Standards for time spent in required learning activities in the Foundations Curriculum


The Foundations curriculum runs throughout the first two years of the MD Program. The program respects the importance of enabling students to achieve an appropriate balance between their academic responsibilities, independent learning time, and personal lives. To this end, the following standards have been adopted:

  • The maximum per week number of scheduled in-class teaching hours (lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions, and small-group learning activities) is 28.
  • The maximum per week number of required self-directed learning activity hours (such as for completion of online modules, a four hour Enriching Educational Experience, etc.) to be completed outside of scheduled class time is 10.

A week is defined as Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. There are no scheduled in-class activities on Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition, across each entire year of the Foundations Curriculum there will be a maximum of 30 hours of mandatory but flexibly scheduled curriculum experiences. Mandatory but flexibly scheduled curriculum experiences include the Family Medicine Longitudinal Experience (FMLE), Interprofessional Education (IPE) curriculum, Enriching Educational Experiences (EEE), etc.

Each week of the Foundations Curriculum has a full day that is unscheduled, available for self-learning as well as special activities such as clinical skill development.


  • The maximum number of scheduled in-class teaching hours in a day shall be seven, and this maximum shall be attained no more than two days per week. On all other days, the maximum number of scheduled teaching hours shall be six.
  • There must be no more than three hours of lectures scheduled consecutively.
  • There should be no more than four hours of lectures in a day.
  • In circumstances where the curricular framework requires additional lecture time, a maximum of four consecutive hours of lecture or six hours of lectures in one day may be permitted only with prior approval from the Foundations Director. Extra consideration should be given on such occasions to employing engaging and interactive large-group formats.

Exceptions to these standards can be made for unusual circumstances (e.g., to recover a session that was cancelled on short notice due to University closure, unforeseen lecturer unavailability, etc.), but strict adherence is otherwise expected.

Monitoring and Reporting

Course directors, insofar as they are responsible for designing and implementing their courses, hold primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with these standards. Course directors of courses that run synchronously are expected to work collaboratively to ensure that total scheduled teaching hours do not exceed the limits specified above. Concerns from students, teachers, or administrative staff members regarding breaches of these standards should be brought to the attention of the course director in the first instance. If the response is unsatisfactory or if a pattern of breaches emerges, the matter should be raised with the Foundations Director for review and redress.


Date of original adoption: 14 July 2016