Undergraduate Course Duration in Medicine: an Estimation in the 15 Graduate Cohorts at the Agostinho Neto University, Angola

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT The time required to complete undergraduate medical courses is well established in medical school training programs worldwide. However, not all students complete the degree in the expected timeframe, which can lead to a low graduation rate. Nevertheless, an isolated analysis of the graduation rate does not accurately predict the magnitude of training costs if it does not take into account the average completion time, particularly for undergraduate medical course for which the training time is longer and requires substantial resources. The aim of this study was to determine the length of time to complete the degree, as well as the proportion of students who graduated within the regular timeframe. In this retrospective study, we analysed data from 15 cohorts of medical students who finished the undergraduate program at the Faculty of Medicine of the Agostinho Neto University (FMUAN) in Angola, from 2001 to 2015. Data were collected from the academic records registered at the FMUAN. From the total number of graduates (n = 1259), 59.7% were women and the average age at course completion was 35 ± 7 years. The average admission rate was 6.8%, and it was found that 88 students (36 men and 52 women) had graduated per year. On average, students took 10 years to complete the degree. The graduation rate was 82.2%, and only 24.2% of the total graduates concluded the program in the regular period of six years. The results suggest that despite a high graduation rate, less than one third of the students finished the training program within the expected timeframe, highlighting the need to identify the causes of prolonged course duration which may have implications for both academic management and for human resource planning in health. Thus, a combined analysis of graduation rate and the time to complete the undergraduate course may be a good indicator of the efficiency of the medical education system.</p><p></p>