1. For MSc students – should I submit my proposal to FOM as well as the University? What is the likelihood of completing a MSc but then not being accepted by FOM?
Do not submit your plan to FOM. This is not required as you will obtain advice from the University and it could be confusing for you. In general, successful MSc candidates have had no problem in having their dissertation accepted as equivalent to a MFOM dissertation. Some revisions may be required which can be expected when submitting for a professional examination rather than a University degree.
2. Timing of MSc submission – it is helpful to have a proposed timetable that is reviewed at each ARCP; however, this could occur late in training depending on when MSc course is started.
FOM and the university course providers are aware that a trainee who starts a MSc programme late will submit their equivalent evidence late. I would advise trainees to start the MSc as soon as practicable – discuss it with your supervisors as soon as you start a job. Advance work can be done – e.g. reading up on topics, talking to colleagues, going on library courses on literature reviewing, Excel and Access, getting permissions from an employer to work on their data, drafting documents and presenting to colleagues.
3. For trainees not linked with a University – can FOM offer support with statistical advisers and ethics committees?
FOM does offer occasional workshops. However, it is the trainee’s responsibility to learn about these topics. Many jobs in occupational medicine require a basic understanding of spreadsheets and databases and Microsoft training is readily available. Ditto research ethics – every doctor in all specialties in the UK should have a basic understanding of what comprises ethical research and the UK research ethics committee framework. Local assistance can often be provided by your supervisor and Deanery if you have difficulty.
4. How can previous MFOM dissertations be accessed?
Many abstracts are available on FOM’s website. Complete bound dissertations can be viewed in FOM’s office in London. This may not be practicable for trainees based outside London. If you wish to contact a specific author to request access to a copy of the full dissertation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Compiled by Rae Chang, with thanks to Dr Kate Venables and Sara Shortt.