The number of non-human animals used in research has increased in line with advances in medical technology, although it has previously been shown that these experiments demonstrate poor human utility. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of animal studies on rats that were performed as part of medical doctors' residency master's theses prepared in Turkey between January 2006 and December 2015. The number of thesis-derived published papers from each year, as well as the subsequent citation rate of these papers, was determined. Results from 34% of the 656 analysed studies (226/656) were published as papers in PubMed-indexed journals. These 226 studies got 1803 subsequent citations in total. Citation counts were statistically significantly different in 2009 and 2010, as compared to 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Previous studies showed that the usual main objective for carrying out animal studies in Turkey was the preparation of a thesis or the furthering of an academic career (i.e. personal self-interest). In the current study, the publication rate and the number of subsequent citations of these thesis-derived papers were both low, and thus, the contribution of these animal studies to scientific progress is doubtful. It is recommended that institutional research ethics committees should be much more highly selective in approving the use of animals for the purposes of student thesis preparation.