Photo of the front skull of an anatomical skeleton Medical students working in a group in the Clincal skills room Photo of a smiling nurse facing the camera holding a stethoscope at the top by the part which fits into the ear Photo of three nurses standing by a patients bed on a clinical ward talking and smiling as they look at each other Photo of two theatre staff looking down at the camera in a hospital theatre showing the elevated theatre lights above them. The staff are dressed in theatre scrubs with face masks, eye potectors and protect for their hair Photo of students sitting facing a Powerpoint presentation that is being shown to them in the Educaton Centre lecture theatre at Russells Hall Hospital

Year 4 Curriculum Overview

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Fourth Year - Overview

The majority of the fourth year is spent in the hospital environment, rotating through three main blocks, during which the students are exposed to a variety of specialties and subspecialties, in addition to building on their general medicine and surgery experiences gained previously.

In keeping with the third year, students also spend approximately a day a fortnight studying medicine in the community, spread throughout the year. This year is formally assessed before students embark on a student selected elective period to complete the year.

Graphic showing 4th Year Curriculum diagram
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Specialty Medicine

This is an integrated eighteen week block during which time the students experience the medical subspecialties of:

  • Cardiology

  • Ophthalmology

  • Respiratory Medicine

  • Diabetes and Endocrinology

  • GI and Liver Medicine

  • Dermatology

  • Renal Medicine

  • Genital-Urinary Medicine (GUM)

  • Oncology

  • Elderly Care

Rather than being taught as separate blocks as in previous years, the students stay at one hospital for the duration of this block and the sub-specialties are studied simultaneously in a more integrated way.

Clinical Neurosciences
This is a nine week block dedicated to teaching the specialties associated with brain function, namely neurology and psychiatry.


Students spend on average a day a fortnight through the specialty blocks in the community. This is usually in General Practice, but there are also days spent in hospices and other community settings.

Elective Period

This is a six week period at the end of the fourth year allotted to full-time studies of the student’s choosing. This period may be spent in a department of the Medical School or at another centre in Britain or abroad.

This period can be used to consolidate their knowledge in a subject already studied or to gain further experience of clinical practice or perhaps to undertake a clinical research project.

Photo showing theatre staff operating on a patient in a theatre environment

Surgery and Peri-operative Care

This is a nine week block in which the students cover the largely surgical specialties of:

  • Peri-operative care

  • Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)

  • Urology

  • Orthopaedics* and Rheumatology

*In contrast to the other blocks, students spend a dedicated two week period at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital dedicated to learning about elective orthopaedics. All other specialties in this block are taught in an integrated way (as in Specialty Medicine) throughout the block.

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Please click to find out more about Year 5 Curriculum >>

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