Olle ten Cate attended medical school at the University of Amsterdam and spent his professional life from 1980, serving medical education. In 1986, he obtained a PhD in social sciences. Until 1999, he was involved in many preclinical and clinical curriculum developments, educational research and program evaluation. In 1999, he was appointed Professor of Medical Education at the University Medical Center Utrecht and program director of undergraduate medical education. Since 2005, he has led the Center for Research and Development of Education at UMCU.
His research interests include curriculum development, peer teaching, competency-based medical education, and many other topics. Between 2006 and 2012, he served as President of the Netherlands Association for Medical Education. In 2012, he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, alongside his work in Utrecht.
Professor ten Cate has published extensively in the medical education literature and is and has been involved in supervising over 25 doctoral students in health professions education research.