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In the UK, there is a wide range of primary medical qualifications, each distinguished by specific letters at the end of the medical degree. You might have encountered some of these terms, such as MBChB, MBBCh, MBBS, BMBCh, BMBS, and MBBChir, among others. 

In this article, we will explore the meaning behind each of these designations, whether there are any significant differences among them, and whether it should be a concern for prospective medical school applicants.

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery 

The first postgraduate scientific degree awarded by clinical institutions in the United Kingdom Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). Interestingly, this degree has its roots in two separate undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery. 

While contemporary medical schools have integrated these programs into a single degree, the title still preserves the historical division. As a result, various medical schools may use different abbreviations for this course, such as MBChB, BMBCh, MBBCh, BMBS, and MBBChir, among others. Despite the varied abbreviations, they all refer to the same core medical degree awarded by different institutions. 


MBChB, or Baccalaureate of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, is the most popular postgraduate medical degree given out by the majority of clinical colleges in the United Kingdom, including all clinical colleges in Scotland and most English universities. While some institutions may use alternative abbreviations, MBChB remains the widely recognized qualification for medical graduates in the UK.


MBBS, or Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, is the top student clinical degree granted by British medical institutes. The MBBS program typically spans 4-6 years and provides graduates with the necessary credentials to practice medicine as doctors both within the country and internationally.


MBBS and MBChB are both abbreviations for a medical degree called “Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery” given by UK medical schools. The only difference is the abbreviation used after a doctor’s name, which depends on the specific medical school they attended. But the degrees and qualifications are the same.


Is MBChB A Master’s Degree?

An MBChB is not a Master’s degree; it’s an undergraduate medical degree. You don’t need to have done any higher education before going to medical school to study for an MBChB, which stands for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.

Are MD and MBChB are same?

The MD degree (Doctor of Medicine) is different in the UK and the US. In the US, it is the main medical qualification, just like the UK’s Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS/MBChB). However, there’s a difference in how you become a doctor.

In the UK, you can go straight from school to medical school and earn an MBBS/MBChB, becoming a doctor right after. But in the US, you first need to finish a pre-med undergraduate degree before going to medical school.

If you have an MBBS/MBChB from the UK and want to work in the US as a doctor, you need to take a specific exam, and you can start practicing without getting another degree like an MD.

In the UK, an MD degree is a postgraduate qualification that you can only do after working as a doctor for a few years. So, while an MD from a British university is considered higher than a US MD, it’s not the primary qualification to become a doctor in the UK.

Can Doctors Complete A PhD?

Yes, doctors can also choose to pursue a PhD, which is a higher level of education involving research. The process is the same as for non-medical professionals doing a PhD. They need to create a research plan, conduct research, gather results, write a thesis, and defend it in an oral examination.

The only difference is that after completing the PhD, they won’t get the title “Dr” again because they were already doctors from their medical degree.

In certain medical fields, having a PhD is very important to be competitive for top jobs. For example, if you want to be an expert surgeon at a prestigious teaching hospital in London, having a PhD is often necessary to be on the same level as other applicants.

Name of the UK Medical Degree and University

Degree Abbreviation Medical Schools That Award The Degree
MBChB Aston, Birmingham, Bristol, Anglia Ruskin, Buckingham, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Lancaster, Keele, Aberdeen, Sheffield, Sunderland, Manchester, Warwick, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow
MBBCh University of Cardiff and Swansea Campus
MB, BCh, BAO Queen’s University Belfast
MBBS King’s University Imperial University, University College London (UCL), Barts and The London College of Medicine, Norwich Clinical College, Hull York Medical College, Newcastle College, St. George’s College of Education, University of Important Lancashire, and Ulster University are all located in London.
BMBCh University of Oxford
BMBS The Academy of Exeter, University of Plymouth, and College of Nottingham
MBBChir University of Cambridge
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