Vertical Integration of EMI Courses in a Medical Curriculum

  • Mei-Ling TsaiEmail author
  • Paul R. Saunders
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 8)


This chapter discusses how incorporation of vertically integrated EMI courses into the curricula of an established medical program meets student needs and changes students’ mindsets to be more positive toward EMI courses. Implementation of EMI courses is the most common way to recruit international students and transform universities into internationalized academic institutions. University administrations also may view EMI courses, along with an international campus, as helpful for all students to become more globally competent citizens. However, many local students consider universities’ implementation of EMI courses to be at their expense if the university makes no effort to provide any bridging courses which will increase their global competence. Moreover, student perception of their own poor English proficiency increases learning anxiety and lowers the ability to comprehend new knowledge in EMI courses. The feasible solution of motivating students to take EMI courses is to implement bridging courses which reduce learning anxiety about EMI courses and cultivate students’ global competence.

During a recent period of medical education reform, vertical integration between basic and clinical sciences broke the barriers between basic sciences in junior years and clinical sciences in senior years. Reduction of repetitive lectures in vertically integrated curricula lowered accumulated knowledge-induced learning anxiety. Implementation of an integrated curriculum to a medical program requires the collaboration between physicians and scientists to redesign learning activities, including early clinical exposure in junior years to enhance clinical relevance to the theoretical learning in basic sciences. Reexposure to theoretical ideas in the senior years enhanced their application ability in the clinical training. The concept of vertical integration can be applied when designing EMI courses in medical programs. With the collaboration between language and content teachers, both bridging and EMI courses would be vertically integrated into this study’s medical program in alignment with the goal of global competence. Early exposure to the importance of international medicine and global health in their junior years may motivate students to experience the world, learn subjects in English, and join overseas observership programs in their senior years.

This chapter includes a description of six integrated EMI courses from Years 1–6, an evaluation of changes in student perceptions, and a summary of the highlights and challenges involved in establishing these courses. Despite the focus being exclusively on one EMI-embedded medical program, the experience provides a practical framework for effectively implementing vertically integrated EMI courses into other university programs to enhance student motivation and cultivate global competence. The key quality is to show the appropriate progression through the program of how content and language are integrated, along with providing long-term student-centered goals and program’s mission.


Medical Student Vertical Integration Student Perception Medical Program Medical Terminology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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