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Is it possible to study neurosurgery with a degree in physiology ?

I am a college student currently studying physiology and aspiring to become a neurosurgeon and a cardiologist but I'm not sure if my current course will be of any use to what I am aspiring to be

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Aisha’s Answer

Hi Umar-Faruk,

To embark on the exciting journey of becoming a neurosurgeon, you'll first need to earn a medical degree. But don't worry, the path starts with a more familiar step - obtaining a bachelor's degree. You can choose to major in fields like pre-medicine, biology, or psychology, which will lay a strong foundation for your medical school journey. During your undergraduate studies, make sure to concentrate on subjects such as anatomy, microbiology, physiology, and chemistry. These will be the building blocks for your future success in the medical field.

Remember, every step you take brings you closer to your dream. Best of luck on your journey!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Umar-Faruk
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Karissa’s Answer

You can use your program if you take high level science classes in your first two years. Essentially any science degree can be used as pre-med. Also, top grades are essential. A 3.0 GPA will get you into a DO school and neurosurgeons have MD degrees. This is not a rule but DO's may not be trusted to teach such high level skills.

Karissa recommends the following next steps:

See your counselor about switching to the pre-med program
See how you can use your intrest in physiology in the medical field
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much Miss karissa Umar-Faruk
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Umar-Faruk,

I see you are located in Nigeria, and I don't know where you plan to study medicine. I am going to assume that you want to study in the US. If not, please ignore.

In the US, students first need to earn a bachelors degree in anything, but some pre-requisite courses in science are prescribed. So, for the pre-med you could be studying biology or philosophy or anything as long as you also cover these pre-requisites. The first thing you would need to do is to find out if your degree is recognized in the US and if your science courses are recognized. If your degree is not recognized, you would have to start from undergrad (4 years).

Once you have a bachelors, you take the MCAT and apply to medical school (4 years). In your application to medical school your physiology degree might let you stand out. They want you to have some medical experience before you go to medical school.

You can then do your residency in a specialty to qualify and take your board exams. I don't think it's reasonable to do neurosurgery AND heart surgery. Both of those are long residences of 6 to 8 years. You don't want to do both of them.

I would recommend that you contact some medical schools directly to ask about the best course of action.

You find some information for international students here:

https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/applying-medical-school-international-applicant

Good luck!

KP
Thank you comment icon I can't express my gratitude enough 🙏, and yeah I'm from Nigeria 😅 I am actually willing to go to any country as long as I can study neurosurgery, maybe I will reconsider the cardiology but I'll check out the school you recommended, thank you very much Umar-Faruk
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Audrey’s Answer

Hi Umar-Faruk

I can't speak to your exact academic journey since I'm also in the United States and don't want to assume where you plan on going to medical school, but I do know that Neurosurgery and Cardiology are very different specialties in modern allopathic medicine. Neurosurgeons usually pursue surgery as a specialty and then specialize further in neurosurgery, while cardiologists are usually internal medicine doctors who specialize further in the heart. I've never heard of someone doing both. I'm not saying that it's impossible, but you're probably looking at two decades of specialty training in both fields. If you're interested in doing more than one specific organ system, other medical specialties allow you to do a more general scope of health for patients. Internal medicine doctors, primary care doctors, and emergency medicine doctors all inevitably do some neurology and cardiology.

That being said, I think physiology is a great undergraduate academic path for an interest in medicine. Medicine is all about the physical and chemical function of human beings, and I'm assuming that's what you also learn in physiology. Really, any major that you succeed at and enjoy is a great idea for medical school, so long as you also have the requisite math and science classes and can perform well on the medical school admission examinations.

Hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Wow this is a lot of information, I really appreciate this, thank you very much 🙏 Umar-Faruk
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