Main Article Content
Objective: To explore the relevance of physics in Mahidol undergraduate dental curriculum based on perceptions of both instructors and students.
Materials and methods: The study employed a quantitative research method, using a paper-based questionnaire survey. The questionnaire contained questions regarding demographics, perceptions towards relevance of physics in dentistry, and self-perceived importance of physics in dental curriculum. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Spearman’s rho.
Results: There were 341 (57.1%) dental undergraduates and 74 (52.1%) instructors who responded to the questionnaire. The most three relevant physics topics for dental curriculum rated by students were Introduction (physical quantity and applications of physics), Fluid mechanics, and Dynamics, whilst those rated by instructors were Basic quantum mechanics, Fluid mechanics, and Introduction. Instructors and students considered Prosthodontics and Orthodontics as relevant subjects to physics, whilst only the instructor group valued Oral and maxillofacial radiology and Implantology as relevant subjects. In addition, 76% of the students believed that content of physics learned in high school was sufficient for dental curriculum, however over a half of the instructors disagreed. Respondents from both students and instructors also believed physics should be used as a part of the dental school admission. From students’ view, the credits of physics courses should be deducted to three credits, and some topics should be excluded.
Conclusion: Physics is essential for dental curriculum. However, the current physics courses should be revised; a vertical integration and exclusions of irrelevant topics or topics overlapping with high school physics can be key factors for further curriculum improvements.
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