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Exploring Choices Other than MBBS/BDS

Ayesha Mushtaq
1st Year MBBS

There are certain stereotypes prevalent in our society, one of them being the preference for the medical field. Entire lives of people revolve around the dream of seeing their kids one day as doctors. So when you encounter hard luck and are unable to make it to a public sector medical college, that undoubtedly and unfortunately means a lot of shattered dreams. It is of course up to you whether you opt to study medicine privately (or abroad) or take MCAT again the following year, but there are also a variety of career options other than MBBS/BDS which you can opt for with a pre-medical background, and still remain directly or indirectly associated with the medical field.
Here’s a brief overview of these options.

1. Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

Physiotherapists treat a wide range of disorders; relieving pain and the rehabilitation of patients are among the hallmarks of physical therapy. Physiotherapy is one of the most lucrative professions in western countries. Nearly all sports teams around the world have hired professional physiotherapists. Physiotherapy also has its application in life-saving techniques. 
DPT is a 5 year course, offered by various universities such as University of Lahore (UoL), Government College University (GCU), University of Faisalabad (UoF), University of Sargodha (UoS), Riphah International University Islamabad, and also Allama Iqbal College of Physiotherapy, Rawalpindi Medical College and School of Physiotherapy attached with KEMU.

2. Doctor of Pharmacy (D.Pharm)

Pharmacists as professionals are much sought after abroad but sadly it remains a neglected profession in Pakistan, with the number of pharmacists not at par with international standards. Graduates of this program have the option of opening up their independent pharmacy, or working in pharmaceutical companies and research firms, hospitals or clinics.
It is also a 5 year course, offered by GCU, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore (UVAS), University of Punjab (PU), UoS, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan (BZU), Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB), Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), etc.

3. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

These people are commonly referred to in our society as ‘dangar doctors’ , which is certainly not true. Please people, they might be ‘dangaron ke doctors’ , but not dangar doctors themselves! Veterinary science deals with diagnosing, treating and curing different diseases in birds and animals. The basic principles of this program resemble those of human medicine. Successful candidates can get jobs in Livestock and Dairy Development departments of all the provincial governments, or in wildlife sanctuaries, zoological parks or veterinary hospitals. They also have the option of practising independently in Pakistan or abroad.
This five year degree can be pursued at UVAS, BZU, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), IUB, and Riphah International University among others.

The above mentioned programmes allow you to add the coveted prefix of ‘Doctor’ to your name after getting registered with the respective councils.
Apart from this, there is also a variety of other fields you can choose from, some of which are listed below.

4. Nutrition and Dietetics

Human nutrition deals with human food and how it affects survival of human body, whereas dietetics is the practical application of scientific understanding of nutrition for the betterment of human health. This field has dramatically evolved over the past 25 years or so across the globe. Employment opportunities are countless, including jobs at hospitals or private clinics, consultancy for public and private sector organizations, food and drug industries and government departments.
Four year degree in this subject is offered by Kinnaird College (KC) and UVAS among others.

5. Psychology

It involves the study of behaviour and understanding its causes as a result of physical, biological and social factors under a variety of conditions. Psychologists will be able to make assessment of an individual’s ability, personality, and expected behaviours under specific conditions.
Considering the fact that today we lead lives filled with tension and that every second person suffers from depression or some sort of mental stress, psychologists and psychiatrists are becoming highly sought after professionals. This field also offers a wide range of employment opportunities at hospitals and private clinics; and you can also render your services to the armed forces.
Bachelors degree in psychology (four years duration) is offered at GCU, IIUI, PU, IUB, University of Management and Technology (UMT), KC to name a few.

6. Microbiology

It deals with the study of micro-organisms and infectious agents too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, fungi and algae. Viruses are also studied. This field has immense scope and job opportunities include positions in pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms and laboratories, research firms and breweries, etc.
Microbiology can be studied as a four year Bachelor programme at GCU, BZU, University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi (UAAR), UoL, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and various others.

7. Biotechnology

It is concerned with the utilization of biological agents or their components for generating useful products and services. It has a wide range of applications ranging from agriculture to industry and beyond, thus making biotechnology one of the fastest growing fields.
It is offered as a four year Bachelors degree at almost all universities such as Comsats, University of Gujrat (UoG), International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), BZU, UVAS and KC to name a few.

8. Biochemistry

This subject deals with biological processes involving chemical reactions. It is a practical laboratory science that applies molecular approaches of chemistry to a variety of biological systems and helps in understanding biology at a molecular level. Graduates in biochemistry can join government departments, industries, agricultural firms, food processing firms, pharmaceutical companies, and research institutes.
This can be studied as a four year program at PU, Lahore Garrison University (LGU), GCU, UVAS, UoL, KC, and UMT.

9. Bio-Informatics

It is the application of computer technology used for the management and analysis of biological information. This is an emerging inter-disciplinary research area. The ultimate goal of bio-informatics is to uncover the wealth of biological information hidden in the mass of sequence, structure and other biological data.
This field has steadily increasing career prospects in all sectors of biotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences.
A four year Bachelors degree in this subject can be obtained from UAF, Comsats, IIUI, Virtual University (VU), and Forman Christian College Lahore (FCC).

10. Agriculture Science

Agricultural scientists play a vital role in maintaining food supply and increasing a nation’s domestic production by ensuring agricultural productivity and food safety. Job opportunities include positions in provincial and federal departments of agriculture and livestock, soil testing laboratories, genetic engineering laboratories, and pesticide and fertilizer companies.
This four year degree is offered by UAF, IUB, PU, etc.

11. Botany

Botany is the branch of biology which involves scientific study of plants, whether in living or fossilized state. It investigates structure, arrangement, growth, classification and functions of plants. Graduates in botany can find jobs in government departments, biotechnology firms and food companies.
A four year Bachelors degree in botany can be pursued at UoS, UoG, PU, GCU, FCC, IUB and KC to name a few.

12. Zoology

Zoology is the study of animal life and includes the observation of animals in their natural habitats and in laboratories. Zoologists study the origin, development, habitat and behaviour of animal species, and interaction between animals and environment. 
After graduation, you can take up jobs in zoological gardens, wildlife or safari parks, research centres or diagnostic labs.
Four year Bachelors degree in this subject can be obtained from IUB, UoG, UoS, PU, GCU, LGU, LCWU, KC and various other universities.

13. Medical Laboratory Technology

MLT is a field that combines the challenges and rewards of medicine with laboratory science. MLT graduates are technologists who perform complex and varied laboratory analyses and use critical thinking skills in determining accuracy and validity of results of various laboratory tests.
This field has great scope, as currently the demand of such technologists outnumbers supply. Graduates can choose from amongst a wide range of practice settings, ranging from hospitals, clinics and public health facilities to independent labs, and forensic and crime labs.
MLT is taught as a four year Bachelors course at various medical colleges including AIMC, SIMS, QAMC, RMC and NMC.

Other than that, if you want to stray away from fields related to medicine and biological sciences, you can take an additional math exam and pursue an engineering degree; here again a multitude of opportunities awaits you. In case you don’t want to waste a whole year, there’s a whole range of options in the arts side. Literature, fine arts, interior designing, fashion and textile design, journalism, economics, accounting, business administration and law are some of the subjects that make for interesting study and exciting career prospects. Hence if you have been unable to make it, please stop getting depressed over it. Accept it as Allah’s will, and embrace the fact that there must be some benefit for you in that, which you might not be able to comprehend at this stage. Take control of your life rather than playing havoc with your future. Make a career choice and pray to Allah SWT that it turns out to be the best for you. Best of Luck!



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