Student Guidebook
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Last modified: September 06, 2015 12:39:33.

The College of Medicine is the eighth college of Qatar University, and was founded in October 2014, following an Emiri directive and a thorough feasibility study involving an international advisory board of medical education experts. It received its first cohort of students in fall 2015. The College is fully aligned with Qatar’s national strategies in education and health, integrated with the national healthcare system, and compliant with international standards and best practices

Vision

To be a leading college of medicine and college of choice for top students and local and international academics, a driving force for innovation across the national healthcare sector addressing core national challenges, and a secure source of high quality, trusted physicians for Qatar.

Mission

  • To graduate physicians and future leaders for the Qatar healthcare sector, who are competent, caring, compassionate and motivated with a strong sense of responsibility towards the health of the community.
  • To foster excellence in education, research, creativity and innovation, and to contribute to finding solutions for the health needs of the country and the region.
  • To advance the health of the nation by supporting the national health strategy and by adding strength to the existing healthcare system through integration and synergy.
  • To build a culture of diversity that sustains an environment which attracts, nurtures and retains the highest quality students, faculty, staff and administration in the context of Qatar.

Values

The faculty and staff at the College of Medicine, Qatar University are committed to the following professional and cultural values:

High Standards -In upholding the highest standards, we will:
Hold our work to the highest international academic standards.
Demonstrate ethical leadership.
Conduct ourselves with integrity, avoiding conflicts of interest.

Respect for Individuals-In valuing diversity and respecting individual differences, we pledge to:
Treat others with respect and dignity, honoring individual differences;
Promote open communication and listen pro-actively;
Create a collegial environment based on loyalty.

Advancing Knowledge - In expressing our passion for learning, we encourage:
Exploration of new ideas via research;
Fostering and pursuit of interdisciplinary teamwork;
Providing diverse learning opportunities where creativity thrives;
Encouragement of faculty and students to meet challenges and assume risks.

Personal Development and Leadership - Recognizing that exceptional quality begins with people, we try to inspire to:
Create and promote a culture of personal development and professional fulfillment;
Create a workplace environment where expectations are matched by our organization;
Sustain an environment that is culturally sensitive, yet internationally compatible;
Ensure an atmosphere where people value the balance between work and family;
Foster a mentor-rich culture, where faculty staff and students can enhance their leadership skills.

Commitment to Health - Supporting our fundamental belief in the physician/patient relationship, we are committed to:
Providing the highest quality of medical care for our patients;
Instilling capabilities and compassion to the next generation of physicians and healthcare professionals;
Promoting good health and wellbeing in response to the needs of our community;
Collaborating with community partners who help us achieve excellence in what we do.

Student Life - The College fosters a culturally diverse learning environment with international quality standards and a steadfast commitment to its Qatari identity and national focus. Students are expected to work with each other and with faculty and staff in a spirit of respect and collegiality regardless of ethnicity, nationality, religion or gender, while being sensitive and respectful of the cultural and religious values of Qatar.

Educational Objectives

The educational objectives of the MD program are expressed as competencies, which the graduate should have acquired by the end of the program.
The competencies and related student learning outcomes are aligned with Qatar’s health needs and culture, together with internationally known competency frameworks, such as:

The competencies are adopted and adapted with sensitivity to the cultural context of medical practice in Qatar and the Gulf region. Competencies are organized around the ACGME competency domains. Although the ACGME competency domains have been developed for graduate medical education, they are increasingly used by undergraduate medical programs.
Based on ACGME standards, the competency domains adopted at the College of Medicine are:

  • Patient & Population Care
  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Evidence-Based Practice & Lifelong Learning
  • Healthcare Systems & Cost Effective Practices
  • Ethics & Professionalism
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Interprofessional Collaboration

Specifications of Graduates' Competencies

Within the program’s 6 competency domains, specific competencies were defined for the CMED curriculum:


Domains

Competencies

A. Patient & Population
Care

A-C1.Communicate effectively with patients, families and groups.
A-C2.Gather essential and accurate information about patients, for the purposes of problem identification and characterization.
A-C3.Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment.
A-C4.Develop and carry out management plans, with patient engagement in considering culture, beliefs, and patient preferences.
A-C5.Competently perform medical procedures considered essential for the management of common health problems.
A-C6.Counsel and educate patients and their families.
A-C7.Use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education.
A-C8.Provide and advocate for healthcare services aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health.
A-C9.Work with healthcare professionals, including those from other disciplines and professions, to provide patient, family and community care.

B. Knowledge

B-C1.Acquire a core of basic and clinical supportive sciences, which are appropriate to the care of a patient and the community.
B-C2.Demonstrate a reasoning and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations and applying medical knowledge in patient problem solving.

C. Evidence-
Based Practice and Lifelong Learning

C-C1.Exhibit good “information habits”, making decisions based on evidence, when such is available.
C-C2.Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to the patients’ health problems.
C-C3.Apply knowledge of research designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.
C-C4.Demonstrate knowledge of the information resources and tools available to support lifelong learning.
C-C5.Understand information technology’s impact on basic clinical and biomedical research.

D. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

D-C1.Create and sustain effective, ethically sound, caring and respectful relationships with patients and families.
D-C2.Work effectively with others as a member or leader of a healthcare team, or other professional group.
D-C3.Communicate orally and in writing in relation to prescriptions, ordering of laboratory or other tests and when giving over or receiving a patient from a colleague.

E. Ethics and Professionalism

E-C1.Demonstrate respect, compassion, and integrity; a responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that supersedes self-interest; accountability to patients, society, and the profession; and a commitment to excellence and ongoing professional development.
E-C2.Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles pertaining to the provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices.
E-C3. Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to patients’ culture, age, gender, and disabilities.

F. Healthcare Systems and Cost-Effective Practice

F-C1.Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with healthcare system complexities.
F-C2.Practice cost-effective healthcare and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care.
F-C3.Understand how patient care and other professional practices affect a healthcare organization and larger society, and how these elements of the system affect the organization’s own practices.

Entrustable Professional Activities

In addition to the competency domains, the College aligns its curriculum with the American Association for Medical Colleges’ guidelines, which identify 13 Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) that medical school graduates should be able to perform on their first day of residency. These core entrustable activities for entering a residency program serve as a guide for CMED’s curriculum developers, faculty, and learners to better prepare students for their roles as clinicians. They are:
EPA 1: Gather a history and perform a physical examination.
EPA 2: Prioritize a differential diagnosis following a clinical encounter.
EPA 3: Recommend and interpret common diagnostic and screening tests.
EPA 4: Enter and discuss orders and prescriptions.
EPA 5: Document a clinical encounter in the patient record.
EPA 6: Provide an oral presentation of a clinical encounter.
EPA 7: Form clinical questions and retrieve evidence to advance patient care.
EPA 8: Give or receive a patient handover to transition care responsibility.
EPA 9: Collaborate as a member of an interprofessional team.
EPA 10: Recognize a patient requiring urgent or emergent care and initiate evaluation and management.
EPA 11: Obtain informed consent for tests and/or procedures.
EPA 12: Perform the general procedures of a physician.
EPA 13: Identify system failures and contribute to a culture of safety and improvement.


MD requirements and procedures

Add/drop deadlines for courses

Students may drop or add courses online though the myBanner System only during the designated add/drop period, which is determined by the University in the Academic Calendar. If you drop course(s) during the add/drop period, they will not appear on your transcript or academic record and you will not be charged any financial penalties.

Data security and privacy

In the best interest of students and for public safety, information related to education and fitness to practice may be shared with training providers, employers, regulatory organizations and other medical colleges.

Students are expected to consistently and absolutely maintain the privacy and confidentiality of patient records and information. Students should not discuss patients with other students or professionals outside the clinical setting, except anonymously. When recording data or discussing cases outside of the clinical setting, students must endeavor to ensure that patients cannot be identified by others. It is not acceptable to discuss patient cases on social media, even anonymously. It is not acceptable to hold clinically identifiable information on non-encrypted mobile media.
Students’ ability to look up patient records and information extends only to information with direct relevance to the clinical setting.

Special needs accommodation

In accordance with Law No 2 of the year 2004, and Article 49 in the Constitution of Qatar: "Education is the right of all.", and "the State shall extend efforts to achieve fair and appropriate access in education for all".  Admission to Qatar University is based solely on an applicant's qualifications and record of achievement, regardless of his/her special needs. 
The Special Needs Department at Qatar University is currently serving six categories of students with special needs, which are:

  • Physical Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Speech Problems
  • Students with Dyslexia
  • Students with Hearing Difficulties (not totally deaf)
  • Students who suffer from a temporary disability, such as caused by disease or injury.

Students with special needs should register at the Special Needs Department by filling out the student data form.

Reinstatement

If you are dismissed from Qatar University for academic deficiency, you may apply for reinstatement within two (2) years of the official notification of the latest academic dismissal decision.
Applicants may seek reinstatement after completing a minimum suspension period of one (1) regular semester, excluding summer.
The following applies to all applicants seeking reinstatement:
All reinstatement applicants must satisfy all application deadlines.
Students may only be reinstated once. If a student is academically dismissed for a second time, the student will not be eligible for reinstatement.
All QU coursework and cumulative GPA earned prior to academic dismissal will remain on the academic record. All reinstated students are placed under “good standing” status in the semester of reinstatement.
Reinstated students may be considered for possible transfer credit, according to QU’s transfer credit rules.
Submitting an application does not guarantee approval; the assigned committee will review and evaluate all submitted applications and make decisions as appropriate. The Registration Department will then communicate these decisions to the applicants.
By submitting a reinstatement application, the student, is committed to attend classes starting from the next semester.
The assigned committee is the only eligible party to specify the reinstatement semester.

For dates and deadlines, please visit the Reinstatement page on the Qatar University website http://www.qu.edu.qa/students/registration/reinstatement.php

For further details, please read the Reinstatement Application Manual.

Medical health requirements and immunizations for student clinical participation

Medical students are expected to be in good health and are required to inform the College of any medical conditions (including mental health conditions) which may affect their ability to carry on with their studies or to work with patients.
During clinical practice, students will be expected to follow the rules of the clinic or hospital they are training at. In practice, this could mean situations where students are expected to take additional testing or immunizations to clear them for conducting certain procedures or working with certain types of patients.
All medical students need to bring a copy of their childhood immunization records.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is one of the essential requirements for student clinical activities. All students must show proof of Hepatitis B vaccination (3 doses), such as a copy of current immunization records, or proof of immunity (copies of the blood titer results).
Hepatitis B vaccination process: admitted students are required to do a blood titration test at their respective primary healthcare clinics to ensure their immunity status. If the titration results indicate that they need the Hepatitis B vaccine, they must take the 1st vaccination dose at least three months before the beginning of the clerkship phase in Year 3. The remaining two doses should be taken in the following six months, as scheduled by their physician or primary healthcare clinic.

Professional standards and dealing with patients

Medical students work with patients in a medical environment. It is therefore essential that they fulfil the requirements for professional behavior and fitness to practice from the start of the program. The following points should be undertaken by students:

  • Students are expected to be attentive, considerate and respectful to patients, protecting their dignity and respecting their right to refuse to take part in the teaching process.
  • Students should not allow their personal views about a person’s culture, lifestyle, beliefs, age, disability, disease, ethnic or national origin, race, color, gender, and marital, social or economic status to influence their interaction with patients, teachers, or colleagues in any way.
  • Students are expected to be honest and truthful in all areas of their interaction with staff, other students and patients and not to abuse the trust of a patient or other vulnerable person.
  • Students should not present false information or omit important information in their dealings with the colleagues, faculty, patients, the College, or any application related to their studies. Honesty is a key criterion for fitness to practice medicine.
  • Students must always make clear to patients that they are students and not qualified doctors. They should introduce themselves as a “medical student” or “trainee”.

Students are required to physically examine patients of both genders and obtain consent where required. Physical examination includes touching and is often necessary in order to establish a clinical diagnosis, irrespective of the gender, culture, beliefs, disability, or disease of the patient. In order to qualify as a doctor, it is required that the practitioner is willing to examine any patient as fully and as closely as is clinically necessary.

CMED learning spaces

The College of Medicine is housed in a temporary building located at the northern side of the campus. The college building is designed to optimize the College’s learning philosophy, in line with international best practices and to adopt advanced medical education technologies.
The building interiors are design to optimize:

  • Group learning, through the use of multiple group study rooms equipped with screens and connected to student iPads;
  • Teamwork, through development of social spaces for the use of both students and faculty;
  • Use of technology, through a fully equipped clinical skills lab, advanced digital anatomy equipment (Anatomage), web microscope, and various multipurpose touch screens in the College’s connective spaces open for use by students, faculty and staff; and
  • Strong community bond and sense of shared identity, through unified interior branding that facilitates strong internal communication, student self-expression (mind space areas), and serendipitous encounters between and among students, faculty and staff.

Attendance Policy

Medicine is unlike many other undergraduate programs in that it is in itself a profession. This carries with it the professional responsibility to prepare students for their future practice as physicians. Physicians are expected to attend their commitments and arrive on time. Being late can have very disastrous consequences to patient care particularly if the doctor’s expertise is needed acutely. Part of the preparation for their role as future doctors during their student years is to develop the professionalism they need to display as doctors. Therefore, a medical student should be present and on time for educational activities. In CMED, the educational strategy used is designed to support students to be active adult learners. Intrinsic in this is the encouragement for students to select and pursue educational activities that support their learning. As a consequence of this, not all educational activities are mandatory for students.

Attendance procedures: Faculty instructions

  1. Instructors must demonstrate the policy at the beginning of the first lecture of the course and add it to the Blackboard. This information must be made available on CMED website and other communication by Student Affairs and Outreach Offices.
  2. Attendance will be taken, by the course tutor or the instructor who is present in the session.
    1. Time: It is advisable to take the attendance one time after 15 mins of the start of the session.
    2. Tool: All mandatory activities in CMED building will be recorded on Blackboard Qwickly tool. It should be set to “one minute-check-in”, and allow students to receive an “email alerting them of their absence”. In case of clinical placements outside of CMED, another suitable tool will be used, as deemed suitable by representative of Clinical Affairs.
    3. Attendance will be taken for all students (in year one courses) or the appropriate student group (for year two onwards). In case of authorized absence, the session instructor/tutor is responsible to override the absence and record the student as present (and write the authorization in the attendance details: note) in blackboard.
    4. Setting up student groups for year two onwards:
      1. PBL groups: Prior to the start of the Unit, the Unit coordinator will create the groups of students for PBL groups on blackboard.
      2. Groups for clinical skills, clinical placements, and experiential review: a representative of Clinical Affairs will setup students groups on blackboard.
  3. On a regular basis (once a month or at end of unit), Student Affairs Office will request course instructors (for year one), and Unit coordinators (for year two onwards) to provide the attendance records as an excel sheet. This document is easily downloaded from blackboard, (or in case of clinical skills, it will be collated by representative of Clinical skills and sent as excel sheet). This should be implemented within 3-working days of the request.
  4. Student Affairs Office will keep this information on student records and coordinate with Academic Advising Office in sending an attendance warning to students by email if they are at 12.5% absence or more. Persistent attendance warnings will initiate a request to meet the Academic advisor regarding student absences. Disciplinary procedure will follow based on recommendations from the interviewers.

Attendance procedures: Students instructions

  1. If a student faces a personal incident that requires an absence from one or more lectures, he/she must email the course tutor, course instructor, and the student affairs office about the student status and course that will be missed. If the course tutor/instructor considers the reason of absence authorized, they will include that in the attendance record.
  2. The student must present the “absence from educational activities form” filled and signed, and the document/proof by email to course instructor and to Student affairs within 3 working days. The student must also present the same documents as hard copy at Student Affairs Office within 3 working days.
  3. The student will be interviewed by course tutor and student affairs office, in case of having 3 unauthorized absences, unauthorized absences exceeding 10% of college days, or persistent unauthorized late arrivals/early departures. Disciplinary procedure will follow based on recommendations from the interviewers.

Attendance policy

What level of attendance is required for the mandatory activities?
The University regulations stipulate that students must attend 75% of all educational activities to be eligible to sit the exams related to any unit.
In CMED, we expect students to attend at least 75% of all mandatory activities. Attendance means being present within 15 minutes of the commencement of a mandatory activity and staying until its completion.

What are the mandatory activities?
In Year One, all activities (lectures and labs) are considered mandatory
In Phase 2, mandatory activities are:

  • PBL tutorials
  • TBL sessions
  • Clinical placements
  • Clinical skill sessions
  • Experiential review sessions

Under which circumstances is an absence considered valid?
Conditions that will be considered Valid for absence from educational activities:

  • Attending a driving test
  • Attending interview with sponsor
  • Attending court
  • Hospitalizations
  • Severe illness
  • Involvement in accidents, court case or other adverse circumstances.
  • Participation in outreach event approved by the College of Medicine.
  • Participation in overseas official events approved by the University (e.g. student’s conferences…etc).
  • Death of immediate family member, i.e. spouse, parent , sibling or grandparent. In the event of a death of an immediate family member, a certified copy of the “death certificate” and proof of relationship should be presented. There is a limited 3 days allowance in these cases.
  • Absences will not be authorized without proof. The student must provide evidence to the course instructor e.g. an appointment card or letter.
  • In case of prolonged periods of absence, due to medical condition, illness or injury, medical certificates from a physician that confirms this condition, must be sent to the course tutor, course instructor, and Student Affairs office. No need to wait until the student return to College.
  • There is a limit to the number of days that a student may be absent from the College including authorized absences. Only 10% of college days’ absence will be accepted in each semester. If the student exceeds this period, an interview with the Course Tutor and the Student affairs office will be occurred to discuss the attendance issue. Also, a warning under the Disciplinary Procedure will be received.

Under which circumstances is an absence considered NOT valid?
Conditions that will NOT be considered valid for absence from educational activities:

  • Minor illness such as coughs and colds
  • General feeling of anxiety/low mood, unless backed up by a medical evidence
  • Appointments with a doctor, dentist, or a physician, etc, unless a student needs
  • urgent procedure. These should be fitted into private study time or after College hours
  • Attendance at private family occasions such as weddings and other ceremonies
  • Travel arrangements which clash with educational activities
  • Missing the bus, or the driver,
  • Driving lessons.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Ignorance of rules and regulations
  • Non-attendance for these reasons, will be marked as an unauthorized absence.
  • Not letting the College know about the absence counts as an unauthorized absences. More than three unauthorized absences will trigger the start of the Disciplinary Procedure determined by the College.
What happens in case of late arrivals or early departure from session?
  • Attending session partially will be considered as an absence.
  • Students are expected to account for late arrivals and early departure to their Course Tutors, in advance where possible. Course tutor/instructor must authorize such action prior to the session.
  • If students attend a teaching session 15 minutes or more after it has started or leave before the end of the session, without tutor/instructor authorization, they will be marked absent.
  • Persistent unauthorized late arrival/early departure will lead to the Course Tutor meeting with the student. If no satisfactory explanation is presented, it will count as a Disciplinary offence and the Student
  • Disciplinary Procedure will be followed.

What happens if the missed session includes an exam?
Attendance Policy for tests and exams is as follows:
The course instructor has the final decision, in regard to whether the student is eligible to repeat a missed test. When a student misses a mid or final exam, he/she may repeat the written part only (and only in circumstances where the instructor accepts the student’s absence excuse).

Absence policy and expectations

Class participation and attendance are important elements of every student's learning, and students are expected to attend and actively participate in all classes. Keeping track of student attendance and observation of student performance are the responsibilities of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, in liaison with course instructors.
The Qatar University student catalogue stipulates the QU policies concerning plagiarism and attendance. To learn more about the QU attendance policy, please go to this link: http://www.qu.edu.qa/advising/law/policies-and-procedures.php
In addition to those general rules, CMED students will not be permitted to miss more than 10% of classes in any medical courses, including lab, without a medical attestation. Any missed classes should be discussed with the instructor to assess whether and how the lesson can be made-up.

Absence form

Absence form

to be filled online and emailed to Student Affairs doc.student@qu.edu.qa

Dress code guidelines for the clinical setting

Students are expected to maintain appropriate standards of dress, appearance and personal hygiene so as not to cause offence, jeopardize the trust of patients, teachers, or colleagues.

Student Integrity

The Student Integrity Code aims at providing all students at QU with clear standards of behavior. By registering as a student at QU, all students acknowledge their awareness and knowledge of the student integrity code and its procedures. Moreover, they understand the consequences of their violation of these standards. Violations may be of an academic or nonacademic nature. For details, please visit the website: http://www.qu.edu.qa/facultyandstaff/welcome/documents/integrity.php

Study environment

Due to the nature of the medical profession, many components of the study program will involve working with students, patients and faculty of both genders, including coeducational labs and classes. The College is committed to fostering a working and studying environment that is thoroughly aligned with local traditions and cultural values, while remaining dedicated to best pedagogical practices and learning structures.
Medicine students are notoriously busy with the academic side of their learning. The College, however, encourages students to take part in extracurricular learning opportunities which are invaluable in nurturing their social, cultural, teamwork, communication and other skills. This will enable students to develop well-rounded personalities and will nurture the personal attributes and social skills necessary for becoming a good doctor. Student clubs, events and activities, as well as service learning and volunteering opportunities, will be an integral part of the student learning experience. Leadership skills can also be developed through participation in the Qatar University Student Representative Board and through leadership of student clubs.


Curriculum and assessment

Curriculum Description

The MD program at the QU College of Medicine will offer a competency-based, integrated, team- and problem-based curriculum (TBL, PBL) following international best practices. The competency-based curriculum requires a design which allows horizontal and vertical integration between basic medical sciences and clinical sciences throughout the curriculum. This will ensure early introduction of clinical skills training, while emphasizing relevance and application of biomedical science knowledge to patient care.

The curriculum content and student-centered, problem-based learning strategies ensure the acquisition of the competencies. In addition, students study 36 credit hours of general university education, in alignment with QU general education requirements (core courses).

The program duration is six years, divided into three phases:
Phase I: Transition (2 semesters)

Phase II: Integrated Organ Systems (5 semesters)

Phase III: Clerkships (5 semesters)

Phase I: Year 1 (Transition Phase) - semesters 1 and 2
The courses in the transition phase are an interface between high school education and the MD program. The first year is planned together with other QU programs in Health Sciences and Pharmacy. It introduces the students to core scientific foundations in human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, and biostatistics by interprofessional learning. Introduction to medical education prepares students to learn in a PBL and interprofessional environment. The first year is based on the credit-hour system adopted by the University, as several core courses will be offered by existing programs and University general educational requirements are course-based and not integrated.

Phase II: Integrated Organ Systems - Years 2, 3, and first semester of Year 4
This phase is organized around integrated organ system units. By applying written scenarios, simulated and real patient problems, PBL constitutes the main strategy of learning and teaching. Basic medical sciences and clinical sciences are integrated within the problems. The study subjects include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, and genetics. In addition, clinical skills, community medicine, epidemiology, research methodology, family health, EBM, and behavioral sciences are integrated and coordinated with the organ system units. Two periods of electives are offered at the end of year 2 and 3 (six weeks each).

Phase III: Clerkship phase - second semester of Year 4, Years 5 and 6
In the second semester of year 4 (semester 8), students spend seven weeks in a longitudinal integrated medicine and surgery clerkship and seven weeks in community and family medicine. They are offered a third elective period of six weeks at the end of year 4.
In year 5, students undergo four clerkship rotations of ten weeks each in Medicine II, Surgery II, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics and six weeks of elective training. In year 6, they go through four rotations (ten weeks in Family Medicine, six weeks in Psychiatry, six weeks in selected clinical clerkship, and ten weeks in Emergency Medicine), covering medical and surgical emergencies in different subspecialties.


Program Delivery Mode

Learning and Teaching Strategies: The rationale and philosophical perspective of the curriculum are based on several contemporary learning theories applicable to medical education in the 21st century. These include Guided Discovery Learning, Experiential Learning, Social Constructivism, Collaborative Learning and Adult Learning principles. Translating these theories into practice necessitates the use of a “blend” of authentic learning approaches which support student-centered learning. These approaches include Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Team-Based Learning, Case-Based Learning, Task-Based Learning, Patient-Centered Teaching, Learning in the Clinical Environment and the Flipped Classroom. The main strategy for learning in the MD curriculum at Qatar University will be PBL. It will be applied from the pre-clerkship phase (semester 3-7) to the clerkship phase (semester 8-12), gradually replacing written problems in the early years (year 2-6) by real patient problems in the clinical environment. Only Year 1 will predominantly utilize didactic, subject-based learning.

Teaching and Learning in the Clinical Environment: One of the important features of the curriculum is the continuous exposure of the students to the clinical workplace environment. This will start early and continuously increase with the students’ progression. In approximately 60% of the program, students will be in contact with patients and the community at large. The program will provide the students several opportunities to encounter patients in different clinical settings, from primary to tertiary care. Experiential learning appears with a gradual increase in the students’ autonomy and responsibilities. Personal and professional development and patient advocacy skills developed in the early years of the program transition (pre-clerkship) will be progressively developed and nurtured in the latter years (clerkship phase). It will be different from the traditional clerkship block rotations in several specialties separate from each other, aiming to ensure as much coverage as possible to major specialties and sub-specialties.

Electives: Giving students opportunities to explore their interests and get first-hand experience of what they would like to do after graduation is important. The program will provide students with several elective periods in Qatar or abroad. Electives could include research training, often based on the research facilities of the college and research activities of faculty members. Students will be offered the possibility to develop research projects in the elective with a possibility for progressive development of the project in the successive electives. Clinical elective courses are full-time courses, integrating theory and practical clinical training under the supervision of a qualified physician, where medical students have a high degree of responsibility for patients in the clinics. Clinical elective courses can be performed in several clinical specialty areas. In addition to research and clinical electives, the College offers electives in the medical humanities, which provide students with an understanding of the Arts (including humanities) and their connection to medicine. Literature shows that such an understanding contributes to sharpening students’ social skills, highlighting focus on the humane aspects of medical practice, and linking professional and ethical behavior with an understanding of the human spirit.

Research-based Learning: The curriculum and strategy of learning will develop and support a research culture among the students and faculty. The approach will be integrated through the curriculum from Years 1 to 6 and beyond. It will be continuously practiced and developed by doing research and using Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). Faculty research interest and projects will be used in incorporating students in research and scholarly activities. Scientific enquiry provides the basis for advancing healthcare, research interests and skills. They must be developed to foster a new generation of health researchers and clinicians. The students that show capability and interest should have their talent developed to become ready-to-go researchers at the end of the program and be enrolled in PhD studies, and possibly already have been enrolled in MD-PhD program with publications before the MD is finished. The students will be divided early on into three learning communities with respect to their research interest. The three groups will be 1) molecular medicine, which can develop their research potential in relation to the Biomedical Research Centre, developed by the Department of Health Science, 2) public health, developed with researchers from the public health program and 3) clinical research, developed with researchers from the healthcare system.

Student academic support

The College of Medicine (CMED) has established an Academic Support Taskforce (AST) that provides personalized tutoring (educational support) regarding CMED-run courses for interested students.
The AST is comprised of a team of internationally trained, senior medical students or graduates as teaching assistants (TAs). They work closely with the head of the team, and other faculty members within the CMED.
The AST helps interested students address learning challenges, advance their knowledge and study skills, and guide their development as independent learners. Many students have benefited from this initiative, and expressed the benefits in terms of: availability and preparedness of TAs, improved depth of their understanding, improvement of their study methods, and improved confidence in their learning skills and academic performance.
Interested students should set an appointment with the AST office (see below). The first session aims to identify learning needs, a plan of action, and the expectations of the student and TA. The students enroll in a number of sessions, scheduled 1 hour each as needed (e.g. once or twice a week).
In order to maintain the high quality and standards of AST sessions:

  • Students must come prepared to the sessions with evidence of their existing knowledge base and their challenges. Accordingly, TAs use a variety of teaching methodologies as appropriate for students’ learning requirements. The progress, motivation and commitment of the students in the AST sessions are monitored.
  • Students are encouraged to give feedback on the AST sessions.
  • Lack of commitment or motivation will be identified and reported to appropriate entities within CMED.
  • Students interested in other support services will be guided to appropriate entities within QU, e.g. the SLSC, Writing Center, Academic Advising Center, Student Counseling Center, and/or CMED-related (Medical English) workshops.
  • Inquiries to the AST team may be sent to AST-CMED@qu.edu.qa


Assessment and Evaluation

The assessment system will balance between formative and summative methods in order to combine “Assessment of Learning and Assessment for Learning”. The model of assessment used will optimize its educational impact and certification function. Assessment will be deliberately arranged around a set of horizontal and longitudinal assessment activities as “Progress Testing”. Competencies will be assessed at multiple critical points all through the curriculum “gates” (ends of phases 1, 2, and 3). Competency Assurance Tests (CAT) and compiled evidence of achievements, “Portfolios”, will be used to guide decisions regarding students’ progression in the program. The unit of progression is mastery of specific knowledge, skills and attitudes, and is learner-centered.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes and Educational Objectives

Student assessment primarily takes place at the unit/departmental level, where subject experts, together with the Clerkship and Year Coordinators, carry the responsibilities of the proposing exams—whether they are written, Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) or objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) exams. The Assessment Committee will develop policies and assessment techniques to evaluate students’ performance. The Committee will develop means to evaluate curriculum units and the curriculum as a whole.

Student Progress Evaluation Plans

Student assessment has been at the forefront of any educational program. It plays an important role in guiding student learning (assessment drives learning). The assessment strategy at the CMED at QU focuses on assessing students’ competencies and the related integrated knowledge, skills and attitudes. It also monitors student progression over time, diagnosing their difficulties and motivating them to learn and take responsibility for their own learning and professional development. The adoption of an outcome-based curriculum has ensured that each module is linked to the terminal outcomes of the entire program.

Key features of the assessment system for the CMED MD program

  1. Assessment system is developed in order to match the integrated, Problem-Based Learning curriculum (alignment).
  2. Assessment in Year 1 is semester-based, while in Phase II and Phase III, is based on an annual assessment system.
  3. Pass/Fail decisions are made at the end of each year/phase.
  4. Summative comprehensive assessments checking the acquisition of competencies and intended learning outcomes of each phase take place at the end of Year 1, Year 4 and end of Year 6 (the critical gates).
  5. Test blueprints are used to guide the identification of what should be assessed, the level of expected performance, and best testing instruments to be used. This ensures adequate sampling and increases the reliability and validity of the examination instruments. Test blueprints are linked to the curriculum blueprint.
  6. Student assessment instruments are conceptually developed based on the Miller’s pyramid.
    1. Assessment of knowledge at the know; “recall” level, and the “knows how”, “application of knowledge” levels is based on context-rich multiple choice questions (MCQs).
    2. Assessment of skills “shows how” level will take place by using Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
    3. Portfolios, log books and supervisors’ evaluation of student performance are used in assessing student population- and community-based activities and performance in the clerkship phase. The reflective diary is an important component of the portfolio.
    4. Peer and tutor evaluations are used in assessing student performance in the PBL tutorials and other small group activities, including research groups. This student assessment system provides valid and reliable information about the student.
    5. Direct Observation Clinical Encounter Examination, using real patients and mini C-Ex examinations are used during the clerkship phase, at the end of each clerkship rotation and also at the Final Exit MD examination.
    6. The IFOM examination of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) - Basic Sciences and Clinical Sciences will be used as an international benchmark and as a progress test.
  7. Test Item Analysis: Post-examination Test Item Analysis will be used to provide feedback to the Assessment Committee and students.

Student Assessment in Phase I (Year 1)

As a pre-medical phase, student assessment generally follows the standard University system. The assessment in Year 1 is course- and semester-based, with mid- and end-semester examinations. Results are presented as course GPA and cumulative GPAs. Scores and GPA in Year 1 do not contribute to scores in Phase II and Phase III. Scores and grades reflecting performance in each phase are standalone, as they indicate that the student is competent to move to the next phase.
Regulations for student promotion from Year 1 to Year 2:

  1. Promotion to Year 2 is an important gate. Students must pass all the medical college courses in Year 1; namely, Human Structure and Function I & II, Medical Education, Medical Biochemistry, and Biostatistics for Health Sciences;
  2. Attaining a cumulative GPA > 2.5 in the above subjects, in addition to a cumulative GPA > 2.0 in all subjects, including the general education core courses;
  3. University regulations will apply to all other cases not included in the above student categories.
  4. GPAs of Year 1 and GPAs of university core courses will be reported as GPAs following standard university regulations. They do not add to the score and grades of the subsequent years of the medical program, but they could be transferred to other programs in the university.

Student Assessment in Phase II and III (Pre-Clerkship and Clerkship Phase)

Summative assessments in Phase II and III evaluate student performance. The examination tools include written, Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE), Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), project/portfolio and continuous PBL assessment, Hospital rotation, Community medicine, Continuous assessment (attendance and portfolio), and Direct Observation Clinical Examination (DOCEE). At the end of each year, the aggregate results from all examinations are weighted.
Note: The indicated weightage will be further reviewed by the College.
In addition to formative assessments which take place regularly, summative assessments have an important component of continuous assessments of the performance in the PBL sessions.
End-year results are based on the aggregate scores accumulated from the end-of-unit assessments in each year.

Passing score: In order to proceed from one year to the next, a student must have a cumulative score of a minimum of 70% in the respective year

Re-sit examination

Students scoring less than 70% are eligible to take a re-sit examination at the end of the semester or the beginning of the next semester.

Repeat

Students scoring less than 70% in the re-sit examination repeat the year. Students are allowed to repeat a given year only once. If the exam is not passed, the student’s case will be reviewed by the College Assessment Committee.

In Phase III, the minimum cumulative pass mark to pass clerkship examinations is 70%, provided that a student scores a minimum passing mark (70%) in the DOCEE + OSCE. On the ninth week of rotation, the coordinators of the clerkship report to the College on the suitability of any student whether or not to appear for the clinical examination on the basis of his/her continuous assessment. Unsatisfactory performance does not allow students to take the end of clerkship examination. If a student fails the clerkship examination and this failure is due to a low score on clinical examination, s/he is given a re-sit clinical exam within 15 days of the first examination.

Students failing the re-sit examination are allowed to continue training in the clerkship rotation, however, they have a re-sit examination with the next batch of students during the 1st end-clerkship rotation examination. The students also have to repeat four weeks of training in the clerkship in which they have failed, before taking the re-sit examination which can be in the summer. In order to sit for the EXIT examination at the end of Year 6, all students must pass all end-clerkship rotation examinations. Any student failing in more than two clerkship examinations in Year 5 has to repeat the year.

At the end of Year 6, the exit exam has 40% weightage and 60% from the aggregate scores of the seven clerkships in Years 4 and 5.

Final Integrated MD Examination

This is the final hurdle students have to pass in order to graduate. Passing of the final gate ensures that all the outcome competencies have been acquired.
Successful completion and passing of all the Clerkship rotations is a requirement for taking the final Summative Integrated MD examination.

Pass score for completion of the Medical program: A minimum score of 70% on the aggregate scores of continuous clerkship assessment, from the seven clerkship rotation examinations, and final MD examination is required in order to pass. Any student failing to achieve this is declared to have failed, and has to repeat the examination in December of the same academic year.
Re-sit of the final exit examination at end of year six: A student who fails to attain the passing score on the first attempt in May has a maximum of 3 more attempts; the following December, May and December, as long as the student does not exceed the number of years allowable to remain in the program, as per University regulations (currently 50% of the total duration of the program, i.e. 9 years (6yrs + 3yrs).

Graduation requirements

Successful completion of the medical program with a minimum score of 70%. Satisfactory completion of the general and elective University requirements.

Quality Assurance, Program Evaluation, Renewal and Effectiveness

The College of Medicine is committed to developing a continuous quality assurance and enhancement system, evaluating the effectiveness of all aspects of its operations and academic programs. This will be based on continuously measuring performance, synthesis of data, accumulating evidence, renewal by “closing the loop” and benchmarking performance against international best practices.

Recognizing the importance of quality standards, a Standing Committee for “Program Evaluation and Educational Quality Assurance” will be established. Several conceptual frameworks for quality assurance and measuring educational program effectiveness will guide the evaluation of all aspects of the program, e.g. Kirkpatrick’s Model, Context-Input-Process-Output, and Outcome “CIPOO” model.

From the early inception of the College and its development, international accreditation standards will be used and considered. The WFME accreditation standards for undergraduate medical programs are more suitable to the program structure being six years, and students entering the program come straight from high school, which is different from North American accreditation standards e.g. LCME.

Benchmarking

The International Foundations of Medicine examination (IFOM) of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), USA, will be taken at the end of year 4, i.e. Phase II (Basic Medical Sciences exam), and end of Year 6, i.e. Phase III (Clinical Sciences exam).

Accreditation

In additional to quantitative targets, the College will only graduate physicians who comply with the highest international quality standards, set by accreditation agencies in North America and Europe, even at the expense of smaller class sizes initially. These quality standards (mostly importantly the American LCME) have already been used as an input and a blueprint for all key elements of the College of Medicine, including program structure, curriculum and organization.

The leading accreditation bodies for medical programs exclusively accredit programs in their home countries. Therefore, the College of Medicine will have no official program accreditation initially. However, the College of Medicine will work with teams of international accreditors and experts on a continuous basis to ensure compliance with high quality standards, with the aim to convince an international leading accreditation agency to consider accrediting a Qatari institution in the future.

Beyond quality assurance, the College of Medicine will need to be formally “recognized” by a national higher education body (e.g. Qatar’s Supreme Education Council) and then registered in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED). This step is critical to ensure graduates are eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Exam (or equivalent) exams required by HMC’s residency program, as well as many international residency programs. Qatar’s SEC has already confirmed that it will recognize the College of Medicine program once it has been fully developed.

Other than the medicine-specific quality assurance requirements, the College of Medicine will follow the same standards and periodic review schedules that apply to other colleges within Qatar University.

Faculty development

In order to ensure successful and authentic application of the teaching approaches, CMED will establish continuing faculty development processes. Faculty development will include:

  • A one-week introduction course for faculty members before the start of the first semester, in collaboration with the University of Maastricht as a leading European institution for PBL, and the Medical and Health Sciences Colleges at Sharjah University;
  • Constant communication and exchange between highly experienced and new faculty members;
  • Interdisciplinary co-teaching programs with members of other faculties;
  • Structured faculty development processes for all incoming faculty members joining the college later on;
  • Establishment of a “Certificate of Competence in Health Professions Education”, which will be offered regularly for faculty development in CMED and other relevant colleges.

Student life

CMED is committed to fostering a student-centered learning environment that enriches the student experience through both curricular and extracurricular activities. The College has a student club and members of the college are active members in other QU student clubs.

Student participation in decision making through various committees is a priority. Students are also encouraged to voice their opinions, concerns and suggestions through their representative in the Student Representative Board. The Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs is the primary point of contact for students who wish to get involved in the governance of their college or in simply providing input and insight. Two representatives of CMED students will be elected to serve as a focal point between the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and the student body.

Additionally, the college promotes opportunities for students to engage in educational excellence and quality assurance. This is supported by nurturing an environment within which students and faculty engage in discussions about educational experience, arranging for effective student representatives at all organizational levels, and sharing mutual information between the students and the faculty.

Tuition and Scholarships

In Qatar, education is tuition-free for national students. Additionally, national Medicine students are eligible for full scholarship by the Ministry of Administrative Development, through which they can receive a salary throughout their education.
Tuition fees at the College of Medicine for non- national students follow the below schedule.

Academic Year

Tuition Fees per Unit 
(in Qatari Riyals)

Tuition Fees per Academic Semester

Total
(in Qatari Riyals)

Fall

Spring

Summer

First Year

Tuition fees will depend on the courses registered by the student in different colleges.

Second Year

1,000

30,000

27,000

3,000

60,000

Third Year

1,000

31,000

26,000

3,000

60,000

Fourth Year

(1,000) Academic Courses Level
(2,000) Clinical Level

30,000

54,000

6,000

90,000

Fifth Year

2,000

56,000

56,000

8,000

120,000

Sixth Year

2,000

60,000

60,000

--

120,000

Qatar University provides a wide variety of scholarships for non-nationals each academic year, in order to attract highly qualified students. While the vast majority of scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and scholarly achievement, Qatar University also provides scholarships that consider applicants’ financial need.
For more information on the types of scholarships available and how to apply, please visit the “Academic Scholarships” tab under www.qu.edu.qa/students/admission .