How To Become A Medical Doctor In Nigeria And Live Your Dreams

Ask a little child, “Would you like to be a Medical Doctor when you grow older?” The usual answer would be YES!.

Medicine and Surgery is termed the ‘hot cake’ in Nigerian universities because of its competitiveness. Many students apply for this course, and a very little fraction of those get in. Candidates put in all of their efforts just so that they can score high and get admitted.

There are many Nigerian universities both public: state and federal government-owned and private that offer this course.

Becoming a Medical Doctor in Nigeria lies greatly in one’s efforts in medical school. The Schools of Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria have gone a long way in the development of our healthcare industry. Every year, these schools graduate doctors that have gone to make important contributions to health, both within and outside this country.

Become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria

A Medical Doctor On Duty

This article highlights the steps required for becoming a Medical Doctor in Nigeria. It also examines the requirements needed to get entry into medical school schools in the country.

Requirements For Becoming a Medical Doctor in Nigeria

The journey to becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria starts from senior secondary school. In secondary school, a student who aspires to become a medical doctor should be in the science class where he takes Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology as core subjects. Academic excellence is one of the most important factors in getting into med school.

Admission to Study Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria

In order to get a shot at being selected, a candidate must score a minimum of five credits in all core science courses, including Mathematics and English. After achieving this, candidates must also make sure they score very high in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) to be able to meet the school’s cut-off mark.

Most schools have their own score requirements, and make intending students undergo a Post-UTME exam set by the schools to test students on their own terms.

Academic Admission Requirements for Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria

Getting a degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) is the only guarantee to practice medicine in Nigeria.

After primary and secondary school, getting into the university’s school of medicine is where the actual journey begins.

See below things that should be in place in order to get into med school.

SSCE and UTME Requirements

Candidates must finish secondary school with a minimum of credit pass in their sciences, maths and English papers. Then, candidates must prepare well for their UTME exams and pass excellently too. Most universities pick candidates with scores of 300 and above, including a high score in the school’s post-UTME exams. 

Admission by Direct Entry and Use of Remedial Programme

Apart from gaining entry using UTME, candidates can get in through direct entry (DE) or remedial/pre-degree programmes. For pre-degree programmes, candidates are required to have undergone a one year compulsory study of some medical courses in their university of choice, and pass their exams excellently. With this, a candidate is almost guaranteed admission to study medicine.

Direct Entry (DE) applicants must have studied a health related course in a polytechnic or other higher institution. Students that go through DE are given admission into 200L.

How to Get A Medical Degree to Become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria

The medical degree takes six (6) years in Nigeria. During those years, a student is made to offer courses that are important for the field, and must pass them all in order get their degree.

Below are some courses one should expect while studying medicine broken down from the first year of Admission (100L) to the Final Year (500L or 600L, depending on the institution).

First year (100L) coursework

In the first year, students are made to take courses that are similar to those from secondary school, but only more advanced. At the end of the academic session, students are required to pass all courses or risk repeating the whole year.

This is different from other courses because they do not allow their first year students rewrite failed courses as carryovers. Instead, they make the students repeat the entire year.

In this year, students offer courses like chemistry, physics, biology, general studies (English, etc.), mathematics, physics and zoology. 

Pre-clinical Period (200L-300L)

After successfully completing 100L, students move to 200L, or pre-clinical period (consisting of 200L and 300L). Courses to be taken here include pure medical subjects like embryology, anatomy, histology, physiology, biochemistry and community medicine. Practical classes where students can see and/or dissect cadavers are offered.

These courses are to help students understand the human body and how it functions.

Exams for 200L and 300L are taken together after the second semester of 300L, the end of the pre-clinical year. This combined examination is called the second professional MBBS examinations.

Even though it takes that long to write exams, students are made to write tests frequently. 

Clinical Period (400L-600L)

From year four to year six (400L-600L), students will be faced with clinical activities, and lectures will usually be held in the university’s teaching hospital.

In 400L, they’ll be taking courses in microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and medicine and surgery. After the fourth year, students will be required to write their third MBBS examinations.

In 500L, students will take courses in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and community medicine. Under community medicine, students are required to write a medical project on any topic of their choosing, and carry out a field operation.

After the project and exams, they’ll sit for the fourth MBBS examination. The exams will move you to the sixth and final year of study.

In 600L, the only course students will offer will be in medicine and surgery. Here, they will be required to clerk patients, perform physical and some laboratory examinations, and prescribe possible treatment(s) for any diagnosed illness. The fifth and final MBBS examinations will be at the end of this academic year.

After successfully passing the final exams, students will be awarded a degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS), be inducted into the medical profession, and be given a license to operate as a doctor in Nigeria and elsewhere.

In Nigeria, an MBBS degree is equivalent to a Master’s degree. Also, medical schools do not use grade points like other faculties or departments. So there are no First Class, Second Class, or Third Class degrees awarded in medicine.

Once a student successfully completes his/her six-year degree program in Medicine and Surgery, they can proceed to their internship at any hospital under the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MCDN).


Medicine and Surgery is a very competitive course, as so many people apply to study it. In order to get in, work hard and do very well in your exams, as we have mentioned above.

Remember that this profession is very tasking. Go into it for the right reasons, and not for the money or prestige associated with it. Of course, everyone MUST NOT be a Doctor.

We hope that this article has given you a quick walk through all that you should expect and prepare for before and after entering medical school.



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