A Medicine degree is kind of like a Bachelor’s and Master’s rolled into one giant 5- or 6-year degree, or more. But who can blame the universities and medical schools? After all, they’re trying to teach you about how to save and improve the lives of human beings, so there will be a lot of knowledge to cram into the enthusiastic brains of future Medical doctors.
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 to apply to:
- 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
The MBBS and MD – Which Medical Degree to Apply for?
The most common types of Medical degrees offered at international universities are the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery), and the MD (Doctor of Medicine). Usually, medical schools in the UK and countries with similar education systems offer MBBS degrees as Medical studies, while the MD is generally awarded in the United States and countries with similar types of education.
You might think the MD degree is the next step from an MBBS because you have to have a Bachelor’s to apply for an MD. Well, not really... The duration of an MBBS degree is almost 6 years, while for an MD you’ll have to study 4 years. The difference is that the MD requires you to already have a Bachelor’s, which takes 4 years to complete in the United States. So why do you have to study so many years for an MBBS? Well, this also includes a mandatory 1-year internship to get comfortable in the role of a doctor.
But wait, there's more! The MBBS can go by other names, as well, such as BMed or MBChB, but all these degrees are pretty similar and are just called differently depending on the country where they are offered. Also, MBBS degrees differ from other undergraduate degrees because they are professional qualifications that expect graduates to enter a particular career after completion. That is why they are called first professional degrees and not Bachelor's degrees.
Long story short: you can’t study an MBBS Medical degree in the USA. But if you already have one from a different country you can usually convert it to an MD in the United States. What you need to do is pass the American medical school exit exam first.
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 UKCAT 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 equivalate 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 UKCAT and the MCAT. So, what’s up with these exams?
1. The UKCAT exam
The UKCAT is an online test required by medical schools in the UK, designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. UKCAT is the UK Clinical Aptitude Test meant to select applicants with the right abilities to pursue careers in health care. The UKCAT 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