Choosing between medicine and biomedical science can be challenging. Biomedical science focuses on researching diseases and developing treatments, while medicine centers on diagnosing, treating, and preventing illnesses in patients. Both fields aim to improve human health but through different approaches.

Medicine vs Biomedical Science

Biomedical science focuses on researching diseases and developing treatments, encompassing fields like genetics and pathology. On the other hand, medical degrees focus on diagnosing, treating, and preventing illnesses in patients, emphasising clinical training and patient care across various healthcare settings.

A group of medical students, dressed in white lab coats, are attentively listening to an instructor who is presenting an anatomical chart. The students are smiling and engaged, with one student holding a clipboard and another holding a book. The instructor, wearing a turban and pink shirt, is pointing at the chart. The setting is a bright, well-lit classroom with windows in the background.

Biomedical Science

Biomedical science focuses on the study of the human body and diseases, examining underlying causes to develop effective treatments and preventive measures. This field encompasses a wide range of disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, and pathology. The primary goal is to develop new treatments, therapies, medical technologies, and diagnostic tools through extensive research.


In contrast, medicine is centered on diagnosing, treating, and preventing illnesses and injuries in individual patients. Medical education involves a comprehensive understanding of the human body, the mechanisms of disease, and the skills needed to provide high-quality patient care. It includes a strong emphasis on clinical training and patient care, covering biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, and diverse healthcare settings such as primary care, hospitals, aged care, Indigenous health, and population health.

Medicine vs Biomedical Science Career Pathways

Careers in biomedical science are diverse and depend on one’s area of specialisation. For instance, a specialisation in human biomedicine can lead to a career as a clinical physiologist, while a focus on pharmacology could lead to developing new drugs. Biomedical scientists can work in various environments, including pharmaceutical companies, clinical laboratories, public health organisations, and university research departments.

On the other hand, a degree in medicine primarily prepares individuals to become doctors. Medical graduates can specialise in fields such as paediatrics, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, and surgery. Additionally, medicine graduates can pursue careers in medical research, education, or public health, offering a wide array of opportunities in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

A group of medical students, wearing white lab coats, are attentively listening to a lecture in a modern laboratory classroom. They are seated and standing around lab tables equipped with scientific equipment, including microscopes and a skeletal model. The students are engaged and smiling, indicating an interactive and positive learning environment. The classroom has large windows and RCSI signage on the wall, adding to the professional academic setting.

Study Duration and Curriculum

The study duration for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science typically spans three or four years full-time. The curriculum includes subjects like human biology, genetics, cell biology, microbiology, immunology, chemistry, scientific communication, and biostatistics.

In comparison, a Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) generally requires five years full-time, followed by an intern year in a hospital. The medical curriculum integrates clinical communication, professional practice, and an in-depth study of the human body’s structure and function in both health and disease. This extensive training ensures that medical students are well-prepared for patient care and clinical practice.

Work Environment

Biomedical scientists typically work in laboratories, conducting research or carrying out tests, often working alone or in teams. This field may appeal to those who prefer autonomous work environments and have a keen interest in scientific research and experimentation.

Conversely, doctors frequently engage in one-on-one interactions with patients in hospitals and clinics, making it a suitable profession for those who thrive on social interaction and patient care. The dynamic and varied nature of clinical settings provides medical professionals with a diverse and stimulating work environment.

Licensing and Further Education

Biomedical science graduates are encouraged to pursue postgraduate qualifications for career progression, although it is not mandatory for initial practice. This allows for flexibility in career advancement and specialisation within the field.

In contrast, the path to becoming a doctor is more stringent, requiring the completion of a recognised medical degree, an internship (housemanship), and registration with medical councils, such as the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), before one can practice medicine. This rigorous process ensures that medical professionals meet the high standards required for patient care and clinical practice.

Medicine vs Biomedical Science Job Titles

Biomedical science graduates can work as assistants in biomedical laboratories, helping scientists conduct research, develop new treatments, and identify appropriate medicines. They can also become health researchers, contributing to medical advancements through their scientific expertise.

Medicine graduates typically pursue careers as doctors, specialising in various fields after additional training and obtaining necessary licenses. Both fields offer opportunities to impact human health, but through different approaches—biomedical science through research and medicine through direct patient care.


Biomedical science and medicine both aim to improve human health but differ significantly in their approaches. Biomedical science is research-oriented, focusing on understanding and developing new medical treatments, while medicine is patient-centred, emphasising the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. 

The decision between these fields depends on individual interests in research versus patient interaction, the length of study, and career aspirations.

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