From its establishment in 1970, Kitasato University School of Medicine has been at the forefront of general medical education in Japan with the innovative Kitasato System. This system offers a unique curriculum that connects basic medicine with clinical medicine, and studies the human body divided into internal organs. KUSM provides an integrated program in which the traditional basic science courses have been reorganized into organ-system units, and specialized subjects are taught from the first year onwards. In the course of six years, students gain a wealth of medical knowledge while also acquiring the skills and mental attitude to put this knowledge into clinical practice. By stimulating independent thinking and problem solving, KUSM aims to educate individuals who are capable of conducting comprehensive and systematic analysis from the diagnosis to the treatment.
The First Year
The primary goal of the first-year curriculum is to provide a foundation in basic science as well as in general college-level liberal arts and language education. In addition to seminars on physics, biology, and chemistry, students are introduced to specialized subjects such as the principles of medicine, medical chemistry, and cellular biology. KUSM also offers a wide range of courses in the humanities and social sciences for a broad education, and first-year students are given the unique opportunity to take part in a trial hospital duty.
The Second Year
The second-year program lays the groundwork for an in-depth understanding of human biology in preparation for pre-clinical education. The focus in the first semester is on chemistry and physics with basic specialized courses in metabology, medical chemistry, dietetics, genetics, biochemistry training, and basic radiologic science. In the second semester, students study the structure of the human body with hands-on laboratory work, anatomy and histology training, and courses in physiology and embryology.
The Third Year
The third year features an introduction to basic medicine and the beginning of general organ-system education. In a radical departure from the traditional medical school curriculum, KUSM has reorganized the basic science courses into units classified by internal organs. This unique and innovative educational program creates a direct connection between basic medicine and clinical medicine, and enables students to acquire a clinical viewpoint from an early stage in their education.
The Fourth Year
The fourth-year curriculum continues with a compilation of the general organ-system courses of the third year, and provides the final courses of theoretical learning in preparation for the bedside education that commences in the fifth year. Students also receive an introduction to clinical training in order to develop the mental attitude and manners required for the fifth-year clinical training. In the course of this year, students take national examinations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs).
The Fifth Year
The fifth year is focused on clinical training with a bedside education program in which students apply their acquired knowledge to actual medical treatment. Students rotate the 28 medical departments of Kitasato University Hospital and Kitasato University East Hospital in small groups, and gain an understanding of the basic principle 'patient-centered medical treatment'. During this year, they study all the subjects that form the basis of clinical medicine and take OSCEs of each medical department.
The Sixth Year
In the sixth year, students expand their knowledge and skills by undergoing elective training at a medical department of their choice. Under the guidance of the physician in charge, they gain ample experience in the diagnosis and treatment of in- and outpatients as a member of staff of the selected medical department. Upon completion of the elective training, students are required to take a final OSCE as well as the graduation examination.