The aim of this prospective case study was to conduct a cost analysis of the Integrated Problem-Based Medical Course of the Health Sciences Center of the State University of Londrina, Brazil, during the fiscal year 2005. This analysis was done in two phases. First, using a Cost Construction Model, the administrative and educational faculty contact hours during all educational activities were identified through analysis of documents and interviews with the teaching body and students. Second, all direct and indirect costs required for supporting the course were added through a Cost Absorption Method done by the Planning and Development Office of the University, which included all shared costs. In 2005 the medical course had 502 medical students enrolled and 284 teachers (222,2 full-time equivalents) were necessary to accomplish all educational and management tasks. For the first four years 18,932 and for the internships (years five and six) 33,352 faculty contact hours were needed. The hours allocated for administrative tasks amounted to 13.173. The estimated cost for the first four years was R$ 855,586.74 and for the internships R$ 1,629,025.93. The administrative costs wereR$ 586,642.21. The share of the University Hospital was ofR$ 12,522,406.00 so that the total cost of the medical course was estimated in R$ 15,643,660.89, which corresponds to R$ 31,162.67 or US$ 10,633.86 (2005/dollar) per student/year. Due to the use of different approaches and diverse scenarios, cost comparisons with other institutions, local or international, are difficult but that could be overcome by using methods like the one used in this case study, where educational costs are established based on the design of the curriculum and separatedfrom other administrative or shared costs.
Cost Construction; Teaching Costs; Medical Education