Can a biochemist become a medical doctor or surgeon? How to become a doctor with a biochemistry degree in Nigeria…

In America, studying medicine after bagging a first degree in biochemistry is “straight forward” and at the same time takes longer. This is because the IS Medical Curriculum expects potential medical students to have first degree in medical related courses like biochemistry, microbiology, botany, zoology, physiology, pharmacy, nursing etc….After this will you be allowed to apply for medicine as your second degree.

In Nigeria and many other African countries, Medicine is usually a first degree course….you are permitted to become a medical doctor as a biochemist before or after graduation.

Here is how you go about it…

1. Switching or transferring from biochemistry department to the department of medicine

As a medical student then in the University of Benin, it was common to see interested students from Life Sciences like biochemistry, Microbiology, zoology, Pharmacy, Agric Sciences etc transfer to medicine in 200 level after getting a high CGPAs of 4.8 – 5.0 in 100 level.

Can a biochemist become a medical doctor?
Can a biochemist become a medical doctor?

The problem with this pathway is that, very few students are selected and it is not a yearly thing…..For example, till I graduated, department of medicine did not take students from other departments after taking in my set. Biochemistry students from OAU, Unilag, AAU, DELSU, UNN, ABU etc find it very difficult to move to medicine from other departments. Switching to the department of medicine is actually an uphill task but not impossible.

2. Direct Entry

As a biochemist, if you are interested in becoming a medical doctor after you first degree, you can buy direct Entry form to study medicine in any University that allows it…The good thing here is that if you come on through direct entry into medicine, you will start from 200 level….the bad side if this is that majority of Nigerian Universities no longer admit medical students through direct entry….for schools that allow it, the NUC said they should not take more that 5 – 10 students. This makes your chances slimmer.

3. Get another JAMB OR UTME form

Yea, write another JAMB…if your initial plan was to study medicine and your institution gave you biochemistry or any health related course, I advise you to take the course and take it serious…while in the University, you should buy another JAMB form and apply for medicine, you chances of scoring high in JAMB and post-UME is higher because you now have more experience…

BOOM you will be given medicine and you will be required to start 100l in Medicine….

I know a colleague who gained admission to study Medicine through UTME when he was already in final year in Biochemistry…he ensured in finished his first degree in Biochemistry while resuming 100 level in Medicine in the same institution.

So you see that as a biochemist, you can actually become a medical doctor if you want to….all you need is the will, the patience and the perseverance…you must also be scoring high in book work. Medicine is highly competitive. A biochemist can become a medical doctor or a surgeon if he or she wants to.

Don’t despair.

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