Studying Medicine in Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

Medical doctors are not rich people. They are individuals that have decided to dedicate their lives to helping other people. In order to become a successful medical doctor in Nigeria, you must possess the following:

  • A very strong desire to help others
  • A true intellectual curiosity about the field of medicine
  • A love for general learning.


The student also needs to be very smart and he/she should have very strong foundation in the sciences.  The individual must be willing to relate with other people. The desire to help others is something that is not taught in medical school; the individual must possess it naturally.

After the basic training, the individual can decide on specializing on any aspect of medicine, like community medicine, Psychiatry, Surgery, Traumatology, Gynecology, Pediatrics or Obstetrics.

After specialization, the individual will be able to teach others in that aspect of medical practice.  Being a doctor is highly honorable and the individual will be held in high esteem.  There is also job security for the individual.

The individual must be ready to sacrifice a lot in order to become a medical doctor. He must be disciplined and be able to take up personal responsibility.  The field of medicine is highly demanding and the individual must be ready to put in long hours of reading.

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Subjects of interest to become a medical doctor

The individual aspiring to become a medical doctor is required to take and pass certain subjects during the secondary school qualifying examinations. These subjects are

  • English language
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology

The student must pass these examinations through any of the examinations bodies in Nigeria, like National Examination Council (NECO), Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination or General Certificate of Education Examination.

After passing the subjects highlighted above at minimum of credit levels, the student can then proceed to write university entrance examination. It must be noted that many of the institutions around prefer that the student pass these examinations at one sitting.

University entrance examinations

  • The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination must be passed by the student. It gives the student admission into 100 level in the university of choice. Each of the institutions in Nigeria has specific cut off mark for admission into medicine. The student is required to score the required mark to have hope of admission.
  • Advanced Level general certificate Examination. This gives the student admission into 200 level in the University of choice. the student needs to sit for Physics, Chemistry and Biology during the examination
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It must be noted that admission into medicine is very strict. This is because the universities offering the course have limited number of students they can admit.

Virtually all the federal universities can only admit 100 students for medicine, while most of the state universities can admit between 50 and 75 students. University of Ilorin can admit 150 students, while University of Ibadan can admit 180 students.

At present, medical students spend 6 years on training. The first three years are spent on preclinical training, which include training on Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry. The last three years of training on the other hand is spent on the actual clinical training. This is followed by one year of internship.



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