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Norman Rockwell Human Development, Behavioural Science and Ethics

1st Year, Clinical Medicine


The Human Development, Behavioural Science and Ethics Course is delivered in the 1st medical year and consists of four elements:

  1. Family Case Study (small group tutorials and family visits).  (The department offers a prize annually, based on this element of the course - Noël Browne Prize)
  2. Behavioural Science (small group tutorials)
  3. Human Development and Behavioural Science Lecture course
  4. Introduction to Medical Ethics

The course is taught by staff from Public Health and Primary Care (Family Case Study), the Department of Psychiatry (Behavioural Science tutorials) and the Medical School Ethicists.  The lecture course is further supported by the Departments of Paediatrics and Psychology and with inputs from other guest/occasional lecturers.

Overall Course Aims

  • To give the student an understanding of the concepts of normality in physical and psychological human development.
  • To enable the student to develop an understanding of the evolution of man and man’s relationship with society and his/her environment.
  • To equip the student with a thorough and integrated knowledge of normal human function and behaviour.
  • To initiate the student in the study of medical ethics and help him/her to develop the skills to recognize and evaluate ethical concerns.

The course as a whole strives to give students a basic understanding of human behaviour which will inform all aspects of their future clinical practice. Information on physical, psychological and social development is delivered via lectures and small group sessions.  These are incorporated with experiential learning through visits to families with young babies over the span of the year and problem based learning through behavioural science scenarios. The course will cover development from childhood through the different human life stages up to and including ageing and death.

The Medical Ethics introduction comprises both lectures and small group problem-based learning sessions. Where appropriate, aspects of the problems from the small group sessions are incorporated in the lectures. Group discussion is used in tandem with the traditional lecture format and weekly reading assignments are central. The course aims to equip students with the skills to negotiate and reflect on ethical issues, which they will encounter during the course of their medical training, and to help them develop an ethics vocabulary, discursive confidence and sensitivity as part of the foundation for their futures in the medical profession.

Please click here for details of the Noël Browne Prize.

Last updated 23 November 2016 Mary O'Neill (Email).