What is Known about the Career Outcomes of UK Undergraduate and Graduate Medical Students: A Scoping Review


Emma Andrews
University of Warwick



The medical profession in the UK is currently facing serious workforce challenges with both shortages in specialties and in location. Anecdotally, it has been hypothesised that graduate medics may be more inclined to work in some shortage specialties and settle in under-doctored areas. Graduate entry medicine was first introduced in the UK in 2000. In the academic year 2018/19 9.9% of the students commencing medical degrees were studying on graduate entry programmes, with many more graduates on standard entry programmes.


To outline the landscape of the current research a scoping review was conducted, using the framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley 2005. After duplicates were removed 5311 papers, from Medline, Web of Science and Education Research Complete, were screened by abstract and title. 55 papers were selected to screen based on full text, and 6 papers were chosen for inclusion in the review.


Doctors from graduate entry programmes are more likely to enter directly into training than those on standard entry programmes, but are no more likely to enter GP training. Graduates from standard entry programmes, however, are more likely to enter GP training. Looking at specialty choice in general, graduates on both standard and graduate entry programmes are more likely to pick higher earning specialties.


Those on graduate entry programmes have the same ambitions as undergraduates but are more confident in them. Moving directly into specialty training may be motivated by external responsibilities, but these additional responsibilities do not cause those on GEPs to choose more ‘family friendly’ specialties such as GP.

December 30, 2020