Can a microbiologist be called a doctor?
Yes. There are two ways through which a microbiologist can be called a doctor. The first is by going for an MD program after obtaining a first degree in Microbiology, in other words, going back to the university to study medicine after completing your first degree in Microbiology. It makes it easier for the student to get admission to study Medicine and cope with the academic load as part of it has been done before. If you can find an MBBS program that allows for ‘post graduate’ entry cutting two or three years off the normal timeline. Most times it is required to visit your proposed institution for more enquiries and to find out if the proposal (three years) favours you. Generally it is safer to say that the 200 level admissions are more certain.
Most universities accept post graduate admissions into Medicine with a minimum of a 2nd class upper in Microbiology. It offers you the opportunity to skip the foundation year of the university (100 level) and proceed to your pre-clinicals (200 and 300 levels). Some universities also require you to write additional exams (MCAT or GRE) or an interview in order to get admitted. In some cases, there is also the benefit of in-locum work with your degree in Microbiology.
The second way to be called a doctor as a Microbiologist is by getting an MSc and PhD in your preferred area of Microbiology. Generally anyone who holds a PhD is called a doctor.
A Microbiologist can get an MSc and PhD in any of the following areas;
👉Microbiology and Microbial biotechnology
👉Microbiology and Physicochemistry for food and wine processes
👉Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
👉Immunology and Immunochemistry
However, having a PhD in Microbiology does not mean you are a medical doctor neither does it qualify you to attend to patients, prescribe drugs or open a hospital or clinic. It is simply a degree of your expertise in your chosen area of Microbiology (e.g Doctor of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology).
Shyllon Olayinka Enoch, Undergraduate student of Biochemistry at Obafemi Awolowo University
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