Send to

Choose Destination
Adv Med Educ Pract. 2017 Apr 20;8:293-297. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S134081. eCollection 2017.

What factors influence UK medical students' choice of foundation school?

Author information

Division of Surgery and Interventional science, University College London, London, UK.
Department of Urology, Charing Cross Hospital Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK.
Academic Urology Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK.
Department of Urology, Chesterfield Royal Infirmary, Chesterfield, UK.



We aimed to identify the factors influencing UK medical student applicants' choice of foundation school. We also explored the factors that doctors currently approaching the end of their 2-year program believe should be considered.


A cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2013-2014 academic year. An online questionnaire was distributed to 2092 final-year medical students from nine UK medical schools and 84 foundation year-2 (FY2) doctors from eight foundation schools. Participants were asked to rank their top 3 from a list of 12 factors that could potentially influence choice of foundation school on a 5-point Likert scale. Collated categorical data from the two groups were compared using a chi-square test with Yates correction.


Geographic location was overwhelmingly the most important factor for medical students and FY2 doctors with 97.2% and 98.8% in agreement, respectively. Social relationships played a pivotal role for medical student applicants. Clinical specialties within the rotations were of less importance to medical students, in comparison to location and social relationships. In contrast, FY2 doctors placed a significantly greater importance on the specialties undertaken in their 2-year training program, when compared to medical students (chi-square; p=0.0001).


UK medical schools should make their foundation program applicants aware of the importance of choosing rotations based on specialties that will be undertaken. Individual foundation schools could provide a more favorable linked application system and greater choice and flexibility of specialties within their 2-year program, potentially making their institution more attractive to future applicants.


UK postgraduate training; foundation school; location of training; social relationships

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dove Medical Press Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center