With a reputation for having a significantly long duration to complete a degree, medicine as a field deals with the “Science of Healing” or according to medicalnewstoday.com, “the practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, and the promotion of health.”
Medicine has been around since the prehistoric times, and thanks to the different people involved in medicine practice and research, from doctors to other healthcare professionals, many diseases can be diagnosed, treated and prevented.
Medical programs vary around the world combining a mix of education and training. As such, entrance into a medicine degree program varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams.
In some countries, a Bachelor of Science or related undergraduate degree is required for entrance into a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program with a certain number of credits in courses mostly in the sciences, while in other countries, medical school can start for the students as early as during the undergraduate level.
For institutions requiring an undergraduate degree for medical school, common pre-medical degrees are biology, nursing, biochemistry, and pharmacy.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
Degree programs in medicine are very heavy on the sciences, including biology, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, microbiology.
Aside from lectures in the classroom, students will often be required to take seminars and laboratory classes. As such, assessment may be in the form of written exams or laboratory work.
A big part of obtaining a medical degree is completion of hours required in clinical practice or work placements. This is where medical students apply the skills they have learned and are able to choose which field they would want to specialise in for the rest of their medical careers.
For those who choose to take a career path in medicine and choose to move forward from general practice, many specialisations are available. Availability of specialisations would also depend on the offerings of each university or even the medical institutions wherein students will have further training, as specialisations are usually gained through placements or residency.
Below is a short list of some specialisations that can be found in the field of medicine:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Accreditation is specially important in professional fields, as license-granting boards require this.
After obtaining a degree in medicine, the general process would be for the graduate to take an internship or placement, followed by residency and possibly, a fellowship. Board exams and licensure are required and generally follow after obtaining specialisation.
A degree in medicine can take anywhere from four to six years. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located. It would also depend on what type of medical degree you would be getting, such as if the program results in a Doctor of Medicine versus a Bachelor of Medicine. You would also need to take into consideration whether you would be required to have a bachelor degree before medical school or if you will be taking medical school as part of your undergraduate degree.
Further studies and continuing education are encouraged in the field of medicine, as technology and knowledge are constantly evolving. This can be in the form of graduate medical programs or even seminars and additional training.
In the UK, 99% of employed medicine degree holders are healthcare professionals. For most medicine degree holders who are able to take internship, residency and the board and/or licensure exams, being a doctor is the most common outcome. The difference lies in the specialty they take.
For those who choose not to pursue being a licensed doctor, other positions include healthcare scientist, education lecturer, and consultant. After going through years of education and training, pursuing a specialisation as a doctor is the most popular choice for medicine degree holders.
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