Courses taught at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine are tailored to the specific needs of prospective physicians, with the aim of acquiring a broad knowledge and a variety of skills which are indispensable for their future vocation in the national health care system. Upon graduation students are conferred the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD).
The study of medicine lasts six years, thus uniting the undergraduate and the graduate level into one single entity (0+6), which has already been accepted by the majority of European universities.
Language of Instruction: Croatian and English
Organization of Study and Teaching Process
Today’s Europe demonstrates a great variety of graduate programs in medicine. Yet certain principles in curriculum organization seem to be prevailing: medical education is becoming more student-centered, problem-based learning is gaining prominence as an educational methodology, horizontal and vertical integration is encouraged, students receive training both in hospital and community settings, and, finally, electives provide students with an opportunity to explore individual areas of interest. Thus teaching and learning, particularly in the clinical area, are becoming a more structured and carefully planned experience.
Although still faithful to its original mission of providing broad medical education for its students, the medical curriculum at the Zagreb School of Medicine contains all the above elements present in the innovative curricula worldwide. In the course of the first three years of the program, premedical courses, basic medicine and preclinical courses organized in blocks are taught along with introducing students to communication skills, patient care and social aspects of medicine. The study of pre-medical disciplines comprises an introduction to the physical, chemical and biological basis of life, whereas in basic medical courses students acquire knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the human body. The program of pre-clinical courses comprises the understanding of disease mechanisms, studying their effects on human bodies, drug action and the approach to and examination of patients. Clinical courses are taught in the period from the fourth to the sixth year, organized as clinical attachment blocks, consisting of educational contents and student clerkships during which students are focused on various diseases and expected to develop clinical reasoning, generate differential diagnosis and create diagnostic and management plans. Public-health courses are also represented early on in the curriculum and are developed progressively along the continuum of the curriculum, as students gradually mature in the world of patient care. Relevant to public health courses are matters concerning environmental and social health factors together with the physician’s role in the prevention and treatment of diseases. The present curriculum takes into account the recommendations of international academic institutions and professional societies as far as the knowledge, skills and competencies at the level of student performance and understanding in a particular discipline are defined. The core curriculum, which defines the competencies of the Croatian doctor of medicine as a basis of the national qualification framework, has been defined conjointly by all four medical schools in Croatia (Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, and Osijek), and is to be published in a separate catalogue of knowledge and skills based on our own long standing experience in medical education and the existing, widely acclaimed international models in defining learning outcomes and subject benchmarks that are specific to medical profession.
Along with regular academic courses, as a direct consequence of the enormous explosion in medical knowledge, electives are offered throughout the curriculum respecting individual inclinations of students and providing in-depth knowledge of specific areas of interest. As far as the teaching is concerned, the focus is shifted from lectures to other, more active forms of teaching, such as practicals, tutorials, seminars, demonstrations, consultations and clinical audits, where students gain experience in clinical settings, as well as at the facilities of local health centers. Integrated case-based modules have also been incorporated into the curriculum, such as Rational Pharmacotherapy, Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System and Emergency Medicine.
Students also gain insight into elementary research methods, statistics and medical informatics. Medical terminology with introduction to medical literature in foreign languages is also taught.
Professional ethics is given special coverage throughout the whole course of study with a separate course medical ethics offered in the sixth year.
In the final diploma exam taken at the end of the study, prospective physicians are expected to have gained knowledge and understanding of the most common diseases, their diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation.
As far as the quality assurance is concerned, the University of Zagreb School of Medicine has been using central students’ questionnaire as a part of its long-lasting quality assurance process. Attempts at enquiring about students’ satisfaction with the program and its performance started at the end of the eighties. Present form of students’ questionnaire was introduced in the academic year 2001/2002. Apart from the central questionnaire each department has its own evaluation with its own methods of how to improve the teaching process and achieve greater satisfaction of students with a particular course.
After the introduction of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), an evaluation of students' workload has been done in 2000 and 2004 (before and after curricular changes), which significantly contributed to the evaluation the teaching quality in the new curriculum. All these experiences are also included in the Medical Studies in English program.
Additionally, since academic year 2005/2006 University of Zagreb has also been conducting its centralized quality assurance survey.
Number of students enrolled: 1,700 (250 first-year students).