Is MBBS a Graduate Degree?

The field of medicine is one of the most respected and sought-after career paths globally. For many aspiring doctors, the journey begins with earning an MBBS degree. But is MBBS considered a graduate degree? This blog will delve into what an MBBS degree entails, its classification as a graduate degree, and how it compares to other degrees in the academic hierarchy.


MBBS, which stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, is the foundational degree required to practice medicine in many countries. It combines two professional qualifications in one: medicine and surgery. Given the rigorous nature of medical education and the extensive training involved, there's often confusion about whether MBBS is classified as an undergraduate or a graduate degree. This blog aims to clarify this distinction and provide a comprehensive understanding of the MBBS program.

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Understanding MBBS as a Graduate Degree

Definition and Structure

MBBS is a professional degree that students typically pursue after completing their secondary education (equivalent to high school). The program duration varies by country, usually spanning five to six years, including a mandatory internship period. The curriculum is designed to provide in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and various other medical sciences.

Classification in Different Countries

  • India: In India, MBBS is considered an undergraduate (UG) degree. Students enter the MBBS program after completing their 12th-grade education with a focus on science subjects (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). Upon completion, they are awarded the title of 'Doctor' and can pursue postgraduate (PG) studies, such as MD (Doctor of Medicine) or MS (Master of Surgery).
  • United Kingdom: In the UK, MBBS (or MBChB, BMBS, etc., depending on the university) is also an undergraduate degree. Students enroll directly into the program after high school and follow a similar path of five to six years of study.
  • United States: The US follows a different system. Students first complete an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree in any field, typically focusing on pre-medical courses. They then apply to medical school to pursue an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), which are considered graduate-level programs.
  • Australia and Canada: These countries have a mixed system. Some universities offer MBBS as an undergraduate degree directly after high school, while others require a prior bachelor's degree, making it more akin to a graduate entry program.

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Comparison with Other Degrees

Undergraduate vs. Graduate Degrees

  • Undergraduate Degrees: Typically, undergraduate degrees (bachelor's) are pursued immediately after completing secondary education. They include programs such as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), and Bachelor of Commerce (BCom).
  • Graduate Degrees: Graduate degrees are pursued after obtaining an undergraduate degree. They include master's programs (MA, MSc), doctoral programs (PhD), and professional degrees (MD, JD, MBA).

Given this distinction, MBBS in most countries falls under the category of an undergraduate degree because students enter the program directly after high school. However, due to the length, complexity, and professional nature of the MBBS program, it is often viewed with the same level of respect and recognition as some graduate degrees.

Why the Confusion?

The confusion often arises from the high level of education and training involved in the MBBS program. Unlike typical undergraduate degrees that take three to four years, MBBS programs are more intensive and span five to six years, including practical training. This extended duration and the professional status conferred upon graduates contribute to the perception of MBBS being more than just an undergraduate degree. Additionally, the rigorous curriculum covers a wide range of medical disciplines, ensuring comprehensive knowledge and skills. The clinical rotations and internships provide hands-on experience, further distinguishing the MBBS from conventional undergraduate programs.


In summary, MBBS is classified as an undergraduate degree in most countries, despite its complexity and the professional qualifications it provides. The program's duration and rigorous training are comparable to those of graduate degrees, leading to some confusion about its classification. Understanding this distinction helps clarify the academic hierarchy and the pathway to becoming a medical professional.

Whether you view MBBS as an undergraduate or a quasi-graduate degree, there's no denying the dedication and hard work required to complete this challenging program. Aspiring doctors must commit several years to their education and training, preparing them for the noble and demanding profession of medicine.

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Is MBBS considered an undergraduate degree?

Yes, in most countries, MBBS is considered an undergraduate degree pursued after high school.

How long does it take to complete an MBBS degree?

The duration typically ranges from five to six years, including a mandatory internship.

Can I pursue postgraduate studies after MBBS?

Yes, after completing MBBS, you can pursue postgraduate studies such as MD (Doctor of Medicine) or MS (Master of Surgery).

Is MBBS equivalent to an MD in the US?

No, MBBS is an undergraduate degree, while MD in the US is a graduate degree pursued after completing a bachelor's degree.

What is the difference between MBBS and BSc in terms of classification?

Both MBBS and BSc are undergraduate degrees, but MBBS is a professional medical degree, whereas BSc is typically a general science degree.

Why is there confusion about MBBS being a graduate degree?

The confusion arises due to the extended duration and intensive training of the MBBS program, making it comparable to some graduate degrees.

Do MBBS graduates get the title of 'Doctor'?

Yes, upon completing an MBBS degree, graduates are awarded the title of 'Doctor'.

What are the entry requirements for an MBBS program?

Entry requirements typically include completing secondary education with science subjects and passing relevant entrance exams.

Can MBBS be pursued part-time?

No, MBBS is a full-time program due to its rigorous and intensive nature.

Is MBBS recognized internationally?

Yes, MBBS degrees from recognized institutions are generally accepted worldwide, though additional licensing exams may be required to practice in certain countries.