The student voice: recognising the hidden and informal curriculum in medicine

Med Teach. 2008;30(6):606-11. doi: 10.1080/01421590801949933.


Background: While there has been broad-based recognition of the concepts of both the informal and the hidden curriculum, these elements have been poorly described in the medical education literature from the student perspective.

Methods: The Student Voice study used focus groups to explore student views of the informal and hidden curriculum, to establish the importance of this curriculum for the students, and to identify how students perceive the role of this curriculum in aiding their learning in medical school.

Results: Students recognised that the informal curriculum existed to a greater degree in Medicine than in other degree programs, and that it revolved around the processes of 'being' a doctor.

Conclusion: The students' concepts of the informal curriculum highlighted a tension between the importance of the informal curriculum in focusing their learning on what was important to know for assessment, and the extremely valuable components of the informal curriculum that remained predominantly unassessed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Students, Medical*