11 Types of Medical Degrees


Medical degrees are key for anyone wanting to work in medicine. They offer expertise on how to provide the best patient care. Each one has a special focus, from performing surgeries to preventing diseases in whole communities.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss several types of medical degrees, including the Bachelor of Surgery, Doctor of Medicine, and Master of Public Health. We’ll dive into what makes each degree unique and how they help in the medical world.

What Is a Medical Degree?

A medical degree is an academic qualification that prepares individuals for a career in medicine. It equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases, ultimately caring for people’s health. However, due to varying country-specific educational systems and traditions, the type and title of medical degrees can differ significantly worldwide. 

For instance, in the United States and Canada, students receive an MD (Doctor of Medicine), whereas in the United Kingdom and beyond, graduates might earn an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) or similar qualifications. Despite these differences, all medical degrees share the common purpose of preparing individuals for a dedicated life in medicine.

Undergraduate Medical Degrees

The first step on your path toward wearing a white coat as a doctor is to complete undergraduate studies. This level of education typically offers three distinct options of study: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery otherwise known as MBBS.

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

The MBBS is a medical degree awarded in many countries to those who aspire to become doctors. This degree usually requires five to six years of study, and it combines two major areas of medical study: medicine and surgery. Students gain knowledge on how the human body works, various common diseases, and how to treat them, all things taught through classes, lab work, and practical training in hospitals. Specialties typically include surgery, oncology, pediatrics, psychological medicine, and others.  After finishing this degree, graduates can work as doctors in hospitals and clinics, helping patients maintain their health and cure their illnesses. The MBBS is an important step for anyone wanting to pursue a career in medicine. 

Bachelor of Medicine

The Bachelor of Medicine degree is a special kind of college program that prepares students for a career in medicine. This degree focuses on the science behind health and disease, covering a wide range of subjects like human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and medical ethics. It typically spans five to six years, combining theoretical learning with practical experiences through clinical rotations in hospitals and medical facilities. With this degree, graduates gain a comprehensive understanding of medical science and the skills necessary to diagnose and treat patients. It is foundational for aspiring doctors, laying the groundwork for further specialization and practice in the medical field.

Bachelor of Surgery

The Bachelor of Surgery degree is another undergraduate program emphasizing the surgical side of medical science, by focusing on techniques and procedures to treat injuries, diseases, and deformities through operations. It specifically teaches students about human anatomy, the tools and methods used in surgery, and how to care for patients before, during, and after surgery. This degree is usually combined with the Bachelor of Medicine, leading to the MBBS degree which we explored previously. In conjunction, they prepare students for a wide range of careers in medicine, laying the foundation for either general practice or further specialization in surgery.

Graduate Medical Degrees

At the graduate level, aspiring doctors will choose between two degrees: Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). While the MD focuses on an advanced understanding of medicine, the DO promotes a holistic approach to patient care.  

Doctor of Medicine

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a professional degree that follows successful completion of an undergraduate degree, such as Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. Think of it as a higher level of learning for doctors. This further education enables a more comprehensive understanding of the medical sciences. The MD program involves rigorous training in medical research, ethics, and specialized areas of medicine and typically requires four years of study. Furthermore, it often serves as a gateway to specialization within the medical field, such as cardiology, neurology, or pediatric medicine. MD graduates emerge as leaders in the medical community, offering their expertise and contributing firmly to patient health and medical sciences.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) is slightly different from the Doctor of Medicine degree. The DO emphasizes a holistic approach to treating patients, including special training in the musculoskeletal system, which is the body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles, and bones. This means that students will learn to look at the patient’s body as a whole, not just where it hurts. This unique perspective enables DOs to offer comprehensive care, aiming not just to treat illness but to help their patients achieve overall health and well-being. With a DO degree, you become fully licensed to practice in every field of medicine, from surgery to family medicine and beyond. 

Postgraduate Medical Degrees


In the realm of postgraduate education, several degrees stand out for offering opportunities for even further advancement in the medical field. The Master of Surgery degree, Master of Medicine, and Master of Public Health all play a pivotal role in preparing medical professionals to excel in their specialized areas of interest. 

Master of Surgery

The MS degree, or Master of Surgery, is a postgraduate academic qualification tailored for those aspiring to specialize in various surgical fields. It represents an advanced level of education and training beyond the Bachelor of Surgery. This program focuses on the surgical sciences, offering rigorous training in surgical techniques, patient care, and medical ethics specific to the surgeon’s chosen specialty. Pursuing an MS degree is a crucial step for medical professionals aiming to excel in surgical specialties, as they get equipped with the skills necessary to perform complex surgeries and improve patient outcomes. This degree is crucial for those dedicated to advancing their careers in the dynamic and challenging world of surgery.

Master of Medicine

The Master of Medicine (MMed) degree is a postgraduate program for doctors who wish to deepen their expertise in specific areas of medicine. This is an advanced program that focuses on expanding clinical skills and knowledge, preparing physicians for more specialized roles in healthcare. Offered in various medical specialties, such as pediatrics, internal medicine, or surgery, the MMed serves as a bridge for medical practitioners aiming to elevate their practice, engage in research, or take on teaching responsibilities. This degree offers graduates an enhanced ability to contribute to patient care, medical education, and the advancement of healthcare practices. It is a crucial step for doctors seeking to refine their expertise and make significant contributions to their specialty.

Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a postgraduate program for those interested in improving public health and preventing diseases across communities and populations. This degree covers tracking diseases, figuring out their cause, and exploring what can be done to stop them. It teaches students about everything from nutrition and pollution to how health policies are made. The MPH is all about making sure people have the information and resources they need to live healthier lives. With this degree, which focuses on promoting good health practices and preventing illnesses, graduates are equipped to make a big difference in the well-being of entire communities.


From surgery and medicine to public health, each medical degree offered at different levels of education prepares you for various healthcare roles. Choosing the right option, especially at the graduate and postgraduate level, is crucial for your career goals and interests. 

Prepared to embark on your medical journey? Begin by investigating your options and choose the medical path that resonates with you most.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How competitive is it to get into medical school?

Getting into medical school is highly competitive, requiring excellent grades, test scores, and relevant experience. Most applicants face tough admissions processes.

What are some common specializations available to medical students?

Medical students can specialize in fields like surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and internal medicine, among others.

Can I pursue a medical degree online?

Pursuing a full medical degree online is currently not possible due to the required hands-on clinical training; however, some theoretical components can be completed online.

What are the accreditation requirements for medical schools?

Medical schools must be accredited by recognized bodies to ensure they meet specific educational standards, allowing graduates to practice medicine legally.

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