In 1993, the doctoral degree programme in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oslo was substantially revised to include coursework and supervision of thesis work. PhD students were expected to complete their work towards the doctorate in three years, and funding was only provided for this period.
In spring 1999, all doctoral candidates, their supervisors and members of the adjudicating committees were invited to reply to a questionnaire with the purpose of evaluating the results of the new programme over the 1993-99 period.
Only a few doctoral students had been able to obtain their degrees in three years, the defined length of the programme. The mean age for new PhDs was 38; however, physicians obtained their PhD at a later age than the other life scientists enrolled in the programme, and the percentage of PhDs with a medical background declined from 71% in 1993-95 to 51% in 1996-98.
The doctoral programme should be extended from three to four years. More physicians should go into research soon after graduating from medical school and more openings for postdocs should be created. More time for research in the university clinics is also needed.