All about the stream: What is Medical Science?
Medical Science is the stream of health sciences and medication employing the knowledge and working of anatomical systems to maintain human health and research, diagnose, prognose, cure, and prevent diseases and injuries in living beings.
Medical Science comprises a vast variety of specialisations and streams, some of which include surgery, veterinary sciences, cardiology, neurology, and genetics.
Undergraduate Medical Degrees Offered
Medical undergraduate degrees offered in India include the following-
- Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
- AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) Courses
- Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
- Bachelor of Yoga and Naturopathy Sciences (BYNS)
- Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS)
- Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS)
- Bachelor of Homeopathy Medicine and Surgery (BHMS)
- Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry (B V.Sc & AH)
- Bachelor of Sciences (BSc Medical)
- Bachelor of Pharmacy (B Pharm)
Each degree comes with a gamut of specialisations in different sectors.
Specialisations in Medical Field
Specialisations in Medical degrees include the following:
- Anaesthesiology- refers to the medical specialisation dealing with the pre-operative care of patients and the development and administration of anaesthetic medicines and treatment.
- Anaesthesia | Critical Emergency medicine | Intensive Care Medicine
- Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery- is an alternative system of medicine with roots in traditional Indian medicinal sciences. Ayurvedic medicine and surgery are based on the holistic treatment of human physiology, from internal purification to the healing of basic life forces.
- Biotechnology- refers to the utilisation of biological systems and mechanisms for the research and development of diagnostic, preventive, and curative drugs/medicines/other medical services.
- Medical Biotechnology | Medical Biotechnology Hons
- Cardiology- is the medical stream dealing with the functioning, mechanisms, and diseases of the heart and cardiovascular systems.
- Perfusion Technology | Cardio-Pulmonary Perfusion Technology | Cardiac and Cardiovascular Technology
- Clinical Research- refers to the study and investigation of biological and physiological systems to evaluate and invent medical and surgical diagnoses, preventive medications, and treatments.
- Dental Medicine- is the medical specialisation focusing on dental anatomy and the diagnosis, prognosis, and cure of diseases and problems relating to the mouth, teeth, and gums. It is also known as oral medicine and dentistry.
- Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics | Dental Education | Dental Surgery | Diploma Dent. Tech. | Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery | Oral Medicine and Radiology | Oral Pathology and Microbiology | Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics | Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry | Periodontology | Prosthodontics, Crown and Bridge | Public Health Dentistry
- Dermatology- refers to the branch of medicine dealing with the skin and all its diseases and disorders.
- ENT (Otorhinolaryngology)- stands for “Ears, Nose and Teeth” and refers to the medical specialisation dealing with medical and surgical diagnoses and treatments of the head and neck regions.
- Emergency Medicine- refers to the immediate healthcare, medical, and surgical attention provided to critical care and emergency patients.
- Gastroenterology- is the medical stream dealing with the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of all medical issues relating to the gastrointestinal and digestive systems.
- General Medicine- refers to the medical branch dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care of various kinds of diseases and disorders. General medicine encompasses most acute/chronic ailments which can be treated non-surgically/non-invasively.
- Family Medicine | Community Medicine | Public Health (General and Hons) | Internal Medicine
- Genetics- deals with the study of genes and genetic/hereditary traits and diseases in humans and other living organisms.
- Genetics and Microbiology | Genetics, Microbiology, Chemistry
- Haematology- refers to the study of blood and the diagnosis and treatment of blood-related ailments.
- Homoeopathy- refers to a contemporary medical science where bodily ailments and diseases are treated with highly diluted natural plant minerals aimed at stimulating healing responses. Homoeopathic medicine is based on the principle of “similia similibus curantur”- like is cured by like.
- Immunology- is the branch of medical science dealing with the study and function of the immune systems of living organisms. Immunology is involved with the diagnosis and curative development of diseases and ailments caused by immune system reactions and failures.
- Microbiology- deals with the study and research of microorganisms (pure microbiology) and their application in the creation of vaccines and curative medicines (applied microbiology). Microbiology comprises multiple branches and sub-streams, such as bacteriology, microbial genetics, evolutionary microbiology, cellular microbiology, environmental microbiology, etc.
- Microbiology Hons | Microbiology | Microbiology, Chemistry, Genetics | Microbiology, Genetics, and Biochemistry | Microbiology, Chemistry | Medical Microbiology and Applied Molecular Biology Hons | Pharmaceutical Microbiology
- Nephrology- deals with the study and research of the renal system and the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of diseases of the kidney.
- Neuroscience- is the branch of medical science concerned with the study and research of nerves and the nervous system, its functions, diseases, and disorders
- Neurosciences Hons | Non-Medical | Neuro Technology | Neurochemistry | Neurophysiology
- Nursing- is the branch of healthcare concerned with the care, rehabilitation, and recovery of sick and infirm individuals to recover the optimum degree of health possible.
- General Nursing and Midwifery |
- Nutrition and Dietetics- is the medical discipline dealing with food and nutritional science and the importance of proper nutrition and lifestyle on human health.
- Clinical Dietetics | Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics | Clinical Nutrition Hons | Nutrition | Nutrition and Dietetics | Nutrition and Dietetics Hons | Nutrition and Dietetics, Chemistry and Zoology | Nutrition Hons
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology- deals with the study of female reproductive health and the healthcare, research, diagnosis, and treatment of childbirth and other reproductive aspects.
- Ophthalmology and Optometrics- deals with the medical and surgical research, diagnosis, and treatment of eye diseases and disorders.
- Ophthalmic Technology | Optometry | Optometry and Visual Sciences | Optometry with Ophthalmic Technique
- Orthopaedics- refers to the study of the musculoskeletal system and the diagnosis and medico-surgical treatment of diseases and deformities of bones, joints, and muscles.
- Orthopaedic and Plaster Techniques | Orthopaedic Neurophysiology
- Paediatrics- is the medical stream dealing with the healthcare, diseases, and treatment of children and young adults up to 18 years of age.
- Podiatry- refers to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of ailments and injuries of the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
- Pharmacy- is the branch of health care concerned with the research, development, production, dispensation, and review of curative and preventive drugs and medicines.
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology | Pharmaceutical Science | Pharma Business Management | Unani Pharmacy
- Psychiatry- refers to the medical specialisation dealing with the study of mental health and the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders and illnesses.
- Occupational Therapy | Epidemiology
- Pulmonology- is the medical stream dealing with the study of the respiratory system and the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illnesses.
- Radiology- is the medical specialisation employing medical imaging via radiography for the diagnosis, prognosis, and curative technologies of diseases and disorders.
- Nuclear Medicine | Nuclear Medicine Technology
- Surgery- refers to the investigation and treatment of medical diseases, conditions, anomalies, and injuries through invasive and surgical procedures.
- General Surgery | Operation Theatre Technology | Traumatology & Surgery
- Unani- refers to the Perso-Arabic traditional medical practice observed in South and Central Asia which links medical health with the four elements or humours in the human body.
- Unani Medicine and Surgery (Kamil-e-Tib-o-Jarahat) | Unani Pharmacy
- Urology- is the medical speciality concerned with the functioning of the urinary tract and reproductive organs and the diagnosis and treatment of their diseases.
- Veterinary Medicine- is the branch of medical science concerned with the study of animal physiology and the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of health issues, injuries, and diseases in animals.
Other specialisations include-
- Embalming and Mortuary Science
- Medical Electronics Engineering
- Medical Electrophysiology
- Prosthetics and Orthotics
- Public Health (Hons.)
- Venerology and Leprosy
Eligibility and Requirements for Medicine
Students can enrol in medical colleges after appearing for medical entrance exams held across the country. The eligibility criteria are as follows-
- Candidates enrolling on medical entrances and programmes must have passed their 10+2 (or equivalent) examinations from a recognised Indian board with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks.
- Candidates must have opted for the Science stream with PCB (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) or PCMB (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology), Biology being a compulsory subject.
Admission Procedure for Medical Courses
- Candidates applying for medical programmes must qualify for the minimum eligibility to appear for medical entrance exams. Candidates can apply for the NEET/AIMS/other entrance examinations by registering in the online portal and submitting the required documents.
- After appearing for the entrance exams, candidates will be shortlisted based on scores, ranks, and merit lists in the counselling session for the respective colleges/entrances.
- Shortlisted candidates may finalise their admission at the concerned college by paying the fees and submitting the required documents for verification.
Medical Entrance Tests
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is the centralized undergraduate medical entrance exam in India for admission to 942 participating medical colleges and courses in India.
NEET is conducted by the National Testing Authority (NTA) and offers admission to 178484 seats across 645 medical colleges, 318 dental institutions, 914 Ayush universities and 47 Veterinary Sciences colleges in India.
NEET is conducted once every year in online/pen-and-paper mode and comprises a 200-minute long computer-based test. The paper contains a total of 200 questions of which candidates have to attempt 180 questions. It is divided into two sections-
- Section A comprises 140 questions in total; 35 questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology, all of which are compulsory. Section A carries 560 marks.
- Section B comprises 60 questions in total; 15 questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology. Candidates need to attempt only 10 out of 15 questions from each subject (i.e., 40 out of the 60 questions in total). Section A carries 160 marks.
The question paper is available in two media- English and Hindi.
The maximum marks for the paper are 720, and all questions are multiple-choice questions (MCQs). 4 marks are awarded for each correct answer, while 1 mark is deducted for every incorrect answer/answer with multiple choices selected. Unanswered questions do not result in marks being either added or deducted.
Top 50 Medical Colleges in India
The top 50 engineering colleges based on the rankings of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022 are as follows-
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), New Delhi
- Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh
- Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore
- National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIHMANS), Bangalore
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi
- Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry
- Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow
- Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
- Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
- Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal
- King George`s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow
- Madras Medical College & Government General Hospital, Chennai
- Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi
- St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru
- Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Jodhpur
- Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune
- Siksha `O` Anusandhan, Bhubaneswar
- Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi
- S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai
- Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
- Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi
- Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha
- Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Bhubaneswar
- Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh
- University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi
- Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi
- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar
- Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore
- Maharishi Markandeshwar, Ambala
- Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
- JSS Medical College, Mysore
- PSG Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Coimbatore
- Christian Medical College, Ludhiana
- Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute, Ahmedabad
- M. S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru
- Chettinad Academy of Research and Education, Kelambakkam, Chengalpattu District
- Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana
- Sawai Man Singh Medical College, Jaipur
- Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences Deemed University, Karad
- Medical College, Kolkata
- SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack
- Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Mumbai
- Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal West
- Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Rishikesh
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Raipur
- B. J. Medical College, Ahmedabad
Aptitude for Medicine
Students interested in anatomy and biological systems may find suitable careers in the medical stream. Students may gauge their aptitude for medical professions with the following criteria:
- Keen interest and understanding of anatomical systems
- Structural visualisation
- Rhythm memory
- Research skills
- Problem identification and solving skills
- Inductive reasoning
- Observation power
Top Medical Specialisations for the Future
The most popular and lucrative specialisations to opt for are-
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Respiratory Therapy
Medical courses like MBBS in India span over 5.5 years and nine semesters with one year of compulsory paid internship. Students are assessed on a percentage/grade-point average (GPA) basis through internal assessments and end-semester written exams.
Medical courses comprise a large variety of subjects (varying depending on the degree and specialisation), some of which include anatomy, community medicine, physiology, biochemistry, ENT, Paediatrics, Ophthalmology, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology clinical postings, OPD, and Pharmacology among several others.
Assessments and exams in medical school involve various types of papers and examinations, ranging from theoretical assessments like block tests and end-semester exams to practical assessments like internship reports and lab tests.
The minimum percentage to pass a semester is generally 50% (may vary depending on the college and degree specialization).
Fees for Medical Courses
The average fees for 4-5.5 year-long medical degrees like (MBBS and BDS) in India range between 4-15 lakhs per year. The fee structure may vary depending on the college and course/specialization of choice; fees for government colleges range from 50,000 to 8 lakhs while that for private colleges can go as high as INR 1 Crore.
Fee structures for medical programmes are often exorbitant and call for financial assistance. Central/state governments, private organisations, and several universities thus offer scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid to help support medical aspirants from less-privileged sections of society. Here are some of the popular scholarships offered for medical programmes in India:
- Nationwide Education and Scholarship Test (NEST Senior)- offered by SEMCI India and Students’ Unity Foundation of India
- Combined Counselling Board Scholarship (CCB)- offered by CCB Delhi
- All India Pre-medical Scholarship Test- offered by Brainztorm Technical Excellence Pvt. Ltd.
- All India Youth Scholarship Entrance Examination (AIYSEE)- offered by AIYSEE
- HDFC Educational Crisis Scholarship- offered by HDFC Bank
- Bharati Scheme for Education (BSE), Andhra Pradesh- offered by Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Welfare Corporation
- Dr. Shamanur Shivashankarappa Janakalyana Trust’s Scholarship Program- offered by Dr. Shamanur Shivashankarappa Janakalyana Trust
- Swami Dayanand Education Foundation Merit-cum-Means Scholarships- offered by Swami Dayanand Education Foundation
- Swami Vivekananda Merit Cum Means Scholarship- offered by the Government of West Bengal
- SHDF Scholarships- offered by Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council, New Delhi, Sikh Human Development Foundation, U.S.A. (SHDF)
- Vijayalakshmi R.L. Jalappa Scholarship- offered by Smt. Vijayalakshmi R.L. Jalappa Education Foundation
- Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation Scholarship- offered by Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation
Internships/Industry Experience in Medicine
Gaining practical work experience through internships is a vital and mandatory requirement for medical students. The National Medical Commission (NMC) has established Compulsory Rotating Internship Training (CRMI) as a mandatory component to complete the MBBS degree. The CRMI must be completed in its entirety in the institution where the candidate is pursuing their medical degree.
The minimum duration of the internship is 12 months and has to be pursued within two years of passing the final MBBS or FMGE examination at a medical institution recognised by the National Medical Commission and listed by the Undergraduate Medical Education Board of India.
The CRMI is a compulsory requirement to be eligible for receiving permanent registration for practising medicine in India.
Post-graduate Study/Research Opportunities in Medicine
After completing undergraduate medical courses like MBBS, BDS, BSc, etc., students may opt for higher education with master's and doctoral degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:
- Doctor of Medicine (MD)- 3 years
- Master of Surgery (MS)- 3 years
- PG Diploma- 9 months to 2 years
- Diplomate of National Board (DNB)- 3 years
- Master of Chirurgiae (MCh)- 5-6 years
- DM (Doctorate of Medicine)- 5 years
- PhD in Medicine- 3-5 years
Popular entrance examinations held across India to offer admission into postgraduate medical courses include the following–
- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate Courses (NEET PG)- conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA)
- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Dental (MDS) courses (NEET MDS)- conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE)
- National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Super Specialty (NEET SS)- conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE)
- All India Ayush Post Graduate Entrance Test (AIAPGET)- conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA)
- Diplomate of National Board Post Diploma Centralized Entrance Test (DNB PET)- conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE)
- Fellowship Entrance Test (FET)- conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE)
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences - Institute of National Importance Combined Entrance Test (AIIMS INI CET)- conducted by AIIMS
- All India Insitute of Medical Sciences- Institute of National Importance Super Speciality Entrance Test (AIIMS INI SS)- conducted by AIIMS
- Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research Postgraduate Entrance (JIPMER-PG)- conducted by JIPMER
- Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh Postgraduate Entrance (PGIMER-PG)- conducted by AIIMS
- National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Postgraduate Entrance (NIMHANS-PG)- conducted by NIMHANS
Study Abroad Opportunities in Medicine
Several foreign medical institutions offer excellent engineering and technical programmes. Candidates have to appear for various entrance exams and screening tests to qualify for studying and practising medicine abroad; some of them include the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT), the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and the Overseas Medical Entrance Test (OMET).
Some of the best global engineering institutions for students wishing to pursue an engineering degree abroad include the following-
- Harvard University
- University of Oxford, UK
- University of Cambridge, UK
- Stanford University, California, USA
- Yale University, Connecticut, USA
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
- Imperial College London, UK
- University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles, USA
- University College London (UCL), UK
- Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Medical Career Prospects/Placements
After completing the MBBS (or other medical) degree from an institution recognised by the Medical Council of India and the mandatory one-year-long internship, aspiring doctors have to register with the Indian Medical Register through the MCI Screening Test, also known as the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE).
After successfully registering with the Indian Medical Register, aspiring medical professionals can choose from several career prospects in the medical and healthcare sector-
- Critical Care Medicine Specialist
- Emergency Medicine Specialist
- Geriatric Medicine Specialist
- GP General Practioner
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine Specialist
- Infectious Disease Specialist
- Obstetricians and Gynaecologist
- Orthopaedic Doctor
- Physician Assistant
- Preventive Medicine Specialist
- Radiation Therapist
Starting Salaries in Medicine
The average starting salaries for medical graduates range between 4 to 5 lakhs per annum. Salaries of experienced medical professionals can go as high as 50-60 LPA.
Some of the highest-paying jobs in the medical sector include cardiology, nephrology, surgery, neurology, and oncologist
Subjects Similar to Medicine
The Medical stream constitutes a wide scope of the science and medicine sector. Students with an interest in medical science may also find an affinity for similar subjects such as-
- Psychology and Psychiatry
- Nursing and Midwifery
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Biotechnical Engineering
- Natural Sciences
- Actuarial Science
- Healthcare Science
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Paramedic Sciences
- Allied Health Sciences
Which is the highest paying stream/specialisation in medical?
Some of the highest-paying specialisations in the medical sector include surgery, cardiology, and neurology. It is important to note that the salaries of medical professionals are more dependent on their educational qualifications and industry experience than their choice of specialisations.
Are there any jobs in medicine which don’t need an MBBS degree?
Many medical professions can be pursued with degrees other than MBBS, such as dentistry (MDS), biotechnical/biomedical/biochemical engineering, and pharmacology (B Pharm). Some medical specialisations can also be pursued with a BSc degree, such as clinical research, biochemistry, forensic science, aquaculture, anaesthesia, microbiology, occupational therapy, medicinal chemistry, nutrition, and dietetics.
Are there any medical courses and colleges which do not require NEET?
NEET is the only national-level undergraduate entrance exam offering admission to MBBS courses in India. However, several medical colleges offer courses which do not require NEET scores to admit interested candidates; some of them include BSc in Nursing/Biotechnology/Nutrition, etc., B Pharm, BDS, BAMS, BUMS, BHMS, BYMS, and B V.Sc & AH
What is the age limit to apply for MBBS courses?
The minimum age limit to apply for MBBS is 17 years and the maximum age limit for the same is 25 years.