A Medicine degree is one of the most popular but also challenging degrees in the world. To work in the medical field, future doctors and health practitioners have to go through intensive academic courses followed by residency programmes. But if your goal is to save human lives and help people stay healthy, the effort is totally worth it.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what is an MBBS degree and how you can apply for one in 2020. We’ll also describe the differences between MBBS and MD degrees, so you’ll know which programme to choose depending on the country where you want to study.
What is an MBBS degree?
The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) is a professional undergraduate degree, which means the focus of the curriculum is to prepare you for a career in Medicine.
The MBBS is usually awarded in the UK and in countries that have a similar educational system. There are many abbreviations currently in use; some of the most popular are MBChB, MB BCh, MB, MB BS, BM Bch, BM BS, etc.
During an MBBS, students approach various subjects, such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, and many others. It usually takes 4-6 years to graduate with an MBBS degree.
Where to apply for a Medical degree?
The world’s your oyster. Here are just a few countries where you can find excellent Medical degrees:
- Medical degrees in the USA
- Medical degrees in the UK
- Medical degrees in Australia
- Medical degrees in Canada
- Medical degrees in Ireland
- Medical degrees in Turkey
MBBS vs MD – Which Medical degree to apply for?
The first difference is based on the region where these two Medical degrees are offered. You’ll normally find MBBS degrees in the UK and countries that have adopted a similar system of education. The MD (Doctor of Medicine), on the other hand, is especially popular in the US, Canada, and other states that follow a similar system.
The second difference is that the MBBS is an undergraduate degree, which takes between 4 to 6 years to complete. The MD, on the other hand, is a postgraduate degree. To enrol in an MD programme, you need to already have a Bachelor’s degree. While not usually required, it is a huge advantage to have your Bachelor's in Medicine or a related field (e.g. Biology, Chemistry). It normally takes 4 years to graduate with an MD degree.
Things get more complicated because you can also find MD degrees in the UK. These are postgraduate programmes, which accept students who already have an MBBS or an equivalent medical degree. The focus of British MD degrees is usually on research, helping students to further improve their medical understanding and knowledge.
Both MBBS and MD degrees are followed by the residency programme, which can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years depending on your specialisation.
Application requirements for an MBBS degree
Ok, now that it’s clear what you have to apply to in order to get your Medical degree, let’s see what you need to do to get in. The application requirements for an MBBS depend on the country and university where you want to apply. The following requirements are estimations. So, to get an exact picture you’ll have to check out the information on the university page. Here are some of the general requirements for an MBBS:
- A level high school certificate with at least two science subjects: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, etc. It seems most of the time Chemistry is a must
- Or, if you already graduated a Bachelors - an honours degree in science at 2:1 or above, or equivalent can be a good advantage
- Good level of English, usually an IELTS 6.5 – 7.0, or equivalent TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates
- GPA or 3.0 or higher, or equivalent
- Evidence of sustained academic achievement – you’ll need a transcript of academic records for that
- Depending on the country, you might also need a locally recognized specialized medical exam like the UCAT or BMAT, in the UK. Its equivalent for the U.S. is the MCAT exam
- Voluntary work experience in Health Care is also a plus
- Sometimes you might need to take a Foundation programme to validate or meet the MBBS programme requirements
- The university is also interested to know if you have the transferable skills needed to be a future doctor
Documents you might need to provide for an MBBS application:
- Personal identification documents
- Personal statement or motivation letter
- Copies of your diplomas and, depending on the situation, translations in English
- Transcript of records
- Letters of recommendation from past employers or teachers
- Other proof of voluntary or work experience related to Health Care
- Proof of paid application tax
- If you’re from outside the EU, you might also have to show documents that prove you can cover the living expenses in the country where you want to study
Keep in mind, each university or medical school might require additional documents, depending on their individual application procedure.
Special tests you’ll need for MBBS studies
The most well-known tests you might need for getting admitted to an MBBS degree are the UCAT and the MCAT. So, what’s up with these exams?
1. The UCAT exam
The UCAT is an online test required by medical schools in the UK, designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. UCAT is the University Clinical Aptitude Test meant to select applicants with the right abilities to pursue careers in health care. The UCAT test focuses on assessing logical skills such as decision making, quantitative reasoning or situational judgement.
2. The BMAT exam
The BMAT, or Biomedical Admission Test assesses the candidate’s potential for completing an undergraduate biomedical degree. It evaluates generic academic skills and basic science knowledge. It’s a way to compare Medical degree candidates with different backgrounds. It tests your English reading skills, ability to work fast and well, ability to do mental arithmetic, understand the meaning of certain phrases and to analyse and draw conclusions from quantitative data.
3. The MCAT exam
The MCAT is an exam conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges and is required for all candidates who want to apply to any of the U.S. medical schools. The MCAT exam last approximately seven hours and a half and it is comprised of four main parts: Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and critical analysis and reasoning skills.
How to apply to an MBBS degree abroad
- Check the application deadline for the university and make sure it hasn’t passed for this year
- Usually, the first step is to register to an online application service, either provided by the university, or the country’s government
- Generally, there is a limit to the number of programmes you can apply to in a country
- Submit your application documents online
- If the documents are all well, you will be invited to an application interview – one or more depending on the university
- Receive your confirmation, celebrate and start your student visa application