Studying Medicine In Nigeria: 7 Guaranteed Steps For Admission Success

How to study medicine in Nigeria
Final year medical students studying medicine in Nigeria. A Special shoutout to Dr. Nelson at extreme right 😁.

To Study Medicine in Nigeria is an Herculean task. No jokes; the process can be tasking.

Right from your first thought of becoming a doctor, till you complete medical school training, there is always a big competition awaiting you.

And at any point, you’ll need to be timely, information-conscious, and always prepared.

But there’s no need to worry, MedicsDomain is here for you!

In this guide, we’ll show you the practical steps of getting into medical school in Nigeria.

We’ve also gone through extra work providing answers to the frequently asked questions relating to Studying Medicine and Surgery in a Nigerian University.

Let’s get to it right away!

What is Medicine and Surgery All About?

If you intend to practice as a Doctor, you’ll need to pass through training in Medical school where you’ll study Medicine and Surgery to get the MBBS degree.

MBBS means Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery  

Medicine and Surgery is a course that gives you a solid foundation of basic medical science and clinical skills as required in the hospital.

After this course, you’ll treat patients of their illnesses, take leadership positions in health care delivery, and render quality health services to humanity.

Also Read: Top 10 Lucrative Medical Courses In Nigeria

How hard is Medicine and Surgery In a Nigerian University?

Medicine is usually tasking in Nigeria and anywhere else because of the large workload you’ll need to cover in a short time.

If medical students get enough time to study their courses, the failure rate would have been reduced drastically! But this can’t be. Instead, everything is done fast! And if anyone can’t meet up, he/she repeats.

How’s the Medicine Program Structured? 

In Nigeria, Medicine and surgery course is split into 3 phases; Premedical, Pre-clinical, and Clinical. Each of these phases has its peculiarities, which we’ll talk about some other time.

How Many Years Does It Take To Study Medicine In Nigeria?

Many aspirants ask, “what’s the duration to study medicine in Nigeria?” or “how many years to study Medicine in Nigeria? The answer to all this is that; it varies!

Typically, if admitted into a Nigerian medical school, it’ll take 6-years to get your certification, during which you’ll be trained with the necessary skills and Knowledge as required from a Medical doctor.

But here’s the thing; if you study in a federal university, it might take 7-years due to the frequent ASUU, NASU Strikes, or unforeseen circumstances like the Covid-19.

Asides that, some schools operate on a slow calendar, making it somewhat impossible to complete the program under 6-years.

Requirements to Study Medicine and Surgery In A Nigerian University

Before you head on to take a JAMB form and further slotting in Medicine and Surgery, you need to know if you meet up to the requirements. Here are the requirements to apply for Medicine in Nigeria:

1. You Must Be A Science Student

Obviously, yes, you need to have studied science courses while in secondary school before applying for Medicine. And during which, you must have completed Physics, Biology, English, Mathematics, and Chemistry.

 Art or commercial students can’t apply for Medicine in Nigeria except if you write SSCE for science subjects. Other than that, there’s no possibility.

2. You Must have the Required O’level/WAEC Subject Combination.

Another requirement to study Medicine in Nigeria is to have the required O’level courses from secondary school.

And yes, in this case, you should score at least five credits(that is, have a minimum of 5C’s) in your core WAEC subject combinations- the subjects needed to study Medicine in Nigeria.

What are the core WAEC subjects for Medicine, you may ask? They’re basically; English language, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, as said earlier.

Asides that, you’re also free to use either your NECO or GCE as an alternative for WAEC. Simply ensure that you have a minimum of 5 credits in any of them.

Furthermore, ensure you check the O’level requirement for your school of choice. Most universities in Nigeria will require you to have all your credit passes in ONE sitting, while some do not.

If you’re still in secondary school, here’s a tip for you: 

You’re going to study Medicine and Surgery, one of the most competitive courses in Nigeria. So you’ve got to be different. Try as much as possible to ace the subjects needed to study Medicine in Nigeria because life might be tough out there.

Some medical schools in Nigeria use O’level results to screen students; an example is Lagos state University. From this, you shouldn’t base your hopes on the “minimum of C” stuff, but instead, tackle your subjects with the ferociousness of a champion.

Furthermore, put to the importance of your success in this area. Any D7 in your result will ultimately make you ineligible to apply for Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria.

You could have a result like this; English- A1, Biology- A1, Chemistry- A1, Physics- B2, but if there’s a D7 in your chemistry, you’re ineligible.

3. You Must Have the Required JAMB/UTME Subject Combination

As we said earlier, the JAMB is the body charged with screening students into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. If you want to attend any school in Nigeria, you have to pass through them.

Of course, that entails registering for the UTME and having the required JAMB subjects for the course.

The JAMB subject combination for Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria is English Language, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

From all we’ve said, here are the subjects needed to study Medicine in Nigeria:

  • English language
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

4. You Must Have the Required A-level Results

This requirement is unimportant if you want to study Medicine in Nigeria using WAEC results. But you can apply without WAEC if you have passed in A’Level courses in Chemistry, Physics, and Biology, or Zoology.

This requirement goes only if you want to study Medicine through Direct entry. Direct entry is a means of getting into the University without UTME.

And yes, in this case, you only need to have a Bachelor of science in fields related to Medicine. The most common ones are Anatomy, Biology, Physiology, Nursing, and Medical laboratory science.

However, ensure you check the Direct entry requirements of your school of choice to know the acceptable courses., because they differ.

That’s all! If you meet up with the requirements to study Medicine in Nigeria, as we discussed above, you’re good to go! Now let’s get on to the steps to studying Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria!

7 Steps To Take To Study Medicine and Surgery In A Nigerian University

These are the basic things to do if you want to study Medicine in Nigeria. They’re equally important and will affect your admission success. Enjoy!

Step 1: Decide Firmly That You Want to Study Medicine In Nigeria

Achieving Goals are all about processes. No skipping.

To reach a particular medical career dream, be it to practice as a Neurosurgeon, work as a Public health specialist, medical journalist, or any other specialty, you’ve got to pass through medical school.

However, the training process can be difficult and competitive- like anywhere else in the world!

Take a look at this research; in 2018, 11,146 aspirants chose Medicine and Surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. But less than 400 students were admitted into the program!

The percentage of aspirants that got admission is approximately 3.6%. Did you hear that? 3.6%! So, over 10,000 aspirants fight for just for a slot of less than 400. How outrageous! Are you ready to thread this path?

And yes, we’ve not talked about the process of passing through medical school. There are high standards that will always ensure you’ll be up and doing at all times!

 If you don’t do well, the school is always ready to drop you at any point, regardless of how good you seemed to be earlier. So, you’ve got to be excellent at all times!

Why all these?

It’s all to quicken up your mind. We won’t let you be ignorant; the process is hectic. The only way you can keep going is by being enthusiastic about the process.

And, yes, being disciplined to do the things you should, following the required ingredients like consistency, time-management, and all that!

But for now, you’ve got to decide that you want to study Medicine in Nigeria, putting into mind that it’s not going to be easy, but you’ll succeed.

You need to be certain that this career is for you. There’s also a need to check your “why” of becoming a Doctor.

 All set, right? Now, let’s go on!

Step 2: Choose A Medical School and Plan

Now that you’re head-on serious about getting into medical school, relax, don’t rush. You’ll need to plan which University you want to attend and how everything will be.

This planning should involve your parents or sponsors. Take some time off to discuss your budget for medical school.

Will you attend a Federal, State, or Private medical school in Nigeria? Can you cope with the frequent strikes associated with federal and state school? Can you afford to attend a private university? These are some questions to ask yourself?

Continue reading, as later in this post, we’ll unveil the important factors to consider before selecting a perfect medical school in Nigeria .

Step 3: Gauge the Degree of Work Needed

Behind any great success in the world are hours of preparations spent towards the goals. And that’s the same with successful medics!

You often hear of geniuses acing the UTME with high scores like 345, and then wonder what they did differently. What about Post-UTME? You’ll hear of aspirants that smashed with a 95% pass. They are no different from you. They simply prepared well enough!

A quick Reminder: you’re applying for one of the most competitive courses in Nigeria. If you truly want to beat the competition, you’ll need to spend most of your time preparing!

In this case, you should estimate the amount of effort needed to achieve the desired score and get admission.

Most of this process involves reading, and more importantly, a mental exercise to keep you energized. You’ll need to create a mental picture of the perfect UTME, and Post-UTME score.

Use these steps to gauge how hard you’ll need to work, and also prepare well;

Research: firstly, take some short history of what the merit cut-off marks for Medicine looks like for three consecutive years.

Get an average: scribble down the average in a table like this(the research below is from UNN):

YearCut-Off Mark
An estimate of cut-off mark for Medicine in UNN

Write Down Goals: Take a notebook, a 20-leaves will be enough. Then add 10 points to the average gotten from your research. From ours, it’ll be 330. So, 330 is the minimum score you should target in your UTME (from our research).

You can also break down your goals in this manner:

UTME SubjectScore
English language75
Total 330
How you should table your desired score

The secret in this exercise is that it creates a perspective to look at and measures the degree of action needed.

As you can see, the score is high, and you can’t afford to struggle. You want to get an admission slot without fears of failure, right? Then, set a high target, and follow it up with massive actions!  

Picture your goals: here’s the key in this step; each day before you begin reading for UTME, take up the book containing your desired score, and stare at it daily. You’re free to dream but make sure you work!

As funny as this step may sound, it’s a powerful motivation to your success because it stamps the goal on your subconscious and also alerts you of the emergency of work to be done.

Read!: Start your preparations immediately without waiting for UTME forms to be out. Make a plan of study, get the necessary textbooks, and begin to fight!

Step 4: Write And Pass the UTME

The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination(UTME) is a major exam that you must write if you want to get to study Medicine in Nigeria.

You’ve got to be on alert. When the application form is out, go ahead to apply. The form usually costs around 4,700 Naira. Then go ahead to write and ace the test!

Also Read: 3 Ways to Gain Admission with low JAMB score

Step 5: Know Your School’s Requirement

Another step to studying Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria is that you’ve got to understand your University’s requirements properly.

Ensure you download the JAMB Brochure and digest what your school needs to apply for Medicine.

Some schools do not accept O’level results in more than ONE sitting, while some do. And in some, like the UNILLORIN, you need to score a minimum of 240 in UTME.

Know that each school has different requirements. You should be familiar with them if you want a successful admission process!

Read More: Best Private Universities to Study Medicine In Nigeria

Step 6: Write And Pass Post-UTME

Now the next step is to apply for Post-UTME Screening. Post-UTME is anything that comes after your UTME. It can be in the form of aptitude tests involving maths and English, or exams involving the subjects needed to study Medicine in Nigeria.

Ensure you make thorough inquiries about your school of choice, find out their method of Post-UTME screening. After this, apply for the screening tests and start thorough preparations!

If you prepared well during UTME preparations, the chances are that screening tests will be like a breeze. Nevertheless, you’ve got to give it your best shot! Remember that UTME is gone, and this is the only chance to secure your slot.

Step 7: Wait For Admission List- How to Study Medicine in Nigeria

Alas! You’ve done what you need to do. UTME- cleared, screening tests- aced, give yourself a pat on the back for all the work for the job well done. Now you can relax and wait for your school to release admission lists.

You might be nervous during this wait, which is okay, but don’t let it get to you. All you need to do is relax- you’ve labored well and now be calm enough to receive your harvest(admission slot)!

A tip for you: Keep in touch with fellow medics or aspirants who wrote the Post UTME. Search for group chats from your friends to receive timely information.

Read More: 5 Brilliant Strategies to Study like a Pro In Medical School

Tips On Choosing the Best University to Study Medicine in Nigeria 

The term “best school to study medicine in Nigeria” is a myth. What may be best for a friend might not be the best for you?

Selecting the best University to study Medicine in Nigeria 2020 can be influenced by many factors. We’re going to show you some of the most important ones.

We’ve come across many students who choose an institution because of their friends or the popular opinion that “they want to stay far from their parents.” Such factors are hilarious!

When you’re in the University, the chances are that you won’t come across your friends as you had envisaged. The environment is a large one, and everyone is occupied with how to cope with academic work.

And even if you school in your state of residence, there’s little probability that your parents will come looking for you.

Instead of all those unnecessary fantasies, here are key things to think about while selecting the top schools to study Medicine in Nigeria.

1. School fees- How much will It Cost to Study Medicine in Nigeria?

Training in medical school needs money. They’re no charity or free-education schools in Nigeria, at least at the moment. So obviously, you’ll need to pay school fees and any other associated bills.

How much it’ll cost you to study Medicine in Nigeria solely depends on your school. All medical schools in Nigeria have different tuition fees and education costs.

Now here’s the deal; we’re going to give you a sample breakdown of how much it will cost to study Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria.

We’ve compared the tuition fees of universities in Nigeria and concluded that the Federal universities are the cheapest, while the Private ones, as expected, are the most expensive.

Here’s a range of how much it will cost to study Medicine in Nigeria:

SchoolFees(Year One)6 Years
Federal25,000 – 150,000 naira150,000 – 900,000
State150,000 – 500,000 naira900,000 – 3,000,000
Private1,000,000 – 5,000,000 naira6,000,000 – 30,000,000
An estimate of how much it costs to study Medicine in Nigeria

Note: this table above is an estimate. The real costs may be lesser or more. And also understand that it’s just for tuition. You’ll need to put other things into consideration, like accommodation, books, and other expenses.  

A very important thing to pin-point about a medical school is how much it costs to study there. You should know your budget and select the one you can afford over time.

Read Our Medical School Fees Series to know how much it’ll cost to study medicine in your university.

2. Admission Process

Another important factor that should determine if a Nigerian medical school is best for you is its admission process.

We’re still working, trying to give great details about getting into the different schools in Nigeria. But for now, know that they’re different and, more importantly, research it using colleagues who are already in school.

Here are some tips to guide you:

#1. Screening Method

Universities in Nigeria use different methods to screen out the thousands of applicants they receive each year. Understanding how your intended school’s system works will be super helpful in your admission.

The majority of schools call aspirants to write an aptitude test or Post-UTME examination. In contrast, some use O’level in addition to UTME. Whichever one it is, study well to know their system to tackle it properly.

The University of Lagos does conduct a 30-questions examination testing aspirant’s English, mathematics, and current affairs knowledge. But that’s not the same as the University of Nigeria that gives a 60-question exam on Biology, English, Chemistry, and Physics.

After this, the test scores and UTME results are used as the major criterion in screening applicants.

In a nutshell, before choosing any medical school in Nigeria, know their admission process.

Are you convenient writing tests? Do you feel okay with writing mathematics in a Post-UTME test, or do you just want to do away with any exam?

Whichever it is, make up your mind early enough so that you’ll be able to make hay while the sun shines!

Read our Medicine and surgery cut off mark archive to know how hard you need to prepare for medical school.

#2. Catchment Areas

The majority of Universities in Nigeria split their admission quota into three; merit, catchment areas, and educationally less developed states.

Catchment areas are those states set aside by each school and given preference during admissions. Federal Universities have different catchment areas.

Now here’s what you need to do. What we are about to tell you is the secret behind why aspirants with high aggregate do not get admission while someone with a lower score gets.

Let’s break down how most school’s admission’s work. In this case, we’re going to go with the University of Nigeria as an example;

An Example

In UNN, the percentage ratio between merit, catchment, and ELD’s is usually 45:35:20 percent. That is, the ones who fall into merit are  45% of the total quota. The catchment is 35%, and ELD takes 20%.

Let’s say the quota for medical students in UNN each year is 120. Then, 54 students will fall into merit, 42 into catchment, and 24 into ELD.

The following are the catchment areas for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states.

Each state has a degree of preference. And of course, in this scenario, Enugu will have the easiest admission. So if you’re from any of these states, you stand a greater chance of getting admission than a southerner.

Now, here’s the homework for you, find out the catchment areas of your school of choice. Is your state among? If yes, that’s a plus for you!

In summary, try to pick a medical school with your state of origin as one of its catchment areas because you stand a greater chance of getting admission to Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria.

 Here’s a quick overview of schools in Nigeria and their catchment areas:

Universities in Nigeria and their Catchment Areas

  • Ahmadu Bello University: Kwara, Nasarawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Taraba, Nigeria, Borno, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi, Kano, Jigawa, and Adamawa.
  • Federal University of Technology, Akure: Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Osun, and Oyo.
  • Federal University of Technology, Owerri: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu.
  • Obafemi Owolowo University: Ekiti, Osun, Lagos, Oyo, and Ondo.
  • University of Nigeria, Nsukka: Enugu, Abia, Bayelsa, Anambra, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Imo, Edo, and Rivers.
  • University of Benin: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-river, Delta, and Rivers.
  • University of Calabar: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross-river, and Rivers.
  • University of Jos: Nasarawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Plateau, Benue, and Niger.
  • University of Lagos: Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, and Oyo.
  • University of Ilorin: Kogi, Kebbi, Nasaraw, Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue, and Kwara.
  • University of Maidiguri: Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Taraba, Yobe, and Gombe.
  • University of Uyo: Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-rivers, Delta, Edo, and Rivers.
  • Nnamdi Azikwe Univesity: Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, and Imo.
  • Federal University of Technology, Yola: Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Abia, and Anambra.
  • Bayero University, Kano: Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, and Kaduna.

Note: UNIABUJA, UNIBADAN, MOUAU, FUPRE, FUNAAB, and FUAM takes from all states of the federation without preference to catchment areas. But they do consider educationally less developed states.

Educationally Less Developed States

Here are the states classified as educationally less developed in Nigeria;

  • Ebonyi
  • Gombe
  • Jigawa
  • Adamawa
  • Bauchi
  • Kaduna
  • Kano
  • Katsina
  • Kebbi
  • Kogi
  • Kwara
  • Nasarawa
  • Niger
  • Plateau
  • Rivers
  • Sokoto
  • Taraba
  • Yobe
  • Zamfara

Tip: While choosing a medical school, check whether your state is in their catchment areas or among ELDs to be on the safe side.

Read More: Best Medical Schools In Nigeria

3. Location- Studying Medicine and Surgery In Nigeria

Another factor worth putting into consideration is the location of the University of choice.

Most students want to study in an environment they’re comfortable with. Those from southwestern Nigerian might want to school around that region probably because of language or culture.

Whichever one its, ensure you know the state of the medical school you want.


If you did well in your UTME and Post-UTME screening, you’re sure to see your name printed in the admission lists. Congrats! You deserve an accolade.

You can now begin to process your admission. Put in mind that you’ll need to pay an acceptance fee for the admission. This fee usually costs around 20 to 40 thousand Naira.

Other than that, relax, have quality time with family and friends. This period might be your only long time with them before you begin medical school.

Final Words on How to Study Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria

how to study medicine in nigeria
In conclusion…

Getting into medical school can be stressful, but it’ll be easier with the right information and quality guides.

We’ve dished out as promised, the steps to studying Medicine and Surgery in a Nigerian University. Additionally, we have answered related questions to this topic.

Our honest wish is that this post will help ease your application process.

Now, we want to hear from you! Did this post inform you of how to study Medicine in Nigeria? Did you learn something new which will be beneficial? What about questions?

Let us know your thoughts using the comment section! We’d also love you to share this post with your family, friends, and anyone you know will find helpful. Can’t wait to see you achieve your dreams!  

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Anaso Emmanuel
Anaso Emmanuel

My name is Anaso Emmanuel and I’m the founder of MedicsDomain; an SEO Expert, Content Writer and an Enthusiastic learner. To the outside world, I’m an ordinary Medic but secretly I use this blog to help aspirants get into medical school, provide insightful guides and connect with others like me.