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Difference Between MBBS and MD

Healthcare remains a fundamental right for every human being. With the advancement in medicine and healthcare facilities, healthcare education has improved, with diverse courses and specializations being offered in education centers. MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) are two different programs offered in Universities. 


What is MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery)?

This is an undergraduate general degree in medicine whereby the student is trained in all aspects of medicine hence upon completion can practice as a physician or a doctor. It is the basic qualification required to further study in higher studies in medicine or a post graduate degree in medicine.  

It includes aspects such as human pathology, dermatology, general surgery, pediatrics, human anatomy, microbiology, applied pharmacology, and medical biochemistry. In most countries, MBBS is completed after 4 years of study, but it can go up to even 6 years, depending on a country’s framework of the study. 


What is an MD (Doctor of Medicine)?

This is a post graduate degree or masters which is only eligible to students after completing and passing the MBBS degree but may be equated as a Ph.D. in some countries. It is more superior in comparison to MBBS as it is more specialized. The student chooses one area of specialty as opposed to studying all aspects of medicine such as pediatrics, gynecology, and dentistry. The course takes up to two years, with a mandatory requirement of a thesis and dissertation. 


Similarities between MBBS and MD

  • Both are medical programs in order to become doctors


Differences between MBBS AND MD

  1. Abbreviation

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery. On the other hand, MD is Doctor of Medicine. 

  1. Completion span

While MBBS takes a period of 4 years to complete, MD takes a period of 2 years. 

  1. Degree type

MBBS is basically an undergraduate degree. On the other hand, MD is a postgraduate degree or masters. 

  1. Specialty

MBBS is not a specialized degree but rather a general one. On the other hand, MD is a specialized degree in one field of medical study. 

  1. Practice requirement

For one to practice medicine, one must have MBBS. On the contrary, one does not need MD to practice medicine, not unless it’s a specialist in one aspect. 

MBBS vs. MD: Comparison Table


Summary of MBBS vs. MD

Educational qualifications in all professions cannot be ignored, more so in the medical field. Both MBBS and MD are important in the health care sector as people basically consult with both general doctors and specialists on differential diagnosis. 


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  1. Basic difference is that former is a Graduate degree where as later one is a Post Graduate.

    • Yes, you are correct but the MBBS is a four ear undergraduate degree for high school students that know they want to pursue a four year doctorate degree in Medina (M.D.). An MD doctorate degree is a four year graduate degree, not a two year degree. There is some confusion with this article. Hope this helps.

  2. An M.D. is a Doctorate if Medicine graduate degree and it is a four year degree after four years of an undergraduate degree. No where in the world is an M.D. obtained in two years. The first two years of an M.D. doctorate degree is in the classroom and the second two years are in the hospital/clinic. In the United States you can only pass onto your third year of medical school after you take the national board USMLE Step 1, which test your clinically knowledge of the basis principles of physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and epidemiology.

    After graduating with an M.D., you are officially a doctor on paper. However, in the United States and several other countries you are not licensed to “practice medicine” on your own. In order to practice the art of medicine on your own, you must complete a successfully residency program of at least three years in the U.S. and pass a national and state specific board exam.

    An MBBS is an undergraduate degree and it is equivalent to a BS or BA. This undergraduate degree can be pursued after high school and prior to applying to medical school in hopes of obtaining an M.D. Several countries throughout the world start the medical path for high school students who know they want to go into medicine by offering an undergraduate degree that is focused on preparing them for medical school, hence the MBBS. No one that graduates with a MBBS is a doctor, and they have an additional four years of graduate school to go if they are pursuing an MD to become a physician.

  3. This is WILDLY INACCURATE when it comes to your MD statements.

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References :

[0]Williams Mellisa. Medicine. Career FAQs Publishers, 2006. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=4fQUEkqRAwYC&pg=PA158&dq=Bachelor+of+Medicine+Bachelor+of+Surgery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjoMqp8_ffAhXHBGMBHXJ6AmsQ6AEIMTAC#v=onepage&q=Bachelor%20of%20Medicine%20Bachelor%20of%20Surgery&f=false

[1]Page Kogan. British Qualifications: Professional, Vocational and Academic Qualifications in the UK. Kogan Page Publishers, 2006.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=B_4BJWXYnmkC&pg=PA750&dq=Bachelor+of+Medicine+Bachelor+of+Surgery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjoMqp8_ffAhXHBGMBHXJ6AmsQ6AEILDAB#v=onepage&q=Bachelor%20of%20Medicine%20Bachelor%20of%20Surgery&f=false

[2]Agabegi E, Agabegi S. Step-Up to Medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers, 2012.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=rlr2LLKVj-AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+MBBS+and+MD&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP6LLh8vffAhUQA2MBHfNbBWQ4ChDoAQg8MAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phdposing.png

[4]Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/accomplishment-ceremony-education-graduation-267885/

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