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GMS J Med Educ. 2016 Feb 15;33(1):Doc8. doi: 10.3205/zma001007. eCollection 2016.

Importance and benefits of the doctoral thesis for medical graduates.

Author information

1
University of Freiburg, Medical Faculty, Office of Student Affairs, Centre for Evaluation of Teaching in Medicine Baden-Württemberg, Freiburg, Germany.
2
University of Freiburg, Medical Faculty, Department for Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics, Freiburg, Germany.
3
University of Freiburg, Medical Faculty, Department for Medical Psychology and Sociology, Freiburg, Germany.
4
University Basel, Medical Faculty, Office of Student Affairs, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

in English, German

INTRODUCTION:

The majority of medical graduates in Germany complete a doctorate, even though a doctoral degree is not necessary for the practice of medicine. So far, little is known about doctoral candidates' view on the individual benefit a doctoral thesis has for them. Consequently, this is the subject of the present investigation.

METHOD:

Data from surveys with graduates of the five medical faculties of Baden-Württemberg from the graduation years 2007/2008 (N=514) and 2010/2011 (N=598) were analysed.

RESULTS:

One and a half years after graduating 53% of those interviewed had completed their doctorate. When asked about their motivation for writing a doctoral thesis, participants answered most frequently "a doctorate is usual" (85%) and "improvement of job opportunities" (75%), 36% said that an academic career has been their primary motive. Less than 10% responded that they used their doctoral thesis as a means to apply for a job. The proportion of graduates working in health care is equally large among those who have completed a thesis and those who have not. Graduates who pursued a thesis due to scientific interest are also currently more interested in an academic career and recognise more opportunities for research. An implicit benefit of a medical thesis emerged with regard to the self-assessment of scientific competences as those who completed a doctorate rated their scientific competencies higher than those who have not.

DISCUSSION:

Although for the majority of physicians research interest is not the primary motivation for completing a doctorate, they might nevertheless achieve some academic competencies. For graduates pursuing an academic career the benefit of completing a medical thesis is more obvious.

KEYWORDS:

Doctorate, medical; Evaluation; Graduate survey; Methods, academic; Motivation

PMID:
26958656
PMCID:
PMC4766933
DOI:
10.3205/zma001007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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