In January 2014, around 57,000 students enrolled on the first year of a common healthcare studies course (PACES). First introduced in the academic year 2010-11, this course now covers the four disciplines of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and midwifery.
37% of the students enrolled on a PACES course for the first time in 2010-11 who passed their first semester continued onto a second year of medical studies within one or two years. Due to the more frequent reorientations provided for by the PACES reform for students experiencing difficulties at the end of the first semester, this rate is slightly higher than for the previous generation (2009-10).
Although the PACES reform did not affect the sociodemographic characteristics of first year students, whose social background is marked by an over-representation of students from the higher socio-economic categories, it did however have an effect on the profiles of those who enrolled on one of the four medical programmes, in particular midwifery where the students admitted are almost exclusively female.