Medical Scientist

Medical scientists are often involved in the research of blood-related and other diseases. They are responsible for conducting medical laboratory tests to diagnose and treat disease.

Biomedical scientists are responsible for investigating and diagnosing patient illnesses such as HIV, cancer, diabetes, food poisoning, hepatitis and meningitis. Most work is laboratory-based. Medical scientists, sometimes known as biomedical scientists, are trained in biology, particularly in the context of medicine to gain knowledge on the main principles of how the human body works and to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases. Their work involves analysing specimens of blood, tissues, urine and faeces for chemical constituents using sophisticated computer-aided and automated testing procedures. In some cases they may be required to investigate further by analysing cultures grown from samples. They often consult with other medical specialists to assist in interpreting results. 
As researchers, their work may overlap with academic work, as in studying and keeping up to date with the latest findings. Medical scientists are at the forefront of medical research, they write and publish articles in scientific journals. The type of equipment they use may include, atomic absorption spectrometers, electron microscopes, flow cytometers and chromatography systems.

Personal Requirements

  • able to work well with others
  • desire to help people through research
  • able to work accurately
  • responsible, curious and imaginative
  • good communication skills, both in writing and speech
  • aptitude for science and mathematics
  • manual dexterity and physical stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: MathematicsPhysical Sciences
Recommended subjects: Life Sciences

  • Pass matric with a Bachelor's pass
  • Meet the admission requirements (APS) set by the university
  • All applications for admission to MBChB and Medical degrees are subject to selection.
  • Due to the limited number of spaces available, only a small percentage of applicants are admitted.

What to Study

Degree: Bachelor of Medical Sciences or equivalent that will allow further studies in medical research. 
Postgraduate: A relevant Masters degree will be required.
More information regarding recognized or accredited qualifications and laboratories for internships may be obtained from the Health Professions Council of South
Africa (HPCSA) website.


  • hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions
  • educational institutions
  • government health and legal departments
  • research institutions
  • private practice
  • pathology laboratories

Further Information

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) 
(553) of Hamilton and
Madiba Streets,
Arcadia, Pretoria
Tel: (012) 338-9300

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