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Objectives: After completing the pre-clinical phase of a Doctor of Medicine (MD) curriculum, undergraduate medical students may choose to add a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in health sciences to their MD degree. Limited data exists on the motives behind students’ decisions to undertake such intercalated degrees. Hence, this study aimed to identify the factors that influence students in making this choice. Methods: Undergraduate students who chose the research-based academic track of the intercalated phase of the BSc programme at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, between 2014–2018 were enrolled. A standardised and validated self-explanatory questionnaire examining motivations to join the intercalated phase was administered to all students in the first week of enrolment. Results: Over a five-year period, out of 557 eligible students, 18 (3%) were enrolled in the intercalated phase and all completed the questionnaire. The mean age was 22 ± 1.5 years and the majority (83%) were female. Out of the 18 students, 10 (55%) had taken the university’s foundation programme. A total of 45% of students chose to intercalate out of their own interest, regardless of career ambitions. The main reasons to intercalate were an opportunity to enhance research experience, alignment with long-term career goals and a chance to publish in indexed journals. Conclusion: Despite the benefits of obtaining an additional degree, a relatively small proportion of MD students were attracted to the intercalated phase. A better presentation of the BSc degree is needed to help students make a more informed decision.
Keywords: Medical Education; Undergraduate Medical Education; Career Choice; Curriculum; Oman.