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Universidad de Ciencias Medicas (UCIMED) is a medical school located at San Jose, Costa Rica. The school is known for teaching medicine and is recognized in the field nationally http://www.universidadescr.com/universidadcr_ucimed.html. UCIMED was originally founded in 1976 by surgeon and investigator Dr. Andres Vesalio Guzman Calleja with the name of UACA (Universidad Autonoma Centro Americana. However, in 1999 the medical school of UACA decided to become independent and thus changed its name to UCIMED. Three years after its name change in March 2003 the National System of Acreditation for Superior Educacion (SINAES) accredited the university for its teaching in medicine. http://www.sinaes.ac.cr/carreras_acreditadas/acreditadas_por_ano.htmIn 1998 UCIMED introduced pharmacology as a major. http://www.universidadescr.com/universidadcr_ucimed.html.
Medicine at UCIMED
Medicine at UCIMED is a five year and a half program. The program is semester based and classes are taught in Spanish. During the first five semesters students get a bachelor's degree in Health Science (Bachiller en Ciencias de la Salud). During the fifth semester students start intesive training at local Hospitals such as the San Juan de Dios and Hospital Mexico. After finishing the eleventh semester students obtain a Licenciado en Medicina y Cirugía y el Doctorado Professional en Medicina y Cirugía or the equivalent of the M.D.In March 2003 the National System of Acreditation for Superior Educacion (SINAES) granted the accreditation of UCIMED medical program. http://www.sinaes.ac.cr/carreras_acreditadas/acreditadas_por_ano.htm.
This turned UCIMED into the first private university with an accredited career in medicine. Currently the university is going through a reacreditation program to improve and increase their educational standards.
Criticisms The way exams are structured has also created a lot of discomfort from the student population.
Many exams simply contain old questions from exams done at previous semester. This has caused students not to read their academicals textbooks and just look for previous semester exams and study from them to pass. The passing rate of these exams is 90%, which has caused a sense of unfairness in students that do study adecuately from books and class notes. The student association of the UCIMED (AEM) has been fighting to revert these trends. But the lack of support from the majority of students and the unwillingness of the university administrators has unable the association to solve the problems.
Due to these many students have started online forums and blogs to make themselves hear and hoping that they get more support from their peers and teachers. One the most visited blogs is http://www.uciwhat.blogspot.com and http://ucicritic.blogspot.com/ written by a group of students that are seeking to revert these problems.
Admissions The university require students from Costa Rica to do an aptitude test in order to enter the university. Students whoes grades in the test are not at the standard of the university are granted an interview with the Dean of Medicine to assess their motivation. Costa Rican students must also present their High School diploma and gradeshttp://www.universidadescr.com/universidadcr_ucimed.html.
Agreement with Kaplan Inc. Recently UCIMED successfully signed an agreement with Kaplan, Inc. to prepare medical students for the USMLE and the Costa Rican state exam.
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