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Medical Schools Outcomes Database and Longitudinal Tracking (MSOD) project

The MSOD project is a landmark study. Internationally it is the first study to collect data on medical students at the commencement of study, at graduation, and into the postgraduate years.

Project aims

To collect data from medical students in Australia and New Zealand in order to explore associations between medical course experiences and career aspirations and pathways.

The information gained will inform curriculum development and future medical workforce planning. The project aims to provide information to assist in the resolution of current issues such as the equity of workforce distribution, and the sufficiency of internships, vocational and specialist training pathways to meet career interests as well as the health needs of the public.


The Medical Schools Outcomes Database and Longitudinal Tracking Project (the MSOD project) began in 2005 under the auspices of the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, the peak representative body for Australian and New Zealand medical schools. 

The University of Otago and the University of Auckland joined the project in 2007, with the support of the Ministry of Health's Health Workforce New Zealand and the New Zealand Medical Students Association, and the approval of the universities' Human Ethics Committees. In 2019, the Ministry and the universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding on sharing de-identified MSOD and workplace data to better forecast workplace demographics.

The MSOD project collects information from medical students' demographics and career intentions and influences on entering medical school, and then at graduation and one-, three-, five- and eight-years after graduation. The type, location, and duration of clinical placements and electives undertaken by participants are collected from their medical school. 

Using this longitudinal data the MSOD investigates how the characteristics of students entering the medical school, their experiences while at medical school, and their pathways through pre-vocational and vocational training influence their career destinations. The information gained will be of major importance in curriculum development and in developing more accurate information for future medical workforce planning.

MSOD Data image

Broad categories of information collected in surveys includes: medical school, gender, age, whether a student is a domestic or international student, rural / urban origin, area of birth, ethnicity, high school, previous tertiary study, marital status, dependents, employment, rural club / association membership, research and electives undertaken, clinical placements, future career plans (discipline and location), and intern placement preferences.

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Data collection

The ♦ symbols show the national data the MSOD project has collected to date.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
+ 1 year
+ 3 years
+ 5 years
+ 8 years

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National reports

Reports on combined University of Otago and University of Auckland medical students/graduates.

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MDANZ Reports

Each year the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ) collects information from medical schools on enrolments and graduates, and publish it through the MDANZ Data Dashboard.

Data dashboard

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  • Connell CJW, Bagg W, Jo E, Poole P. Effects of a regional–rural immersion program in Northland, New Zealand, on returning to work in that region. Published Aust J Rural Health May 2022
  • Poole P, Van Lier D, Verstappen A, Bagg W, Connell CJW, Nixon G, Wilkinson TJ. How rural is rural? The relationship between rural background of medical students and their career location intentions. Published Aust J Rural Health June 2021
  • Abid Y, Connell CJW, Sijnja B, Verstappen A, Poole P. National study of the impact of rural immersion programmes on intended location of medical practice. Rural and Remote Health 2020; 20: 5785.
  • Freundlich SEN, Connell CJW, McGhee CNJ, Cunningham WJ, Bedggood A, Poole P. Enhancing Māori and Pasifika Graduate Interest in Ophthalmology Surgical Training in New Zealand/Aotearoa: Barriers and Opportunities. Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 26].
  • Seleq S, Jo E, Poole P, Wilkinson T, Hyland F, Rudland J, Verstappen, A, Bagg W. The employment gap: the relationship between medical student career choices and the future needs of the New Zealand medical workforce. New Zealand Medical Journal, 2019.3 2 (1506)
  • Poole P, Wilkinson TJ, Bagg W, Freegard J, Hyland F, Jo E, Kool B, Roberts E, Rudland J, Smith B, Verstappen A. Developing New Zealand’s medical workforce: realising the potential of longitudinal career tracking. NZ Med J 2019;132:1495
  • Ling S, Jacobs R, Ponton R, Slark J, Verstappen A, Webster CS, Poole P. Influence of student debt on health career location and specialty. J Prim Health Care 2018;10:54-61
  • Kent M, Verstappen AC, Wilkinson T, Poole P. Keeping them interested: a national study of factors that change medical student interest in working rurally. Rural and Remote Health 2018; 18: 4872
  • Kent M, Poole P, Wilkinson T, Bagg W, Verstappen A, Rudland J, Hyland F. Rural 'persisters' vs.'switchers': the interaction of background and programme. ANZAHPE 2018: Sustainability for Health Professions Education. 2018 Jul 3
  • Verstappen A, Ling S, Rudland J, Webster C, Wilkinson T, Poole P. What predicts an interest in General Practice? Preliminary insights from a longitudinal tracking project. ANZAHPE 2018: Sustainability for Health Professions Education. 2018 Jul 2
  • Poole P, Stoner T, Verstappen A, Bagg W. Medical students: where have they come from; where are they going. NZ Med J. 2016 May 27;129(1435):59-67 
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New Zealand MSOD Steering Group

The MSOD project is the responsibility of a small group of staff from the Otago and Auckland medical schools.

University of Otago

  • Professor Tim Wilkinson
  • Joy Rudland
  • Fiona Hyland
  • Dr Alex Salkeld

University of Auckland

  • Professor Phillippa Poole
  • Professor Warwick Bagg
  • Dr Charlotte Connell
  • Antonia Verstappen

Ministry of Health


Email with any questions you have about the New Zealand project.

Information on the Australian MSOD project is provided by the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand on the Australian MSOD project website.

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