What subjects are needed to become a Dermatologist in South Africa?

To become a dermatologist in South Africa, high school students need to focus on the following subjects to prepare for medical school:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Physical Sciences
  3. Life Sciences (Biology)
  4. English

These subjects are crucial for gaining admission into a medical degree program, which is the first step toward specializing in dermatology.

To become a dermatologist in South Africa, students must first qualify as medical doctors and then specialize in dermatology. The journey begins in high school, where students are encouraged to focus on key subjects.

Essential Grade 12 Subjects for Aspiring Dermatologists


Mathematics is vital for developing problem-solving skills and analytical thinking, which are essential for medical studies.

Physical Sciences

Physical Sciences provides a strong foundation in chemistry and physics, critical for understanding medical procedures and the human body’s physiological processes.

Life Sciences

Life Sciences helps students understand biological systems and human anatomy, which is directly relevant to medical studies.

Steps to Become a Dermatologist

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)

After completing Grade 12, students must enroll in a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree program, which typically lasts six years. Admission to these programs is highly competitive and usually requires excellent marks in the above subjects.

Internship and Community Service

Following their studies, graduates must complete a two-year internship and one year of community service as part of their training to become a registered medical doctor in South Africa.

Specialization in Dermatology

After becoming a qualified doctor, one must apply for a specialization program in dermatology. This involves several more years of both practical and theoretical training, focusing on skin diseases and treatments. Dermatology training includes diagnosing and treating skin conditions, performing surgical procedures, and managing cosmetic dermatology issues.

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Registration and Practice

To practice as a dermatologist, it is necessary to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a specialist, not just as a general medical practitioner.

Career Opportunities

Dermatologists can work in various settings, including:

  • Private practice: Providing specialist skin care and cosmetic treatments.
  • Hospitals: Working in both public and private hospitals managing a range of skin conditions.
  • Academic and research institutions: Conducting research and teaching future healthcare professionals.

The path to becoming a dermatologist is demanding but rewarding, requiring dedication to long-term study and patient care. “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pelé. This quote resonates deeply with the medical profession, where the commitment to lifelong learning and passion for helping others are fundamental.