Year 4

  •  

    Welcome to fourth year 

    Hello and welcome to fourth year! You may have spent your first two years at ICSM desperate to leave the lecture theatre and get onto the wards, only to find yourself on an 8am ward round wishing you were sat back in Drewe LT! Well, this is your chance to return to the lecture theatre, as well as sharpen your scientific skills and get involved in some research of your own.

    The best thing about fourth year is the chance to spend a year studying a subject you’re really interesting in; and you have plenty of choice:

    * Cardiovascular Science

    * Endocrinology

    * Gastroenterology and Hepatology

    * Global Health

    * Haematology

    * Immunity and Infection

    * Management

    * Neuroscience and Mental Health

    * Pharmacology

    * Reproductive and Developmental Sciences

    * Respiratory Science

    * Surgery and Anaesthesia

    Your first 17 weeks (2 introductory weeks and 3x 5 week modules) of the year are spent studying your chosen subject in depth. After this you sit final exams in late February. There are 3 different papers, one for each module. Each paper is 3 hours long and has 3 separate sections.

    After this you have 10 weeks to fill where once again you have the choice of what you study. Your options are:

    * 10 week project: clinical, laboratory or library-based relating to your chosen BSc

    * Death Autopsy and Law (5 weeks teaching; 5 week project)

    * Medical Humanities (5 weeks teaching; 5 weeks project)

    * History of Medicine (5 weeks teaching; 5 weeks project)

    This year is full of choice and you have a real opportunity to study exactly what interests you. You will learn many new skills throughout, and at the end of the year earn your first degree!

    As your Academic Officer, I will be looking after your academic needs: representing your views, as well as dealing with any concerns and questions you may have. Alongside other members of ICSMSU, I am also here to help you with any social or pastoral issues that may arise.

    As always there is a huge network of support available, including your personal tutor and our Welfare Officer, Evie (icsm.welfare@imperial.ac.uk).

    If you have any questions or concerns let me know at icsm.aosy@imperial.ac.uk. If it’s urgent, don’t hesitate to give me a text or call.

    I hope you enjoy your BSc, and all the best for the coming year,

    Nick

    Nicholas Burstow

    ICSMSU Academic Officer (Science Years)

    [e] icsm.aosy@imperial.ac.uk

    [e] nicholas.burstow12@imperial.ac.uk

  • Cardiovascular Sciences

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    Intro week: 

    4 to 5 hours a day for two weeks refreshing basic cardiac physiology and sessions covering necessary skills such as data analysis, how to read a paper, experimental methods and essay writing. There are also sessions on epidemiology, statistics along with an ECG tutorial. There is a formative data analysis exercise with a feedback session later on. Overall, this is a pretty relaxed two weeks and doesn’t overload you with information.

    Module 1: The Science of Congenital Heart Disease and Arrhythmia 

    The main topic here is electrophysiology and how it ties in with arrhythmias. There are a handful of congenital heart disease and cardiac embryology lectures quite early on before focussing on ion channels; their physiological function and implication in arrhythmias. The fourth week discusses specific arrhythmias and their treatments. The final week is study leave to complete the ICA essay (2500 words), the title of which will be given in week 1. The second ICA is an oral presentation of a given section of a paper from a choice of two papers. There is also a journal club and peer-review tutorial, which can either be in the form of a data analysis question or an essay – this is highly guided by what the students would like. The timetable is generally 9am-2pm including lunch breaks.

    Module 2: The Science of Heart Failure 

    Here you cover the definition of heart failure, it’s cellular and genetic basis and electrophysiological changes, which links back to module 1. You run through risk factors, diagnosis, observed changes and there is also a week of imaging lectures at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Weeks 4 and 5 cover treatment options including pharmacological therapy, surgery, gene therapy and tissue engineering. The timetable is once again 9am-2pm most of the time, with a considerable amount of 9am-12pms. There is another peer review tutorial and a journal club. There is one 2500 word essay due at the end of the module and the other ICA is a timed assessment on the last day.

    Module 3: The Science of Vascular Disease 

    The first week contains a series of cardiac pharmacology lectures, nothing too complicated. Week two covers inflammation and atherosclerosis in depth, followed by lectures on angiogenesis – this week is bit more MCD. The end of week two and week three cover therapeutic options for vascular diseases. The ICAs take the form of a 2500 word essay and an oral presentation of a section from a given paper. This module is shorter and condensed down into the first two and a half weeks in order to allow more time for revision. The days still tend to end by 3pm latest, which is great!

    Overall, the course is very well organised and structured and the course leaders are very receptive to feedback! If the students would like peer review tutorials on a particular area, they can just ask for them. Feedback sessions for the ICA essays are also held each term with the examiners to give students a greater understanding of their marks.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here.

    Project 

    Project titles are released a week or so before Christmas and students choose their top 5 choices. Allocations are based on ICA performance. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of clinical, lab and computer-based projects.

  • Endocrinology

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    The endocrinology BSc is based mainly at Hammersmith Hospital. There are about 40 students, a mixture of Imperial medics, biomedical science and external medics. The teaching hours are relatively small (considerably fewer hours compared to other BSc courses)– about 10 hours a week, with most weeks having 2 days off which is a vast improvement from the last 3 years!

    Intro: 

    As you might expect, the introductory module gives a generic background to the BSc, focusing on key skills such as how to write scientifically and approach papers etc. Because these themes are universal some of the lectures are shared with other courses such as Repro. Basic scientific techniques are also covered and a brief overview of statistics given. The more ‘core’ science lectures are designed to provide some background information for material covered later in the course; you don’t need to learn any of them in great detail but just have an understanding of the basic principles.

    Module 1: 

    Module 1 was completely changed this year to ‘Reproductive Neuroendocrinology’. The module lead is Dr Channa Jayasena, who is also based at Hammersmith Hospital. He is extremely approachable and gives incredibly clear, thorough lectures. This module has quite a lot of overlap with the Reproduction and Development BSc. The focus of the module mainly revolves around mechanisms that control the HPG axis. The major unifying theme across most lectures is kisspeptin, a recently-discovered hormone known to work upstream of GnRH release and therefore play a major role in the maintenance of fertility. Male and female infertility are also considered, as well as treatment modalities such as IVF. Overall module 1 is very relaxed, ICAs well timed and you will have plenty of opportunity to read around the subject and consolidate your knowledge (if you want to). Tutorials this module focus on either material covered in lectures, or skills introduced in the introductory fortnight such as how to read a paper.

    Module 2: 

    The second module is ‘Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolism and Obesity’. The module leads are Dr Kevin Murphy, Dr Ian Godsland and Dr Neil Hill. This is by far the busiest module with the highest number of lectures but again the timetable is still lighter in comparison to other BSc courses. Lectures here can essentially be divided into 2 major subject themes: type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and central control of feeding and energy expenditure, but there is considerable overlap between these. Whilst a lot of detail is covered in these lectures, key overarching principles are constantly revisited so that every lecture serves almost to embellish existing knowledge. In this module a very distinct ‘story’ emerges so that by the end almost all the lectures join up to give one overall, clear picture. Tutorials in this module focus again on key scientific principles, and there are a few specific to diabetes. Although mainly based at Hammersmith Hospital, some lectures and tutorials are given at St. Mary’s.

    Module 3: 

    The third is ‘The Pituitary, Neuroendocrine Health and Disease’. The module lead is Dr Amir Sam. This module is more expansive in terms of the topics covered and is more similar to some of the endocrinology taught in the past i.e. key endocrine organs are revisited: the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals etc. albeit with considerably more molecular detail. This is a deliberate move as up until this module not many endocrine axes have been covered. Therefore there is a slightly greater degree of familiarity (for example when compared to kisspeptin in module 1). This module is busier than module 1 but lighter than module 2, and in the run-up to exams the extra space in the timetable is definitely a bonus. Conceptually this module is not particularly difficult but you will go into a lot more depth to understand why the mechanisms you already know about operate the way they do. You will also cover conditions you may not be particularly familiar with such as multiple endocrine neoplasias and neuroendocrine tumours. As the topics in this module are self-contained (e.g. a group of lectures on the pituitary has little bearing on a mini-series on bone anabolism and calcium metabolism) the lack of overlap means you can afford to be strategic in your revision and choose the exam questions that suit this.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here: https://bb.imperial.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_650845_1&course_id=_7856_1 

    Project 

    Project titles are released during module 2 and allocated within a few weeks (before Christmas). They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of clinical and lab based projects. Students rank their choices and as there is a good variety to choose from most people get their first choice.

    Overall impressions: 

    Overall there is not too heavy a workload and a really great mix of people to spend your time with!

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology

    Student Representatives

    TBC

    Intro week:

    4 hours a day for 2 weeks basically going over general Gastro and getting you back into learning again after a long, hard summer. There are also lectures on ethics and epidemiology and some of the lectures are really detailed. There is a formative essay to be completed during the 2 weeks, usually 500 words.

    Module 1:

    Genetics of general GI diseases such as IBD, coeliac, cancers and pancreatitis. You also do a bit of work on how genetics are involved in multifactorial problems such as obesity. The timetable is reasonable and you have 10-3 most days, with Wednesdays off. For coursework, you have a 1000 word critical appraisal that you present in a group of 4, and a 2500 word essay and presentation on a particular aspect of nutrition. The presentations aren’t summative but students find them good practice.

    Module 2:

    Imaging and Neoplasia. You run through the general principles of how cancer happens (again- like MCD in year 2, but a bit more simple), and then carry on to how it is involved in GI, and familial GI cancers. With regards to imaging- you learn how MRI, ultrasound and other imaging modalities work and how they are applied to GI. Coursework wise you have a 2500 word essay on a topic, for example, we are all doing “Non-invasive methods of staging Liver fibrosis” and a critical appraisal presentation that you do in pairs. The timetable is not as regular and a bit busier than Module 1, but the module is quite clinical.

    Module 3:

    Infection, inflammation and immunological mechanisms. You learn all about the hepatitis viruses and immunological mechanisms involved in many GI diseases and liver conditions. Practicals involve PCR and ELISA, and one of these is written up as an ICA. An essay on a previously disclosed topic makes up the other ICA as is done under exam conditions which is very valuable practice for upcoming exams. This module is generally less busy, allowing for revision.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here.

    Project

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab based projects.

  • Global Health

    Student Representatives

    TBC and TBC

    After 3 years of studying medicine and the art of healing, you begin to study why medicine exists and how it is shaped by everything around us: from politics, to economics, to cultural practices, to philosophy, to down-right human selfishness and perverse aspects of the nature of mankind. You learn why inequality exists between and within countries. It puts it all into a grand, eye-opening, mind-blowing perspective that deeply motivates most students to tackle the root causes of ill-health – or at least bear them in mind for the rest of their medical careers. Each lecture is like a fantastic TED talk, often given by WHO or MSF professionals. The 30-40 person class makes the lectures seem like tutorials, where long, divergent, deep discussions often pervade. It often seems effortless to engage because the content is so fascinating and important. You learn about infections and non-communicable diseases within this context, more so than the medical pathophysiological context, and this allows a grand appreciation of burdens in different countries, as well as globally, and provides a deeply humanistic perspective on all of them. At times such knowledge can be very emotionally burdening, which makes it all the more inspiring and amazing to learn. No one ever regrets doing it. It’s life changing.

    Intro: 

    This is a gentle 2 weeks to get started and gives you some useful background information on global health such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and different types of epidemiological studies as well as classes on refworks and plagarism. This year there was a compulsory group presentation on MDGs, but this was only a formative assessment. Finally, the intro week sees the first of six humanities lectures, which are given over the first 2 modules. Most days finish by 1pm

    Module 1: 

    This module is all about infectious diseases and is excellently structured into 5 weeks of food and water borne infectious diseases, airborne infectious diseases, STIs and blood borne infections, vaccine preventable disease and vector-borne infectious diseases respectively, giving you a broad scope of the most pressing issues facing global health at the moment. It is true that Global Health has a lot of reading that you need to stay on top of, but at the same time this gives you the chance to really explore a topic of interest in more detail. The ICAs are a 2500 essay and a critical appraisal exam- don’t let the latter off put you as this provides invaluable practice for part B of the module 1 exam, and you get lectures beforehand to assist you.

    Module 2: 

    Non-communicable diseases are the focus of this module and you study areas including mental health in the context of migration, the epidemic of obesity and diabetes, epigenetics, chemical exposure and the impact of climate change on health. There are also a series of lectures on data interpretation which are invaluable for the data interpretation exam in the final week of the module, one of the ICAs. Again, this is great practice for part B of the module 2 exam. The other ICA is a 2500 word country health profile, and gives you the freedom to choose nearly any topic in any country you like! In addition, this module has 1-2 seminars a week, which are fully interactive sessions usually discussing a specific paper.

    Module 3: 

    Module 3 is entitled ‘Global heath in context: poverty, development and governance’. Here you will learn things such as the policy making process, health financing systems and health technologies in developing countries but the scope of the module is very broad. Even though this module is completely different to the first two, you will soon see that module 3 links heavily to them both- for example, in module 1 you would have learnt pneumonia is relatively neglected even though it is the biggest childhood killer and in module 3 you will learn why this is. It is tricky to get the hang of at first because there is a lot of new terminology, but it is worth sticking with it. Assessments are much the same as the first two modules i.e. one 2,500 word essay and a timed critical appraisal of a systematic review, which is practice for part B of the module 3 exam.

    Project 

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab based projects.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here.

  • Haematology

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    Haematology is a subject very well suited to an intercalated BSc, for both medics and biomedical science students. For medics you retain a clinical perspective as fundamentally haematology is a clinical specialty, and the modules and science is based around specific diseases and their diagnosis. Biomeds will find themselves well able to tackle the science, as much of it is on a molecular level. The course is also extremely well run, and the course directors genuinely enthusiastic about listening to students and helping them have the best possible experience.

    Intro: 

    The intro 2 weeks give a good overview of the key topics covered throughout the 3 modules, and the timetable isn’t heavy so you can adjust to the end of your summer holiday! The most useful thing is the ICA during this week – a formative essay where the emphasis is on learning to think and write in a scientific manner, which really prepares you for the essays throughout the year!

    Module 1: 

    This module is about the ‘coagulation cascade’ – so clotting and bleeding! It’s very well structured, starting off with the basic science involved in clotting, and the roles of different cell types. It then introduces the various clinical aspects that occur when clotting goes wrong, and the basis for the treatments available for those problems. It’s well taught, and the topics are reinforced with increasing depth, helping you to grasp them. The ICAs last year were a 2,500 word essay, and an hour exam about appraising a paper and understanding the science behind it.

    Module 2: 

    This is the cancer module, and has a reputation for being the most difficult module. It is. But…. blood cancer is just a difficult topic, and they do a very good job of delivering the science clearly, and crucially Professor Bain gives many sessions where you can practice interpreting the morphology, and diagnostic techniques used in the cancers – and I promise it does get easier! By the end of the module we all felt very comfortable in the main presenting, pathological and diagnostic features of each disease. The ICAs last year were another essay, and an exam on some of the content from the module – also very useful for reinforcing the concepts! You have the option to sit in on clinics of the diseases you learn about, which also happens in the other modules, and this is a great opportunity to really appreciate what the things you learn about mean in the real world, and some more about treatment!

    Module 3: 

    Module 3 covers disorders of the red cells, sickle cell disease etc. It’s well run, and again quite clinical, and thankfully the lectures don’t run up to the end of the module so you have some extra time for revision! It’s a similar pattern to the previous module, with some similar molecular techniques, but there’s more epidemiology (a bit) involved – if in doubt, the answer’s malaria! The ICAs last year were an essay and presentation – so by the end of the course you will have practiced most of the important academic skills you need!

    Project 

    Project titles are released during the Christmas holidays, which you rank in order of preference. Last year everyone except one person got their first choice. There are a wide range of laboratory and clinical projects, as haematology is a very active area for research! The projects are very well run, and a great opportunity to appreciate actual science, and whether you’ve got what it takes or not!

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here: https://bb.imperial.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_650847_1&course_id=_7856_1

  • Immunity and Infection

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    Immunology is an exciting and burgeoning field with widespread applications in cancer therapy, infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. This BSc gives you an insight into frontiers in immunotherapy and you will quickly realise that it is future of many of the diseases we struggle with today. Understanding our immune systems and the physiology of microorganisms transcends any individual specialty and places you in a unique position with a very integrated view of the human body.

    Introductory module: 

    The introductory fortnight is based at the Hammersmith Hospital campus and focuses on building the foundation for studying immunity and infection. You will bring your basic knowledge up to speed and learn through practicals (and lectures) the immunological techniques used in labs, and how they are important for immunology today. You will also begin to read and discuss papers, using key publications in the field.

    Module 1: Inflammation, Immunology and Infection 

    The first module covers in detail the cells, molecules and mechanisms behind inflammation and immunity. You will look at how the innate and adaptive immune responses are inextricably linked, as well as topics such as: the processes involved in establishing an infection, cell death as a key part of immune regulation, and the use of progenitor and stem cells in regenerative medicine. The class size is relatively small so lectures are more relaxed and there is a lot of interaction between lecturers and students.

    Module 2: Infection and Host Responses 

    The second module delves into specific infectious diseases, in the process explaining infections in general and our immune responses to them. HIV infection comprises a notable part of this module: whilst antiretrovirals are one of the biggest successes of the 20th century, drug access and long-term implications of chronic HIV infection mean that the virus is not yet a problem resolved. You will also study defects of the immune system and predisposition to infection, along with immunological options for the prevention and treatment of infections (think vaccination, therapy and immunomodulation). Half of this module is based in South Kensington and half at St Mary’s Hospital.

    Module 3: Autoimmunity, Tumour Immunology, Transplantation and Tolerance 

    The third module looks closely at the concept of tolerance: how host antigen are privileged whilst foreign antigen are targeted by the immune system. Tolerance, crucial for our survival, is also a

    contributor to many important diseases. This module examines how disease can be caused by breakdown of tolerance (autoimmunity), inappropriate tolerance (tumours) or normal physiological intolerance towards foreign antigen (transplant rejection and Host vs Graft Disease). At the same time, you will look at how immunological mechanisms can be supressed, induced or exploited for therapeutic benefit, for example: in cancer vaccines or the strategic use of the host vs leukaemia effect. This module is again based in Hammersmith Hospital.

    Modules 4 and 5: Project (or specialist course) 

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of lab-based, clinical and computer-based projects. Students can also choose to carry out a library project if they wish. It is possible to organise your own project and if you find a lecture or topic particularly interesting, it is worth speaking to the lecturer about potential projects. Otherwise, you will choose your top 5 options from the list and will usually be allocated one of these.

    In-Course Assessments (ICAs) and Exams 

    During modules 1 to 3, there are 2 ICAs per module in various formats: essays, presentations, timed exams. The 5th week of each module is usually left free of lectures to allow you to work on your ICAs.

    In February, you will have 3 written exams (one per module). 2 weeks of study leave are given and you begin your project or specialist course the week after the exams.

    You can get more of an idea of the course from last year’s timetables on Blackboard here.

  • Management

    Student Representatives

    TBC and TBC

    The Business Management BSc is unique in a number of ways. For the first time in 4 years, you will be taken away from the Sir Alexander Fleming building and enter Imperial College Business School; your peers will be masters and MBA students, suits will become your daily attire, and your mind will be opened to a world outside of medicine. A key feature that sets this BSc course apart from all others is that the course is shared with a cohort of non-medics (joint honours students undertaking the degree as their final year). The degree equips you with invaluable life skills from undertaking research projects and presentation skills to dealing with continuous tight deadlines and how to work within and lead a team.

    The management course is split up in the following way: 10 modules that make up 75% of the course and 1 final group project that makes up 25% of the course. Each of the 10 modules makes up 7.5% of the overall mark that determines the final classification (1st class, 2:1, 2:2 etc.). Each module has a coursework component that varies in weighting from 10-50% of the module – courseworks are completed in the form of syndicate group submissions. Term 1 syndicate groups are formed on the first day of the course by random allocation. These teams are reshuffled after the Christmas holidays and new teams are formed for term 2 courseworks. Below you can find a breakdown of the modules undertaken by medical students on the management course:

    TERM 1: OCTOBER – DECEMBER 

    Welcome week involves tours around the business school, introductory talks by the faculty and an ‘apprentice style’ marketing pitch assignment. Module lectures also begin in welcome week. Modules include:

    * Accounting

    * Health Informatics

    * Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management (OBHRM)

    * Social Research Methods

    * Business Strategy

    TERM 2: JANUARY – APRIL 

    Modules include:

    * Marketing

    * Health Economics

    * Sustainable Business

    * Entrepreneurship

    * Managing Health Care Organisations

    These modules are examined in the form of written exams in April after a short Easter break.

    TERM 3: MAY – JUNE 

    * Final group project split up into 50% report & 50% presentation

    Brief description of the modules:

    * Accounting: During this module students will learn how to develop management and financial accounting skills, by explaining the techniques of financial accounting and management accounting, and examining their relevance to the broader issues of financial decision-making and management control in organizations. The module gives students a basic insight into the way that business performance is measured, and how business decisions can be structured and analysed. The coursework component is an individually assessed in-class test.

    * Health Informatics: This module teaches students to consider the role and importance of information and information systems in providing effective healthcare; the application of stable management principles to attain maximum benefit from information and information systems and pertinent computer, communication and imaging systems of relevance to healthcare provision. The coursework component is in the form of an assessed parliamentary debate.

    * Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management: The study of organisational behaviour involves examining processes at the individual, group and organisational levels. The module design reflects these three levels of inquiry. This module draws on both theoretical and abstract concepts including analysing personality, the psychology of how to be liked and how to adapt to change. Students are required to create a short film in their syndicate teams for this module’s coursework.

    * Social Research Methods: This module is distinctly useful for future academia and publications. It teaches students how to conduct a comprehensive systematic literature review and further increases students’ proficiency in skills as required for

    a publishable paper. A written research report is required from each group on a predetermined medical subject e.g. venous thromboembolisms.

    * Business Strategy: This course teaches students about key strategic issues facing senior management teams and important analytical concepts applicable to each. The aim of the Business Strategy module is to place the student in an arena of strategic choices and decisions experienced by company directors and CEOs. Students are expected to supplement their learning by keeping up to date with The Economist and The Financial Times. The coursework is an interactive, online business simulation game, played as a team against all other syndicate groups.

    * Marketing: Throughout the module students will gain an understanding of the contingent conditions under which various marketing techniques work most effectively. The module will also introduce new marketing concepts associated with brand management, marketing channels, and services marketing. Current examples such as Nike, Coca-Cola and Disney are used as examples to teach such concepts. In their syndicate teams, students will be asked to carry out a marketing presentation such as creating a marketing campaign or analysing existing ones.

    * Health Economics: This module equips students with knowledge of basic economic principles and teaches them to understand how markets work in theory and practice. Students will also learn how to carry out economic evaluations are expected to compile an economic report for the coursework piece.

    * Managing Healthcare Organisations: The MHCO module is taught by a medical consultant with previous experience working in healthcare consultancy. The module follows an interactive case-based structure that teaches students how to think logically and solve pressing problems in today’s healthcare sector. It aims to also give students an understanding of NHS structures and highlight examples of best practice. A healthcare report and presentation makes up the coursework marks.

    * Sustainable Business: The key objective is to sensitise students to the interaction between global business, government and society. This module will critically examine the impact that contemporary global business has upon the society and the environment, whilst delivering profitable sustainable businesses. Students must create a sustainability website for an existing company as part of the coursework piece for this module.

    * Entrepreneurship: The objective of this module is to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills to identify and exploit a new commercial opportunity and understand the core principles of how to set up and run a ‘start-up’ business. Students will also learn how to identify what is a good idea, how to protect it, test and evaluate it. Existing businesses such as Amazon and EasyJet are used as practical cases to learn from. For the coursework component, students must develop a business plan for a new business and present the work in a ‘Dragons Den’ style investment pitch.

    * The Final Group Project: All students will contribute to a final group research project- the team of 6 or 7 is chosen by students and most teams select a research title from a list of given options. Alternatively students are permitted to formulate their own research question. Each group will be supervised by a Business School faculty member. The project occupies part of the Spring Term and the whole of the Summer Term, culminating in a group presentation and submission of report at the end of the year.

    The business management course is an immensely rewarding and invigorating way to spend the BSc year. It is an opportunity that throws students into the deep end of unchartered waters and forces them to continuously swim against the tide – not a degreefor the faint hearted or weak-willed!

  • Neurosciences and Mental Health

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    The neuroscience BSc takes you through how neuronal circuits become the seat of our consciousness! For anyone with a fascination for the way we think and behave there is no other degree quite like it

    The teaching for the Neuroscience Sciences BSc takes place almost always at Charing Cross hospital campus. The content is delivered by lecturers at the forefront of their specialties – Professor Jackie de Belleroche, Professor Steven Gentleman, Professor David Dexter and Dr Jane Saffel. The BSc takes around 50 students, the perfect number for social situations and small enough for an interactive feel to the lectures. The course is incredibly well organised with a really approachable course leader.

    Intro: 

    The two week introductory module sets the context of the BSc including a review of neuroanatomy and receptor mechanisms which is very useful when the 3 main modules get underway. Furthermore, there are lectures which allow students to understand the real-world relevance of the course content and how to communicate this to different audiences – a very valuable skill! .

    ICAs

    1. 500 word summary of a scientific paper suitable for a scientific magazine such as New Scientist

    Module 1: 

    This module outlines how the blastocyst develops into the intricacies of our nervous system. It spans the functional anatomy and cellular basis of neuronal networks. The highlight of this module however is the research project. In groups of 4-6 we are given a research question, they we design and carry out the practical spanning three days in its entirety. It is a great exercise in logical thinking and so well supported by the course leader Dr Saffel. By the end of the two weeks you will have gained a great an insight into the life of a scientist!

    ICAs

    1) 2500 essay into “Use of Cell replacement therapies in neurodegenerative conditions”

    2) 2500 write up of the research project.

    Module 2: 

    This module focusses on the most common neurodegenerative conditions seen within our society. There is a strong clinical emphasis for each disease before delving into the neuropathology. With an aging population it is of vital importance we understand the basis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease and the level of detail we are taught is unparalleled. This year Prof Gentlemen even updated his slide on the day of the lecture to include the current understanding!

    ICAs

    1) 2500 word essay “Pathophysiological Mechanisms Underlying Ischaemic Stroke”

    2) Neuropathology exam (20x3minutes stations with brain specimens)

    Module 3: 

    Mental health disorders are fascinating as you try to grapple with a state of mind beyond our reach. This module takes you through neurodevelopmental psychiatry (ADHD and autism) before covering eating, personality and sleeps disorders. A significant proportion of the module revolves around the neurochemical basis and treatment behind Schizophrenia and drug addiction. Students have the opportunity to visit the addiction research unit at Hammersmith Hospital and trial software that is used in said research.

    ICAs

    1) 2500 word essay “Under what circumstances is it ethical to treat a person with mental illness against their will?”

    2) Cases in Child and Adolescent Depression

    Project 

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab based projects.

    The Neuroscience BSc is wonderfully organised and conveniently located at CX hospital. The content is genuinely fascinating and delivered by some great personalities. We promise that you will love it

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here: https://bb.imperial.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_650852_1&course_id=_7856_1

  • Pharmacology

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    Pharmacology BSc teaches you what the most current areas of research are in the treatment of cardiorespiratory and neurological disorders. You will also look at the pharmacokinetics and dynamics of drugs. There are about 28 people on the course so much of the teaching has a tutorial feel to it, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

    Intro: 

    This is quite chilled out lectures wise, where some basic pharmacology is covered along with several classes on Refworks and plagiarism. There is the option to write a formative essay to help you gain feedback on how to improve when it comes to writing your first summative one in module 1. There is a compulsory presentation which gets you to read a paper and present it.

    Module 1: 

    This module focuses mainly on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs. You will learn how the drugs are distributed around the body and how drugs interact with different receptors. There is a bit of maths involved here but don’t let that put you off. You will also study pharmacogentics looking at tailoring drug doses to people based on their genetics and the newly emerging field of metabonomics. The ICAs are a presentation and an essay. There is plenty of private study time within the timetable. As Dr.Dickinson the module leader is involved in anaesthetics and neuroprotection after traumatic brain injury you will learn much about the forefront of these areas.

    Module 2: 

    Cardiorespiratory drugs. You will study the latest treatment options available in these areas and new pharmacological targets that are being investigated. The ICAs are a lab report and an essay. You get lots of help with the practical! Anabel is in charge of this module and is very approachable and helpful! She organises individual feedback sessions on the ICA’s as well as a timed mock exam in January which she marks and gives feedback on.

    Module 3: 

    Module 3 is all about the brain, you have some lectures with the Neuro BSc. Sohag organises this module and does weekly revision sessions/ quizzes to help put the week’s lectures into context! The ICA’s are an essay and a poster presentation.

    Project 

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here: https://bb.imperial.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_650853_1&course_id=_7856_1

  • Reproductive and Developmental Sciences

    Student Representatives

    TBC and TBC

    The course is based mainly at the Hammersmith Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Campuses. Each module has two ‘In Course Assessments’ (ICAs), one of which will be a 2500-word essay per module and another piece of coursework which ranges from abstract writing and critically appraisals of scientific papers, to in-class data interpretation tests. On average, there are around 10 lectures per week delivered, with one day a week devoted to private study for coursework and further reading, including free Friday afternoons!

    Dr Mark Sullivan and Professor Kate Hardy (Module 2) are the main lecturers for modules 1 and 2, focusing on the menstrual cycle, fertilization and pregnancy. There are also a range of other lecturers who will speak about their topics of interest. The course curriculum is not like that of HLC from 1st and 2nd year. It covers a much broad range of topics, going in-depth into specific important themes. It is taught in a fun and interesting manner by researchers at the forefront of their particular field, including clinicians working in gynaecology, obstetrics and paediatrics.

    Intro: 

    In the introductory week, you are introduced to several lecturers who will be teaching you throughout the year. Several core topics are covered, some that you may have forgotten from previous years. These include basic cell biology and informative lectures such as ‘how to excel in BSc exams’ and more about what is expected of you and what you should be expecting out of this year.

    Module 1: 

    This module is closely tied with endocrinology (you will have many lectures together with the Endo BSc). The topics covered include the HPG axis, hormone-dependent cancers, focusing on both the molecular and clinical aspects of the disease and how we can target these hormonal pathways in treatments. The intriguing idea of epigenetics is also introduced and how medicine is evolving as a result.

    Towards the end of the module, certain reproductive topics are introduced, including puberty, infertility, fertilization, and the changes that occur in the menopause. This ties in nicely with module 2.

    Module 2: 

    This module is favoured by a large majority of students. The focuses are largely on fertilization and fetal development, going in depth into the stages of these processes. The teaching covers basic embryology, including placental and fetal membrane development, maternal effects and changes in pregnancy, with particular emphasis on the cardiovascular and immunological changes. Complications in pregnancy and labour are also covered. The final part of the module will cover stem cell biology and its applications and implications in research and clinical practice.

    Module 3: 

    This module is surprisingly broad. Numerous topics are covered; immunology is revised and paediatric immune diseases are studied, as well as paediatric infectious diseases (such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV), and childhood allergies and atopy. You will even have the opportunity to spend some time in a paediatric allergy clinic.

    In this module you will also be taught about poster presentations and will have the fantastic opportunity to make your own and present it. This is very useful, especially considering that you are likely to have the opportunity to present your own work at a conference.

    Project 

    Project titles are released a few weeks prior to the Christmas holidays, well before exams. You will choose the top 5 projects you would like to do. There will be plenty of time to meet with the project supervisors, so that you can make an informed decision. The projects cover a wide spectrum of research areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab-based projects. The selection process is random; however, you are likely to get one of your top choices.

    This year’s lectures and timetables can be viewed here.

  • Respiratory Science

    Student Representatives

    TBC and TBC

    The teaching for the Respiratory Sciences BSc (Resp) takes place at the Royal Brompton Campus, which is just south of South Kensington Tube Station. The lecturers themselves are at the very top of the field (e.g. Prof. Peter Barnes – Asthma and COPD) and you will often be taught things that haven’t been published yet. The course is set out so that the first module has a strong clinical aspect to it, which makes it an easy transition from firms. Overall Resp is a great BSc to choose both from an academic and a social point of view.

    Intro:

    The introductory fortnight is fairly relaxed and all days finish before 1700 and/or have a few hours free during the day. On the day of Freshers’ Fair there is only one lecture (given in the SAF) meaning you will be free from 1000 for the start of the Fair. The teaching is a mixture of lectures, discussions, small-group teaching as well as 2 half days of non-science ‘teaching’. As with all courses there is a formative essay at the end of the fortnight, which follows the template for the rest of the essays in the course and will be on a topic of your own choice.

    Module 1:

    The first module of the course is ‘bench to bedside’ meaning that you get an overview of the most common respiratory diseases from the point of view of a research scientist, a clinician and everyone in between. You will be able to see patients in the world leading clinics of The Royal Brompton as well as have a chance to try out all the clinical respiratory tests that the hospital offers. At the end of the module you will have to give a 20 minute presentation in pairs which will include information from clinics, experiments, practical sessions and lectures. You will also be given a choice of 3 essay titles, of which you have to do one. This part of the course is run by Drs. Louise Donnelly and Duncan Rogers. Timetable-wise you get lots of free time and quite a few days off.

    Module 2:

    The second module focuses on some of the diseases that were not covered extensively in module 1. The teaching is based around a lecture on one day and then a group discussion session a few days later. Some lecturers run this like a journal club while others use it as a session to go over things that people didn’t understand. At the end of

    the module there is an experiment week which will give you a chance to do some lab work and data analysis (the stuff you’ll do in your project and exams). The in-course assessments are a 6 minute ‘debate’ presentation on a title you are given and another essay. Timetable-wise you start at 0930 and finish no later than 1300 (normally 1200), although you have lectures every day.

    Module 3:

    Module 3 focuses on the distinct themes of epidemiology led by Jenni ‘no-mercy-when-it-comes-to-statistics’ Quint, immunotherapy led by Mo ‘saved-my-2:1’ Shamji, and respiratory infections (TB, influenza, pandemics) led by Michael Edwards (Australian, great lecturer). There is also a fairly large chunk devoted to immunology (Mike Edwards again) – which is kind of marmite-ish in its uptake (interesting, but lots of detail, parts of which will likely come up in the exam). Module 3 refreshes your knowledge of papers – particularly epidemiological papers, and is a well laid out integrative module. The bakery trip exploring occupational asthma was a highlight for some. Teaching is similar to Module 1 – mostly lecture based at the Brompton with some practical sessions at SK labs. There are more lectures in Module 3 than in either of the other modules – this is somewhat counterbalanced by a slightly (wouldn’t push it…) more relaxed approach to attendance by the course leads.

    Project

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab based projects.

    Bottom Line: ‘Relaxed’ timetable, great module leaders, fun intro week, well explained in-course assessments, teaching all on one campus, world leading lecturers, learning about something you will see daily in clinical medicine and a free drinks evening once a month!

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here.

  • Surgery and Anaesthesia

    Student Representatives 

    TBC and TBC

    The Surgery and Anaesthesia BSc is an opportunity to learn about cutting edge research and clinical techniques and how these translate to patient care, and in turn what this means for the future. The lecturers are the leaders in their fields, the ‘front-line’ academics, doctors and surgeons.

    Intro: 

    The introductory module focuses on vital skills for not only the year but also for a successful career; group work, oral presentation, reviewing scientific research, writing scientific research and writing about science for the public, but also cultivates a different attitude to how to approach learning and encourages critical thinking and meeting new information with an open mind. This part of the course is also very social, which makes the group work much more enjoyable.

    Module 1: 

    Module 1, is based in Hammersmith Hospital, is called ‘regeneration, repair and cancer control’ and focuses on cancer, cancer genetics and cancer therapies, and includes lectures on surgical techniques and state of the art technologies. ‘News and views’ sessions in this module are really useful for critical appraisal and oral presentation practice, as every week different students present research articles to the group. In addition there are ethics debates, and a surgical international conference day. The main assessment is through a journalistic article, and a group poster presentation, making them interesting and enjoyable to do.

    Module 2: 

    Module 2 is ‘perioperative medicine’ based at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and is split into two sections, the first involves looking at the basics of anaesthesia, pain pathways and drugs in both areas, leading into the new current research going on. The second focuses more on intensive care issues, involving sepsis, organ failure and transplantation. In course assessment involves an essay on a topical line of enquiry, and an oral presentation.

    Module 3: 

    Module 3 is entitled ‘innovation training and safe delivery or surgical technologies’ and is a departure from the normal lecture teaching. It is based mostly at St. Mary’s Hospital but Charing Cross is also used. The majority of teaching is organised into 6 cases (musculoskeletal; novel medical devices; patient safety; simulation; trauma; tissue engineering), each covering a broad topic over the course of 1 day. In course assessment is also a departure and includes a ‘dragons’ den’ presentation, where, as groups, students pitch an innovation or idea to the panel and await the verdict. The second assessment is a write-up of an experiment in the style of a research paper.

    Project 

    Project titles are released a few weeks before exams and students choose a top 5 and are usually allocated one of these. They cover a wide spectrum of subject areas and are a mixture of library, clinical and lab based projects.

    This year’s lectures and timetable can be viewed here: https://bb.imperial.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_650856_1&course_id=_7856_1

  • Year 4 Notebank

    Click here for Year 4 resources.

  • Welcome to the Imperial College School of Medicine!

    Hello and welcome to ICSM! Congratulations on accepting a place onto your chosen BSc course at one of the world’s best universities! You will be joining other ICSM medical students taking a year out of their degrees, as well as final year biomeds.

    As I’m sure you all remember from your time as Freshers, starting at a new university can be daunting. But fear not, as everyone at ICSM – especially our student-led Student’s Union (ICSMSU) – will help to ease you through this transition. ICSMSU is a student-elected committee that looks after and represents the study body. There are a variety of officers encompassing different roles, and more info can be found here.

    As your Academic Officer, I will be looking after your academic needs: representing your views, as well as dealing with any concerns and questions you may have. Alongside other members of ICSMSU, I am also here to help you with any social or pastoral issues that may arise.

    Before you start at ICSM you’ll need to find somewhere to live! Accommodation at Imperial halls of residence is available to external students if there are vacancies – email accommodation for more information. Alternatively check out this website for advice on finding private accommodation near Imperial. Joining the official Imperial College Facebook groups are also a good way to find shared accommodation with other Imperial students.

    In order to for you to make the most of your time here, we have a huge number of clubs and societies that you can get involved with. For the comprehensive list check out the Clubs & Socs page.

    I hope that you find the transition to ICSM a smooth one, and you enjoy your time here once you start. There is a huge network of support available, including your personal tutor and our Welfare Officer, Evie (icsm.welfare@imperial.ac.uk).

    If you have any questions or concerns let me know at icsm.aosy@imperial.ac.uk. If it’s urgent, don’t hesitate to give me a text or call.

    Welcome to the ICSM family, and all the best for the coming year,

    Nick

    Nicholas Burstow
    ICSMSU Academic Officer (Science Years)
    [e] icsm.aosy@imperial.ac.uk
    [e] nicholas.burstow12@imperial.ac.uk