Earn a Gynecology Degree: Overviews by Program Level

Gynecologists deal with the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of female health problems. Aspiring gynecologists can pursue a pre-med undergraduate program before attending medical school and completing a gynecology residency.

Essential Information

Pre-med bachelor's degree programs focus heavily on the sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics. Through the completion of laboratory experiences and internships, students prepare to apply to medical schools.

Doctor of Medicine programs include anatomy, bioethics and pathology coursework, along with extensive clinical experiences. Acceptable scores on the MCAT examination are necessary for admission. These 4-year professional programs can prepare students for their OB/GYN residencies.

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency program provides students with the training necessary to pursue specialized licensure as a gynecologist. Applicants must have successfully completed medical school and obtained physician licensure.

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually sufficient for entry into a bachelor's degree, though students may gain advanced standing in the program with an associate's degree. Satisfactory MCAT scores and a satisfactory GPA along with a bachelor's degree in a related field is needed for admission into a doctorate program. Students must have passed the United States Medical Licensing examination and graduated from medical school for admission into a residency program.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Pre-Medicine

Pre-medicine students typically pursue a bachelor's degree in areas such as physics, biology, genetics or chemistry; a dedicated pre-med program may be available at some colleges or universities. In addition to lecture classes, students will also gain medical experience through labs, projects and internships. During the final years of a bachelor's degree program, students will typically begin preparation for their medical school applications and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Due to the competitive nature of medical schools, it is often recommended that students design a curriculum that covers pre-medical studies, including the physical sciences, chemistry and biology. The following are some classes that students may consider:

  • Molecular cell biology
  • Introductory clinical medicine
  • Organic chemistry with lab
  • Developmental biology
  • Social sciences
  • Quantitative analysis

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  • Medicine - MD

Doctoral Degree in Medicine

Medical schools offer a Doctor of Medicine (MD), which typically takes four years to complete. Medical students spend the first two years of their education in traditional classroom and lecture courses, and study topics such as pathology, biochemistry and anatomy. The third and fourth years are both spent gaining hands-on experience in a hospital or clinical setting. Medical students will also begin considering their residency options, including an obstetrics and gynecology position.

Medical degree programs teach students how to complete a physical examination, utilize medical instruments and understand the roles of doctors. The curriculum can also include aspects of medicine such as ethics, regulations, history and contemporary health issues. Other topics may include:

  • Women's health
  • Medical bioethics
  • Gross anatomy

Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency

Upon successful completion of a MD program, students will need to gain licensure to become a practicing physician. Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residency programs generally take four years to complete, and will give students the specialized training they need to become a gynecologist. Students will have the opportunity to learn surgery techniques and practice gynecology based on the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology standards.

The coursework in an OB/GYN residency primarily focuses on patients examinations, hands-on surgical education, treatment and practice under the consultation of obstetricians and gynecologists. Many programs incorporate lecture, research, analysis and medical conferences. During the final years of the residency program, residents may prepare for the board certification exams. OB/GYN rounds and lectures may address the following topics:

  • Maternal-fetal medicine
  • Endoscopy and laser surgery
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Reproductive endocrinology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of physician and surgeon positions (including gynecologists) is expected to grow by 14% from 2014-2024. The average annual salary for obstetricians and gynecologists was $222,400 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Students interested in gynecology can find instruction at the undergraduate level through a pre-med program. Further education can be pursued within medical school and a gynecology residency, with graduates of medical school programs needing to attain licensure before going into practice.

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