University of Calgary

Operating Philosophy

 The program will support the goals and objectives of the Undergraduate Medical Education Program and will be characterized by:

  • An innovative three-year program with clinical presentations as the foundation of the curriculum.  The curriculum provides:
    1. An approach to clinical presentations.
    2. Development of knowledge, skills and attitudes required to approach clinical presentations.
    3. Experiences in a balance of clinical settings with clinical presentations in ambulatory, emergency, long term and acute health care delivery situations.
  • Objectives for each clinical presentation developed by faculty and containing a clinical reasoning pathway and relevant diagnostic classification schemes.
  • A curriculum that integrates basic and clinical sciences, which are introduced in an organized fashion as they relate to the clinical presentations. 
  • A curriculum that maintains an active learning environment with more than 25% of scheduled instructional activities spent in small group, interactive learning sessions.
  • Small group case based learning sessions that provide an essential and unique learning activity for the students.  These sessions promote: 
    1. Creation of an approach to clinical problem solving.
    2. In depth analysis of the objectives and content of clinical problems presented in the course.
    3. Diagnostic classification schemes and their active reinforcement in solving clinical problems.
    4. Correction of student misperceptions.
    5. Development of communication and collaboration skills.
  • Early and ongoing exposure to real, standardized and simulated patients to increase relevance of course material; demonstrate appropriate professional behaviour, and to emphasize the importance of communication skills.
  • Electronic access to educational materials relating to the curricular content. 
  • Opportunities for students to explore medical topics in greater depth than presented in course work including, but not limited to, involvement in research, selection of clinical electives and completion of individual course projects.
  • Independent study time (IST) so that the student can actively process knowledge and construct their understanding. In order to facilitate this deeper approach to learning, scheduled IST of an average of three half-days per week is organized within the pre clerkship curriculum. This time is intended for:
    1. Preparation for small group learning.
    2. Completion of assigned reading.
    3. Study around course objectives and presentations.
    4. Pursuing research or career sampling opportunities (time permitting).
    5. IST may be exchanged to facilitate scheduling of clinical correlation sessions and other small group activities which are dependent on clinic schedules not determined by UME.
  • An assessment and feedback process that:
    1. Measures clinical problem solving, medical skills, professional behaviour, and general content knowledge.
    2. Clearly communicates performance expectations through the use of outcome based learning objectives.
    3. Includes peer assessment of the attainment of educational and professional objectives.
    4. Provides students with an examination blueprint.
    5. Provides ongoing formative and summative evaluations throughout the three years of the curriculum.
    6. Actively facilitates ongoing program evaluation.



Approved by Curriculum Committee: December 3, 1999
Reviewed and approved by Curriculum Committee: February 20, 2004 
Approved by Faculty Council: December 8, 2004
Revised by UMEC:  April 9, 2010 
Revised by UMEC: June 4, 2010


Faculty and Student Responsibilities

Students and Faculty are expected to adhere to the policies and procedures of the Undergraduate Medical Education Office which should be read in conjunction with general University of Calgary Professional Standards.

The Office of Equity in Teacher-Learner relations has a ‘Professional Standards for Faculty Members and Learners in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary’ document which can be found online at:



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