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MBBS vs. M.D. Which Specialization Is Right For You In India?

Date first published: 
February 3, 2023

As the field of medicine continues to evolve and expand, the career opportunities for those pursuing a course in this field have also grown. Individuals who are fascinated by the workings of the human body and are dedicated to helping others often find themselves working as doctors, researchers, or professors. However, with so many options available, it can be confusing for students to choose the right medical course after the 12th.

While BSc Nursing, BSc Anesthesia, and other related courses are famous for students in the science stream, MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) remains the most sought-after career path. Students can also enhance their knowledge and skills by enrolling in postgraduate courses like Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). Though both programs are included in the list of popular medical courses, do you know the primary differences between the two? Or what prospects do they offer? If you want to understand the comparison between M.D. vs. MBBS degrees, here's a blog that will shed light on both programs' salient features.

Difference Between MD & MBBS

Difference Between MD & MBBS

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery, while M.D. stands for Doctor of Medicine.

What is MBBS?

MBBS is an undergraduate, first professional degree in medicine. MBBS courses are designed to train students in all fields of medicine.

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. It is a professional undergraduate degree program wherein the students acquire knowledge in various topics like Anatomy, Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, etc. The course typically runs for 4 to 5 years, including a certain period of compulsory internship that provides the students with a platform to gain industrial exposure. Further, the internship also equips the learners with the career skills required to become a medical practitioner.

What is an M.D.?

M.D. is a Master's/Postgraduate degree. A candidate becomes eligible for M.D. only after completing an MBBS degree. Some countries consider an M.D. degree a professional doctorate for surgeons and physicians (i.e., the U.S.A. and the Philippines). Others think it is a research degree equal in value to a Ph. D.

Therefore, a student completes an M.D. after the MBBS to obtain training in a specialization of choice. M.D. specializations include pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, dentistry, and the like. An MD is expected to gradually make the student a specialist in the Medical branch of choice. M.D. degrees are typically completed in 2 years. Various universities and colleges worldwide mandate the submission of a dissertation and thesis as a program requirement.

Degree LevelUndergraduate level degree in medicinePostgraduate level degree in medicine
FocusGeneral MedicineA specific specialization in medicine and surgery
Course StructureEncompasses a general overview of diverse fields of study in medicine and surgeryProvide detailed insight and knowledge in a particular specialization in medicine
Practise in MedicineMBBS is an essential requirement to become a medical practionierMBBS is not an essential requirement rather than a degree to specialize in the field of medicine
Duration4-5.5 year2 year
Admission RequirementComplete 10+2 with BiPc subjects;NEET ExamMust have a 4 year bachelor degree in medicine(MBBS/BAMS) with a year of internship/training;NEET Exam
Carrier ScopeGeneral physician or General SurgeonSpecialist in the field of medicine,such as gynecologist,oncologist etc

M.D. vs. MBBS Admissions in India

In India, over 500 medical institutions offer admissions into MBBS programs, with the essential requirement of students qualifying for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam with the specified scores set by the college or university. Both MD (Doctor of Medicine) and MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) are recognized by the Medical Council of India. They are conferred by institutions that are affiliated with the council.

Regarding M.D. vs. MBBS, MBBS is a 5.5-year program that includes both undergraduate and graduate-level education. Students are also required to complete at least a one-year internship or training. On the other hand, M.D. is a 3-year degree program that is only offered after a student completes their MBBS degree. Some of the prominent specializations for M.D. degrees include,

  • Pathology
  • Microbiology
  • Dermatology and Venerology
  • Biophysics
  • Anaesthesiology
  • Paediatrics
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Biophysics
  • Ophthalmology
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiotherapy
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (P.M.S.)

M.D. vs. MBBS: Career Scope

MD and MBBS degrees open up a wide range of career opportunities in the medical field. Graduates of both programs can work as physicians in various medical specialties, such as pediatrics, surgery, and cardiology.

  • M.D. graduates can pursue a career in research, teaching, or administration, as well as in specialized medical fields such as oncology, neurology, and others. M.D. degree holders can work in research centers, academic institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech industries. They are also eligible for higher-level administrative and management positions in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.
  • MBBS graduates can work in primary care, public health, and other community-based roles. They may also work in government hospitals, N.G.O.s, and other non-profit organizations. They can also start their clinic or practice, become a medical consultant, or work in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

It's worth noting that both M.D. and MBBS degree holders can work in the same field and have the same responsibilities, but M.D. degree holders may have more opportunities for advancement and specialized roles.


Questions: Can I pursue M.D. before MBBS?

Answer: No, an M.D. degree represents a higher postgraduate degree for specialty training. Only medical graduates with MBBS degrees are eligible to pursue an M.D. degree.

Question: Do I need to qualify for NEET to pursue MBBS in India?

Answer: Yes, candidates need to qualify for the NEET entrance examination securing the minimum required percentile to get admission to the top medical college in India.

Question: Is the MBBS equivalent to an M.D.?

Answer: No, an MBBS is an undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery. At the same time, an M.D. is a postgraduate degree obtained by those wanting to gain specialty training in a specific field of Medicine and Surgery.

Question: What does MBBS mean for a doctor?

Answer: MBBS is the abbreviated form of Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus Baccalaureus Chirurgiae, which can be translated as Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. It is an undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery and is awarded upon graduation from a medical school or institution.

Hopefully, you are familiar with the primary differences between M.D. and MBBS. If you are planning to study medical courses in south India but need clarification about the university, then don't worry! Take the assistance of the experts at I.V.S. Study Link, who will gauge your profile and recommend the most suitable universities for you!

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