Graduates’ and Employers’ Perceptions on Competencies Obtained from An Undergraduate Dental Curriculum

Nik Madihah Nik Azis, Lai Peng Chan, Yi Ying Lok, Dalia Abdullah, Badiah Baharin



Measuring the effectiveness of a dental curriculum as reflected by the competencies of the graduates is paramount in ensuring the curriculum remains relevant in the rapidly evolving field of dentistry. We aimed to assess the competencies of dental graduates of Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) as perceived by the graduates and their employers, based on the core competencies listed in the UKM undergraduate dental curriculum.  


A self-administered questionnaire consisting of 43 questions based on eight domains of competencies were sent to all UKM dental graduates of years 2012 to 2015 as well as senior dental officers who represented their employers.  


132 out of 177 graduates (75%) and 18 out of 33 employers (55%) responded. Most graduates felt competent in gathering information and all employers agreed that the graduates were competent with this skill. Out of the eight domains, only community based domain was collectively rated ‘poor’ by the employers while the rest of the domains had an ‘excellent’ rating by both the graduates and their employers.  However, based on the individual skill, basic life support skill was rated very low for both groups (38.6% graduates and 23.5% employers). The employers underrated the graduates in the domain of treatment and prevention, community-based, management and administrative, and communication.  


The findings of this study allow an evaluation of the curriculum in a myriad of angles. Although the graduates reported a good level of competency in most domains, the employers were reserved on the community-based skills. This needs to be addressed in order to improve the undergraduate program.




competence, perception of graduates, perception of employers, dental education, Malaysia

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