This study was completed as part of a project for the Quality Assurance Agency on the enhancement theme of 'Research teaching linkages: enhancing graduate attributes' in the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine. The aims of this investigation were to elucidate a list of desirable research related graduate attributes for the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine and provide evidence as to how they could be covered within such curricula.
Semi structured interviews, symposium breakout sessions and conference workshops were used to define and rank attributes suggested by curricula design experts from the three disciplines. Students graduating from a BSc Medical Science degree program were surveyed to determine how well they felt the curriculum and associated final year project equipped them with the identified attributes.
A list of seven high level attributes which were desirable in graduates wishing to pursue either a professional or research career were identified. 105 students reported that a final year project was particularly effective at developing an understanding of the need to have an inquiring mind and critical appraisal skills whilst other components of their degree course covered team working skills, core knowledge and an understanding of ethics and governance.
This study identified desirable attributes from graduates from medical, dental and veterinary degree programs and provides evidence to support the case for student projects helping to achieve both clinical and research related graduate attributes in medical undergraduates. The project also provides a focus for debate amongst those involved in curriculum design as to whether the attributes identified are those desirable in their graduates and to examine their current curriculum to determine coverage.