• Vol. 34 No. 11, 678–683
  • 15 December 2005

2005 Distinguished Academician Lecture: Evolution of Postgraduate Medical Education in Singapore – Role of Professional Associations



From 1910 to 1945, doctors in Singapore received postgraduate training through apprenticeship. During the early post-war period, some doctors in the public service were given scholarships to study in Britain and to obtain higher professional qualifications from the British Royal Colleges. The events that most influenced subsequent development of postgraduate education in Singapore occurred between 1956 and 1969: the formation of the Academy of Medicine and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA); organisation of courses for candidates preparing for examinations of the Royal Australasian and British Colleges; competition between the Academy and the University over responsibility for postgraduate medical education; the inauguration of the School of Postgraduate Medical Studies (SPMS); and the introduction of Master of Medicine (M Med) degrees in various medical specialties. From 1970 to 1999, there was expansion in several aspects of postgraduate medical education: SPMS awarded more than 2000 M Med degrees; the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) established a Register of Specialists and formed a Specialist Accreditation Board; the Academy formed Chapters in 10 specialties and developed Advanced Specialty Training programmes leading to Fellowship of the Academy of Medicine Singapore (FAMS); the SMA formed Societies in some 20 specialties; and a College of Family Physicians was inaugurated. There have been more developments from 2000 to 2005: the University restructured SPMS as a Division of Graduate Medical Studies within the Faculty of Medicine; the SMC implemented compulsory Continuing Medical Education; and the Academy converted 6 of its 10 Chapters into Colleges.

Postgraduate medical education in Singapore may be regarded as having begun in 1910, when the first batch of doctors graduated from the Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School. This lecture reviews its development through 5 periods.

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