If you are interested in pursuing a degree or finding a job in the medical field, everything you need is here. Find the best schools, career information, history of the discipline, influential people in the field, great books, and more.

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What Is Medicine?

Medicine is a field of health and healing. If you are interested in this expansive field, there are several career tracks available to you. A career as a medical researcher, health administrator, nutritionist, epidemiologist, or physician’s assistant, may be possible with a degree in medical science.

A career as a physician requires medical school and residency, although a master’s degree in medical science could be a great stepping stone in preparation for medical school.

Students pursuing a degree in medical science will take courses such as human anatomy, immunology, biochemistry, or even scientific writing, among others.

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The Best Medical Colleges and Universities

We rank universities and colleges from around the world based on the scholarly work of their faculty and alumni. These colleges and universities are making the biggest impact on the medical discipline today.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Johns Hopkins University
  3. University of Oxford
  4. Columbia University
  5. Stanford University
  6. Yale University
  7. University of Washington
  8. Duke University
  9. University of Michigan
  10. University of Toronto

For a dynamic, real-time listing of the most influential medical schools in the world, use our Custom College Ranking.

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The Best Online Medical Science Degrees

Medical Science degrees are among the most popular disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A growing number of reputable colleges and universities are satisfying demand for this degree by providing an array of high-quality online medical science degree options. Using our InfluenceRanking engine, we’ve identified the best among them. Check out our growing set of rankings for online medical science degree programs at every level of education.

Did you know that a degree in the field of medicine can lead to future-proof your career? Earning a degree in health sciences or public health can prepare you to compete for jobs in tomorrow’s workplace. Each career path is versatile, has a projected growth rate of well over 15% for all jobs between 2020 and 2030, and either will train you to perform functions that can only be performed by human beings. Find out more about health sciences degrees and public health degrees.

Choosing a college major can be really difficult. If you’re still struggling, check out our guide to college majors and programs.

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Medical Science Degrees

What Will I Study as a Medical Science Major?

As a medical science major, you’ll study topics such as microanatomy, biostatistics, molecular genetics, biochemistry, and more.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Medical Science

Graduates with a bachelor’s in public health can seek a variety of professions, including emergency response planners, public health advocates, and infectious disease specialists. This degree can also be an important step towards a master’s in public health degree (MPH).

Graduates with an MPH degree can seek positions as a healthcare administrator, epidemiologist, or hospital quality manager, among others.

Graduates with a degree in biology can pursue a career as a biologist, health manager, or pharmaceutical researcher. This popular degree can also be a stepping stone towards a master’s degree in a variety of disciplines including biology, public health, healthcare administration, or medical doctor.

A bachelor’s degree in health sciences can lead to a career as a health educators or exercise physiologist. This degree can also lay the foundation for a career in medicine, dentistry, or physical therapy.

If you’re ready to earn your degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Medicine.

If you’d like to explore these career opportunities in more depth...

How To Get a Degree in Medical Science

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What’s the difference between a Bachelor of Medical Studies, a Bachelor of Health Sciences, and a Bachelor of Medicine?

One of the main differences is that the Bachelor of Medicine (BM) is typically offered in the United Kingdom (UK) and other countries that follow UK medical standards. This degree is considered to be equivalent to an MD in the United States. The Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMedSci) concerns the study of the biological mechanisms of the human body and how they relate to environmental changes and disease, and the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHlthSci) concerns the health and wellness of society as well as domestic and international health systems.

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What courses will I take in each of these degree programs?

Both medical and health sciences majors will take classes such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, and epidemiology. Health sciences majors will likely also take courses on healthcare administration and healthcare ethics, and medical sciences majors will likely take specific classes on chronic disease, health issues in later life, health economics, and clinical environments. In addition, both program types typically require an internship. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine can also expect to take courses in specialized areas including medicine, surgery, and obstetrics.

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How long does it take to earn a BMedSci, BHlthSci, or BM?

Individual program requirements will vary, but typically, a bachelor’s degree in either medical or health sciences will require the completion of 120 credits, which typically takes between four and six years. The requirements for earning the BM, which is an advanced degree, are more extensive which generally results in a longer acquisition period. Most BM programs demand six years for completion.

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What can I do with one of these bachelor’s degrees?

Once again, it’s important to note that the Bachelor of Medicine is an advanced degree specific to the U.K. Graduates with a BM will qualify to begin working as medical doctors. This process initiates when the holder registers with the General Medical Council and applies for a Foundation Year 1 post, which is a training period similar to residency programs in the United States.

By contrast, those who earn a BMedSci must take additional steps toward medical licensing. Individuals with a Bachelor of Medical Science will often go on to professional schools based on individual interest, including dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, or optometry.

Those who earn a BHlthSci often take the next steps to become physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists; work in the public health sector; or continue on to graduate studies for health administration, epidemiology, global health, and more.

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Who are the Most Influential Medical Practitioners of All Time?

Medicine is recognized as an expansive educational discipline, one touching on countless areas of life. This extremely nuanced and complex area of study has been shaped by the influence of pioneers in the field of medicine. Below, you will find some of the most influential medical practitioners of all time.

  1. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis.
  2. Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician and scientist, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal.
  3. William Beaumont was a surgeon in the U.S. Army who became known as the “Father of Gastric Physiology” following his research on human digestion.
  4. William Stewart Halsted , M.D. was a US surgeon who emphasized strict aseptic technique during surgical procedures, was an early champion of newly discovered anaesthetics, and introduced several new operations, including the radical mastectomy for breast cancer.
  5. J. Marion Sims was an American physician in the field of surgery, known as the “father of modern gynaecology” - but also as a controversial figure, due to the ethical questions raised by how he developed his techniques. His most significant work was the development of a surgical technique for the repair of vesicovaginal fistula. He is also remembered for inventing Sims’ speculum, Sims’ sigmoid catheter, and the Sims’ position.
  6. Harvey Cushing was an American neurosurgeon, pathologist, writer, and draftsman. A pioneer of brain surgery, he was the first exclusive neurosurgeon and the first person to describe Cushing’s disease.
  7. Christiaan Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant operation.
  8. Jean-Martin Charcot was a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology. He is best known today for his work on hypnosis and hysteria. Charcot is known as “the founder of modern neurology”, and his name has been associated with at least 15 medical eponyms, including various conditions sometimes referred to as Charcot diseases.
  9. Paul Ehrlich was a Nobel Prize-winning German physician and scientist who worked in the fields of hematology, immunology, and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Among his foremost achievements were finding a cure for syphilis in 1909 and inventing the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria.
  10. John Snow was an English physician and a leader in the development of anaesthesia and medical hygiene. He is considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, in 1854.
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Who Are Currently the Most Influential Medical Practitioners?

The following are the top medical practitioners in the field today according to our machine-powered Influence Rankings, which are drawn from a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data. Disclaimer: Non-medical activists or celebrities who have an outsized visibility in our rankings simply because of their notoriety and not their influence on the field of medicine have been removed from this list.

  • Atul Gawande is an American surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. In public health, he is executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit that works on reducing deaths in surgery globally.
  • David Gorski is an American surgical oncologist, professor of surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, specializing in breast cancer surgery. He is an outspoken skeptic, and a critic of alternative medicine and the anti-vaccination movement.
  • Jerome Adams is an American anesthesiologist and a former vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who served as the 20th surgeon general of the United States from September 5, 2017 until January 20, 2021.
  • Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon, medical reporter, and writer. He serves as associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine, and chief medical correspondent for CNN.
  • Marci Bowers is an American gynecologist and surgeon who specializes in gender confirmation surgeries.
  • Oliver Sacks is an American gynecologist and surgeon who specializes in gender confirmation surgeries. He worked with a group of survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica, who had been unable to move on their own for decades. His treatment of those patients became the basis of his 1973 book Awakenings
  • Arnold Klein was an American dermatologist. In the infancy of the AIDS epidemic, Klein became one of the first doctors in Los Angeles to diagnose a case of Kaposi’s sarcoma in a young patient.
  • Walter Willett is an American physician and nutrition researcher.
  • Magdi Yacoub is an Egyptian-British retired professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College London, best known for his early work in repairing heart valves with surgeon Donald Ross, adapting the Ross procedure.
  • Sanduk Ruit is an ophthalmologist from Nepal who has restored the sight of over 130,000 people across Africa and Asia using small-incision cataract surgery.

Learn about more influential medical practitioners.

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Great Books About Biology

The following are the most influential books in the field of biology today according to our backstage Ranking Analytics tool, which calculates the influence of various sources in both academics and popular culture using a numerical scoring of citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data.

  1. Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine investigates the scientific evidence commonly put forward to support the idea that male and female behavioral differences are biologically determined, at least in part. She concludes that the evidence is insufficient to justify the sweeping claims about innate sex and gender roles that are often made.
  2. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin is often considered one of the two or three most influential scientific treatises of all time. It is a fascinating accumulation of dense biological detail, all in support of the author’s thesis that random variation and selective retention (natural selection) is the mechanism that generates change in biological forms over time (evolution).
  3. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins advances an innovative scientific thesis, while at the same time providing an elegantly written exposition of modern evolutionary theory for the general public. The author’s basic argument is that according to the modern genetic theory of natural selection, evolution is best understood as resulting from a competition, not between individual organisms, but rather between their germlines.
  4. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James Watson is a personal memoir of the events leading up to the epoch-making discovery of the three-dimensional structure of the DNA molecule by the author and Francis Crick in 1953. It provides a breezy, opinionated account of the personalities involved in one of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century.
  5. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá is an exercise in popular evolutionary psychology. It pushes the message that despite the prevalence of polygyny and monogamy around the world throughout recorded history, the biological basis of the human psyche remains that of our “environment of evolutionary adaptedness.” With respect to sex, the authors claim that as recently as 10,000 years ago modern humans of both sexes still practiced the “polyamory” of our bonobo-like ancestors.
  6. The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David G. Haskell reports the author’s observations of a single patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee over the course of a year. With the reader looking over his shoulder, the author observes the myriad changes in the forest’s flora and fauna as the seasons revolve.
  7. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee is both a cancer researcher and an oncologist (a physician specializing in cancer). This gracefully written book informs the reader about the genetic and physiological bases of cancer, as well as the experience of undergoing treatment for cancer.
  8. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee provides a history of our understanding of genetics and of the development of genetic engineering technology, married to a memoir focused on the tragic, cross-generation recurrence of mental illness in his own family.
  9. On Human Nature by Edward O. Wilson shows how the sociobiological approach may be applied to human beings. The author maintains that the sociobiological approach to human behavior is destined to replace the current social sciences and even the humanities.
  10. The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich predicted that unchecked human population growth would lead to worldwide famine and ecological and social collapse during the 1970s and 1980s.

Learn about more great biology books.

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Medical Science Controversial Topics

The important field of medicine focuses on health and healing. The field itself touches on not only biology, health science, public health, epidemiology, and medicine, among others. The field of medicine is a very personal one, and one that can often lead to unpredictable behavior and even disagreement. As such, we have developed a number of controversial topics related to the medical sciences discipline. We’ll do our best to provide objective and fact-based information on these controversies.

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