The education of healthcare providers is extremely important, as they are the very people who look after us when we need it the most. With an ever increasing world population, medical schools are working hard to make sure that their teaching is up to date, and provides medical students with the clinical skills they will need post-graduation.
A degree in medicine will give you the foundation knowledge needed to work as a doctor. You will study modules that focus heavily on the medical sciences, such as biology, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and microbiology, among others. You will also take modules that allow you to look at the different areas of medicine, for example paediatrics or general practice.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical and laboratory sessions. You will also be required to take part in a lengthy placement, where you will be given a chance to develop your practical skills, whilst gaining clinical experience. Generally, your placement will allow you to work in each area of medicine, to ensure you are well prepared for any medical career.
When you study medicine, you will have the opportunity to specialise towards the end of your medical degree. This specialisation will influence which area of medicine you work in, and will play a big part in your placement experience. Some specialisations include:
The accreditation awarded for your degree will depend on where you choose to study. Different countries have different accreditation systems, meaning that your degree title could vary. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc).
Some countries may require you to be a registered healthcare provider. For example, in the UK, medical qualifications need to be approved by, or meet the standards of the General Medical Council (GMC) before you are able to become a practising doctor.
As well as this, you will continue to gain accreditation and certification throughout your career as a doctor or surgeon, as it is important that your professional development never stops.
Normally, a degree in medicine will take 5 to 6 years when studied full-time. If you choose to take a foundation year, this will add another year, at the very least. Once you have graduated, you will still be required to continue your training for several more years.
On successful completion of your degree, you can either choose to seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could come in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a PhD or an MPhil, or a graduate certificate or diploma. If you choose to seek employment, you will be required to take a placement or internship, followed by a residency, and possibly a fellowship. Your institution will be able to provide you with more information about the specific requirements for post-graduation.
The entry requirements will depend on where you choose to study. Requirements for a medical degree tend to be quite demanding, as the degree itself will be intense. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied specific subjects, and others may consider previous relevant work experience.
Some countries require you to have taken a related undergraduate degree, before taking a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. In other countries, you can start a medicine degree at undergraduate level.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their medicine programmes.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution. Medical degrees tend to be quite expensive, but there is financial help available for students who require it.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
The most common destination for graduates of medicine is a healthcare professional, normally working as a doctor or surgeon. Due to the length and intensity of a medical degree, most people choose to stay in the medical field. The main difference in career paths tends to be the specialisation chosen by graduates.
If you do choose not to become a doctor, your wide range of skills means there are many career opportunities available to you. Other positions include healthcare scientist, healthcare researcher, educator and consultant.
Sign up to StudyLink.com, the home of quality study abroad advice.Sign up now
Find out more about the range of subjects that you can study at institutions around the world with our subject guides.
Read StudyLink's suggestions on your first steps when deciding where to study abroad, with helpful tips to make your decision easier.
International students finding it difficult to meet conditions of eligibility criteria can choose to enrol in pre-masters courses before applying for a masters degree programme.
Find out more about English language tests, your options and what is required as an overseas student.
The latest articles from study abroad providers and StudyLink.com to hep you on your study abroad journey.