History of Medical Colleges in India

In India, admission to medical college is organized by the central government, by NTA (National Testing Agency) through tests known as NEET entrance examination. Students who have successfully completed their 10+2 (Physics, chemistry and biology marks are considered and PCB is mandatory) education can appear for the tests the same year.

The NEET-UG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), conducted by NTA, fills 15% of total MBBS seats in India. These exams are conducted ones every year during the month of May. It selects about 65,000 students out of a total applicants of over 15,00,000.

The Supreme Court Of India has mandated the necessity of entrance examination based upon multiple choice questions and negative marking for wrong answers with subsequent merit over 50% for selection into MBBS as well as higher medical education. The entrance exams are highly competitive.

The graduate program consists of three professionals consisting of 9 semesters, followed by one-year internship (rotating housemanship). The degree granted is Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) of five years and six months.

The graduate degree of MBBS is divided into 3 professionals, with each professional ending with a professional exam conducted by the university (a single university may have up to dozens of medical colleges offering various graduate/post-graduate/post-doctoral degrees). After clearing this, the student moves into the next professional. Each professional exam consists of a theory exam and a practical exam conducted not only by the same college but also external examiners. The exams are tough and many students are unable to clear them, thereby prolonging their degree time.

The first professional is for 1 year and includes preclinical subjects, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. The second professional is for a year and half. The subjects include pathology, pharmacology, microbiology (including immunology) and forensic medicine. Clinical exposure starts in the second professional. The third professional is divided into two parts. Part 1 consists of ophthalmology, ENT, and PSM (preventive and social medicine) and part 2 consists of general-medicine (including dermatology, psychiatry as short subjects), general surgery (including radiology, anaesthesiology and orthopaedics as short subjects) and paediatrics and obstetrics & gynaecology. This is followed by one-year of internship (house-surgeonship). After internship, the degree of MBBS is awarded by the respective university. Some states have made rural service compulsory for a certain period of time after MBBS.

Selection for higher medical education is through entrance examinations as mandated by the Supreme Court of India. Further postgraduate qualifications may be obtained as Post-graduate Diploma of two years residency or Doctoral Degree (MS: Master of Surgery, or MD) of three years of residency under the aegis of the Medical Council of India. The MD/MS seats in India are filled up through NEET PG Examination conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) under the supervision of the Directorate General of Health Services.

Theses/Dissertations are mandatory to be submitted and cleared by university along with examinations (written and clinical) to obtain MD/MS degree. Further sub-speciality post-doctoral qualification (DM – Doctorate of Medicine, or MCh – Magister of Chirurgery) of three years of residency followed by university examinations may also be obtained.

PG (post-graduate) qualification is equivalent to M.D./M.S., consisting of two/three-years residency after MBBS. A PG diploma may also be obtained through the National Board of Examinations (NBE), which also offers three years residency for sub-specialisation. All degrees by NBE are called DNB (Diplomate of National Board). DNB’s are awarded only after clearance of theses/dissertations and examinations. DNBs equivalent to DM/MCh and it is compulsory for them to clear examinations.


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Dr. Zareen Fatima

Dr Zareen is an ambitious general dentist working and residing in UAE. She is able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis. Alongside her busy work schedule, she is a vivid reader, researcher, writer editor and is currently pursuing Masters in Public Health. In her leisure she brings out the forgotten history in the field of medicine and associated disciplines.

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