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MBBS In Philippines

Program Overview

The Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree is a five year graduate program intended to teach students the essentials of being a Medical Doctor. The program consists of three years of academic instruction, one year of clinical clerkship and one year of post-graduate internship.

In the first year, the subjects integrated in the curriculum are mainly composed of basic sciences such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Preventive Medicine, Community health, Psychiatry and Medical Practice I. The second year is spent studying fundamental concepts in Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Pharmacology, Medicine and Surgery, Psychiatry II and Medical Economics. During the third year of studying Medicine, students are taught subjects that deal with common diseases encountered in clinical practice, as well as interesting or rare conditions. The pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnostic approaches and the management of these diseases are also given emphasis. The final year of the Doctor of Medicine program is spent in hospital duty.

The first two years of the Doctor of Medicine program are spent in class lectures delivered through computers using LCD projectors complemented by slide/ film showings, laboratory work and group discussions. In the third and fourth year, students begin to meet patients in actual hospital setting. Students are rotated in various hospital departments, spending up to two months in each department in the fields of internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, and several weeks in other specialties under the supervision of a faculty. After each clinical duty, students undergo periodic evaluation to assess their performance.

The Doctor of Medicine program may require the presentation and defense of a graduate-level thesis, an independent research project, or supervised professional practice as a final graduation requirement.

Is Medicine a Profession?

Medicine is a profession. A graduate of Medical Studies who passes the Philippine Physician’s Licensure Examination is called a Medical Doctor (MD) or a Physician. Physician’s responsibilities vary greatly depending on the area of specialization. Generally speaking, duties may include undertaking patient consultations and physical examinations, analyzing reports and findings of tests and of examination, diagnosing conditions, assessing and planning treatment requirements, monitoring and administering prescribe treatments and drugs, referring patients to medical specialist or other practitioner for specialized treatment, writing reports, maintaining records and promoting health education.

What are the admission requirements for the M.D. program?

Pre-med bachelor’s degree
The preferred pre-medicine programs for entry into medical school are Biological Sciences programs that are primarily structured as pre-medicine courses, such as B.S. Biology, and Healthcare programs such as B.S. Medical Technology, B.S. Pharmacy, B.S. Nursing, B.S. Public Health, and B.S. Physical Therapy.

However, students can still be admitted to medical school provided that they meet the following requirements:

Must have a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree or their equivalent and must have taken in four years the following subjects with their corresponding number of units:

  • English: 12 units
  • Latin: 3 units
  • Mathematics, including Accounting and Statistics: 9 units
  • Philosophy, including Psychology and Logic: 12 units
  • Zoology and Botany: 15 units
  • Physics: 8 units
  • Chemistry: 21 units
  • Library Science: 1 unit
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: 12 units

Applicants whose courses are completely unrelated to medicine are required to take a preparatory medical course by the Board of Medical Education before they can proceed to the M.D. program. These applicants must complete the number of years designated for the preparatory course. Once the applicant completes the course, the Board of Medical Education will issue a certificate of eligibility permitting the applicant to proceed to the Doctor of Medicine program.


Applicants to medical schools are required to take the National Medical Admission Test(NMAT). The NMAT scores obtained by a medical school applicant are deemed sufficient and valid as basis for evaluating applicants for admission to a college of medicine. There are schools that require an NMAT result of 80% or higher.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?
  • Critical thinking – demonstration of cognitive skills and memory necessary to measure, calculate and reason in order to analyze, integrate and synthesize information
  • Analytical skills – the ability to understand complex medical situations, create connections among different clinical manifestations and make sensible decisions to implement plan of care
  • Communication skills – ability to speak, hear and observe patients and coherently summarize a patient’s condition and management plan, verbally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, employees and other health-care practitioners
  • Scientific inclination – having a wide knowledge about the different branches of science and ability to understand and connect certain concepts together; essential, because without this, a student will not be able to understand the pathophysiology of certain diseases thus diagnosis and treatment is as well affected.
  • Patient Care Skills – the ability to understand and take care of patients from all ages and walks of life; involves empathy, compassion and the sincere desire to help the sick.
  • Observation skills – ability to demonstrate skills in observation. In particular, a student must be able to accurately observe a patient and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information.
  • Organization – the ability to manage different patients at a time, efficiently giving them the same amount of medical attention
  • Clinical efficiency – a physical ability of using medical instruments and performing medical and surgical procedures efficiently and safely.
How difficult is this course?

The Doctor of Medicine program is a very difficult course. The workload in medical school is immense. The amount of information you’d have to grasp will be higher than most people studying other courses. As a clinical student, your timetable dramatically changes. Medicine is a very time-intensive degree and one that will increasingly have high financial demand. Students are thrown in at the deep end of some of the most challenging scenarios and confronted with patients that have different diseases. During clinical duty, your sleep wake pattern is greatly disturbed because the schedule is shifting.

How long does it take to complete the M.D. program in the Philippines?

Generally, the M.D. program takes five years to complete. In schools that follow a trimestral curriculum, the program may be completed in less than five years. The M.D. program includes three years of academic and clinical study, one year of clinical clerkship and one year of post-graduate internship.

3 to 6 months are usually spent in a comprehensive review program for the Philippine Physician’s Licensure Examination. The program features classes and lectures from members of the faculty as well as other medical practitioners. It doesn’t just end there; a residency will follow as well as a post-grad study in your chosen specialization.

The residency period, in which you are trained in your specialized medical field, takes another 3-6 years.

Philippine Physician’s Licensure Examination

To be a full–fledged medical doctor in the Philippines, a graduate of the M.D. program needs to pass the Philippine Physician’s Licensure Examination. The Board of Medicine (BOM) facilitates the exam under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

There are two general categories included in the exam each having six subjects under them. The first category is basic sciences (Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology) and the second category is clinical sciences (Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Legal Medicine and Preventive Medicine). The passing average is 75%, with no grade falling below 50% in any subject.

A medical graduate needs to pass the medical board exam in order to obtain his license. He or she must pass the Med Boards within his first three attempts; otherwise, he would have to take a 1-year refresher course given only by certain medical schools. Currently, there is no limit to the number of times a medical graduate may attempt taking the board exam.

Jobs for licensed Doctors (board exam passers)

Entry Level jobs

Jobs requiring no prior to minimal level of experience:

  • Resident Physicians – also known as an intern, resident physicians work in hospitals under the supervision of the medical staff of the hospital and a senior doctor
  • Junior Physician in a private clinic – works as assistant to a more experienced doctor; assists in consultation and minor procedures and surgery
  • Company Doctor – a physician employed by a company; performs general physical assessment, prescribes basic remedies and treatments to employees
  • School Doctor – a physician employed to make periodic examinations to students.
  • Private Practice Doctors – licensed physicians who opt not to undergo residency training and create their own private clinics; usually the scope of practice is general.
Mid-Level Positions

Completed the residency training program and successfully acquired a field of specialization:

  • A specialist at a government hospital – a medical doctor working as a specialist (ENT, Cardiologist, Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Gynecologist, Urologist, Pediatrician, etc).
  • A specialist at a private hospital – same as the above, but working in a private hospital
  • Private practice specialist – a doctor who works at a specialized private clinic. Examples can be an Ophthalmology clinic, a Cardiology clinic or a Gynecologist.
  • Government Official – working in an administrative position in the Department of Health or similar government offices dealing with healthcare.
Advanced Positions

Require years of extensive experience and practice:

  • Surgeon – a surgeon performs operations, related to different sub-specialties of medicine like general surgery, neurosurgery, cardiovascular, cardiothoracic surgery, ENT, maxilla-facial surgery, plastic surgery, oral surgery, transplant surgery, urology, etc.
  • Medical Consultant – provides a medical analysis of complex claims files ensuring that paperwork and the filing of medical claims follow compliance procedures established by government regulations and laws; monitors work capacity of employees or labor issues between the hospital and union, and in-charge of the overall working environment within a health care setting.
  • Hospital Administrator – oversees clinical units, departments or an entire hospital. These professionals manage personnel, finances and facility practices according to a distinct set of policies and procedures established by trustees. They keep abreast of new laws and regulations in the industry and advances in medicine and medical technology.
  • Senior Government Official – working in a senior administrative position in the Department of Health or similar government offices dealing with healthcare.

Jobs for Non Board Passers
These jobs will mainly depend on the undergraduate course that one has finished. Most students who study medicine graduated with a degree in biology, medical technology, nursing or physical therapy; they may opt to practice those professions if they fail to pass the board examination for medicine.

Career Opportunities Abroad
Filipino doctors are not in high demand abroad. However, there are many licensed Filipino doctors who aspire to work in other countries due to the much higher compensation abroad. To do this, Filipino doctors need to pass the relevant board exam of each country. Countries like the United States allow foreign doctors to practice the profession there. To be able to practice medicine in the United States you need a Certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). Through its program of certification, the ECFMG assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter US residency or fellowship programs. After ECFMG certification, physicians who wish to practice medicine in the U.S. must complete an accredited residency training program in the U.S. or Canada – this process will take at least three years. You also need to pass a state licensure examination before you can practice medicine.

Salary Levels
The salary levels of physicians in the Philippines vary greatly. It will depend on your specialization, your skills and abilities, where you are employed and your years of experience. Generally speaking, salaries for licensed medical doctors are higher than the average salary in the Philippines.