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Why does Medical School follow a yearly schedual vs. a semester schedual?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Kappy1, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. Kappy1

    Kappy1 Bleach and Glass Cleaner 5+ Year Member

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    In my Imagination
    Why doesn't Medical School run on a spring and fall semester system as many undergrad colleges do? Is it just an anatomy problem? (not enough bodies?) You would still require medical school for four years but a class that would start in the spring semster could end with a fall semster and a January graduation. It also would make senese now that the new mcat is given 22 times a year. Students wouldn't need to wait a year if they would take the September Mcat.
     
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  3. SurgeonUFO

    SurgeonUFO 7+ Year Member

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    I think that part of the application process is the waiting.
     
  4. BellyDancingDoc

    BellyDancingDoc Rump Shaker 5+ Year Member

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    Educating med students is crazy expensive. I read somewhere that it costs upwards of 1 million dollars to educate each young doc (though that's including federal dollars that help fund the teaching in hospitals as well as money for residency). Since educational costs are already so steep, they have to be economical in terms of teaching, etc. Having to set up each course only once per year instead of twice probably saves $$$.

    The other issue is that, within the current timeline, the Match flows nicely into graduation which flows nicely into the start of Residency. If people finished in December they'd have a weird 6 month gap. Some folks (mylse included) would probably appreciate having the gap, but I must admit that it probably would result in people being off their game at start of residency.
     
  5. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    The Big Easy
    Technically you have a yearlong gap since MS4 is a nice little year long vacation :) :D
     
  6. BellyDancingDoc

    BellyDancingDoc Rump Shaker 5+ Year Member

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    Yay! :laugh:
     
  7. Funky

    Funky This space is for sale 10+ Year Member

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    probably because much of medicine follows the, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory :rolleyes:
     
  8. Kappy1

    Kappy1 Bleach and Glass Cleaner 5+ Year Member

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    In my Imagination
    I understand the cost of medical education is steep and that I don't believe that will ever change. You would have more students going through the system and that could possibly (doubtfull) cover the cost. Medical Schools are planning to increase class sizes over the next couple of years. That being the case there must be a way schools are defraying the cost of extra students. If students are graduationg in January, Residency programs could work on a similiar system as well. Threre would be no sixth month gap.
     
  9. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    Your instructors have other jobs, usually, and having classes start each semester would mean they have to teach the same class twice as often. They'd rather not. Besides, my school has an M1 auditorium and an M2 auditorium. They'd have to build two more. And would admissions work in two cycles? Applications submitted before July can begin in January? Classes aren't that big anyways, so what's the advantage of having twice as many? The only advantage I can see would be for people who failed a semester - they could start up again right away instead of waiting until August. Besides, your schedule is all made up for you - it's not like you can pick and choose classes each year. "Okay, I'll start with anatomy and psychology, take biochem and embryo in the spring...."

    Students wouldn't have to wait a year if they planned ahead. I was out of college for less than three months before med school started.
     
  10. Kappy1

    Kappy1 Bleach and Glass Cleaner 5+ Year Member

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    In my Imagination

    Currently many schools have a close to 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 faculty to student ratios. I'm sure they could find multiple instructers who qualified to teach a given course. With regaurds to space, it depends how every school's scheduals are set up as to rotate classes through different lecture halls. You may be right, that a new lecture halls would be needed, but classes are going to be increasing anyhow and new lecture halls maybe required. Admisssions would definetly work in two cycles and if applications are in before July why not let them start in January. Granted classes would not be chosen, the schedule would still be desighned by the school. The students would not make the schedule.
     
  11. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon 7+ Year Member

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    Another problem with this idea is that there can be a decent amount of faculty sharing. All your professors don't work for the 'school of medicine.' Your cell bio professor has responsibilities (and classes to teach) in the dept. of cell biology. Your anatomy professors have other classes and duties as well. All of you classes work this way. I doubt these departments would be willing to outright give their faculty to the medical school year round.

    I'll use the anatomy class at my school as an example. We have gross anatomy for the better part of the fall semester, and it takes up the majority of our professor's time (2 hours of lecture in the morning plus 2-3 hours of lab in the afternoon, 5 days per week, plus lecture prep, lab prep, prosections, and testmaking.) They also do a lot of research during the class, as there are many cadavers dissected and available for the purpose. So this takes up the majority of their fall. So why not just do the same in the spring? Because that's when they teach anatomy to the PAs, the CRNAs, the ODs, and all the rest of the health profession classes. There literally aren't enough hours in the day, or space in the gross lab for that matter, to have the medical school AND the other health profession classes going at the same time year round. Other courses would probably have similar problems. Could they make it work? Sure, but it would require a huge investment in hiring more faculty, expanding facilities, etc. If you wanted to increase the total enrollment, it's much easier to just make the single class you already have bigger. Running a few more scantrons through the scanner a few times per semester isn't nearly as big of an investment :) So, while this would be a good thing for the students, there is NO upside for the school that I can see.
     
  12. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Sources for that 1 million dollar figure? It doesn't make sense if international students pay less than $280k... I thought we were not subsidized at all.
     
  13. Kappy1

    Kappy1 Bleach and Glass Cleaner 5+ Year Member

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    In my Imagination

    Good pionts. The upside for the school will be more students which would equal more tution money. The other issue it will solve is the US healthcare shortage of doctors, PA's, ect... The more students turned out from US schools the less our system will need forieghn grads to fulfill our healthcare needs. Faculty are already spread too thin. Schools need to expand anyhow. All of the other health profession schools are going to be expanding as well. In doing so, a school could set up this system.
     
  14. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon 7+ Year Member

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    Sure, graduate more students. Just put them in the same class with all the rest. Tuition dollars do not remotely cover a student's educational cost. Increasing class size would bring down the cost per student as well as increase the number of doctors, as I said before. Increasing the number of classes, on the other hand, would increase the number of doctors, but increase the cost of education enormously. For instance, let's say a school has a class size of 100, and they want to expand to 150. If they do so by splitting into 2 classes of 75, as you suggest, they DOUBLE the fixed costs (faculty time investment, cadavers, etc.). If they do so by increasing the existing class to 150, there's a minimal increase in faculty investment, and only a moderate increase in cadavers and other 'sharable' consumables needed. I'm fine with increasing class sizes if it's needed, but splitting it as you suggest just doesn't make financial sense. The only advantage I can see is a.) failing students wouldn't have to repeat a year, only a semester, and b.) the blast of incompetence in teaching hospitals every July would be a smaller, better buffered blast of incompetence twice per year, which might lead to better patient outcomes. THAT would be an interesting idea to test :)
     
  15. Kappy1

    Kappy1 Bleach and Glass Cleaner 5+ Year Member

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    In my Imagination

    agreed. :) But if class sizes do expand greatly (not in the immediate future) but 50-100 years from now, it may still be possible. At that piont a school may feel that having 400 or more students per class is not the best way to educate people and may need to split the class even though it will require increasing fixed costs. If enough people start failing the school may not have a choice. Running a Med school is a losing propostion financially anyhow.
     

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