MD vs MS: What after MBBS?

National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Post-Graduation 2024 ( NEET PG )

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Exam On: 3 Mar '24

Sreetama Datta
Sreetama Datta Roy
Manager Content
Updated on Dec 5, 2023 15:40 IST
After completing an MBBS degree, young doctors are often n a dilemma, trying to figure out which is a better option MD or MS. Read this article to know the difference between MD and MS and how to decide your future course of action. 
After completing the MBBS course, or during the course, young doctors like you are often in a dilemma, whether to opt for an MD or MS programme for their postgraduation. When you get admission to a medical college, you take a sigh of relief believing that you have made a career choice for yourself. However, five-and-a-half years into college, you are again at a crossroads, this time with a new question, what after MBBS?
To decide, you must first understand the difference between MD and MS. While the MBBS full form is Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), MD full form is Doctor of Medicine and MS full form is Master of Surgery. As the name suggests, both are master's degree courses in Medicine. While some know what discipline would be perfect for them, they struggle to choose between a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Master in Surgery (MS) degree course. This decision becomes all the more difficult if you do not know what to expect from these courses. This article of brings the key differences between MD and MS courses. 
While this research everyone has to do on their own, we can help you understand the key differences between MD and MS courses. reached out to a few experts and doctors across the country for advice on MD vs MS: what after MBBS?

The Difference Between MD And MS

Clarifying the difference between MS and MD, Dr Santosh Shinde, Dermatologist states, “MS is for those fields where surgical expertise and skills are required. MD is mostly non-surgical, however, there are some branches where surgery can be a part of MD. There are various branches in which an MBBS graduate can pursue MS or MD. The choice should be made depending on one’s choice of subject. But, because of growing competition, this may not be possible. After MD or MS, one can join a medical college as a teaching faculty, start his/her own practice or apply for a job in the healthcare sector.”

Also Read: What is the difference between DNB and MD/MS?

MD Vs MS: What Are The Future Prospects?

According to Dr KP Haridas (MS), Chairman and Managing Director, Lords Hospital, Trivandrum, Kerala, both MD and MS courses generally have the same prospects. He added “A person who completes MS becomes a surgeon while the one who takes up MD is a physician. A physician cannot be a surgeon, while a surgeon can work in the place of a physician with more study of medicine." However, he does feel that a Surgeon, if skilled, may do better financially when compared to a physician. 

Dr Manjiri Patankar Puranik (MD) shares similar thoughts and says, “Both fields have good prospects. It is what the person is interested in and what his/her aptitude is. Some like to do surgeries while others prefer staying away from them!”

Dr Roy (MD) feels that the prospects of both fields are equally good, but financially surgical specialties are more rewarding. But one must also keep in mind that the incubation period is longer in the surgical fields than the non-surgical ones.

Hence, while assessing MD and MS differences, you must keep in mind that choose MS only if you are keen to be a surgeon or perform surgical operations on your patients. Otherwise, an MD will be a more suitable answer to what after MBBS if you are more into treating patients and consultation without performing surgeries. 

Also Read: Career in Management for Doctors & Medical Graduates

MD Vs MS: Can a person who has done MD also pursue MS?

“There is no need because each is a separate field; the choice should be between surgery and medicine. However, not everyone should take up the field of surgery as it is art blended with science. It is a creative discipline, and requires lots of skill, talent and passion to excel,” says Dr Haridas.

“Theoretically speaking, a person who has done MD can do MS too. But practically, no one does it. Nowadays, people take up super-specialty like Cardiology, Urology & Neurology because medical science is very advanced and treatment of each organ is very complicated,” informs Dr Puranik.

According to Dr Roy,One can if one wishes to, but there is no point as MD and MS are different approaches and time to cover both of them will be too long to gain any relevant experience in one field.”

Also Read: Different Types of Doctors

Popular specialisations in MD & MS

The following table brings the list of popular specialisations taught at MD and MS courses. 



Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, Neurology and Anaesthesiology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gynaecology, Internal medicine, Paediatric, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Radio-Diagnosis, Pathology

Paediatric surgery, Plastic surgery, Cardio-thoracic surgery, Urology, Cardiac surgery, Cosmetic surgery, ENT, Ophthalmology, Gynaecology, Obstetrics, Orthopaedics

MD Vs MS: Course Duration

Generally, it takes three years to complete an MD or MS depending on the calibre and dedication of the student. However, owing to the ever-increasing competition, you may find the need to pursue super-specialisation (DM/MCh) in your field of interest. This may take another two years, informs Dr Puranik.

MD Vs MS: Comparison Of The Initial Salaries

Dr Puranik explains, “After pursuing post-graduation and super-speciality, there are two choices. Either work in a hospital as a lecturer to gain more experience or start your own private practice attaching yourself to a private hospital. In the teaching profession, one can earn up to INR 30,000-50,000 per month, whereas in private, it completely depends on the amount of practice done.”

“The salary that a surgeon can get depends a lot on the skill and talent of the person. On average, a surgeon can expect to get a salary of INR 75,000 to one lakh per month after MS. Skilled surgeons can earn more,” says Dr Haridas.

The kind of city, clinic or hospital set-up and medical specialisation of the doctor, too, make a difference in the earning potential. Dr Roy adds, “The initial salary after MD or MS may vary from city to city; in Delhi, it is around INR 50,000 - 60,000 per month.” Dr Shinde observes, “Initial salary after PG can be up to INR 1 to 1.5 lakh per month. But then it depends on set-up and specialisation”.

Exams to prepare for after MBBS to Pursue MD or MS

Aspirants need to take the Common Entrance Test, NEET PG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Medical Postgraduate Courses – MD/MS/Diploma) or INI CET conducted by AIIMS after completing their MBBS. Dr Puranik says, “NEET PG question paper includes questions from all the subjects covered during the MBBS course. The branch is chosen during counselling.”

“Before making the choice, a student has to know his/her interest. This will simplify the process of choosing the stream for them,” adds Dr Shinde.

MD Vs MS: What’s a more popular choice in India?

The choice between MS and MD should be made carefully by a student as per individual aptitude. We asked Dr Haridas why he chose to do MS, to which he said “The choice between surgery and medicine is entirely up to the candidate. For a candidate who gets uncomfortable at the sight of blood, surgery is not an option. Surgery is best recommended for those who are passionate about it. In my case, I chose surgery because I was curious about it and if given the choice, I would still choose surgery over medicine. I feel that surgery requires the right mix of knowledge, art, hard work, commitment and above all, passion.”

For those who do not want to choose from amongst these options, Dr Puranik's observation can prove to be quite useful. She says Students in India are opting for MD & MS more or less in equal ratio. Moreover, now people have come up with different types of employment under medical science. Sometimes after MBBS, people take up an MBA in hospital administration, HR, etc for placements in pharma companies, corporate hospitals, etc. Some do IAS and then get into health & medical services governance.”

Best institutes to study MD/ MS

According to the experts, listed below are some of the best institutes (in no particular order) from where a student can pursue an MS or MD:

Pointing to the gaps in the selection system, Dr Haridas says “Presently, admission to MS and MD is regulated by a common entrance test. This is borne out of short-sighted policy, which fails to bring out the right talent. A person wanting to become a surgeon and with the skill and passion of a surgeon might end up becoming a physician for want of a sufficient rank in the entrance test. Most often, many candidates end up studying the speciality they get without bothering to go through the strain of repeating the entrance test the next year. To circumvent this and to ensure that the right people get into the right specialities, there is a need for separate entrance tests for medicine and surgery. This will enable the creation of a quality pool of physicians and surgeons across the country.”

He adds, “There is also the need for strengthening the Diplomate of National Board and elevating it to the stature of FRCS or MRCP. Since private hospitals boast of more advanced medical technologies when compared to the public sector, students should be given the opportunity to take up training also from recognised private hospitals.” 

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About the Author
Sreetama Datta Roy
Manager Content

Sreetama has over a decade of editorial experience in the higher education beat. A wanderlust by passion, she is also an avid reader and a music lover. Among friends, she is popular for her sense of humour.

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Answered a week ago

Tripura University offers MD and MS at the PG level for Medical Stream. The final admission to various specialisations of MD and MS are based on NEET PG scores followed by the counselling. The MCC is the conducting body of NEET PG Counselling. As per Tripura cutoff 2023, the closing score of top cou


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 2 weeks ago

Pondicherry University NEET PG cut off 2023 has been concluded with the release of Round 3 Seat Allotment results. Based on NEET PG scores, followed by the NEET PG Counselling,  MD in Community Medicine offered at Pondicherry University closed at 26959, followed by MD in Anatomy at 47916 for Round 1


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 3 weeks ago

To get admission into Delhi University affiliated Maulana Azad Medical CollegeUniversity College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi and Lady Hardinge Medical College, University of Delhi candidates must appy through NEET PG scores for various MD and MS courses. Tabulated below is the Round 1


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 4 weeks ago

As per the previous year Annamalai University NEET PG cut off 2022 has been concluded with the release of Round 5 Seat Allotment results. Based cutoff 2022 for NEET PG cutoff , MD in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy can be considered as the most competitive branch. The last round closing rank fo


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 4 weeks ago

Pondicherry University offers admission to the MD courses on the basis of valid MD PG scores, followed by the NEET PG counselling process. The expected cutoff ranks and marks for Pondicherry University NEET PG medical branches based on previous ranks is as follows for R1 for the General category:


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 4 weeks ago

The tentative schedule for NEET PG is mentioned below: 

DatesUpcoming Events
Dec '23-Jan '24
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Mar '24
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Mar '24
NEET PG 2024 result

Janki H Gajjar

Answered 4 weeks ago

Candidates aspiring for AMU MD/ MS courses can check the table below to know which specialisation they are eligible for, with the rank of 3632 after NEET PG R1 2023 results (General AI Category):


Janki H Gajjar

Answered 4 weeks ago

Telangana NEET PG Counselling is conducted for admission to MD, MS, and PG Diploma courses. There are overall 1676 MD seats, 849 MS seats, and 23 PG Diploma seats in the state of Telangana for admission via NEET PG.


Nidhi Gupta

Answered 4 weeks ago

The Telangana NEET PG 2023 cutoff has been released by the counselling conducting body. Candidates can take a look at the table provided below:


Qualifying Criteria

Cut off Score


50 percentile



40 percentile



45 percentile


However, the ranks for all Telangana medical colleges has not been released yet officially. Only the seat vacancy status has been released for the purpose of



Nidhi Gupta

Answered 4 weeks ago

Candidates need to visit the official website of KNRUHS – Click on the ‘Telangana NEET PG 2023 Merit List’ link under the ‘the latest Notification’ tab provided on the homepage. Look out for the name or NEET 2023 Roll Number to check if your name is included in the Telangana



Nidhi Gupta

768 Institutes accepting NEET PG

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