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How To Study Medicine & Become Medical Doctor In Nigeria..Subjects Needed, Admission Requirements

how to become a medical doctor in nigeria

How To Study Medicine & Become Medical Doctor In Nigeria..Subjects Needed, University Admission Requirements & How Many Years Involved

The medical field is an indispensable part of any nation’s development. In Nigeria, as we know it, being a Medical Doctor is not a small feat as we know how difficult it is to even gain admission into a university to read Medicine and Surgery. No matter, every year many qualified doctors are being graduated that it makes one begin to wonder whether the high standards have been dropped. If you belong to this category of “wanderers”, the short answer is that you can become a doctor in Nigeria if you are ready and passionate enough to go through the rigors.

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That being said, this article aims at giving a basic blueprint for becoming a qualified Medical Doctor in Nigeria; although you will surely need more than a post to tell you everything that you’ll have to pass through in the process.

Some basic facts about Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria

Medicine and Surgery is a highly-sought-after programme in Nigerian universities with only a few applicants gaining admission. In Nigeria, the course duration is at least 6 years of intensive learning and at least an extra year of housemanship/internship. To become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria, or even anywhere, you will need a lot of patience and discipline because of the apparently lengthy training period. So, before you finally decide to go through the process, ask yourself if you are passionate and patient enough to endure the process.

It is a fact that Medical Doctors are one of the highest paid professionals in the world; moreover, they are also one of the most respected. As such some persons desire a career in Medicine, not because of their passion to save lives but because of the financial gains.

The basic steps

While the vast majority of medical doctors in Nigerian are locally trained (in Nigeria), there is still the option of going to a foreign university to become a doctor.

That said, the following steps are directed towards those wanting to get a medical degree in Nigeria.

Get your secondary school certificate and sit for UTME to gain admission into a university

First, you will have to gain admission into an accredited Nigerian university to study Medicine and Surgery. However, before you are eligible for admission, you will need to have been a science student while in the secondary school – not an art or commercial student – where you must have been taught the basic science subjects including Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (which is a pre-requisite for studying Medicine in Nigeria).

You need to have a minimum of 5 credits in core subjects in your secondary school certificate examination to enable you to sit for UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) and Post-UTME. The minimum 5 credits should be in the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and English Language.

In order to gain admission into the university, you will need to score above the university’s cut-off marks in UTME and Post-UTME for your chosen course. While UTME is regulated by JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board) and the maximum score is 400 with a minimum score of 180 or 200 to be able to undertake Post-UTME. On the other hand, the Post-UTME is organized by your chosen university and the cut-off mark is decided by them.

Other ways of gaining admission to study Medicine and Surgery In Nigeria

If you are unable to pass the required minimum score of UTME and/or Post-UTME to study Medicine and Surgery, you can try any of the two methods: through Direct Entry or through a remedial programme.

  1. Through Direct Entry

You can gain admission to study Medicine and Surgery without UTME by first studying a medicine-related course in either a Polytechnic or a university. This means that you need to have first gained a degree in any medical related course before you can apply for direct entry. The advantage here is the fact that you don’t have to begin from 100 level but 200 level when you are admitted.

2. Through a Remedial Program

Another method of gaining admission into Nigerian universities is through remedial programmes. Some universities call it Pre-Degree, Pre-Science, or Remedial science; whichever name you know it as remedial programmes are one-year study programmes in the university which you are seeking admission. The study year is divided into 2 semesters (as with normal undergraduate programmes) where you’ll have to take lectures and sit for exams which will determine whether you’ll be admitted or not.

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How Many Years Does It take To Study Medicine And Surgery In Nigeria

After gaining admission to study Medicine and Surgery, you will need to go through the required six years of lectures and practicals. While the first year will involve basic secondary school work and a few new subjects, your sophomore year – second year – and the third year are referred to as pre-clinical period while from your fourth year and beyond you get into the main clinical part of Medicine that include courses such as pharmacology, pediatrics, and pathology.

Post-University period

Yes, you have finally made it after all the long years of lectures, assignments, group work, clinical, and all. This is after you must have successfully completed your sixth year as a Medical student. You will be formally inducted as a Medical Doctor by the issuance of your M.B.B.S certificate (MBBS = Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) and taking of the Hippocratic/Physicians’ Oath.

And so you know, unlike the degree certificates of other fields, your M.B.B.S certificate does not classify you as either a first class or third class graduate; all medical certificates are the same. Moreover, the certificate holds the same respect as a Masters degree in other fields.

When you have gotten your certificate as a medical doctor in Nigeria, you can then resume your housemanship which can be done in any hospital recognized by MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria). Upon successful completion of your housemanship, the MDCN will give you your medical license to practice medicine in the country.


In order to become a medical doctor, you will need to be passionate about saving lives, willing to learn, and have an intense desire for the field. And lest I forget, there are many branches which you can follow as a medical student. Some of these choices include Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry, and Oncology.

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  1. Ajebo

    July 1, 2018 at 4:42 AM

    WEll done @ author, article on point, this explains it better than an ebook I bought on nairaland last year

  2. Oguja Maurice Marvellous

    December 25, 2018 at 5:48 AM

    pls,what about opportunities?will i gain employment immediately after my housemanship?

    • NG

      December 25, 2018 at 6:23 AM

      It all depends. Doctors are in high demand in Nigeria. You should gain employment


    January 6, 2020 at 10:44 PM

    I really want to study medicine. I applied twice but didn’t get in and finally accepted physiotherapy this year. But my heart isn’t in it. But all I’ve been reading has been discouraging me from even thinking I was cut out for medicine. What do I do

  4. Kajoh Zacharie

    March 23, 2020 at 9:12 PM

    Hello, Happy to have gotten to this site.I’m a Cameroonian so how does it happen when it’s a foreigner? I’m a nurse working in Cameroon but still hoping to advance and I’m interested in your country.

  5. Eze Daniel

    January 19, 2023 at 4:24 AM

    Am happy for these site

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