OBJECTIVES: To determine the attitudes of international undergraduate medical students in a
medical college from Pakistan towards different specialties as career choices and to determine
the reasons in making a career choice.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross sectional study, conducted by distributing a questionnaire
to semester 1, 3 and semester 7, 9 students studying at Dow International Medical College, Karachi
in January 2012. Questionnaire consist of questions regarding demographic characteristics,
specialty choices and reasons that influenced career choice was distributed to 338 students
in selected study semesters, however 148 students answered the questionnaire. Students
were asked to choose the most preferred career from a list of 14 specialty options that were
listed after literature review and faculty feedback. Reasons for specialty preference were also
asked from the students.
RESULTS: A total of 148 students, (including 54% males and 46% females) responded to the
questionnaire. Surgical (31%) and Medical (23%) specialties were the two most frequently selected
specialties. Pediatrics was chosen by 18% of the students. Gender also had an influence
for the choice of the specialty. Most preferred reasons for choosing a particular specialty were
high income potential (37%), influence of a role model in the specialty (32%), inclination for specialty
before medical school (30%) and others.
CONCLUSIONS: Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Dermatology were the most preferred
specialty preferences of medical students at Dow International Medical College Karachi.
Medical students career choices regarding various specialties are affected by several factors.
Key words: Career Choice, Specialty Choice, International Medical Students.