Importance and benefits of the doctoral thesis for medical graduates

Translated title of the contribution: Importance and benefits of the doctoral thesis for medical graduates

Marianne Giesler, Martin Boeker, Götz Fabry, Silke Biller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Translated title of the contributionImportance and benefits of the doctoral thesis for medical graduates
Original languageEnglish
JournalGMS Zeitschrift fur Medizinische Ausbildung
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic
  • Doctorate
  • Evaluation
  • Graduate survey
  • Medical
  • Methods
  • Motivation


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