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The structure of Medical Education in Europe: Implementing Bologna – On the way to a European success story?
International Conference hosted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK)

10 - 11 October 2008, Berlin

The structure of Medical Curricula in Europe: Implementing Bologna - On the way to a European success story? - International Conference hosted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) - 10.-11. October 2008 - Berlin, Ludwig Erhard Haus


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  • corresponding author Eckhart G. Hahn - Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA), Chairman, Erlangen, Germany; Universität Witten/Herdecke gGmbH, Dean, Faculty of Health, Witten, Germany
  • corresponding author Margret Wintermantel - German Rectors´ Conference (HRK), President, Bonn, Germany

The Structure of Medical Education in Europe: Implementing Bologna – On the way to a European success story?. International Conference hosted by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). Berlin, 10.-11.10.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc08hrk1

doi: 10.3205/08hrk01, urn:nbn:de:0183-08hrk018

Published: January 13, 2011

© 2011 Hahn et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Dear Readers,

it was an utmost interesting debate that unfolded at a conference in Berlin two years ago. At the invitation of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), numerous specialists from ministries, professional associations, schools of medicine and student bodies came together to discuss the opportunities and limits of the Bologna Reform in the area of medicine.

The outcome is encouraging: The initial opposition from many of those concerned toward the reforms has given way to curiosity; a curiosity for the possibilities that such changes could provide. For some time now, other countries have been demonstrating positive experiences with Bologna reforms in medicine. Moreover, such good practice examples also show that the reforms are not a means in and of themselves, but rather that both medical students as well as the discipline as a whole can benefit.

To be sure, there are open questions to be addressed before a transition can take place in Germany. They include the issue of how the curriculum can be tiered. There is an unambiguous consensus that a Bachelor Degree will not qualify graduates to become physicians. What would be the pattern of employability? Another unresolved issue concerns, for example, the question of how the German state examination can be tied into a newly structured medical education. Yet, the Swiss example illustrates that convincing solutions do exist, a prospect that is also now gaining in acceptance in Germany.

For the next reform steps, ultimately the federal and state governments in Germany will have to provide support. At this point in time, responsible ministries and professional associations are firmly opposed to introduce Bachelor-Master cycles into the medical curriculum. It is, though, incumbent upon them to open those degree programmes completed by state-examination such as medicine, but also to adjust employment and professional laws accordingly. Moreover, it will also be necessary to foster conditions for adequate study conditions, particularly for good student-teacher ratios as well as innovative learning formats. As a result, there would be incentives to carry out new, viable and suitable medical curricula. Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to converting degree programmes. But if the proper legal and financial conditions are not met in Germany, the political actors will be putting a significant opportunity on the line: an opportunity to provide a whole generation of aspiring health professionals with the best possible education.

We encourage you to read further on and hope you will find the following pages informative and stimulating.


The editors (Prof. Dr. Eckhart Hahn, Prof. Dr. Margret Wintermantel)