Pathology in the New Medical Curriculum: What has replaced the Subject Courses?


Department of Pathology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK


In line with the UK General Medical Council recommendations, the traditional, taught curriculum at Liverpool was replaced from 1996 by a new one using problem-based learning (PBL) as its principal method of information transfer. There is integration of clinical and preclinical studies, coupled with a reduction in the factual knowledge content and the disappearance of identifiable separate subject courses. Learning is now student-centred. This requires a new approach to the acquisition of pathology knowledge. 1. Pathology is included in all relevant PBL case scenarios by pathology representation on module planning and review committees. 2. Special study modules (SSMs) allow students to observe the practice of pathology including surgical and autopsy work, carry out a detailed study and write a dissertation. Career selectives are provided for individual students in the final year. 3. Clinicopathological (CPC) teaching meetings are held, with the discussion of case examples, clinicians and students contributing. 4. Assessments include the input of appropriate pathology content, integrated with other subjects. 5. A pathology teaching website is provided, containing images, notes, self-assessment questions, handouts, timetables and information. Although the 1996 intake have not yet completed their studies, the results of in-course assessments have been encouraging. The response to the pathology SSMs has been very positive, and the level of presentations and dissertations reached is of a high standard. With the disappearance of a separate subject course in pathology, the subject is being learned by other routes, and the students will complete their undergraduate course with a sound basis for proceeding with their further studies. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 6, Nr 2, 149-154, 2000

Key words: problem-based learning; pathology; medical education

Received: Apr 14, 2000; accepted: Apr 30, 2000
Correspondence: John RG NASH, Department of Pathology, University of Liverpool, Duncan Building, Daulby Street Liverpool L69 3GA, UK; Tel: +44 151 706 4483, Fax: +44 151 706 5859; E-mail:

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