Conventional wisdom would have dictated that Sonal Pruthi’s first choice for MBBS be the all-girls’ Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC)… but that was not to be. She chose UCMS (University College of Medical Sciences) because her family (of doctors) recommended this academic institution. “It had to be UCMS. LHMC is also a good college but that’s where the aspiring gynaecologists go. It was something I didn’t want to become,” she says.
Though it is said UCMS doesn’t become a top favourite among medical study aspirants when it comes to Delhi University’s three medical colleges, “it has excellent faculty”, says Dr OP Kalra, principal and head, division of nephrology.
“Our college was recently rated the second-best medical college in the country (according to the ‘factual’ ranking released by a popular national magazine),” he adds.
One of the reasons why UCMS lags behind DU’s other two medical colleges could be its location, Dilshad Garden. Maulana Azad and LHMC, on the other hand, are at central locations near ITO and Connaught Place.
“UCMS would have fared better had it been somewhere near ITO,” says Abhishek Aggarwal, a third year student of MBBS. His batch mate and friend Gunjan Rana, however, believes that a small college has its advantages. “In our batch there are just 100 students, and the first year, after the recent expansion, has 150 seats, but the other (two) colleges have around 250 students in a batch, which makes learning difficult,” she says.
What distinguishes UCMS from other medical schools is its focus on research. “There are 181 faculty members and they published 392 research papers last year and 359 the year before that.
“Unlike other medical colleges, our teachers are promoted on the basis of their published work and not merely on the basis of seniority,” adds Dr Kalra. The college also has a Medical Education Unit, which regularly organises workshops to train students in the research methodology.
Famous for: Being one of the three medical colleges of the University of Delhi, it is a sought-after institution among MBBS aspirants. Dr Palash Sen, lead singer of the band Euphoria is an alumnus.
Programmes: MBBS, BSc (radiology), MSc (radiology), MD and MS.
Extracurricular activities: The college has cultural societies of dramatics, fashion, theme choreography, western dance and literature, which jointly organise two annual festivals — Ripple and Avalanche. The Medical Humanities Group of the college works to sensitise students in humanities subjects. “There is a general perception that a medical student’s life is packed with studies and clinical postings and he or she can’t find time for anything beyond these.
We wanted to rectify this imbalance and now invite speakers from outside to give lectures on non-medico subjects, organise workshops and art exhibitions,” says Dr Navjeevan Singh, professor of pathology.
Infrastructure: The college is housed on an 88-acre campus and is associated with the GTB hospital, a 1028-bed institute. “Another 500 beds will be added soon in a new building, which will be operational in another two months,” informs Dr Kalra.
It has a conference hall that can sit 250 persons , three lecture halls and 14 demonstration rooms. Currently, the college is equipped to run undergraduate (MBBS) and postgraduate (MD/MS) courses. And the authorities are working to add facilities in order to start two super specialties (DM/ MCh) — nephrology and endocrinology in next three to four years.
Found on campus: “I preferred this college over the likes of AFMC and BHU because my father, who is a doctor in AIIMS, told me that the faculty of UCMS is as good as that of AIIMS,” says Skand Shekhar, a third year student.
UCMS was founded in 1971 when classes began in the chemistry department of Delhi University, North Campus. The clinical postings (practicals) were then held at Meerut Medical College. Shortly, it was shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in South Delhi. In 1986, it shifted to its present location at Dilshad Garden
“The college should have an auditorium. Currently, we have to settle for a conference hall where all workshops and other events are organised,” says a seventh-semester student who does not wish to be named