ABSTRACT: Doctoral programs in health professions education
The interest to pursue doctoral degrees in the health professions is increasing exponentially. Some reasons for this increase include innovations in curriculum and instructional strategies, competency-based assessment, particularly at the postgraduate level, and accreditation requirements. Through various electronic search methods, interviews, review of documents and site visits, 24 structured doctoral programs were identified worldwide that offer a PhD in health professions education (HPE) or medical education. A number of other programs were also identified that do not follow a structured curriculum; however, through supervision and guidance, candidates could complete a number of publishable projects thus meeting the requirements for a doctorate degree. Also, some institutions train fellows for doctoral degrees in HPE without necessarily advertising or labeling the programs as a PhD in medical or HPE. There are also discipline-specific PhDs, such as medicine and dentistry, which focus on education. For example, a student interested in studying surgical technical skills could be directed to take a PhD in kinesiology. It is time for institutions and individuals to start thinking about disciplinary diversity and not focus exclusively on studies of medical education.