Diplomate in National Board ( DNB ) Introduction

DNB Diplomate in National Board - The Government of India established the National Board of Examinations (NBE) in 1975 with the objective of improving the quality of the Medical Education by establishing high and uniform standards of postgraduate examinations in modern medicine on an all India basis and utilizing existing infrastructure for capacity building.

NBE at present conducts postgraduate and postdoctoral examinations in approved specialties leading to the award of Diplomate of National Board.

The Examinations conducted by NBE provide a common standard and mechanism of evaluation of the minimum level of attainment of the knowledge and competencies in the medical discipline. Moreover, intra country and international comparisons are facilitated with the availability of common evaluation mechanism.

Diplomate National Board qualifications are well recognized and accepted as high standard specialist qualifications for the practice of the concerned medical discipline of super or sub-specialties area. Diplomate National Board (DNB) is a full-time 3-year post-graduation level program.

Please Note: Those candidates who have undergone DNB training in an institution which now runs MCI recognized postgraduate degree courses in a given subject, their DNB qualifications shall be considered at par with MCI recognized qualifications in that subject only.

Diplomate National Board (DNB): What is it About?

Diplomate National Board (DNB) is a program equivalent to that of the post-graduate and post-doctoral program in the field of medicine. This program provides the students the same stature as that of MD and MS. The program is divided into two sub-categories which includes DNB in Broad Specialities and DNB in Super Specialists.

Candidates of DNB have wider prospects in the career stream as they can join as specialists and faculty members in reputed government and private agencies. The program serves all the purposes of enabling student gain all-round knowledge about the specialized field. Candidates are skilled in carrying on academic meetings, reviews, seminars, managing records as well as performing emergency duties.

The course is set with the aim of monitoring and evaluating the skill of the students before they are competent enough to turn up as professional doctors specializing in different medical domains.


  • Candidates must be in possession of MBBS degree/Provisional Pass Certificate recognized as per the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and possess permanent / provisional registration certificate of MBBS qualification issued by the Medical Council of India/ State Medical Council.
  • Candidate must have completed one year of internship on or before 31st March of the current academic year.
  • Must have Qualified NEET PG Entrance Exam.

List of broad specialties for DNB

DNB Radio Diagnosis
DNB Dermatology and Venereology
DNB Respiratory Diseases
DNB General Medicine
DNB Paediatrics
DNB Psychiatry
DNB Radio Therapy
DNB Anaesthesiology
DNB Nuclear Medicine
DNB Family Medicine
DNB Forensic Medicine
DNB Biochemistry
DNB Obstetrics and Gynaecology
DNB Orthopedic Surgery
DNB General Surgery
DNB Ophthalmology
DNB Pathology
DNB Microbiology
DNB Pharmacology
DNB Emergency Medicine
DNB Physiology
DNB Social and Preventive medicine

Comparison of MD and DNB Degree

Entry examination for both DNB and MD/MS program is through a national level centralized entrance test (Combined NEET PG entrance by NBE) with centralized counseling. Duration of both the courses is 3 years, run in both government and private set up with similar quality standard of the host institute, similar academic activities, compulsory thesis work of 1 year duration under a qualified thesis guide with external review process (exposure to research methodology), and academic activities (library and journal facility, presentation in national and international conferences, research article publication, training program, workshop, and CME).

Clinical activity in both the courses is similar with respect to emergency case handling, surgical exposure, clinical case discussion, case exposure, availability of equipment and diagnostic tool, patient load to be handled, duty hour, night duty, leave entitled including maternity leave and other facilities. Regarding the exit examination, in MD course, theory and practical examination is conducted in host institute; in practical examination, both internal (high chance of bias in evaluation process) and external examiners are present.

Furthermore, passing theory examination is not an essential criterion of eligibility to appear in the practical examination. While DNB exit examination is an unbiased, extremely tough evaluation process both in theory and practical (conducted in different center without the presence of internal examiner) with only 30–35% pass percentage. Passing theory examination is essential criteria to appear in practical examination showing superiority of the DNB candidates As at the time of entry to the course, the courses were equivalent (also equivalent as per government norms) and students joined DNB even leaving PG seats in MD/MS course to get their branch of interest.

Suddenly making non-equivalent is injustice to the students who joined DNB course. In earlier job interviews, the advertisements mentioned MD/MS/DNB, which implied their equivalence in government settings. Many DNB students are working as faculty in Government Medical Colleges and they are holding important positions in medical college as clinician and academician.
Comparison between MD and DNB courses
Criteria Subcriteria MD/MS DNB
Joining criteria Joining in DNB After MBBS After MBBS
Centrally conducted entrance examination Centrally conducted entrance examination
Centrally conducted counseling Centrally conducted counseling for admission
NET board NET board
Duration 3 years 3 years
Postdiploma courses 2 years 2 years
Host institutes Type of host institute Government and private Government and private
Quality of host institutes Government Medical Colleges: good Government Institutes: Good
private medical colleges: Many are very good, but many are of questionable quality with very less patient load private institutes: Very good with high end facilities and patient load, as the NET board is very stringent regarding the institutes
Academic activity Departmental Journal clubs Yes Yes
Journal club presentation by candidates Yes Yes
Departmental seminars Yes Yes
Seminar presentation by candidates Yes Yes
Case presentation and discussion Yes Yes
Library and journal facility Yes Yes
Attending CME Yes Yes
Thesis work Number of thesis 1 1
Ethical clearance Required Required
Quality of thesis Similar Similar
External review of thesis Yes Yes
Thesis is an important part of academic activity Yes Yes
Thesis guide Educational status of guide MD/MS/DNB or above MD/MS/DNB or above
Clinical expertise and knowledge of the guide As the promotion is time duration based, and is non-dependent on the expertise or clinical accuracy, anybody doing job for a reasonable degree of time can be a guide In DNB settings, as promotion and other activities in private sectors are dependent on clinical expertise or performance in the respective field, only faculty with high quality can be guide
Presentation in national and international conferences Yes Yes
Research article publication Yes Yes
Final examination examiner Internal and external. As the internal examiner is from the same institute, high chance of bias in examination results and proper evaluation of the candidate Only external, no internal. This ensures no bias in examination result and proper evaluation of the candidate and only eligible candidates pass
Clinical activity equivalence Emergency case handling Yes Yes
Surgical exposure Similar Similar
Clinical case discussion Yes Yes
Case exposure Yes Yes
Availability of equipment and diagnostic tool Similar Similar
Patient load to be handled Similar Similar
Night duty Yes Yes
Ward facilities Yes Yes
Teaching skill Similar to DNB Similar to MD. Many DNBs are already doing very well at par their MD colleagues as medical teacher in many medical institutes of repute.
Practitioner skill No difference with DNB No difference with MD
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