Background: PhD training is important for national human resource development in the era of the " knowledge economy" . However, it is not clear what factors are associated with the decision of a master's degree graduate to pursue a PhD degree in health care, including medicine, public health, and nursing. It is postulated that the intention to pursue a PhD degree in health care is associated with a graduate's attributes, academic publication, socioeconomic status, and extent of financial support. Methods: A cross-sectional investigation was conducted to analyze data from the 2007 nationwide graduate destination survey in Taiwan. Logistic regression with a forward stepwise model selection strategy was applied to identify those significant factors related to the intention of master's degree graduates to pursue a PhD degree in health care. The predictive validity of the selected model was evaluated using the receiver operating characteristics curve analysis. Results: Of the 1668 master's degree graduates who responded to the survey, only 240 (14.4%) indicated a desire to pursue a PhD degree. Seven factors are identified to be independently associated with the intention to pursue a PhD degree in health care, including female gender [odds ratio (OR). =. 0.18, 95% confidence interval: 0.13-0.26], more than 2 years in graduate school (OR. =. 0.46), working during graduate school (OR. =. 0.47), submission of conference and journal articles (OR. =. 1.61 and 1.48, respectively), tuition source, and parents' educational level. The predictive validity of the selected model was 0.77. Conclusion: These findings provide an overview of potential PhD students in the field of health care. Based on this assessment, effective strategies need to be developed to attract and retain qualified candidates, as well as other types of PhD students who are in demand in this field.
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