Types of Degree

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is an undergraduate degree in medicine and surgery. It’s commonly awarded by medical schools and universities in countries that follow the tradition of the United Kingdom. The naming suggests that they are two separate degrees; however, in practice, they are usually awarded together. The course of study for an MBBS degree typically covers a variety of topics in the medical field, including human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, and clinical disciplines like surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and gynecology.

The duration of the MBBS course varies by country. In most countries, it takes about five to six years of study, which often includes a period of rigorous internship or residency, where students gain practical experience in various specialties of medicine. The MBBS is a fundamental degree for practicing medicine, and graduates must often complete additional training and pass licensing examinations to become licensed to practice medicine in their respective countries.

History of MBBS

The history of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree can be traced back to the early development of medical education, which has evolved significantly over the centuries.

  • Early Medical Education: Initially, medical education was not formalized and was often passed down through apprenticeships from experienced physicians to novices. The practice of medicine in ancient times was closely tied to religious and philosophical beliefs.
  • Medieval Universities: The formalization of medical education began with the establishment of medieval universities in Europe around the 12th century. The University of Salerno in Italy is often cited as one of the first to offer medical training. The University of Bologna, also in Italy, and the University of Montpellier in France were among the early prominent centers for medical education.
  • Influence of the Renaissance: The Renaissance period brought a significant shift in medical education with an increased emphasis on scientific methods and human anatomy. This period saw figures like Andreas Vesalius, who revolutionized the study of anatomy.
  • Development of Modern Medical Degrees: The MBBS as a formal degree began to take shape in the British educational system. The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow played pivotal roles in its development. By the 18th and 19th centuries, medical education had become more structured and began to resemble the modern medical curriculum.
  • Expansion Worldwide: As the British Empire expanded, its educational system, including the MBBS, was introduced to various parts of the world, notably in Commonwealth countries. Each country adapted the MBBS program according to its own needs, leading to variations in course structure, duration, and nomenclature. For example, in the United States, the equivalent degree is the Doctor of Medicine (MD).
  • Contemporary Developments: Today, the MBBS curriculum includes a comprehensive education in both medicine and surgery, along with training in clinical skills and internships. It has incorporated advances in medical research, technology, and knowledge, and is continuously evolving to address the changing demands of healthcare and medical practice.
  • Current Challenges and Future Directions: The MBBS degree and medical education, in general, are facing challenges such as adapting to rapidly advancing medical technology, integrating more holistic and patient-centered care approaches, and ensuring equitable access to medical education globally.

MBBS Subjects

The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) curriculum is extensive and diverse, covering various subjects to provide a comprehensive medical education. Below is a list of key subjects typically studied in the MBBS program:

  • Anatomy: Study of the structure of the human body.
  • Physiology: Understanding the functions of the body and its parts.
  • Biochemistry: Study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms.
  • Pharmacology: Study of drugs and their effects on the body.
  • Microbiology: Study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
  • Pathology: Study of diseases, including their causes, processes, and effects on the body.
  • Forensic Medicine and Toxicology: Study of medical principles in legal contexts and the effects of toxins and poisons.
  • Preventive and Social Medicine (Community Medicine): Focus on preventing diseases and promoting community health.
  • Ophthalmology: Study of the eye and its disorders.
  • Otorhinolaryngology (ENT): Study of ear, nose, and throat disorders.
  • General Medicine: Study of internal medicine and diagnosis and treatment of adult diseases.
  • General Surgery: Basic surgical techniques and procedures.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: Study of the female reproductive system and childbirth.
  • Pediatrics: Study of medical care for infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Orthopedics: Study of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Dermatology: Study of skin and its diseases.
  • Psychiatry: Study of mental disorders and their treatment.
  • Radiology: Use of imaging techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Anesthesiology: Study of anesthesia and anesthetic techniques.

In addition to these subjects, clinical rotations and practical training are integral parts of the MBBS course, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in various specialties. The curriculum is designed to provide a solid foundation in medical knowledge while also developing practical skills essential for medical practice.

MBBS Requirements

The requirements to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree can vary depending on the country and the specific medical school. However, there are common criteria and prerequisites that are generally applicable:

  1. Educational Background:
    • Most programs require candidates to have completed their secondary education with a focus on science subjects, particularly biology, chemistry, and physics.
    • A high school diploma or equivalent qualification is usually mandatory.
  2. Entrance Examinations:
    • In many countries, admission to medical schools requires passing an entrance examination. These exams test knowledge in sciences, aptitude, and sometimes logical reasoning and English proficiency.
    • Examples include the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) in the United States and Canada, NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) in India, and UCAT/BMAT in the United Kingdom.
  3. Academic Performance:
    • High academic performance in secondary school, especially in science subjects, is often crucial.
    • Some universities have a minimum GPA or grade requirement.
  4. Language Proficiency:
    • For institutions where the medium of instruction is English or another specific language, proficiency in that language is required. This might involve tests like IELTS or TOEFL if the candidate is not a native speaker.
  5. Personal Statement and Interview:
    • Many medical schools require a personal statement or motivation letter.
    • Interviews (either in person or online) are also a common part of the selection process, assessing the candidate’s communication skills, motivation, and suitability for a career in medicine.
  6. Work Experience or Volunteering:
    • Although not always mandatory, experience in healthcare settings (like volunteering in hospitals or clinics) can strengthen an application.
  7. Legal Requirements:
    • Age requirements (usually at least 17 or 18 years old at the time of admission).
    • In some cases, background checks and immunization records are required.
  8. Financial Planning:
    • Considering the tuition and other expenses for an MBBS program, financial planning or securing funding (scholarships, loans, etc.) is important.
  9. Physical and Mental Fitness:
    • Some medical schools require a medical examination to ensure the candidate is physically and mentally fit for the rigorous demands of the program.

MBBS Majors

various majors or specializations one can pursue after completing an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree. These specializations typically require additional training beyond the MBBS:

SpecializationField of Focus
General MedicineBroad range of common adult diseases
General SurgerySurgical procedures and techniques
PediatricsHealth care of infants, children, and adolescents
Obstetrics and GynecologyFemale reproductive system and childbirth
DermatologySkin and its diseases
PsychiatryMental health and disorders
OrthopedicsMusculoskeletal system disorders
OphthalmologyEye and its disorders
ENT (Otorhinolaryngology)Ear, nose, and throat disorders
CardiologyHeart and its disorders
NeurologyNervous system and its disorders
GastroenterologyDigestive system disorders
EndocrinologyHormones and metabolism
NephrologyKidney and its disorders
PulmonologyLung and respiratory disorders
OncologyCancer diagnosis and treatment
AnesthesiologyAnesthesia and perioperative medicine
RadiologyMedical imaging
Emergency MedicineUrgent and acute care conditions
PathologyStudy of disease causes and effects


After completing an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree, graduates have a wide range of career options in the medical field. Here’s a list of potential jobs for MBBS graduates:

  • General Practitioner: Providing primary and continuing medical care for patients in the community.
  • Hospital Doctor: Working in various departments of hospitals, such as emergency, surgery, pediatrics, or psychiatry.
  • Surgeon: Specializing in performing surgical operations.
  • Medical Researcher: Conducting research in various medical and health-related fields.
  • Public Health Worker: Working in health promotion, policy development, epidemiology, and disease prevention.
  • Medical Professor or Lecturer: Teaching medical students and trainees at universities and medical schools.
  • Specialist Consultant: After further specialization, working as a consultant in areas like cardiology, dermatology, oncology, etc.
  • Medical Officer in Government or Private Sector: Working in health services administration, policy formulation, and implementation.
  • Occupational Health Physician: Managing the health and well-being of people at work.
  • Sports Medicine Specialist: Focusing on physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise.
  • Medical Advisor in Pharmaceutical Companies: Providing expert advice on the use of medications or in the development of pharmaceutical products.
  • Clinical Forensic Medical Examiner: Working with law enforcement to assess injuries, collect evidence, and provide medical testimony in court.
  • Healthcare Administrator: Managing hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
  • International Aid/Development Worker: Providing medical care in low-resource settings or during humanitarian crises.
  • Medical Writer or Editor: Writing and editing scientific and medical materials.
  • Medical Entrepreneur: Starting a healthcare-related business, such as a clinic, diagnostic center, or medical technology firm.
  • Telemedicine Physician: Providing remote medical care and consultations using telecommunication technology.
  • Medical Legal Advisor: Advising on legal aspects related to healthcare and medical practice.

Importance of MBBS Degree

The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree holds significant importance in the healthcare sector for several reasons:

  • Foundation for Medical Practice: The MBBS is the basic degree required for practicing medicine. It provides the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for a career as a physician or surgeon.
  • Comprehensive Medical Education: The degree covers a wide range of topics in medicine and surgery, ensuring that graduates have a broad understanding of various aspects of healthcare, including diagnosis, treatment, and patient care.
  • Clinical Skills Development: MBBS training involves extensive clinical rotations and hands-on experience, which are crucial for developing practical skills and competencies in real-world medical settings.
  • Eligibility for Specialization: An MBBS degree is a prerequisite for further specialization in various fields of medicine and surgery. Specialists play a vital role in providing advanced medical care in their respective domains.
  • Public Health Impact: MBBS graduates are integral to the healthcare system and play a key role in public health. They contribute to disease prevention, health education, and the management of health crises.
  • Research and Innovation: The degree also opens opportunities in medical research, contributing to advancements in healthcare, new treatments, and medical technology.
  • Global Recognition: The MBBS degree is recognized worldwide, allowing for international career opportunities. This global acceptance is crucial for the exchange of medical knowledge and practices.
  • Meeting Healthcare Demands: With the growing population and evolving health challenges, there is a constant demand for medical professionals. MBBS graduates are essential to meet these needs in various healthcare settings.
  • Ethical and Legal Knowledge: The MBBS curriculum typically includes training in medical ethics and law, ensuring that graduates are prepared to make ethical decisions and understand their legal responsibilities in patient care.
  • Community Service: Physicians often serve as community leaders in health education and advocacy, promoting wellness and disease prevention at the community level.
  • Personal Fulfillment: The profession offers a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on individual lives and communities, providing a sense of personal fulfillment and purpose.

About the author

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer