences Resource Centre. We two 3 hour long sessions every second week. The first hours consists of a lecture in the IT suite which is usually on medical imaging. Then we are split into smaller groups and have a 35 min anatomy session, 35 min physiology session and then facilitated SDL.
CSRC: Clinical Skills Resource Centre. We have two 2 hour long sessions at one of the local hospitals every second week where learn how to take a BP, injections, blood taking, CPR, pregnant abdomen examinations, newborn baby examinations, communication skills etc. We are filmed during our communication skills sessions so we can look back at them after. We'll be learning how to scrub up for theatre after Xmas
Community placement: We have one 2 hour long placement every second week. We get sent to a variety of places including GP surgeries, with the midwives or physios (got to watch a C section when I was with the midwives!), specialist childrens' centres etc. It depends on what we are studying at the time.
Jigsaw sessions: One 2 hour long session every second week. Small group session, ours is facilitated by a GP. We talk about our placement experience and other issues, usually ethical ones. Not everyone's cup of tea but I quite enjoy them.
PBL: Problem based learning. Small group sessions- one 2 hour long one week, two 2 hour long the second week. Our curriculum is systems based and goes through the life cycle rather than subject (ie learning anatomy, biochemistry etc separately). So far we have done four cases which each last two weeks. They have been on conception (where we learned about fertilization, fertility treatments etc), fetal (we learned about embryology and pregnancy), infant (babies and their development) and childhood (concentrated on the musculoskeltal system and damage to the upper limbs). We are given a case (eg Mary and John can't conceive and have done such and such; they come to you as their GP and ask such and such; you ask them such and such). As a group we have to come up with questions and learning objectives at our first session. We then have to go home and research the answers ourselves and draw on what we are learning during the other sessions. We come back and share with the others during the next two sessions.
PBL style learning is how they do at the majority of colleges in Canada and the US I think and is considered a modern style of medical education compared to the old fashioned style of 9-5 lectures where you are spoon fed. However I think it is a case of each to their own so really you should decide which style of learning you feel would suit you.
Workshops: One 2 hour session every second week. We meet as a year group and split into smaller groups where we discuss some sort of ethical issue and then present our arguments to the rest of the year at the end of sessions. Haven't learned much from them yet tbh but they are good fun and a good bonding opportunity for the year
Evidence based practice: One 2 hour session every second week where we learn about statistics and how to read reports on and carry out studies, the different styles etc.
SSU: Student Selected Unit. The GMC requires that medical students spend 33% of their time at med school studying an option of their choice. We are in the middle of one at the moment. Basically we get three weeks to study a particular area of interest and produce a paper by the end of it. For the first one we are just researching papers at home but after this we will have placements at hospitals, labs etc.
Consolidation weeks: We have one of these after xmas. Not entirely sure what it involves but think it has something to do with catch up on what we've done so far.
Workload: Although for the first year we only have about 15 hours contact time a week we are expected to do 15-20 hours study outside this time; this requires a lot of self discipline as they don't check to see if we are doing this.
Assessment: We have four AMK (applied medical knowledge) exams a year which are 3 hours long. Everyone in the school (from yrs 1-5) sit the same test at the same time. It's also known as a progress test so we have a graph of our scores which is meant to increase as we go along. A junior doctor is expected to get 60%. We're expected to get at the very bottom, 0-10%. We also have an end of year knowledge test in May or June. Not sure what that involves though.
We are also assessed on our PPD (Personal and Professional Development) during our contact sessions and we have clinical skill assessments too. Everything has been formative so far ie the marks haven't counted towards our final grade. It all becomes summative after xmas though. If we don't hand in SSU papers on time, or get an unsatisfactory in our AMKs (during summative assessments) we have to repeat the year.
Summary: I love this course. People try to give it bad rep because of the grade requirement which is relatively low compared to the other colleges (though obviously not low at all). The area is beautiful, the night life is decent (thanks to our Medsoc) and the course, apart from being well run, is a lot of fun which personally is what I want from life and how I'd like to spend five years. There is a lot of support available and you feel valued as an individual here. I had the complete opposite experience when I was a Natural Sciences student at Trinity.
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I started off doing Architecture in UCD, after 3 weeks I realised it wasn't for me. Though I was good at art and all, it was immensley too design based and too abstract for me, as well as the fact I didnt want to design buildings for a living. When choosing a course it's important to imagine how you will feel doing it beforehand rather than thinking that'd be a grand job.
Luckily I managed to change course, and I'm now studying Engineering in UCD, the hours are less prohibitive and I feel much more comfortable with what I'm doing.
Always think before you choose! And ask your guidance counsellor for advice, that was something that I failed to do. I was just lucky I was able to change course, had I have waited another week, I wouldn't have been able to change course for a full year!
I'm in first year and I would recommend anyone wanting to do primary teaching, do this course. I know Pats is more renowned but Marino is a small college, more personal with only 100 first years and classes of 35. From the moment you start you learn how to teach and manage a class. Its brilliant....