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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2003 Dec 5;128(49):2583-7.

[The medical dissertation--no definitive model. Results of a survey about obtaining a doctorate contradict frequently stated opinions].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung Arbeitsmedizin, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover.



The relevance of medical dissertations is controversial in Germany. The "Wissenschaftsrat" (Science Council) of Germany even made the radical proposal of abolishing medical dissertations, in their present form, in the recently published "Guidelines on writing a thesis".


Using a questionnaire with 22 items all students submitting their dissertations within one year at the Medical School in Hannover were asked to participate in a survey about the dissertation, supervision, time spent on it and publishing the results. The answers were evaluated statistically by explorative data analysis.


A total of 232 questionnaires were evaluated, which is equivalent to a response rate of 87% (47% were women). A majority of 69% had prepared their thesis in a clinical institution. The supervision during various phases of the dissertation was graded as good. Altogether 90% thought that it had been personally worth-while. In 57% of cases the data of the dissertation had already been published and in 39 % of these cases the author of the dissertation was listed as first author of the publication.


In agreement with former studies in German universities an overwhelming majority of 90% of respondents graded dissertations as a significant part of their medical studies, although requiring much additional time. They would recommend such a research phase to younger students as highly valuable. These results are in contrast to many repeatedly made statements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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