In India, a medical college is an educational institution that provides medical education. These institutions may vary from stand-alone colleges that train doctors to conglomerates that offer training related in all aspects of medical care. term is synonymous with “medical school” as used in the USA and some other countries.
Prospective students for an undergraduate course leading towards a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (M.B.B.S.) degree must have completed a Higher Secondary (School) Certificate (HSC) (10+2, or high school) with the Science stream, including the subjects Biology, Chemistry and Physics and must have cleared the NEET exam.
Traditionally, admission criteria differed from one part of the country to another and even from Institution to Institution.
In general, admission was based on one of the following:
- Marks obtained in the competitive examinations conducted at central level (NEET)
- Marks obtained in the final examinations of Std. XII.
- Donation/Management based seats.
Similarly for Post-graduate degrees and diplomas (residencies) the competitive examinations conducted at central (NEET) level forms the basis for admission or donation based seats. Specific institutions may also require a personal interview of the candidate but this is more in cases of sub-specialty courses.
These donation based seats have come under heavy criticism because this makes effectively India the only country that authorises, as official policy, the sale of medical seats by private medical colleges, implicitly accepting the principle that the ability to pay, and not merit, is what counts. These illegal capitation fees range from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1 crore for a MBBS seat. But medical colleges in states like Kerala, require minimum marks / ranks in their respective competitive entrance exams even for the management seats.
Similarly for Post graduation courses (residencies), the NEET -PG is the single eligibility cum entrance examination for MD/MS and post-graduate diploma courses. This effectively replaced the existing AIPGMEE and similar state level exams for entry into postgraduate courses. The first NEET-PG was conducted by the National Board of Examinations from 23 November – 6 December 2012, which was referred to as the testing window (with 24th, 25th, 28 November and 2 December as non-testing days). The test was a computer-based test unlike the traditional paper and pen based test AIIMS had been conducting over years for admission to 50% all India quota Post graduate courses in the country. In all, 90,377 candidates took the exam.