Emergency Medicine
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Emergency Medicine

Teaching ​& learning​


The Division of Emergency Medicine offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Master of Medicine (MMed) degree in Emergency Medicine.


Programme coordinator: Dr H Zaayman (hzaayman@sun.ac.za)

The MMed in Emergency Medicine is a four year clinical programme and is the basis for registration as an Emergency Medicine specialist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

The EM specialist programme is committed to training local and international registrars, with a focus on, but not limited to, training specialists throughout the African region. Successful students will be awarded two qualifications on completion of the programme requirements: MMed Emergency Medicine and FCEM(SA).

Students enrolled in the MMed programme participate in a four year clinical and academic curriculum. Protected academic contact sessions with Emergency Medicine faculty include lectures, demonstrations, journal club, simulations, and M&M meetings. All professionals with an interest in emergency medicine are welcome to attend, with the understanding that the teaching will be focused on the educational needs of the training registrars.

Aims of the programme

  • To equip the trainee, at the completion of four years of study, with the theoretical knowledge, practical ability and interpersonal skills for full time or independent specialist Emergency Medicine practice.
  • To enable the trainee to develop the attitudes and abilities necessary to become an independent learner and to accept the responsibility for lifelong continuing professional development.
  • To equip the trainee to plan, conduct, interpret and publish independent research in the field of Emergency Medicine.

Expected Outcomes of the Programme

The student should possess a broad knowledge of:

  • Current state-of-the-art developments in medicine in general.
  • Ethical principles as applicable to Emergency Medicine and the practice of medicine in general.
  • An interdisciplinary approach to patient evaluation and care.
  • Epidemiological and statistical principles and their application in analysing scientific data.
  • Humanitarian and socio-economic issues governing the overall practice of Emergency Medicine and medicine in general.

The student should have the ability to:

  • Identify and solve problems in such a way that it will be clear that decisions are reached by way of critical and creative thinking.
  • To perform his/her work and interact with patients and fellow workers in a way that demonstrates the exemplary application of professional values.
  • Ability to effectively cooperate with other people as a member of a health team.
  • To organise and manage himself/herself and his/her activities in a responsible and efficient manner.
  • Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information, and to extrapolate beyond given data to new, broader issues.
  • To communicate effectively, orally or in writing, using statistics, audio-visual aids and other information technology as appropriate.

Course requirements

The selection of specialist registrars follows formal criteria laid down by the University, and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. The selection committee is chaired by the programme convenor.

Interested applicants should have at least one year of clinical experience in an emergency centre. In date certification in Advanced Life Support Courses (ACLS; ATLS; APLS / PALS) is a requirement. Possession of the College of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) FCEM Part 1 exam is a requirement to entry into the program.

Refer to the CMSA Emergency Medicine regulations in regard to the Primary and Fellowship examination regulations. These regulations, including the curriculum, are available from the CMSA: https://www.cmsa.co.za/.

Recognised training preceding registration

Applicants who have undergone training that is directly relevant to Emergency Medicine may be credited with this time on the rotation. Individuals in this position will need to apply directly to the HPCSA for accreditation of this time.

Course description

The philosophy of the division with respect to training is both informal and enabling; there are no rigid rules for the conduct of day-to-day activities – an ethical, mature and responsible approach on the part of the trainee, as an independent medical practitioner, is assumed as a given. Furthermore, teaching staff and faculty, while always available for advice or direct assistance, expect initiative and inquiry, rather than the burden of didactic teaching. An integral part of training is to be a trainer; teaching of interns and undergraduate students is part of the course of service delivery. Providing optimal patient care is a fundamental responsibility.

The core recommended clinical text is:


The Division also recommends the following text for the CEM primary exams

  • Anatomy: Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Keith L Moore, Arthur F Dalley (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)
  • Pathology: Applied Basic Science for Basic Surgical Training, Andrew T Raftery (Churchill Livingstone)
  • Physiology: Review of Medical Physiology, William F Ganong (McGraw-Hill)
  • Pharmacology: Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Tom E Peck, Sue Hill (Cambridge University Press)
  • South African Medicines Formulary, Colleen J Gibbon (Health and Medical Publishing Group)

Candidates are advised to acquaint themselves particularly with those aspects that relate to the practice of emergency medicine, and to use the most recent edition available

The course mandates successful completion of three components:

Part one: FCEM(SA) Part I examination

The traditional logbook is replaced by the College of Emergency Medicine's C.R.I.T.I.C.A.L. (Certified Record of In-service Training Including Continuous Assessment and Learning) performance portfolio. This is available from the College website. Clinical evaluation is done by the clinical supervisors, who are required to complete a clinical evaluation form at the end of each rotation. An example of a four year rotation is as follows: your actual rotation is likely to vary from this, depending upon requirements and availability:

  • 3/12 Pre-hospital medicine
  • 6/12 Medical Emergencies, adult (includes acute Psychiatry)
  • 3/12 Medical emergencies, paediatric
  • 3/12 Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
  • 3/12 Anaesthetics
  • 6/12 Intensive Care (Paediatric and adult)
  • 9/12 Trauma (includes Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, ENT)
  • 15/12 Emergency Centre. Medical emergencies and Emergency Centre time will include Cardiology and Infectious diseases

There are several additional courses available which candidates can complete in this time. Please refer to http://www.emct.info/short-courses.html for the most up-to-date information.

Part two: The FCEM(SA) Part II examination

This serves as the common exit examination for both qualifications.

Part three: The Research Assignment

Students must complete the research assignment prior to being permitted entry to write the Part two examination. The assignment may be submitted in one of the following two formats: i) A completed manuscript for a (preferably subsidy-bearing i.e. that appears on the list of the approved scientific journals of the Department of Education) peer-reviewed scientific journal with the candidate as first author, or ii) A full-length assignment.​​​