Background: To cope with a lack of doctors and in anticipation of the Bachelor-Master structure for Medicine, several Dutch universities offer graduate entry programmes for students with degrees in areas related to Medicine. The graduate entry programme is a four-year programme: after a transition period of one year students enrol in the fourth year of the regular six-year training programme.
Aim: The research questions in this study were (1) whether and when graduate entry students' knowledge reached a level comparable to that of regular medical students and (2) whether there were differences in knowledge levels between graduate entry students with a university or HBO (college) degree.
Methods: The progress test results of ninety graduate entry students who were enrolled in the transitional programme between 2002 and 2004 were compared to those of regular third-year students.
Results: Initially, graduate entry students scored significantly lower on the progress tests, but differences disappeared within a year. No differences were found between graduate entry students with a university or HBO degree.
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the increase in knowledge after a one-year transitional period is sufficient to enrol students with related degrees in the fourth year of the regular medical training programme.