SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The latest study by Seoul National University’s College of Medicine revealed that an alarming number of Korean students are avoiding majors in basic medical science, preferring to study clinical science, which tends to guarantee more promising careers.
Basic medical science is an area of study focusing on the fundamental knowledge of medicine, including anatomy, physiology, and histology. Although it is a critical area for the further development of medical science and technology, its related industries have been suffering from a severe shortage of manpower as students shy away from the major.
According to the study, which surveyed 12,709 medical students regarding their major preferences, 67.6 percent of respondents chose internal medicine-related majors, and 30.4 percent chose surgical majors. Only 2 percent chose basic medical science.
“The imbalance of supply and demand in majors in medical science is clearly shown in subjects for basic medical science, which tend to lead to relatively lower incomes, and surgical majors, which lead to jobs with high work intensity,” said professor Lee Jin-seok, who led the study. “In particular, the imbalance in basic medical science has prevailed despite the introduction of medical graduate schools.”
Medical graduate schools were introduced in 1996 to accept students from non-medical colleges with four-year programs with hopes to raise more experts in various medical fields in both basic medical and clinical sciences.
Yet, the latest study has proven otherwise. Among those who selected basic medical science as their preferred major, the number of traditional medical students was 1.63 times higher than the number of students from medical graduate schools.
“If one majors in basic medical science, his or her economic rewards tend to be lower, and their positions more unstable compared to those who majored in clinical sciences,” Lee added. “So unless the current environment is improved, it will be very difficult to increase students’ interest in basic medical science.”
Lee also pointed to current curricula offered by medical colleges, which he deems also need improvement.
According to Lee, current curricula tend to focus on basic medical science in the early years of college, and clinical sciences in the later years, ultimately pushing students to lean towards clinical science as their major even among students who used to be more interested in the former.
“If the curricula provided more opportunities to experience basic medical science to students, it could help the industry acquire more students majoring in the field.”
The full study findings were published in the latest edition of Human Resources for Health.
By Kevin Lee (email@example.com)