What’s the Difference Between MD and MBBS?

This is a question that we get asked often by students, so let’s get some clarity on the similarities and differences between an MD (Doctor of Medicine) and MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery). While both are routes to a medical profession, the main difference lies in the educational systems, pre-requisites, and terminology used in different countries.

MD (Doctor of Medicine) Degree

The MD program is a higher postgraduate degree. It prepares graduates for licensure and to practice as licensed physicians in various medical specialties.

Curriculum and Focus 

The curriculum emphasizes clinical training, medical sciences, and patient care. It includes extensive coursework in basic and clinical sciences, clinical rotations, and hands-on training in hospitals and clinics.

Entry Requirements

It is typically earned after completing undergraduate studies (usually a Bachelor’s degree), and then attending medical school for four years.

Countries Offering MD Degrees

The MD degree is commonly awarded in the following countries.

▸ United States
▸ Canada
▸ Philippines
▸ Russia

However, it is possible to obtain an MD degree in many countries around the world.

Professional Opportunities

The MD degree is a professional medical degree in the countries listed above, allowing those qualified to practice medicine as a licensed doctor.

After obtaining the degree, graduates usually undergo residency training in a specific medical specialty. This can range from three to seven years, depending on the specialization.

Note that an MD degree is not the same as a PhD in Medicine. An MD degree allows graduates to practice medicine as a licensed physician, the PhD in Medicine focuses on research and scholarly work in medicine. 

Deakin University in Australia offers a 4-year Master’s in MD for international students.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)

The MBBS degree is typically an undergraduate degree program that spans five to six years. The program provides a broad foundation in medicine and prepare students to become general practitioners or doctors who can perform basic surgeries.

Curriculum and Focus 

The curriculum covers both medical and surgical topics to provide a comprehensive foundation in medicine. You can expect to study basic medical sciences, clinical subjects, and participate in clinical rotations to gain practical experience.

Entry Requirements

Students can enter this program immediately after completing secondary education. It is not a requirement to have a bachelor’s degree.

Countries Offering MBBS Degrees

Around the world, MBBS programs are commonly available in:

▸ United Kingdom
▸ India
▸ Australia
▸ China
▸ Russia
▸ Ukraine
▸ Philippines
▸ Malaysia

In South Africa and other places, the degree can be referred to as MBChB.

Professional Opportunities

After completing the MBBS degree, graduates usually need to undergo additional training, such as internships or residencies, to gain practical experience and specialization in specific fields.

The UK is a popular destination to study for an MBBS. Read the full guide to UK’s MBBS programs.

It’s worth noting that the content and quality of medical education can vary among different countries and institutions. In some cases, the terms MD and MBBS may be used interchangeably, depending on the country’s educational system. It is essential to understand the specific requirements and regulations in the country where you would like to practice medicine.

If you already have a relevant undergraduate degree in medicine, consider these MD programs to advance your qualifications. For those starting out on an undergraduate level, browse the MBBS programs available on our platform.

Cheapest MBBS Programs in the World 2023
10 Best Countries to Study Medicine Abroad

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