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Learn medicine with online courses and programs

Learn how to provide critical care, while helping to ensure that communities and individuals stay healthy. Start working toward your medical career with online courses offered through edX.

What is medicine?

The field of medicine centers around treating patients. This can involve diagnosing illness, preventing or treating disease, or managing chronic conditions. Modern medicine relies on a complex set of subfields such as biochemistry, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, and epidemiology. As a result, medical professionals are needed to fill clinical, technical, and supporting roles.

Throughout history, medical advancements have allowed practitioners to better treat their patients. Without the discovery of germ theory, for instance, the medical field would not understand the importance of sterilizing surgical equipment. Technology has also played a large role in the development of modern medicine. Today, machines are responsible for many diagnoses and treatment plans. Telemedicine makes it possible to track patient progress. With proper medical care, patients can enjoy a better quality of life.Footnote 1

For individuals interested in a medical career, it can be helpful to first learn about medicine from a general standpoint. You can also build essential soft skills, such as strong communication, time management, empathy, and attention to detail.Footnote 2 While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some roles, others may require advanced training or education, such as a master’s degree or Ph.D. Your complete educational path will largely depend on the type of medicine you are interested in practicing.

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Online medical course curriculum 

The first step toward a medical career is learning the basics. Introductory classes may cover medical terminology and anatomy, which can help you gain a general understanding of the human body and serve as a useful reference in subsequent classes. You may also encounter coursework on topics such as epidemiology, physiology, health assessments, and pharmacology, depending on your focus area. 

Working within the field of medicine requires extensive study and practice. For example, if you want to become a physician, you will need to plan your coursework around attending medical school. Earning a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, physical sciences, or a related topic can prepare you for more advanced coursework.

However, medical school is not the only route into the medical field. Even if you already have a bachelor’s degree, online medical courses can help you build knowledge and skills that can be applied to a career in this field. edX offers a variety of options for learners of all experience levels, allowing you to tailor the education you need to achieve your goals. 

Jobs in medicine 

Medical careers span a variety of subfields, each with its own set of roles and skills required. Fields that you can specialize in include:

  • Dermatology: a medical subfield that focuses on the condition of a patient’s hair, skin, nails, and mucous membranes.

  • General surgery: a medical subfield that performs surgical procedures in the care and treatment of a patient.

  • Internal medicine: a medical subfield that diagnoses and treats medical conditions affecting patients both internally and externally.

  • Neurology: a medical subfield that primarily deals with the function of the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding structures.

  • Pediatrics: a medical subfield that is concerned with the health and wellbeing of children from birth to young adulthood.

  • Sports medicine: a medical subfield that diagnoses and treats injuries and conditions related to sports activities.

Not all jobs in medicine require candidates to attend medical school. Explore job listings for roles you’re interested in to determine the educational, skills, licensing, and certification requirements to work in the field. You can then find the educational pathway that aligns with your career aspirations. Get started learning with edX today. 

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