Basic Science Curriculum

Basic Science Curriculum

for both 51/2 and 4 years MD Program


Gross Anatomy and Physiology I: This topic is intended to develop a clear concept of a three-dimensional visual image of the human body. The students will be taught to correlate radiological imaging like X-ray, Contrast Media Studies, Ultrasonography, CT Scan, MRI and PET scan with body organs so that they can understand clinical correlation of the organs and organ system involved in various diseases.

Embryology: The study of gametogenesis, fertilization, development of placenta, embryonic and fetal development, organogenesis and congenital malformations is the substance of this subject. The various congenital anomalies including diagnosis and management of clinical conditions are explained as deviations from normal development. The student thus obtains an understanding of the normal development of the human organism and learns to recognize the various congenital deviations that will be encountered in clinical practice.

Biochemistry, Histology and Cell Biology I: This topic is aimed at helping the student understand the properties of cells, in particular their interaction with one another as components of the tissues and organs of the body. The correlation of structure and function at ultra structure level will be studied to understand biochemical and physiological changes in the healthy and unhealthy body. Cell signaling, cell secretion, the cell cycle, and the extra-cellular matrix are some of the topics presented in the analysis of cell structure and function. The emphasis on the cell in histology and cell biology cannot be overly stressed since all diseases occur at the cellular level. Thus, students must understand the basic science of the cell and its mechanisms before they can understand how pathologies work. In addition, cell structure and its function as presented in this course serves as a preparation for the elaboration of these concepts in the physiology and pharmacology courses and will prepare students to learn medicine continuously.

Introduction to Research Skills for Evidence-Based Medicine: Students will have an opportunity to develop research skills related to Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). They will be introduced to concepts of research analysis and critical thinking. At the end of this semester, the student will be able to identify and frame a clinical question based on therapy, diagnosis, prognosis or etiology; develop a focused search strategy to identify articles that best answer the clinical question and find the appropriate medical data base and critically appraise articles for validity.


The second semester further delves into the structure and functions of the organ systems of the human body and helps integrate this knowledge in the basic, clinical and behavioral sciences, scientific principles and the analysis of clinical research.

Gross Anatomy and Physiology II: This topic intends to develop a clear understanding of various functions at the cellular tissue and organ level. The course aims at providing an understanding of disturbances in various functions of health and disease and help in interpretation of various diagnostic tests. The course is divided into two equal sections. The first half covers cardiovascular endocrinology and neuromuscular physiology. The second half will cover gastro intestinal, renal, pulmonary and special sense organs. The concepts will be used to integrate physiology and problem based learning.

Biochemistry, Histology and Cell Biology II: This subject is designed to make students understand the scientific basis of the life processes at the molecular level. The knowledge acquired in biochemistry will help the students to integrate molecular events with structure and function of the human body in health and disease. The topics covered are mechanisms of biochemical reactions in energy production, biosynthesis & degradation and their relationship with disease, biochemical roles of the major organs, biochemical impact on major pathways and an overview of the metabolic interplay between organs. Chromosomes, their aberrations and the disorders that result from them, molecular and clinical genetics, including prenatal diagnosis and genetic screening and an overview of modern genetics, cancer and gene therapy are the other areas covered. Thus, the student will be oriented towards the application of the acquired knowledge in solving clinical problems.

Medical Behavioral Science: Students are introduced to the psychological aspect of patient care with special emphasis on human behaviour in context to medical care and illness. Overview of human behaviour and psycho-analysis will be the main focus of the course. Discussion of psycho therapy behavioral medicine, doctor patient relationship, psychological assessment and psycho-pharmacological intervention will be conducted. Evidence based approach for assessment of effectiveness of treatment shall comprise the foundation in behavioral medicine.

Biostatistics and Epidemiology: The central theme of this subject is the importance of accessing, evaluating and using information in health care delivery. The course includes lectures and exercises in health policy, biostatistics and epidemiology. Students learn to read the literature critically and to use the principles of evidence-based medicine as well as apply the concepts of biostatistics and epidemiology to select medical and public health problems. Systems of financing and delivering of medical care are discussed, along with current important changes in insurance systems, cost containment and models of medical practice. The effects of behavior, environment and politics on health in different societies are also considered. The course addresses the concept of disease prevention, health promotion and population health, as well as on the integration of each in the practice of medicine.

During this course the student will get an opportunity to learn and practice principles of behavioral change communication, supervision, leadership, resource management, health information management, community participation & coordination. This subject will make the student aware of the physical, social, cultural, psychological, economic and environmental determinants of health and disease


The core objective of this semester is to develop a basic understanding of disease processes and to begin to integrate knowledge of basic science principles in the development of a more complex understanding of the nervous system. It also aims to enhance knowledge and integration of the social and psychological aspects of medicine while continuing to gain familiarity with diagnostic skills and tools used in clinical medicine.

Medical Pathology I: This topic aims to provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of the mechanisms and causes of disease, in order to enable the student to achieve complete understanding of the natural history and clinical manifestations of the disease.

The General Pathology segment deals with how tissues respond to injury, cell death, inflammation, ischemia, thrombosis, embolism, infraction, and so forth. It also deals with response to infections, environmental pollutants and disease states related to abnormal immune responses. Mechanisms of tumor development and how tumors spread are studied under "neoplasia". This is followed by a special course on Molecular Pathology techniques as applied to clinical practice.

At the end of training the student shall be able to integrate the causes of disease and relationship of different etiological factors (social, economic and environmental) that contribute to the natural history of diseases.

Medical Immunology: This topic is designed to provide a basic understanding of the major principles and mechanisms of the immune system. The emphasis will be on interaction between innate and acquired immunity in response to infection, environmental factors, xenobiotics etc. At the end of this course students will be able to correlate clinically and interpret various diagnostic tests and their significance.

Microbiology: The courses of Microbiology and Pathology are taught simultaneously and are closely integrated to each other. The students are provided an understanding of the natural history of infectious diseases in order to deal with the etiology, pathogenesis, laboratory diagnosis treatment and control of infections. The course will cover the basic principles of Microbiology including classification and taxonomy, microbial physiology and genetics, genetic engineering, control of micro organisms through the use of physical and chemical agents, antibiotics and epidemiological concepts. Bacterial, fungal and viral infectious organisms are all represented in this series. In the second section, the pathogens are discussed according to the human organ system where they most often cause clinical disease.

Medical Genetics: This subject comprises basic genetics and its application to clinical sciences. It begins with basic organization of genes in chromosomes and understanding the role of genes in developing various traits, defining the fundamental laws of inheritance, learning about chromosomal aberrations and mutations. This course further describes molecular genetics, clinical genetics and cytogenetics including prenatal, antenatal diagnosis and genetic counseling. The course concludes with a description of common genetic disorders, cancer genetics, gene therapy and human genome project.

Pharmacology I: The primary aim of the Pharmacology course is to provide the students with a solid understanding of the pharmacological basis of therapeutics and thus lay strong foundation for future evidence based clinical decision making and rational use of drugs with respect to disease treatment. This will allow the physician to keep abreast of new developments in drug therapy. The course includes pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs used in different diseases and the rationale of their use. Practical knowledge of use of drugs in clinical practice will be acquired through teaching in pre-clinical departments. Also, prescription writing and computer simulated study of effects of drugs on various organ systems is elaborated here.


During the course of this semester, the student secures an understanding of the basic mechanisms of the disease process in common diseases. The student is also helped to further develop the ability to assess and recognize the manifestations of common diseases and to learn the mechanisms involved in the treatment of various pathological states.

Medical Pathology II: The systemic pathology segment involves similar principles but applied in detail to individual organ systems like cardiovascular, respiratory and so forth. It will also include interpretation of laboratory data for some of the major disease processes. A short course of Forensic Pathology is taught in the Systemic Pathology module. The course provides understanding concomitantly with Pharmacology and introduction to Clinical Medicine in an integrated fashion like case of the week. At the end of this course, the student can correlate gross and microscopic changes and interpret various clinical laboratory tests.

Pharmacology II: Continuing from Pharmacology I, expand your knowledge of how drugs interact with the human body into several additional major body systems, including the cardiovascular, urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems, with particular emphasis on the endocrine and immune systems. Examine the components and functions of each of these systems, along with diseases and conditions that affect them, including cancer and diabetes. And of course you will study the drugs that are used to treat such conditions with respect to their mechanisms of action and any therapeutic and adverse effects they entail.

Physical Diagnosis: This subject will prepare students in oral and written communication skills. They will be trained in the art of presenting a standard history of a physical examination and addressing common problems. This will be based on integration of knowledge acquired during the foundation courses and learning experiences.

Medical and Legal Ethics: A comprehensive study of the legal and ethical issues involved in the practice of medicine. The broad goal of teaching undergraduate students this subject is to produce a physician who is well informed about medico-legal responsibilities in the practice of medicine. The student acquires knowledge of law in relation to medical practice, medical negligence, rights of the patient as a consumer and respect for codes of medical ethics, disclosure, confidentiality, informed consent, death and dying.

Nutrition: This course will highlight diet and its components. The aim is to understand the importance of holistic nutrition, physical fitness etc. The program is divided into comprehensive lessons to help understand the role of nutritional elements for the human body. In addition, the course will focus on relevance of various aspects of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of diseases. At the end of the course the student will be able to explain the role of nutrition in and during the disease and will also be able to address the management of diseases in an infant, adult or geriatric person.


This semester aims to further develop the ability to assess and recognize the manifestations of common diseases and to learn the mechanisms involved in the treatment of various pathological states and to develop test taking and review skills for successfully completing the USMLE.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine: This course is intended for the students to apply the knowledge so far acquired to patient management. The students will become well versed with symptoms and signs, learn to interrogate the patients accordingly, to plan investigations, their interpretation and use this knowledge in the treatment of patients. Students should be able to recognize adverse drug reaction, patient's progress, plan follow up and subsequent treatment. The concept of evidence based medicine and clinical research will be applied in patient management. The above will apply in Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics.

Integrative Study of the Basic Sciences (USMLE Review): The course will help students to correlate knowledge of various subjects to clinical history, examination, diagnostic test and treatment of patients. At the end of the course students will understand pathology and pathogenesis of disease process and use the knowledge to order diagnostic tests, interpret them, plan treatment of patients, monitor therapy and predict outcome and prognosis.

Learning Counseling and Communication Skills: Medical practice deals with the human beings who behave differently when unwell. Bearing pain and discomfort is relative to an individual; some react excessively to minor illness whereas others remain calm even with serious medical problems. A medical doctor has the privilege to know very private and intimate facts of the patient both by taking history and through examining the body. She/he requires training to be able to communicate with the patient with reassurance and confidence. The students will be supported in acquiring 'listening and learning', 'checking understanding', and 'confidence building' skills through interactive sessions, demonstrations, role play, written exercises and by exposing them to patients in the first phase of medical training itself. The aim is that at the end of the course a doctor is confident of treating the 'patient' and not the 'disease'.

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves the public through its high- quality assessments of healthcare professionals. Academic institutions call on the NBME to develop self assessment exam for the programs it runs including USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2. As of February 2018, these assessment tests are available in expanded feedback version costing $60 and displays the incorrectly answered questions with correct answers. At AUB we encourage all our students to appear for the NBME exam as this online assessment helps them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and in future it is likely to be made an integral part of the curriculum.