Studying Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in the US

My future career

As a starting point, it is very important to be realistic in assessing the chances of being able to achieve the minimum entry standards for a medical school. We are not being pessimistic here, but in reality, there are more students than there are places at medical school, so it is no surprise that high academic performance plays a big part.

High entry requirements are a way of ensuring that students are of a suitable academic calibre. Successful completion of a medical course is academically very demanding. If you are unrealistic in assessing your chances and ignore the advice of teachers and advisors, you will be faced with unnecessary disappointment and heartache. If you believe that you are capable of achieving the minimum entry requirements, it still does not necessarily mean you will be successful in gaining a place at medical school.

Medical courses are longer than other courses at university and over the five or six years you will cover a wide range of knowledge and skills. After graduation, you must spend a further year working as a doctor under supervision in a hospital as a ‘house officer’. You could be on duty for up to 72 hours a week but actually working up to 56 hours. Whatever the long term financial rewards you have in mind, it will be some years before you will be in a position to have a permanent post.

What is a Doctor in Medicine (M.D.)?

In Malaysia, a degree in Medicine is typically known by the abbreviation M.B.B.S. (which stands for ‘Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery’) – as with countries that follow the tradition of the United Kingdom. In Malaysia, it is typically pursued as an undergraduate programme.

In the US, however, a Doctor in Medicine (M.D.) is a postgraduate programme. To qualify into an M.D. programme, you need to first complete a pre-medical course from a university in the US.

This is because medicine degrees in the US are considered a “second-entry degree” in the US, which means that you cannot enrol directly into a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine. You first need to complete an undergraduate degree in a related Science subject before you apply to a medical school for M.D. which usually lasts for four years.

Besides that, you will also need to complete the MCAT test, which stands for Medical College Admissions Test. The test will demonstrate your ability to think critically, solve problems, write clearly, as well as demonstrate your knowledge of various scientific concepts. A good score on the MCAT is key to getting into a good medical school.

Why study Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in the US?

By now, you would probably realise that studying Medicine in the US is an extremely rigorous, intensive and competitive process. The path is long and hard, but extremely rewarding. That said, an increasing number of medical schools require a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. school and more than that, the most important thing to know is that there are very low acceptance rates for international students.

Although there are many universities in the US which offer the M.D. programme, you do need to choose the university or medical school wisely because not all of them are recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council. Otherwise, you risk not being able to practise medicine in Malaysia, if that is part of your long-term plan.

The following medical schools are recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council at the time of writing:

  • Rutgers State University
  • Medical College of Alabama, Birmingham
  • University of Arkansas School of Medicine, Little Rock
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Irvine, California College of Medicine
  • University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles
  • Stanford University, School of Medicine, Palo Alto
  • University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco

For more information on how to apply to these US universities or other university options, contact a MABECS Global education advisor today who will provide free guidance about the process.

What are some career options after completing a degree in Medicine (MBBS)?

Although most students who apply for a degree in Medicine (MBBS) tend to pursue a career as a medical doctor, a medical doctor isn’t the only career option available upon graduation, as shown with the possible options below:

  1. Clinical Doctor
  2. Lecturer
  3. Researcher
  4. Medical Consultant for insurance or pharmaceutical companies
  5. Health Economist
  6. Hospital Administrator
  7. Medical Journalist/Writer
  8. International Aid Worker with Doctors without Borders, etc.…and many more!

Have more questions about studying inUSA?

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