University of Virginia Library

Medical Department.


Text-Books.—Dalton's Physiology, Huxley's Elements of
Physiology, Laurence and Moon on Ophthalmic Surgery,
Erichsen's Science and Art of Surgery (Ed. 1869.)

N. B. It is not improbable that another work on the
Principles and Practice of Surgery, which has been announced
as in press, will be substituted for Erichsen's if it
be published in time for the next course.


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Text-Books.—Wilson's Anatomy and Wood's Therapeutics.


Text-Books.—Fownes' Chemistry and Parrish's Pharmacy.


Text-Books.—Taylor's Medical Jurisprudence, Meigs'
Obstetrics, and Flint's Practice of Medicine, last edition.


The Medical Department is organized on the same general
plan as the other departments of the University, the distinctive
features of which are comprehensiveness and thoroughness
of instruction, and the graduation of the student
upon satisfactory evidences of attainments only, without
regard to the length of time he may have been attending
the lectures. An experience of more than forty years has
fully attested the excellence of the plan. The scholarship
of the alumni of the institution and the value of its
degrees are now freely conceded by cultivated and liberal
men throughout the country.

The Medical Department of the University aims at thorough
work in its special province, to wit: the instruction
of the student in the principles of medicine, and his discipline
in the modes of acquiring and applying knowledge.
Thus, whilst the only solid foundation of professional
attainments is laid, the mental faculties are expanded and
strengthened for that growth in knowledge, usefulness and


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distinction, to which every one who enlists in an honorable
and responsible profession should aspire. The organization
and arrangements by which these aims are successfully
accomplished may be briefly stated:

The length of the session (nine months) renders it convenient
and eligible to distribute the subjects of instruction
among a smaller number of Professors than in other medical
schools of the United States, whose sessions are only four or
five months' long. Thus, to one Professor is assigned Comparative
Anatomy, Physiology and Surgery; to another,
Human Anatomy and Materia Medica; to a third, Chemistry
and Pharmacy; and to a fourth, Medical Jurisprudence,
Obstetrics, and the Practice of Medicine. This distribution
renders it practicable to bring the different subjects to the
attention of the student in their natural and successive order.
The arrangement of the lectures is such that he acquires a
competent knowledge of Anatomy, human and comparative,
Physiology and Chemistry, before he enters upon the study
of the principles and practice of Medicine and Surgery,
which can only be studied properly in the lights shed upon
them by the former. The instructions in Materia Medica
and Pharmacy are also given in due relation to the progress
of the student in Chemistry.

A feature in the course of medical instruction at this
University, worthy of note, is the space given to Comparative
Anatomy and Comparative Physiology. The structure
and functions of the organs in the human system can, in
fact, be fully understood only by comparisons running
through the whole animal series. The comparison of extensively
varied types of animal forms, all executing substantially
the same fundamental phenomena of life, enables the
inquirer to ascertain what are the essential constituents of each
organ, and what the essential conditions of its action. By
this process knowledge is made positive by experiments
ready prepared by nature, which are much more trustworthy
than any that may be specially contrived by man.

The introduction of Pharmacy into the course of instruction
is another feature of interest, serving, as it does, to
initiate the student into an art which he will find of value
when he comes to the practice of his profession.

Favored, as the student is, in the comprehensiveness, scientific
basis and order of his studies, he is not less favored
by arrangements which give ample time for the preparation


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of every lecture, and address motives to him for such preparation.
Each Professor gives three regular lectures a week,
with occasional extra lectures, making the average weekly
aggregate not over fourteen, or a little more than two a day.
The student, therefore, is not over-burthened with lecture-room
attendance. He has time for study in his private room,
to consult books and compare their teachings with the oral
instructions of his Professors, and to digest and systematize
his acquisitions from both sources. The daily examinations,
which precede every lecture, supply the stimulus to regular
and active study, serve as summary reviews of what he has
already heard or read, and as correctives of any misconceptions
he may have fallen into in his hearing or reading. The
daily examinations constitute a very valuable part of the
exercises of the Institution, and are taken into account in
determining the fitness of a student for graduation.

The equipment of the Medical Department in apparatus,
specimens and drawings is extensive and excellent. The
collection of paintings for the illustration of the lectures on
anatomy, physiology and surgery, several hundred in number,
is unequaled by anything of the kind in the United
States, or perhaps abroad. A skillful artist was diligently
engaged for six years in executing them, under the direction
and critical supervision of the Professors. They delineate
the tissues, muscles, heart and blood vessels, brain, spinal
marrow and nerves, the organs of sense, the thoracic, abdominal
and pelvic viscera, and indeed all the structures and
organs of the human body with admirable accuracy and distinctness,
and are of great value as helps to lucid instruction in
the branches to which they relate. In all the other branches,
the appropriate means of illustration of every topic of discussion
are likewise at hand, and are duly utilized.

The Department furnishes every facility for the study of
practical anatomy that can be furnished in similar institutions
elsewhere. Adequate provision is made for the supply
of subjects, and each student has the opportunity, by actual
dissections, under the guidance of the Demonstrator of Anatomy,
of acquiring a practical knowledge of the structure
of the human body in all its parts.

The University offers no facilities for clinical instruction.
There are no public hospitals for the sick in the vicinity;
nor, in the present connection, is this a source of regret.
The aim of the Medical Department is to lay a thorough


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foundation for medical acquirements and to indoctrinate the
student in the principles of the profession. When well
versed in the principles of medicine, he is prepared to profit
by clinical instruction, and not before. The value of clinical
instruction is freely conceded; but it is an unprofitable use
of time for the first-course student to give his attention to it.
No class of medical students are more eager than those who
have attended the full course of medical lectures at this Institution
to seek instruction at the bedside of the sick, whether
under the guidance of the private practitioner, or under
the more ample, varied and systematic teachings of clinical
lecturers in public hospitals; and none, it may be safely
said, are better qualified to profit by it. In proof may be
adduced the fact that a large proportion, much larger than
any influence save that of merit could secure, find their way
to eligible and responsible positions on the house staffs of
the great city hospitals after leaving this University.

The degree of Doctor of Medicine is conferred upon such
students as prove their fitness for the same by rigid and
searching examinations. It has ever been the policy of the
Institution to make its honors testimonials of merit, and not
certificates of attendance on a prescribed course of instruction.
In accordance with this policy, the degree of Doctor
of Medicine may be conferred upon a first-course student, if
found worthy of it. Not only is it within the reach of the
intelligent, diligent and persevering to graduate in one session
of nine months, but, in point of fact, many do thus
graduate. A longer time, however, is often devoted to the
necessary preparation, and wisely, when circumstances permit.
It is not an unusual case that an academic student,
looking forward to medicine as his profession, conjoins a part
of the medical with his academic studies during one session;
and during the next, entering as a medical student proper,
he is enabled to graduate, at the close thereof, with comparative
ease. But the majority of the students who attend
medical lectures in this Institution do not graduate here.
They spend one session in reaping its well known advantages,
and subsequently resort to the city schools to secure
their degrees and profit by the facilities afforded for clinical
instruction. As a class, the excellence of their preparation
is recognized in all the leading city schools of this country,
and this appreciation generally proves a ready passport to
success in achieving their special objects.


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The University of Virginia is resorted to by many of the
young men of the South, and by some from other sections,
seeking higher culture in literature and science, as well as
in the learned professions. They bring with them the well-marked
characteristics of a manly, sincere and generous
people, and form a fraternity, the source of pleasant recollections
and beneficial influences in after life. The opportunity
thus afforded of forming associations with cotemporaries,
who are to be the cultivated and leading men of their
day throughout a wide section of country, is not unworthy
of regard by those who are preparing for the medical profession.
This consideration, in addition to the ample facilities
for special and professional instruction, as the tastes
and purposes of the student may dictate, will, it is believed,
continue to invite to the Medical Department not only
Southern students, but also students from the North and
West, who may wish to attend an Institution comprehensive
in its plan and organization, catholic in its teachings, and
national in its spirit.

☞ In addition to the usual course of Medical Lectures,
a special course, for such medical students as may desire to
pursue it, of sixteen lessons in the practical applications of
chemistry to medicine (the detection of poisons, chemical
and microscopic examinations of animal products, urine,
blood, &c.,) will be given by the Professor of Applied
Chemistry, at a charge of $20 tuition fee and $5 for laboratory
material consumed. Attendance on this special course
is optional with the student.

☞ The expenses of the Medical student amount to $386
per session of nine months, commencing 1st of October.
(See expenses, page 55.)