Requirements To Become A Doctor In South Africa

Becoming a doctor in South Africa is not an easy process. It takes years of hard work and dedication to achieve this goal. However, it can be very rewarding and fulfilling when you finally reach your destination.

Requirements To Become A Doctor In South Africa

The following steps are required to become a doctor in South Africa:

  • You need to obtain a degree in medicine. To do this, you must complete a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at one of South Africa’s universities. Students usually start medical school between the ages of 18 and 22, though some schools allow entry into their programs at 16 years old. The MBChB program takes five years to complete on average, but some institutions offer accelerated programs that can cut down the time needed for study by two or three years.
  • Once you’ve completed your undergraduate studies, you’ll need to pass a qualifying exam before beginning your residency training. After passing this test, called the Basic Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE), you’ll be eligible for entry into postgraduate training—usually as an internist—at one of South African hospitals through their junior resident program.*

Education Requirements to become a Doctor in South Africa

To become a doctor in South Africa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Undergraduate degree. You must first gain an undergraduate degree from a recognized university. For example, the University of Cape Town (UCT), Stellenbosch University and Rhodes University all offer medical degrees. It’s worth noting that some universities allow students to take up to five years to complete their undergraduate degrees.
  • Postgraduate Degree/Diploma (and internship). After completing your undergraduate degree, you will need to do a postgraduate diploma/degree or internship at a hospital in South Africa for two years as part of your training before registering with the Medical Board of South Africa as eligible for registration as a doctor here. You can even apply early if you have completed all of these requirements prior to registration day!
  • Registration & Training Requirements To Become A Doctor In South Africa After You Graduate From School: Once registered with MBCSA, they require that doctors complete additional training hours before being allowed full practice privileges within this country’s health care system; however these requirements vary depending on what area one wishes work within once being granted permission for full practice privileges by both bodies mentioned above (MBCSA & SAMA). For instance if one wants specialize within Gastroenterology then they may need additional training hours than those required by general practitioners who treat patients across multiple specialties such as internal medicine or pediatrics.”


  • Undergraduate degree

In order to become a doctor, you will need to complete a minimum of five years of study at university level. Specialized training opportunities are available for prospective medical students who wish to specialize in certain areas of medicine such as radiology or psychiatry. The undergraduate degree includes anatomy, human biology and physiology; pathology; biochemistry; microbiology; pharmacology; physiology; genetics; microbiology; immunology and molecular cell biology.

  • Postgraduate degree

In addition to the undergraduate degree, doctors must complete three years of postgraduate work before they can practice medicine. Some medical schools provide graduate programs in their own right whereas others offer an integrated approach where students study for both their bachelor’s degree as well as their master’s qualification simultaneously (this is called “integrated MBChB or BMED”). The purpose-built training hospitals train doctors on site under supervision from senior staff members who have been approved by the Health Professions Council Of South Africa (HPCSA). This means that you will learn directly from qualified professionals during your time at university rather than simply being taught by lecturers with no clinical experience themselves.


To be registered as a doctor in South Africa, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) must deem you to be competent and fit to practise medicine. To register with the HPCSA, you need to submit an application form that lists your qualifications and experience; include references from at least two senior doctors who can attest to your competency in their fields.

The application process takes about four weeks but can take longer if more information is required from you or if there are any issues with your application. You may also register online or by post using this form:

Where can you work as a Doctor in South Africa?

As a doctor in South Africa you can work in a hospital, private sector or public sector. The community is also an option for you to consider.

The following list goes through the different areas that a doctor may choose to work in within each of these sectors:

  • Hospital – Hospitals are usually large medical facilities with many departments including medical and surgical wards, intensive care units (ICU), emergency rooms and operating theatres. Doctors work with other health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to provide patient care. This environment involves working together as part of a team rather than being self-reliant like most other professions such as lawyers or accountants. Your salary will depend on your level at which you qualified and what area of speciality you chose on completion of your studies

Becoming a doctor is a long and demanding process that will take you many years. You will be well trained, well paid and have the opportunity to help people. It’s a rewarding job with lots of responsibility, but it does require hard work and dedication.


So, you’ve decided to become a doctor in South Africa. It’s a big decision and one that will take some time but it is worth it. You can work anywhere in the world as long as you meet all of the requirements set out by your country’s medical council. So with that being said, let’s get started!

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