Some promising alternatives for Medical Students
As the common misconception goes, the medical stream equals an MBBS degree. This has never been the case and is simply a result of short-sightedness amongst the masses. So if you are looking to pursue the medical stream, becoming a doctor isn’t your one and only one option. The spotlight given to core medical options (like MBBS or BDS) deviates a student’s attention from other equally worthy ones.
The branches of alternative medicine include BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery), BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery),BHMS (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), Homoeopathy, Ayurveda and Unani are fast growing alternative systems of medicine. These courses also follow a similar educational pattern to that of core medical subjects, i.e. an almost 5-year program with the internship.
Earlier, these systems of medicine were considered to be a more private practice option, these alternative medicine fields are now being paid special attention to by the government. Many new institutes are being opened and old ones asked to establish and strengthen these educational arenas for better research and development.
For a country like India, owing to our faith and experience in nature and its elements, these alternative medicinal sectors are almost as important as conventional medicine ones. Besides a variety of options, a few listed below are in vogue these days.
This is a degree in the study of pharmacy which includes a detailed study of medicinal drugs, their chemistry, pharmaceutical engineering of these drugs and their analysis.
A student opting for this field could make a career as a pharmacist/chemist (either independently or for any Government organization). Students of this realm could also become part of the research aspect of the pharmacy sector. The career opportunities in this sector are present in national and international organizations.
With the depletion of natural resources from all over the world and the pressing need for conservation and restoration, environmental sciences are becoming the most relevant degrees for discussions and innovative solutions to environment issues. All over the world governments are realizing the importance of conserving the environment and improving upon what’s left, and this has made environmental sciences a rapidly developing sector.
Environmental engineering works towards improving the elements like air, water, and soil and make use of the present resources in a sustainable manner. It has a potential for vast areas of research and development, especially in the government sector for the departments dealing with pollution, land, agriculture and forestry.
Zoology (B.Sc Zoology)
This degree course is offered by most of the universities across country. There are usually no entrance exams for this as students are admitted on the basis of merit. This is a profession which entails practical as well as laboratory experience and education is an interesting twist to its usual scientific counterparts.
Zoology, as the name suggests, is the study of every animal species. Their classification, natural habitat, lifestyle and genetics, everything is studied under Zoology.
As discussed above, with the depletion of natural resources and habitat, countries all over are becoming more active in their efforts to conserve and restore mother nature; this includes the wildlife too. Students pursuing Zoology could work as educators, conservationists, researchers and scientists in both the Government and the private sector.
Biotechnology (B.Sc Biotech)
This is an intricate and very useful branch of biology. It focuses on developing products and technologies to ease our life by using cellular and biomolecular processes.
This technology has been used in almost every sector useful for the sustenance of humankind since a long time. Be it the development of new food products or development of new vaccines and technologies to fight diseases, this sector has made breakthroughs everywhere.
Students opting for Biotechnology will have opportunities in the field of research, genetics and pharmaceuticals for both Government and private organizations. These, however, aren’t the only professions they can seek, also on offer are fields like environmental sciences, agriculture, food and nutrition and laboratory professionals in research labs.
Microbiology (B.Sc Microbiology)
It’s the study of microorganisms, their cell structure, their various disciplines and how they affect us. A microbiologist’s work is to study these cellular organisms (which could also be infectious agents) in the context of various fields like medicine, research, food production, education and even environmental conservation.
Students opting for Microbiology as a career can either become educators like professors and teachers or get into research. They can also become clinical microbiologists, working in the health and medical sector, dealing with disciplines like virology, parasitology, mycology and bacteriology. The commercial industry also dabbles with microbiology to develop new products and thus serves as a career avenue for Microbiologists.
Physiology (B.Sc Physiology)
Physiology is the study of body’s mechanisms and covers intricacies like the biological compounds that make up a body, how the body interacts with its environment, its organs and anatomy. This is an old branch of biology which studies the body to understand how it survives. This field is a well-developed career option worldwide.
It is split into further disciplines like physiotherapist, occupational therapy, plant physiology, cellular physiology, clinical physiologists and researchers. It is a wide spectrum of options which offers careers in both government and private industries. Given the scope of research and development, it has become an integral part of the medical industry.
Biophysics (B.Sc Biophysics)
This stream applies the principles of physics to biology with the help of mathematics and computer modelling. It covers every group of biological organisms and has its reach from the molecular level to whole population groups.
Biophysics looks for the patterns in living organisms and studies it to provide insights into various disciplines like neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, structural biology, biochemistry and medicine. Needless to say, its importance for the progress of biological fields makes it a viable option for medical students.
Apart from the educational sector (i.e. professors and teachers) and research-oriented sectors, a student opting for Biophysics has many strong options. One could opt to become a scientist, nutritional biophysicist, medical biophysicist, chemical biophysicist and applied biophysicist.
Veterinary and Animal Science (B.V.Sc)
Veterinarians practice medicine, surgery and every such discipline for animals. They are not merely restricted to one field but have numerous options under B.V.Sc, namely genetics and breeding, gynaecology, pathology, animal nutrition, microbiology, physiology, medicine, wildlife studies, animal husbandry etc.
If a student feels inclined towards animals and their welfare, they can easily choose this stream and make it a flourishing profession. One could have an independent practice or get into the research and development sector of various private and government organization inclined towards the welfare of animals.
With various new strains of viruses and diseases being discovered worldwide, this stream of biology has become more important as entails recognition and prevention of disease transfer from animals to other beings. A degree in veterinary science has worldwide repute as a career.
Bioinformatics (B.Tech Bioinformatics)
Bioinformatics uses software and technological tools to analyze and interpret biological data. It combines the applications of biology, computer science, mathematics and engineering for analysis of biological data like protein samples, cell population and genetic information.
This helps in creation and storage of vast biological databases and health-related information which could be then studied to find patterns and solutions to various ailments. The fields of studies within in are genomics, metagenomics, proteomics and computational biology.
Apart from opting to become an educator or a researcher, a bioinformatics student could become a Bioinformatician, Bioanalyst, medical coder and developer with either Government or private organizations.
Forensic Science (B.Sc. Forensic Sciences)
Forensic biologists are usually engaged by government agencies. Their job includes inspecting crime scenes and evidence including blood and other remains in order to help a criminal investigation. This is a career which requires one to be active both on the field and in laboratory conditions.
The fields of study in forensic sciences are (forensic) entomology, chemistry, botany, pathology and DNA analysis. This branch of biology requires attention to detail and a sharp eye which helps find evidence and irregularities.These were a few of the options present for a medical student which doesn’t require them to pursue MBBS. With the advent of newer technologies and the emergence of more information related to the biological processes of the world, such fields of research are fast becoming prevalent career options.
It is no longer important for a student to only look forward to become a doctor if he/she takes up the medical field. There are so many other career avenues which offer a similar job satisfaction and appreciation. Biology as a subject is expanding and it is only natural that its derivatives expand too.
Since these choices are innumerable, it is obvious that confusion will follow. A student should research the options available to them and look through its contents to recognize their plus and minus points before taking a decision. One should make prudent use of the internet for this research, by using verified websites
With these many options and an ever-expanding field of research, the medical stream has come a long way from being a synonym for ‘doctor’. Students have vast career opportunities which provide a welcome change from the monotony of core subject careers