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Doctor, is one of the most sought after professions in the world. And rightfully so. It is a noble profession which is also very high paying. It gives you the opportunity to serve humanity and make the world a better and safer place. The profession has its perks although a busy profession it is considered by many to be very fulfilling. But studying to become one is no mean task and in India its even harder. You will only be required to clear arguably the hardest entrance exam in the world,NEET. And so before beginning their quest to finally become the doctor their parents thought they will students will have to decide which course they want to take? MBBS or BDS? This is a hard choice to make. Many students fret over it. But it is very integral that you take the right decision as this decision would impact your entire life and after you’ve made the choice there is pretty much no turning back.

Preferably you take the help of a career counsellor before you take the test as they are experts who could be of immense help before you make this life altering decision. Another thing you could do can be to take a scientifically backed aptitude test which could help you figure out what career will be the right fit for you. But to give you a rough idea of what to expect from both courses this article will explain in detail the pros and cons of both courses.


Firstly, a brief about MBBS

MBBS stands for Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus Chirurgiae which is Latin for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. It is the basic bachelor’s(undergraduate) degree that is necessary to become a certified doctor in India and in many other places in the world. The course is 5.5 years long which includes 4.5 years of studying and one year of compulsory internship. The syllabus is extensively based on  the human anatomy, human cytology, medicine, chemistry, pharmaceutical, chemistry, drugs formulation & effect and method of surgery. Students who wish to apply will require to have a pass certificate in physics,chemistry and biology in their 12th grade.


Next, a brief about BDS

BDS stands for Bachelor of Dental Surgery. It is a specialized undergraduate degree on dental health. And is valid in India and most other countries too.The course is 5 years long with 4 years of studying and one year of compulsory internship. The course mainly focuses on  human anatomy, physiology & biochemistry, dental material, prosthodontics, microbiology, embryology & histology, general & dental pharmacology and pathology, periodontics, pedodontics, orthodontics and dentistry. Students who wish to apply will require to have a pass certificate in physics,chemistry and biology in their 12th grade.


Now let’s look at a few pros and cons of both the courses:



  • Course Fee: BDS wins the fee battle as MBBS fees are exceptionally high even with a government seat. Many medical aspirants do no take up the course due to its high fees structure. Whereas BDS happens to be comparatively cheaper and can be considered affordable.
  • Course Duration: BDS wins by a slight margin in this one as BDS course ends 6 months before the MBBS course. This might look like vary little time but it makes a huge difference to a graduate looking for work.  
  • Easier Admission Procedure: The admission procedure is slightly less tenuous and it is easier to get a seat than it is compared to the MBBS course. Demand for BDS is lower hence most people trying usually get in as compared to MBBS where years of preparing could go up in smoke with just a slightly bad rank.
  • Specialized Course: BDS is a specialized course and hence it isn’t an absolute requirement to further super-specialize with a masters degree. Whereas in MBBS it’s almost certain that you will have to study further to specialize in something as 5 years of medicine will only leave you as a physician.
  • Faster Employment: As you are a specialist as soon as you’re done with the Bachelors you get good employment faster compared to MBBS where you will be a physician and will need an extra specialization to get your career rolling.  
  • Less Hectic: A dental surgeon lives a less hectic life as compared to a MBBS graduate. As dentists hardly face emergency cases and almost never have the need to work overtime.  


  • Lesser Government Scope: Government colleges and government jobs are extremely less for BDS than it is for MBBS and that makes getting a seat and a job extremely hard
  • Saturation Point Reached: Many believe the saturation point for dentists has been reached. The demand is extremely low at this point as we do not need more than one or two dentists per area and still with a huge number of fresh dentists passing out every year the industry is overcrowded
  • Longer Time to Settle: It arguably takes longer to reach a settled position as a dentist than a doctor. Years of practice is needed to have the expertise and money to start a clinic and then quite a few years to establish yourself as the preferred dentist of the area.
  • Limited Options: After you take the BDS course there is no turning back. You will have limited options going forward and hence should be sure before you start. As compared to MBBS where you can take 5 years to decide what to specialize in and have numerous option to choose from.

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  • Complete Experience: It gives you the opportunity to study about the complete human body and cure multiple basic body movements irrespective of which specialization you take up.
  • Multiple Specialization Options: Multiple specialization options makes the course broader and gives you more confidence to take it up as you realize you have enough time and options to decide.
  • Endless Job Opportunities: There is a shortage of doctors in the country and hence there will never be a lack of job opportunities in the country. This is in stark difference to BDS which seems to be overcrowded.
  • Higher Salary: It might take a while settle but when you do the pay is many times higher as compared to a dentistry practitioner.
  • Good Government Support: There are numerous government colleges offering MBBS and also unbelievable job opportunities open under the government itself which helps people thrive in the field. This is something that is lacking in BDS.  


    • Longer Study Time: A minimum of 8 and a half years of study is no small feat. It makes the course extremely hard and hence slightly less appealing. Investing that many years on just education after you’ve spent 14 years attaining basic education is something to think about
    • Extremely Expensive: Extremely high fees which go up to even a crore over the 5 years makes the course extremely exorbitant even with a government seat. This makes it hard for poorer sections for society who have the passion but not the funds.
    • Extremely Hard Admission Process: You might have the passion and the money to do medicine but a bad performance in your NEET entrance exam could destroy your chances completely. The NEET exam is extremely hard to crack especially with a good rank. Students prepare for it for even two to three years and at times end up taking multiple attempts. Around 50,000 students walk away with medical seats out of more 16 lakh students who take up the test.
    • Hard PG Seats Competition: Even if you fail to crack NEET you can almost immediately move into another course probably engineering or a BSc or even an arts course. But after you’re done with your MBBS you will almost for certain be required to continue with a PG specialization course.  The demand for these courses are also extremely hard and could see you not getting a seat in a specialization of your choice. Which could leave you stranded in a very unfortunate situation


  • Longer Time to Settle: With a minimum of 8 and a half years of education required you will be in your mid 20s when you walk out as a fresher. This will be the years when people from other courses are already settling. By the time you establish yourself as a doctor you could already be way past your 30. This requires patience and maybe in this fast paced not worth it.

These are your pros and cons for both the courses. Please do take an informed decision and seek help if necessary.

For any questions and queries on these two courses and other courses and career options click here.

To take a look at other major courses available after 10th grade click here.

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