what subjects do you need to become a doctor in south africa

Subjects required to become a doctor in South Africa

Considering a career in medicine? Becoming a doctor in South Africa entails a rigorous educational journey. This article outlines the subjects you need to study in order to fulfill your dream of practicing medicine. From high school to medical school, these specific subjects will provide you with a solid foundation to pursue this noble profession.

1. Mathematics

Mathematics is a fundamental subject that is essential for a career in medicine. It builds problem-solving skills and enhances critical thinking abilities, both of which are crucial in the medical field. A strong foundation in mathematics will also be beneficial when studying advanced scientific concepts later on.

what subjects do you need to become a doctor in south africa

2. Physical Sciences

Physical Sciences, including Physics and Chemistry, are vital subjects for aspiring doctors. These subjects help in understanding the principles of matter, energy, and their interactions. They form the basis for understanding biological processes and the effects of drugs and treatments on the human body.

3. Life Sciences/Biology

Life Sciences, also known as Biology, is a core subject for medical studies. It explores the structures, functions, and processes of living organisms. This subject provides a comprehensive understanding of the human body, including anatomy, physiology, genetics, and microbiology.

4. English

Proficiency in the English language is crucial for studying medicine in South Africa. As a doctor, effective communication is vital when interacting with patients, colleagues, and medical professionals from diverse backgrounds. Being well-versed in English will support your ability to comprehend medical literature, write reports accurately, and explain complex medical concepts to patients.

5. Additional Languages

In South Africa, being multilingual is highly advantageous. Learning additional languages, such as Afrikaans or an indigenous language, can facilitate effective communication with a broader range of patients. It helps to build trust, empathy, and understanding between doctors and their patients, especially in culturally diverse communities.

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6. Other Science Subjects

While not necessarily mandatory, subjects like Additional Mathematics, Computer Science, and Life Orientation can provide you with a competitive edge. Additional Mathematics further strengthens problem-solving skills, while Computer Science enhances your abilities in technology and data analysis. Life Orientation focuses on personal development, ethics, and overall well-being, which are crucial for a medical professional.


If you aspire to become a doctor in South Africa, excelling in specific subjects during your schooling years is essential. As you navigate this educational journey, subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, English, and additional languages will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in medical school and ultimately serve as an exceptional doctor for your community.

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