Stages and transitions in medical education around the world: clarifying structures and terminology

Med Teach. 2013 Apr;35(4):301-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.746449. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Background: In a world that increasingly serves the international exchange of information on medical training, many students, physicians and educators encounter numerous variations in curricula, degrees, point of licensing and terminology.

Aims: The aim of this study was to shed some light for those trying to compare medical training formats across countries.

Methods: We surveyed a sample of key informants from 40 countries. Survey questions included: structure of medical education, moment that unrestricted practice is allowed, various options after general medical licensing, nomenclature of degrees granted and relevant terminology related to the medical education system. In addition, we searched the literature for description of country-specific information.

Results: Based on the results, we described the six models of current medical training around the world, supplemented with a list of degrees granted after medical school and an explanation of frequently used terminology.

Conclusions: The results of this questionnaire study lead to the conclusion that while there are many differences between countries, there appear to be six dominant models. The models vary in structure and length of medical training, point of full registration and degrees that are granted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / trends*
  • Humans
  • Licensure, Medical
  • Models, Educational*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminology as Topic