Basic Sciences

MUA has an integrated, systems-based curriculum that parallels the training you would receive at a top US medical school. This curriculum, in collaboration with our excellent faculty (all of whom have either an MD or a PhD in the field they teach), small class sizes and a focused emphasis on preparing you for Step 1 of the USMLE, will set you on the best course possible to becoming a doctor.

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Key facts 

Location: The Basic Sciences program will be based on Nevis Island in the Caribbean, which will prepare you for the USMLE Step 1 Exam, before proceeding to your clinical studies. 

The curriculum: A comprehensive detailed and modern courses with small class sizes and practical teaching to prepare you for USMLE step 1 success.

USMLE Success: Between 2015 and 2019, the first time pass rate averaged 95% - a consistently strong performance, positioning MUA as a very successful medical institution. 

Tuition fees: Basic Science per semester tuition is $16,825 and Clinical Medicine is $21,600 per semester

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Grail Sisters

Two sisters graduate from MUA and had an amazing experience. Hear about their experiences and why they chose medical school.

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Ronald Russo

Discover how Ronald found his passion from a young age for medicine and join him on his journey as he found MUA and really furthered his passion.

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An Upper Edge for Getting a Residency

Hear from Lavinya as she talks about her experience of MUA. Hear first hand how she believes MUA gave her an upper edge against the competition.

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Jennifer Ingersoll - Coming Home to North Carolina

Jennifer now has a residency at Vidant Medical Centre in Greenville. Hear her experience of studying with MUA and why she chose to study in the Caribbean.

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A Day in the Life of an MUA Student

Her dream was to become a physician, follow along and see what a typical day is like in medical school.

 

 

Curriculum and academic calendar

Spring 2020

  • Orientation and Registration January 6
  • First Day of Classes January 7
  • MD Graduation – No Ceremony January 10
  • MD Graduation – No Ceremony March 13
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester April 1
  • Last Day of Classes April 15
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony April 16
  • Reading Day and Final Exams April 15-17

Summer 2020

  • Orientation and Registration May 4
  • First Day of Classes May 5
  • MD Graduation - No ceremony May 22
  • Commencement Ceremony COVID-19 Announcement
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester August 1
  • Last Day of Classes August 12
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony August 13
  • Reading Day and Final Exams August 12-14

Fall 2020

  • Orientation and Registration August 31
  • First Day of Classes September 1
  • MD Graduation - No ceremony September 11
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester December 1
  • Last Day of Classes December 9
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony December 10
  • Reading Day and Final Exams December 9-11

Spring 2021

  • Orientation and Registration January 4
  • First Day of Classes January 5
  • MD Graduation – No Ceremony January 8
  • MD Graduation – No Ceremony March 19
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester April 1
  • Last Day of Classes April 14
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony April 15
  • Reading Day and Final Exams April 14-16

Summer 2021

  • Orientation and Registration May 3
  • First Day of Classes May 4
  • MD Graduation May 21
  • MD Graduation – Commencement TBD
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester August 1
  • Last Day of Classes August 11
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony August 12
  • Reading Day and Final Exams August 11-13

Fall 2021

  • Orientation and Registration August 30
  • First Day of Classes August 31
  • MD Graduation - No ceremony September 10
  • Tuition Due for Next Semester December 1
  • Last Day of Classes December 8
  • Basic Science Awards Ceremony December 9
  • Reading Day and Final Exams December 8-10

MED 502 – Human Body Structure and Function

This course explores basic gross human anatomy, allowing students to understand the relationship between anatomical structure and function. Through lectures, regional dissections of cadavers and evaluation of radiographs (including CT and MRI), students acquire a basic knowledge of the normal gross structure, functional and clinical anatomy of organs and systems of the adult human body, including the brain and spinal cord. Computer-based tutorial programs and structured reviews are used to supplement the lectures and labs.
(15 credits; 231 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED504 – Human Histology & Physiology

This course examines the microanatomy of cells, tissues and organs as well as the basic components of human physiology. Lectures illustrate the microstructure of major tissues and organs in relation to their function. This program presents the molecular biology and histology of normal cells, tissues and organ systems at various developmental functional stages. Students learn how individual cell functions interact with one another and how such interactions are accomplished from the tissue levels to the organ levels. The course prepares students for an understanding of normal (homeostasis) structure of the systems and furnishes the background for appreciating pathological conditions. In addition, students learn how molecular building blocks are utilized for growth and differentiation, wound healing and tissue repair, defense mechanisms and transfer of hereditary characters. Physiology topics include the basic components of all organ systems. (13 credits; 180 hrs.)

MED506 – Clinical Skills I

This is the first course in a five-part series that focuses on communication skills, eliciting the patient’s history, performing a physical exam, and communicating their findings to healthcare professionals through oral presentations and written notes. In this course, students will learn and practice the foundations of patient-physician communication skills, including initiating the session, building the relationship, exploration of problems, understanding the patient agenda and structuring the consultation. Students will also learn the first steps of eliciting the patient’s story in a patient-centered manner and the initial components of a physical exam. In addition, students will begin to develop their skills documenting their findings in a patient note.
(2 credits; 30 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED601 – Metabolism & Nutrition

The biochemical pathways of living organisms are studied with a focus on metabolic processes. Topics include pathways linking nutritional intake and energy-yielding processes as well as the application of underlying principles discussed in Scientific Foundations (First Semester – First Block). Broad content includes a study of the chemistry and reactions of constituents of living matter, including carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, vitamins, coenzymes and minerals. In addition, the chemistry and regulation of the reactions and processes of whole organisms will be examined including: endocrinology, enzymology, nutrition, intermediary metabolism and biochemical mechanisms involved in select disease states.
(9 credits; 133 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED602 – Genetics & Development

This course provides students with an understanding of the principles and concepts upon which current clinical genetic practice (diagnosis, treatment and genetic counselling) is based. It also incorporates human development, allowing students to understand the relationship between embryonic development, in terms of human body structure and function and the underlying genetic mechanisms of congenital abnormalities. This course covers the genetics of human populations and introduces recent and ongoing discoveries so that their future applications may be understood.
(4 credits; 65 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED603 – Infection/Defense/Response

This course considers the characteristics and properties of microorganisms, their role in the disease processes and selected aspects of diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease. Other topics include the basic principles of bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, immunology and microbial genetics, including cultural characteristics and pathogenic properties of medically important species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This course covers the basic immunologic concepts of the cells and humoral products of the immune system. Lectures include the molecular biology and genetics of antigen recognition and immunoglobulin production plus the characteristics and detection of antigen-antibody reactions. The approach is to correlate these basic concepts with clinical manifestations of disease, the immunopathologic mechanisms of hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, transplantation, tumor immunology, hematology, reproduction, infectious diseases, immunodefiency and pharmacotherapy.
(12 credits; 186 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED604 – Medical Ethics

This course provides a comprehensive study of the legal and ethical issues involved in the practice of medicine. Medical ethics will consist of a series of seminars devoted to discussion of various topics such as disclosure, confidentiality, informed consent, and death and dying. The inclusion of ethics case discussions will allow students to discuss and debate ethical scenarios. Legal cases posing dilemmas that relate to each case will be presented, along with abstract material to facilitate conceptual and ethical analysis.
(2 credits; 37 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED606 – Clinical Skills II

After a review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I, students will learn additional components of a patient-centered history, including explaining and planning a treatment plan and communication skills in specific situations including delivering bad news, cultural and social diversity, and demonstration of empathy. Instruction on the history continues with the past medical history, family history, social history and a complete review of systems. Students will also learn to perform a complete screening physical exam and will continue to develop documentation skills with oral presentations and the patient note.
(3 credits; 44 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED609 – Research Curriculum – Evidence-based Medicine

Student will have an opportunity to develop research skills related to Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM). Students will be introduced to concepts of research analysis and critical thinking. At the end of this course, students 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; find the appropriate medical database; and critically appraise articles for validity. Students will be required to independently utilize various types of EBM resources. Students will use technological resources that are available online and in the MUA library. Skills acquired in this course will allow students to successfully complete the research module, Research: Literature Review and Analysis (RLRA).
(1 credits; 19 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED704 – Neuroscience and Neurology (Weeks 1-15)

This course will include an interdisciplinary investigation of the pathology, physiology and the gross and microscopic structure of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system of humans. Aspects of brain energy metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis and degradation, and psychopharmacology are presented. This course integrates anatomical and physiological material to assist the student in understanding common neurological disease processes. Laboratory exercises will provide slides and dissection of the human brain, spinal cord, and relevant structures. Students will be introduced to modern methods of neuroimaging, including CT scans and MRI. Weekly sessions will introduce students to the relationship between basic science and clinical medicine with emphasis on diagnostics, therapeutics and disease causation. In addition, there will be integration of concepts learned in MED 706 - Clinical Skills III, MED 705 – System-Based Medicine I, and MED 709 – Behavioral Medicine. Each of these interactive sessions will include group problem-solving exercises and critical appraisal of the primary literature. Students will present different aspects of contemporary scientific and medical literature including the background, current understanding and future directions.
(10 credits; 143 hrs.)

MED705 – Systems & Disease I (Introduction/Endocrine) (Weeks 1-15)

Basic principles of human physiology, pathology and pharmacology are studied followed by an investigation of the Endocrine System. This course employs the Endocrine System as a transition to semesters 4 and 5 where the remainder of the systems will be discussed. As with the rest of the Systems & Disease courses, each system will begin with a detailed review of pertinent human body structure and function as well as cell / tissue structure and function. This will be followed by the presentation of the individual systems in detail, including relevant pathology, physiology, pharmacology, clinical skills and clinical presentations of disease. All content will be integrated.
(11 credits; 158 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED706 – Clinical Skills III (Weeks 4-12)

After a review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I & II, students will learn to communicate in a patient-centered manner in other specific situations including patients with mental illness, obtaining information from other caregivers, providing advocacy and support and medically unexplained symptoms. Students will continue to refine their ability to obtain a complete history and conduct a complete physical exam. Students will also refine their ability to obtain a complete history and physical exam in a patient-centered manner and will begin to learn to obtain a problem-focused history. Documentation skills will focus on the complete history and physical exam with oral presentations and the patient note.
(3 credits; 40 hrs.)

MED709 – Behavioral Medicine

This course presents the basic principles of human behavior including biological, social, and cultural substrates. Both normal and abnormal behavior theories will be included in an overview of personality development. Workshops will cover areas such as interviewing techniques, death education, human sexuality, and psychophysiological disorders including stress management and biofeedback. Additional lectures present various classes of psychotropic drugs and their indications.
(8 credits; 127 hrs.)

 

MED801 – Systems & Disease II (Repro/GI/PEDS)

The Systems & Disease series of courses begin with a detailed review of pertinent human body structure & function as well as cell / tissue structure & function. This will be followed by the presentation of the individual systems in detail, including relevant pathology, physiology, pharmacology, clinical skills and clinical presentations of disease. All content will be integrated. Additionally, Clinical Correlate sessions will introduce students to the relationship between individual systems, pharmacology and clinical medicine with emphasis on diagnostics, therapeutics and disease causation. These sessions will include didactic instruction, group problem-solving exercises and critical appraisal of the primary literature. This course covers the Reproductive and Gastrointestinal systems, and Pediatrics.
(13 credits; 196 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED802 – Systems & Disease III (CV/RESP/RENAL)

This course covers the Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal systems, and follows the structure described in MED 801 – Systems & Disease II.
(13 credits; 199 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED806 – Clinical Skills IV

After a review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I – III, students will continue to develop their communication skills and ability to perform a complete history and physical exam. Physical exam skills will be reinforced by more in-depth instruction in the physical exam skills that correspond to the systems studied in Systems & Disease, concentrating on the integumentary, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and neurological systems. Students will further develop their ability to complete a problem-focused history and physical exam. Documentation skills will focus on the complete history and physical exam with oral presentations and the patient notes for both a complete history and physical exam and a focused patient visit.
(6 credits; 96 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

 

MED901 – Systems & Diseases V (Heme/Immune/Integument/MSK/Multisystem)

This course covers the Hematologic, Immune, Integumentary and Musculoskeletal systems as well as Multisystem disease. It follows the structure described in MED 801 – Systems & Disease II.
(12 credits; 186 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED906 – Clinical Skills V

After a review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I – IV, students will continue to develop their communication skills and ability to perform a complete history and physical exam. Physical exam skills will be reinforced by more in-depth instruction in the physical exam skills that correspond to the systems studied in Systems & Disease V, concentrating on the gastrointestinal, endocrine, reproductive, and musculoskeletal systems. Students will further develop their ability to complete a problem-focused history and physical exam. Documentation skills will be further developed with focused patient visits, with additional instruction on medical order writing, diagnostic decision-making, and prescription writing.
(3 credits; 44 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

MED908 – Foundations of Clinical Medicine

This course utilizes daily live lectures and other materials to provide a structured, integrated review of the basic sciences. An emphasis is placed on understanding of disease processes and clinical problem solving. Students attend daily live lectures. Early in the course students are given a diagnostic pre-test to help identify problem areas and individualize learning goals. At the end of the course students are administered a full-length, simulated comprehensive exam.
(16 credits: 246 hrs.)

MED909 – Research Curriculum – Critical Appraisal

Students will participate in the critical appraisal of contemporary medical literature, including publications representing various study designs as well as the incorporation of basic science principles. Selected primary literature will range from preclinical investigation through the various phases of clinical trials. Templates such as PICOT (population, intervention, comparison, outcome and time) will be introduced and utilized. This course will be integrated with the content presented in MED 901 – Systems & Disease V. Skills acquired in this course will allow students to successfully complete the research module, Research: Literature Review and Analysis (RLRA).
(1 credit; 16 hrs. Lecture/Lab)

 

 

Frequently asked questions

Medical University of the Americas invites ambitious and hard-working students to join our MD program. If you’re passionate about helping others, excellent at problem-solving and looking for a rewarding career, medicine could be the right path for you.

Doctors work in high pressure environments and are constantly having to make life-changing decisions for their patients. You’ll need to be prepared to put in hard work and to work in a busy role that often involves dealing with people in distress.

If you’re willing to dedicate yourself to medicine, then review MUA’s MD program. The program is broken into two segments, Basic Sciences and Clinical Medicine.

Medical University of the Americas attracts students from the United States, Canada as well as other countries and the student body is very diverse. The student population is made up of 48% males and 52% females with the average age being between 25 and 27. When you travel to Nevis, you can be certain you’ll be in an excellent environment for achieving academic success.

Students in the Basic Sciences program at MUA consistently score excellent results on the USMLE Step 1; between 2015 and 2019, our students averaged a first time pass rate of 95%.


To support you in your learning on the Basic Sciences program and to ensure you achieve the best USMLE Step 1 results possible, we employ knowledgeable and talented faculty, all of whom hold MDs or PhDs in their field of specialty and are required to have significant teaching experience.


To help you with USMLE Step 1 preparation, we also have a test center which simulates the test conditions for the exam. This allows you to enter the exam feeling confident and ready.

To have the best chance at securing your preferred residency, it’s essential that you pass the exam on your first attempt and achieve an excellent score on the USMLE Step 1. High scores set a good foundation for the next stage of your clinical studies.

The USMLE Step 1 determines whether you’ve developed a good knowledge of the scientific concepts that underpin the practice of medicine. Your scores will then be used to match you into a residency program.

Our students have secured residencies at some of the most competitive hospitals in the US and Canada so you can be sure that MUA is your best option for medicine.

Throughout your studies, you’ll have ample opportunities to decide which area you want to specialise in. During semesters 6 to 10, you’ll participate in clinical rotations to help you apply theory in a clinical setting and to gain experience of taking histories, conducting examinations, analyzing laboratory data and much more. Core clinical rotations take place in the following areas: Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.


After completing cores, you are required to complete elective clinical rotations in fields that interest you and position you for potential residency positions.

USMLE Step 1 Exam Preparation

Preparation for the USMLE Step 1 exam is an important part of the Medical University of the Americas Basic Sciences curriculum.

The USMLE Step 1 exam is widely considered one of the most difficult of all professional licensing evaluations, comprising about 350 multiple-choice questions in seven one-hour test blocks.

MUA provides extensive preparation in the fifth semester course “Foundations of Clinical Medicine.” At the beginning of this course, you are given a diagnostic pretest to help identify problem areas and individualize learning goals. At the end of the course, you are administered a full-length simulated comprehensive exam. This exam takes place in a state-of-the-art test center on the MUA campus that was specifically designed to simulate the conditions under which you will take the USMLE Step 1 Exam.

In short, MUA is committed to doing everything possible to help ensure your success on this all important exam—and the result is reflected in MUA’s consistently strong performance. Between 2015 and 2019, MUA had a first time USMLE Step 1 Pass Rate of 95%and the result is reflected in MUA’s consistently strong performance.

Learning Facilities

Throughout its campus, Medical University of the Americas makes effective use of high-tech classrooms and hands-on laboratories with the latest multimedia instructional technology.

Campus facilities include:

A modern Gross Anatomy laboratory with cadavers
Nine additional laboratories and learning areas
Classrooms and lecture halls equipped with the latest multimedia learning systems
A fully equipped Clinical Skills Training Center
A fully equipped test center for simulating the actual test conditions of the USMLE Step 1 Exam
A fully equipped Medical Library with thousands of titles, print journals, online journals and more
Broadband wireless Internet connectivity available throughout the campus

MUA continually invests in its campus and is committed to implementing the latest instructional technologies and information systems. Recent years have seen significant campus expansion, including new buildings and the addition of faculty and administrative resources.

Research: Literature Review and Analysis

A unique and integral part of the MUA curriculum is our "Research: Literature Review and Analysis" module. Its purpose is to further develop students’ abilities to evaluate and assimilate scientific evidence and to reinforce the skills required to critically appraise the ever-changing body of medical knowledge.

Consistent with the university’s goals and objectives, these skills are essential to modern practicing physicians who will have to continuously improve their medical knowledge and clinical skills over the course of their career.

In addition, MUA students find that gaining formal research skills during their medical school studies helps distinguish them from other applicants when they enter the residency match program.

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During the research module, students are expected to apply the knowledge and understanding from their Basic Sciences courses to analyze a current and complex medical care question, using evidence from published medical literature. As part of this course, students are required to develop a hypothesis based on the research questions, critically analyze the literature, and write a paper that is evaluated by a faculty committee.

While working independently, students will interact on a regular basis with a faculty research mentor who provides oversight throughout the project, including selection of an appropriate topic, identification of relevant literature, formulating conclusions, and the preparation of a final paper. The mentor will also review the written paper to ensure that it meets university standards prior to submission to the faculty committee for review.

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Recent research projects undertaken have included:

· The effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in treating Parkinson’s related depression

· Glycemic control for treatment of type 2 diabetes

· Diagnosis of H. pylori infections leading to peptic ulcers

· The relationship between long-term cellphone use and brain tumors

· Resident fatigue and its impact on quality of care

· Surgical treatments of patients with early prostate cancer

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