Pre-Clinical Sciences

Our Pre-clinical Science program takes place at our well-equipped campus in San Pedro, where students are exposed to lectures, research, and lab instruction. The course content is designed to stimulate the USMLE material, and we endeavor to provide opportunities for practical clinical experience at the nearby hospital as much as possible.

To ensure that our students receive personalized attention, we maintain small class sizes, and our enthusiastic faculty members offer individualized instruction. Additionally, we offer tutoring and mentoring services, and our student network provides several opportunities for peer-led learning initiatives.

Semester One

Major topics covered in semester one under the curriculum are as listed below:

Anatomy relates the gross structure of organs to clinical medicine through clinical correlations. We offer a learning resource center with computer-based instruction, anatomical models, radiographic materials, and supervised laboratory sessions. Students study all organ structures and functions, as well as some cellular structure interactions.

Embryology covers germ cell formation, fertilization, and early human embryo development, and Special Embryology, which covers organ formation and malformations. This course teaches problem-solving skills applicable to other medical courses and clinical management of diseases.

This subject focuses on the microscopic structure of human cells, tissues, and organs using virtual microscopy. Lectures cover how microscopic and gross anatomy correlate with basic histophysiology and organ system function. Students must identify, describe, and understand presented structures and organs; complete performance objectives; and integrate histology with other classes. Topics covered include cell structures and functions, membrane transport, DNA replication and repair, regulation of gene expression, cancer, and molecular biology techniques.

This course teaches Medical Terminology, which is equivalent to learning a new language. Medical terms are derived from Greek and Latin, and understanding them becomes easier by analyzing their elements. Most medical terms have a ‘root’ indicating a disease, procedure, or body part. Prefixes and/or suffixes provide additional information about location, position, or specific procedures.

Students will learn patient-physician communication skills in this course, including initiating the session, building a relationship, exploring problems, and structuring consultations. Students will also learn eliciting patient stories in a patient-centered manner and performing a screening physical exam. Communication skills in specific situations, such as delivering bad news, will be taught. Students will document their findings through oral presentations and patient notes.

This course uses case-enhanced problem-based learning, where fundamental knowledge is learned through problem-solving. The student takes an active role and promotes lifelong learning, emphasizing teamwork and critical thinking. The cases and topics come from MD1 subjects.

Semester Two

Major topics covered in semester two under the curriculum are as listed below:

This course explores the relationship between metabolic pathways and disease, including Medical Nutrition and Medical Genetics. It covers the principles of biochemistry, anabolic and catabolic reactions, and energy generation and utilization. The course uses biochemical mechanisms to explain clinical signs and symptoms, providing a comprehensive understanding of protein, carbohydrate, lipid, and other molecule metabolism. Medical Nutrition evaluates nutritional status based on clinical information, which is important for addressing malnutrition. Medical Nutrition Therapy uses evidence-based protocols to treat patients. Medical Genetics covers human genome details, gene expression, and forms of inheritance to understand how genetic mutations cause disorders. Major topics covered in the course include gene mapping, disease gene identification, genetic disease treatment, prenatal diagnosis, cancer genetics, and pharmacogenetics.

This course covers the nervous system, its anatomy, and physiology. The focus is on understanding each level of the nervous system and its functional deficits in neurological diseases. This course also emphasizes correlations between anatomy, physiology and functional deficits, and includes lab exercises that involve brain dissection and exposure to medical imaging. This course integrates current knowledge of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

This course aims to help students understand the mechanisms of life through an integrated study of control systems that maintain homeostasis. It covers basic principles such as ion transport, intracellular signaling, osmosis, and membranes. Muscle and nerve, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and reproductive physiology are taught, along with their integration into total body function. It also covers temperature regulation, as well as physiological responses to exercise and adverse environments.

In this course, students will learn patient-centered communication skills for situations involving mental illness, caregivers and medically unexplained symptoms alongside refining their problem-focused history and physical exam skills and also learn to obtain a problem-focused history. Physical exam skills will be taught in-depth for the integumentary, head and neck, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, mental status, and neurological systems. Documentation skills will focus on the complete history and physical exam with oral presentations and patient notes.

This course uses case-enhanced problem-based learning to master fundamental knowledge through active problem-solving. The approach encourages student initiative and promotes lifelong learning. Clinically-oriented cases/topics are taken from MD1 and MD2 subjects.

Semester Three

Major topics covered in semester three under the curriculum are as listed below:

Microbiology teaches students about infectious diseases in a lecture as well as lab setting. The course covers microbial diagnosis of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. Students learn about symptoms and disease diagnosis. The Immunology component covers the immune system, innate and adaptive immunity, molecular and cellular mechanisms, antigen processing and presentation, lymphocyte activation, and effector functions and memory cells.

Pathology studies how diseases affect organs at the cellular level. The course covers the response of cells, tissues, and organs to disease and injury, including inflammation, neoplasia, and systemic diseases. Lectures are supplemented by the study of specimens.

Behavioral Sciences covers psychological development throughout the life cycle and the behavioral basis of clinical medicine. It introduces biostatistics, interviewing, and data collection, as well as epidemiology, public health and industrial medicines. Discussions of health care delivery, legislation, costs, and comparative health care systems conclude the course. 

Medical Ethics introduces ethical, professional, and legal issues in medicine, and provides tools for recognizing and addressing conflicts in clinical settings.

In this course, students will enhance their communication and physical exam skills, focusing on systems such as gastrointestinal, endocrine, vascular, reproductive, and musculoskeletal. They will learn to assess special populations, including children, pregnant women and older adults. Students will improve their problem-focused history and physical exam abilities, along with documentation skills, medical order writing, diagnostic decision-making, and prescription writing. 

This course is the continuation of clinical correlations from the last two parts with case-enhanced problem-based learning using clinically-oriented cases/topics from MD1 to MD3 subjects, where fundamental knowledge is mastered by solving problems and promotes lifelong learning through active learning mode with student initiative.

Semester Four

Major topics covered in semester four under the curriculum are as listed below:

Pathology II applies concepts from Pathology I to study the pathologic basis of disease using an organ-based approach, covering red and white cell diseases, genital tracts, and kidney and liver systems.

This course focuses on drugs and their effects on the body. Topics covered include drug interactions with living organisms, disease treatment and prevention, physiological changes, and receptor interaction.

This course teaches students essential clinical skills, including history taking and physical examination using advanced technological tools. It also covers clinical assessment, evidence-based information search, and patient care planning. Professionalism in doctor-patient, doctor-doctor, and doctor-society interactions are also emphasized.

The final clinical correlation paper focuses on case-enhanced problem-based learning that integrates pre-clinical sciences knowledge. Teamwork and critical thinking are emphasized as students solve problems and learn in an active mode. The course uses clinically-oriented cases/topics from MD1 through MD4 subjects.

Semester Five

Major topics covered in semester five under the curriculum are as listed below:

These classes aim to familiarize students with the types of questions asked in USMLE Step I and how to apply basic science knowledge to clinically relevant topics. An overview of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and pathology as applied to each organ system will be reviewed, along with relevant diseases and their treatment will also be included. This will help students prepare for the exam with more confidence and learn how to apply basic science knowledge to clinical situations.

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Clarification on CCUSOM Programs

We wish to inform you that CCUSOM has no partner campuses, split programs in India, or offline premed centers. Our programs are exclusively completed within the university in Belize. Any rumors circulating in India about such arrangements are untrue. Trust only official communications for accurate information.