Medical education in Vietnam

Med Teach. 2012;34(2):103-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.613499.


Background: Vietnam is one of the most populous countries in Southeast Asia, yet it displays an unsettling lack of doctors.

Aims: Medical education is an important factor contributing to this issue, yet little is known about the system currently in place in Vietnam.

Methods: Through an extensive literary search of medical schools' and Ministry of Health's data, we have examined the current medical education system in Vietnam.

Results: At present, there are 12 medical universities, and the general curriculum at each university follows a national framework but tends to vary from university to university. Medical training lasts either 4 or 6 years, with competitive graduates attending residency programs following graduation. While examinations are required to graduate, the lack of a national licensing exam makes it difficult to ensure that a nation-wide standard of quality exists, both at the medical universities themselves as well as amongst the doctors graduating from them.

Conclusions: The development and institution of a national exam would introduce a standard of training throughout Vietnam's medical education system. Further, a substantial portion of a doctor's education is in subjects that are loosely related to medicine. When looking forward it will be important to evaluate whether or not these non-medical subjects detract from the quality of medical training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical / methods
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Education, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical / standards*
  • Schools, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Vietnam