Student Dilemma - Medical or Non-Medical


The 10th board exams are the gates that open up a world of choices for students. A choice of subjects, a choice of careers, and an option to choose between intellectual interests. Thus it’s common to become overwhelmed and confused at first. The very first basic choices are between the three major streams, which are:

  1. Science
  2. Humanities
  3. Arts

This article deals necessarily with the internal choice a student faces in the Science stream, that between Medical and Non-medical. These are career defining choices and thus a lot of thought and research should be undertaken before making them. Here we will shed light on the nuances of Medical and Non-Medical options which will help you understand them better and thus make a well-informed decision. With the advent of more and more interdisciplinary courses, the difference between these two has become less stark. Thus it’s more important to have a clearer view of what is to come once you take your pick.

Is the difficulty level same?

Yes, it is. As it goes without saying, every subject is complex in its own ways. It might be intricacy of theory or analytical complexity, but there won’t really be a subject which won’t ask for devoted studies. No subject is tough or easy, it all depends on your interest and the amount of work you put in. While the medical stream will be more theoretical- asking you to develop expertise in the details, the non-medical stream will hone your analytical skills. But again, both offer ample amount of inter-disciplinary strata within each stream which leaves no dearth of new, less conventional options.

What are the subjects on offer in the Medical and Non-Medical streams?

The main subjects on offer for a Medical student are:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

The main subjects for a Non-medical student will be:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics

Apart from these, the students have to choose one language (which is most commonly English) and an optional subject which makes up the 5 subjects on which the student will be tested.

Some of the optional on offer are:

  • Mathematics
  • Computer science
  • Engineering drawing
  • Economics
  • Informatics practices
  • Physical education
  • Home science
  • Fine Arts

It should be noted that the optional vary from one state/educational board to another.

The correct pairing of subjects with optionals enables a student to pursue a lot many research and career fields in the future. The academic avenues which might be restricted to a strictly PCM and PCB student become accessible if one chooses a versatile optional.

We will now discuss the various career options that can be pursued by students of medical and non-medical streams. We will start with the career options pertaining to the core streams and later on discuss the inter-disciplinary and inter-stream courses which are also open for students from other educational backgrounds.

Which career options could be pursued with the core Medical stream?

If we look at the subjects in the core medical stream, the following career and research options are open to the students through it:

  1. Medical science and dental science
  2. Biotechnology
  3. Neuroscience and AI
  4. Biophysics
  5. Bioinformatics
  6. Biochemistry
  7. Healthcare and data mining
  8. Microbiology
  9. Molecular biology
  10. Pathology
  11. Physiology
  12. Biomedical engineering
  13. Ayurveda, Homeopathy, and Unani
  14. Veterinary science
  15. Pharma

Which career options could be pursued with the core non-medical stream?

This stream has comparatively wider options for students. We will list out the career/research avenues associated with each subject in the stream.

  • Career options with Physics

These courses can also be pursued by the students of the medical stream. However, a majority of these fields require Mathematics as a major subject, so a Medical student would benefit by keeping it as an optional. This will help them not lose out on many such opportunities.

  1. Astrophysics
  2. Nuclear and Atomic physics
  3. Molecular physics
  4. Optical physics
  5. Meteorology
  • Career options with Chemistry

Similar to the above case, these courses are also open for the medical students with the necessary addition of Mathematics as the main subject.

  1. Chemical engineering
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Nuclear chemistry
  4. Medicinal chemistry
  5. Astrochemistry
  • Career options with Mathematics

This subject is a common factor, not just amongst Medical and Non-medical courses, but also features in the Commerce and Humanities stream. Thus, making the following courses accessible for students from every educational background.

  1. Applied mathematics
  2. Computational mathematics
  3. Complex dynamics
  4. Fluid mechanics
  5. Image processing
  6. Statistics
  • Engineering (B.E/B.Tech)

  1. Computer science engineering
  2. Electronics and communication engineering
  3. Mechanical engineering
  4. Civil engineering
  5. Textile engineering
  6. Automobile engineering
  7. Environmental engineering
  8. Aerospace engineering
  9. Production engineering
  10. Manufacturing engineering
  11. Aeronautical engineering

Which career options could be sought by students of both the disciplines?

When we look beyond the core subjects, there is an entire world of courses and research avenues which are gathering momentum with time. While some of these career/higher educational options are restricted to only the science cadre, others are open for students of every stream.

  • B.Sc
  1. Physics
  2. Chemistry
  3. Mathematics
  4. Computer science
  5. Agriculture
  6. Electronics
  7. Biotechnology
  8. Environmental science
  9. Hotel management
  • Bachelors of Arts(B.A)
  • Bachelors in Computer Applications (BCA)
  • Bachelors in Commerce (B.Com)
  • Defense
  • Diploma courses
  • LLB and other such integrated courses
  • Fashion technology
  • CA, ICWA, CS
  • Tourism
  • Actuarial Sciences

Entrance Exams to be considered by students of both the streams

We now look at the various entrance exams (at the national level) which students should consider. For your ease, we have divided these into stream specific exams and exams which are open to students from all disciplines.

1. Entrance exams for Medical students

  • NEET
  • AIIMS
  • JIPMER
  • CMC
  • COMED-K
  • AIPVT
  • AIEEA
  • CET’s by various universities

2. Entrance exams for Non-medical students

  • JEE (Main and advanced)
  • BITSAT
  • VITEEE
  • IISc
  • IIST
  • CET’s of different states
  • Arch of various universities
  • IPU engineering
  • Manipal, Jamia, AMU (B.Tech)

3. Entrance exams spanning across other streams

  • Entrance exams for defense, marine, and navy. These are held around the year by the Indian Army, the notifications of which can be found on its official website. Exams like NDA are specially formulated for students just out of school.
  • Entrance exams for various Humanities and social science courses across universities. These include entrances for various B.Com, B.A., and Bachelor in Management courses which span over 3 to 5 years.
  • Entrance exams for law courses. These exams are held by various universities and also nationally.
  • Entrance exams for Fashion Design and Hotel management
  • Entrance exams for pure math courses
  • UPSC, SSC and IBPS exams held by the government. Apart from these, students could visit official Government websites like ncs.gov.in (National Career Service).