Little is known about how other than cancer pain related issues are represented in medical education. A standardised questionnaire was mailed to all medical students who graduated from the five Finnish medical schools in 2001. A total of 387 students received the questionnaire and 41% responded. The students had to evaluate the quantity and the quality of pain teaching. The availability and the participation in the advanced courses or research in pain medicine were asked. The students reported how the IASP curriculum on pain had been covered during the studies. Two clinical cases were presented for diagnosis and treatment. In addition to integrated pain teaching, specific pain education was received by 27% of the students. The departments of anaesthesiology were reported as the major deliverers of teaching of pain. The overall ratings of the pain-related teaching of the faculties varied from 3.4 to 4.6 on a scale of 10. Anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and pharmacology of pain were covered well. The definitions of pain, pain research, sociological issues, paediatric, geriatric and mentally retarded patients' pain were taught most poorly. Only 34% of the students had been offered advanced studies and 15% had been offered research projects in pain medicine. The lack of teaching about the concept of a multidisciplinary pain clinic was recognised by almost all students. The clinical problems were excellently solved. In conclusion, the IASP curriculum is well covered in the present programmes in the Finnish medical faculties. However, the quality and the methods of teaching still need improvement.