Curriculum development in the Netherlands: introduction of tracks in the 2001 curriculum at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.J Vet Med Educ. 2004 Fall; 31(3):227-33.JV
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht has recently introduced two major curriculum changes in order to keep pace with developments in research (the vast increase in scientific knowledge), in society (the quality awareness of veterinary clients), and in the veterinary profession, where a species and sector differentiation can be observed. After about 15 years during which the curriculum remained more or less unchanged, a radical curriculum revision was introduced in 1995. A further revision, with the introduction of separate study tracks, began in 2001. The 2001 curriculum focuses on academic and scientific training, active learning and problem solving, training in communication and professional behavior, and lifelong learning. It is divided into a four-year core curriculum, in which a broad, cross-species pathobiological insight is central, and a two-year track curriculum, through which students achieve a starting competence in a specific species or sector. The main teaching methods are tutorials and group tasks; practical work is used mainly to achieve specific veterinary skills. Teaching hours represent 30-35% of all study hours. Self-teaching is encouraged by providing study materials, self-teaching questions, teachers assigned to assist with self-teaching, and adequate facilities. The five tracks offered are Companion Animals/Equine; Food Animals; Veterinary Public Health; Veterinary Research; and Veterinary Administration and Management. All students follow a uniform 30-week clinical rotation program, while the track program is 42 weeks. A summary of admission procedures is given, as well as the times and procedures for track selection.