Influence of Student Selected Components on Medical Career Choice

Ana-Catarina Pinho-Gomes, David Taylor, Simon Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Student selected components (SSC) offer a privileged opportunity for students to gain a deeper insight into areas of their personal interest, including potential careers. How different SSC programmes influence future career choice remains uncertain. The aims of this study were to investigate (1) how SSC programmes in British medical schools offer career exploration and (2) whether the experience of SSCs during medical school influences medical career choice.
Methods: Two online surveys were sent to SSC leads in medical schools and to Foundation Year 2 doctors in the UK. This information was complemented with data available on medical school websites.
Results and conclusions: A wide diversity of SSCs programmes is provided by medical schools across the UK, with variable compliance with GMC recommendations regarding career exploration. SSCs seem to play a paramount role in shaping career preferences during medical school and to exert a powerful influence on future career decisions. Therefore, it is imperative to design SSC programmes that allow students to explore several career pathways, including both medical and alternative careers, so that they can make informed decisions and hence avoid the detrimental consequences of inadequate career choices.
Keywords: Student selected components, Career choice, Special study modules, Medical careers
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017


  • Medical education
  • career choice


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