What is the difference between DNB and MD/MS?

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Updated on Aug 17, 2020 19:49 IST

Although DNB is considered equivalent to MD/MS courses in India, there are quite a few limitations to this programme. Know which path is ideal for you by reading more about these courses in this article. 

After completing MBBS, most students prefer to opt for a postgraduate degree course. For medical graduates, there are quite a few options to choose from, most popular being MD, MS and DNB courses. Admission to these courses is through a common entrance test, NEET PG, which makes the journey beyond this a little tricky. DNB courses are considered equivalent to a master's degree in India, which makes the choice difficult for many candidates. While the courses may look similar to many, there are few contrasting differences between these. Let us start with an introduction to these courses.
Diplomate of National Board (DNB) is a medical qualification awarded by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The DNB course is approved by the Government of India and is considered equivalent to the postgraduate and post-doctoral programmes offered by the medical colleges in India. Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Master's in Surgery (MS) is mostly limited to a post-graduation course in general medicine and surgery.

Now, we shall discuss the differences between the two similar, yet different, programmes based on their admission process, eligibility and career prospects.

Also Read: MD or MS; What after MBBS?

What is the difference in the admission process of DNB, MD and MS courses?

Admission to DNB

Owing to a limited number of seats, admission process for a DNB programme is based on the merit and the performance of the students in medical entrance exams. Each candidate should submit their internship completion certificate in addition to the Certificate of Permanent registration with the Medical Council of India (MCI). 

The entrance examinations conducted for admission to the programme include:

Candidates can apply for DNB course offline as well as online. 

Admission to MD/MS

Admission for MS course is based on merit or entrance-exam. A large number of colleges carry out counselling and choose students through the merit-list set by the state-wise universities. Some colleges carry out entrance exam to choose students for this course admission. Major entrance exams carried out by the colleges and universities are:

Some colleges conduct a personal interview along with the entrance exam. Based on the performances, candidates are selected for the course admission. Few colleges admit candidates directly for this course.

The procedure of admission to the MD programme might vary across institutes. Some institutes carry out their entrance exams for admission, while some choose students based on their score at the level of graduation. Moreover, most colleges in India depend on the candidate’s performance in the national-level entrance examination, NEET PG.

Some major entrance exams held in the country are:

  • NEET PG 

What is the eligibility criteria for admission to the DNB, MD and MS courses?

Eligibility for DNB courses

The eligibility criteria for DNB is as follows:

  • Those who have qualified their Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree or equivalent examination with a minimum aggregate of 50 per cent marks are entitled to admission
  • Candidates who have passed NEET PG/DNB PDCET are eligible for admission
  • They should have finished their one-year internship
  • For admission to DNB program, Candidates must not be over 50 years of age
  • Individuals with a medical degree having a certificate of permanent registration given by MCI can opt for the course
  • Candidates who have passed MBBS from foreign universities can also seek admission

Eligibility for MD/MS courses

For admission to MD in General Medicine course, applicants need to complete MBBS/BAMS with at least a score of 50 per cent, with a one-year compulsory internship. Also, a minimum total score of 60 per cent is required at the graduation level. Also, candidates need to be eligible for an institute, national or state-level entrance test for admission to the course.

For admission to the Master of Surgery (MS) course, aspiring candidates need to complete MBBS from a medical college recognised by MCI. Candidates who have passed their bachelor’s degree with 50 per cent of marks are eligible for this course. However, the percentage may differ from one college to another.

Also Read: NEET PG Eligibility Criteria: Age, Qualification, Number of Attempts

What is the difference in the career prospects after DNB, MD and MS courses?

Career prospects of a Diplomate National Board (DNB) course

After the completion of the course, candidates have a range of opportunities to work as specialists in diverse genres of medicine. They can choose to become Paediatric, Anaesthesiologist, Broad Specialists and Super Specialists like Nephrologists, Orthopaedics, Cardiologists, Neurologists, and much more. The only difference between the two courses is when a candidate chooses academics as their career option. Many institutions prefer MD/MS graduates over DNB graduates when it comes to the teaching profession. DNB holders with three or more years of teaching experience have a better chance of landing a job in academics. 

Job Profile

Job Description

Average Salary (in Rs LPA)


Diagnose and treat disabilities, illnesses associated with infants and children.



Monitoring, managing the right amount of anaesthesia after understanding the patient’s history during key operations.



Diagnose and treat illnesses associated with eyes and harms of eyes.



Diagnosis and treatment of illnesses for treating immobilisation problem in old adults.



Specialising in disease related to kidney, treating and diagnosing the ailment.



Diagnosing and treating cardiovascular ailments and endorse consciousness of heart health


Career prospects of an MD/MS degree

Job Profile

Job Description

Average Salary (in Rs LPA)

Neonatal Surgeon

Neonatal Surgeons are accountable for operating on infants and fixing defects that require surgery.


Vascular Surgeon

They are accountable for determining which instruments and methods of surgery might attain a successful result.


Plastic Surgeon

Plastic Surgeons perform processes to enhance the patient’s look, fix deformities, and mend injured tissues.



Researchers are accountable for interacting with team managers and confirm that all projects and tasks are on the agenda.



A Bacteriologist is in charge of observing and researching on different sorts of microorganisms in stages of change and advancement.




Physiologists work in social insurance offices and doctor's facilities. They monitor human physiological organs and frameworks to treat and analyse chronic diseases and physiological clutters.



Gynaecologists give restorative treatment to ladies before, during, and after pregnancy and also guide patients about anti-conception medication.


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