Acknowledging the importance of skill development in graduate programs, Western University in Canada developed an innovative master’s program in interdisciplinary medical sciences. The program aims to promote students’ academic, professional, and personal skills by engaging them in experiential and interdisciplinary learning that adopts an explicit and reflective approach in focusing on seven core skills: problem-solving, communication, leadership, critical reflection, working in diverse teams, project management, and decision making. This paper draws on the experiences and reflections of the inaugural cohort of students enrolled in the program to address the following research questions: 1) How does the MSc IMS program impact students’ skill development? and 2) How did students practise the seven core interdisciplinary skills outlined in the program? The study utilizes a mixed methods approach by collecting quantitative and qualitative data using pre- and post-online surveys administered to the students. The findings highlight the program's positive impact in terms of students’ reflection on their level of competence in the seven core skills, especially in complex problem-solving, oral and written communication skills, and critical reflection. Results also show that students specifically appreciated the contribution of experiential learning components of the program in advancing their skills. The paper emphasizes the importance of addressing students’ skill development in higher education in an explicit and intentional approach and engaging students in reflective practise on their skill development. Implications for the design and review of graduate programs are also discussed.
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