Status of Curriculum Mapping of Undergraduate Medical Programmes in South Africa


  •   Gerda C. Botha

  •   Adegoke O. Adefolalu


Curriculum mapping in medical education allows for quick determination whether the curriculum meets the required standards and if its contents are aligned with the learning outcomes. This ensures the curriculum stays relevant, producing graduates capable of addressing the health needs of the institution’s host community. The status of curriculum mapping of the undergraduate medical programmes in South African medical schools was not documented in the literature at the time of this research. This study aimed to describe the current status of curriculum mapping of undergraduate medical programmes in South Africa. A qualitative study was conducted among the academic managers from all the eight medical schools in 2015. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from fourteen participants who were purposefully sampled, and data analysis was done by inductive thematic analysis after coding and verbatim transcriptions. None of the medical schools had a fully developed mapping platform, however they all possessed various guides and matrices that contained components of their curricula which were mainly used for accreditation purposes. In addition, they all had strategies in place for reviewing their curricula, although some of the institutions were at different stages of developing their own mapping platforms. The challenges described by the institutions as barriers to curriculum review appeared to be related to lack of a proper curriculum mapping process. In conclusion, curriculum mapping was in infancy stage at the time of this research in South Africa, the medical schools that were in the process or about to develop electronic mapping platforms had no uniform outcome framework. Future research on the features of the mapping platforms developed by all the institutions is highly recommended.


Harden, RM. AMEE Guide no. 21: Curriculum mapping: A tool for transparent and authentic teaching and learning. Medical Teacher 2001, 23(2):123-137.

Prideaux, D. Curriculum development in medical education: From acronyms to dynamism. Teaching and Teacher Education 2007, 23(3):294-302.

Steketee, C. Prudentia: A medical school’s solution to curriculum mapping and curriculum management. Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice 2015, 12(4).

Balzer, F. Bietenbeck, A. Spies, C. Dittmar, M., Lehmann, L. Sughiharto, F & Ahlers, O. How we avoid patient shortage with an integrated analysis of learning objectives and clinical data during development of undergraduate medical curricula. Medical Teacher 2015, 37(6):533-537.

Balzer, F., Hautz, W.E., Spies, C., Bietenbeck, A., Dittmar, M., Sugiharto, F., Lehmann, L., Eisenmann, D., Bubser, F., Stieg, M., Hanfler, S., Georg, W., Tekian, A. & Ahlers, O. Development and alignment of undergraduate medical curricula in a web-based, dynamic Learning opportunities, objectives and outcome platform (LOOOP). Early online version. Medical Teacher 2016, 38(4).

Davis, MH. & Harden, RM. Planning and implementing an undergraduate medical curriculum: The lessons learned. Medical Teacher 2003, 25(6):596-608.

Blaum WE, Jarczweski A, Balzer F, Stötzner P, Ahlers O. Towards Web 3.0: taxonomies and ontologies for medical education -- a systematic review. GMS Z Med Ausbild. 2013;30(1):Doc13. doi:10.3205/zma000856.

Britton, M. Letassy, N. Medina, MS & Er, N. A curriculum review and mapping process supported by an electronic database system. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2008, 72(5):99.

Treadwell, I. Ahlers, O & Botha GC. Initiating curriculum mapping on the web-based, interactive learning opportunities, objectives, and outcome platform (LOOOP). African Journal of Health Professions Education 2019;11(1):27-31.

Ellaway, R. Albright, S. Smothers, V. Cameron, T. & Willett, T. Curriculum inventory: Modelling, sharing, and comparing medical education programs. Medical Teacher 2014, 36(3):208-215.

Bansal, P., Christensen, L. & Leinster, S. Module 2: Organizing a self-review. In: J. Grant (ed.). Distance learning resources for medical education: Theme 1: Self review and accreditation. The Open University, 2009.

Health Professions Council of South Africa. Questionnaire for self-assessment of faculties/schools for undergraduate education and training of medical doctors, dentists, and clinical associates. HPCSA: May 2015: Pretoria.

Oliver, B. Jones, S. Ferns, S. & Tucker, B. Mapping curricula: Ensuring work-ready graduates by mapping course learning outcomes and higher order thinking skills. (Paper presented at the Evaluations and Assessment Conference, Brisbane 2007).

Watson, EG. Moloney, PJ. Toohey, SM. Hughes, CS. Mobbs, SL. Leeper, JB & McNeil, HP. Development of eMed: A comprehensive, modular curriculum-management system. Academic Medicine 2007, 82(4):351-360.

Willett, TG. Current status of curriculum mapping in Canada and the UK. Medical Education 2008, 42(8):786-793.

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 2006, 3(2):77-101.

Davenport, N. C., Spath, M. L. and Blauvelt, M. J. “A Step-by-Step Approach to Curriculum Review.” Nurse Educator 2009, 34(4): 181–185.

Boelen, C. & Woollard, B. Social accountability and accreditation: A new frontier for educational institutions. Medical Education 2010, 43(9):887-894.

Frenk, J., Chen, L., Bhutta, Z.A., Cohen, J., Crisp, N., Evans, T., Fineberg, H., Garcia, P., Ke, Y., Kelley, P., Kistnasamy, B., Meleis, A., Naylor, D., Pablos-Mendez, A., Reddy, S., Scrimshaw, S., Sepulveda, J., Serwadda, D.& Zurayk, H. Health professionals for a new century: Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. Lancet 2010, 376(9756):1923-58.

Harden, R.M. & Hart, I.R. An international virtual medical school (IVIMEDS): The future for medical education? Medical Teacher 2002, 24(3):262-267.

Pugsley, L. & McCrorie, P. Improving medical education: Improving patient care. Teaching and Teacher Education 2007, 23(3):314-322.

Litaker, D., Cebul, R.D., Masters, S., Nosek, T., Haynie, R. & Smith, C.K. Disease prevention and health promotion in medical education: reflections from an academic health center. Academic Medicine 2004, 79(7):690-696.

Plaza, C.M., Draugalis, J.R., Slack, M.K., Skrepnek, G.H. & Sauer, K.A. Curriculum mapping in programme assessment and evaluation. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2007,71(2):20.

Sanchez-Reilly, S. & Ross, J.S. Hospice, and palliative medicine: Curriculum evaluation and learner assessment in medical education. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2012, 15(1):116-122.

Uchiyama KP & Radin, JL. Curriculum Mapping in Higher Education: A Vehicle for Collaboration.” Innovative Higher Education 2009, 33: 271–280.


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite
Botha, G., & Adefolalu, A. (2020). Status of Curriculum Mapping of Undergraduate Medical Programmes in South Africa. European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 2(3).