Diplomate of National Board

Duration: 3 Years
Level: Post Graduation
Type: Degree
Eligibility: M.B.B.S.

Diplomate of National Board, D.N.B., DNB India to be more specific, is a name/title given to Post Graduate Degree Courses and Post Doctoral Courses pertaining to various medical disciplines. The term DNB doesn’t stand for a single medical course but it is General Title for the course. There are separate courses for different medical fields which can be divided into Two Categories – DNB (Broad Specialities) and DNB (Super Specialities). The Age limit to pursue a DNB (Broad Specialities) course is up to 50 years). The duration of the course is 3 years of training/part time (minimum 20 hrs per week in 3 years). During training DNB candidates perform clinical work, maintain records, and perform emergency duties and other required duties. They are posted by rotation at various places and are also required to participate in academic meetings, present cases, reviews, seminars etc. Their work, knowledge, and skills are in this way periodically evaluated. DNB trainees are also provided stipend during training period. There are more than 149 recognized Medical Colleges, in addition to over 325 accredited institutions which impart DNB in various specialties and super specialties. There are 42 medical disciplines identified by the Board for which approved training courses are available as of 2011.

Diplomate of National Board is conducted by National Board of Examinations (NBE). National Board of Examinations is an autonomous body directly under the control of the Central Government. NBE was established in 1975 by the Government of India for improving the quality of the Medical Education by establishing high and uniform standards of postgraduate examinations in modern medicine on an all India basis. The setting up of a National Body to conduct postgraduate medical examination was intended to provide a common standard and mechanism of evaluation of minimum level of attainment of the objective for which postgraduate courses were started in medical institutions. The Medical Council of India (stands to be abolished as of 2011) has laid down standards for postgraduate examinations conducted by various medical colleges and affiliated to concerned universities.

Diplomate in national board qualifications are at par with the postgraduate and post doctorate degrees awarded by other Indian Universities for all purposes including appointment to teaching posts as lecturer/Assistant Professor by the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; vide their notifications issued from time to time. DNB holders are therefore eligible to be considered for specialist’s post/faculty in any Hospital including a training/teaching institution on a teaching post as faculty member. Though DNB is considered equivalent to MD/MS, most of populace is not familiar with it as DNB is a few years old as compared to MD/MS. Most of the candidates who are unable to acquire any MD/MS seat join DNB.


DNB Broad Specialties Eligibility

DNB Broad Specialties

Eligibility Criteria

DNB Anatomy

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Physiology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Biochemistry

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Pathology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Microbiology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Forensic Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Pharmacology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB General Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Paediatrics

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Psychiatry

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Radio Therapy

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Radio Diagnosis

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Anaesthesiology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Dermatology & Venereology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Respiratory Diseases

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Nuclear Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB General Surgery

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Obstetrics & Gynaecology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Ophthalmology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Otorhinoaryngology

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Social & Preventive Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Health Administration including Hospital Administration

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Family Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

DNB Immunohematology & Transfusion Medicine

MBBS or Equivalent + DNB-CET

  • Only those candidates who have passed MBBS, completed one-year internship and passed CET will be registered for DNB training in Broad Specialties.
  • Broad Specialties Entrance Examination – DNB CET-NBE. A candidate needs to clear the Centralized Entrance Test (CET- NBE) for entry to the DNB Broad Specialties. DNB CET is validity for 2 years.
  • A merit list based on performance of candidate out of 360 marks is published in order of merit subject to a minimum score of 50%, i.e. 180 out of 360 is a successful candidate.
  • Candidates declared pass in CET examinations have to register online to participate in the centralized counseling for admission to DNB courses conducted by the National Board of Examinations
  • The seats are allotted through the merit based centralized counseling wherein candidates can opt for a seat from the available seats on the basis of merit obtained by them in the examination. The candidates will be able to choose the subject in order of merit.
  • Candidates can appear for counseling in different subjects provided they have filled the application form and paid the fees for the subjects separately. If a candidate has accepted and paid fees for a seat in a particular subject and then opts for another seat, (in which a vacancy is created) his/her admission fees will be transferred for that subject.


DNB Eligibility

Candidates who are in possession of Medical degrees from Foreign Universities and possess permanent registration certificate issued by the Medical Council of India/State Medical Council and have completed one year of internship on or before the last date of submission of the application form.

Candidates who are in possession of a Provisional Registration certificate issued by the Medical Council of India/State Medical Council and are likely to complete their one year of Internship before the last date of submission of the application form are also eligible to apply for the CET, subject to their submitting a certificate from the Head of the Hospital/Institution that they are likely to complete their one year of Internship on or before the examinations.

Provisional Documents: Submission of Internship Completion Certificate and Certificate of Permanent registration with MCI/SMC is an essential pre-requisite.


DNB Syllabus

Diplomate of National Board syllabus is dependent on the choice of specialisation on has opted for. However, the basic framework of the syllabus is similar. DNB has a well structured curriculum which is revised periodically to incorporate newer topics and introduce more innovative training methods. There are lists of skills in various procedures/ surgical techniques which a DNB candidate must acquire during the training, reference and text books as well as the journals in the speciality. The curriculum also gives sample theory questions and common cases for practical skill assessment during training every six months in the form of concurrent assessment. The guidelines for thesis and maintenance of log book to record day to day activities carried out by the candidates are also given. Students are trained about proper history taking, clinical examination, advising/ ordering relevant investigations, their interpretation and instituting medical / surgical management, by posting the candidates in OPD, specialty clinics, wards, operation theatres, labour room, family planning clinics and other relevant departments. The candidates are trained to manage all emergency situations which are often dealt on day to day basis.


DNB Course Structure (Broad Specialties)


Academic Sessions / Lectures – Certain days are reserved in a week for these sessions, which can be 3 or 4 days a week. A DNB Training institute informs the candidates from time to time in this matter.


Seminars and Case Discussions - A DNB Seminar and a case presentation per week are exclusively held for the DNB students. A DNB Training institute informs the candidates from time to time.


Paper Presentations - Every student has to select a topic in consultation with the program coordinator and submit a paper for presentation in a state / national conference.


Audits / Projects - Students should choose at least one project topic within two months of joining. Selection of the research topic should be done in consultation with the advice of the program coordinator. Before the initiation of the project it needs to have an approval from the Institutional Review Board (Ethics committee). The more projects you have, the better it is. Project work should be completed within 6 months of starting so that it can be presented in-house or in conferences or can be submitted for publication.


Thesis / Research Project - A thesis topic has to be decided and approved within one month of joining the programme.

  • A guide from among the Consultants is allotted to the student.
    The student is then responsible to the assigned consultant for her thesis work and log book
  • All students are expected to complete the thesis and submit it to the hospital / National Board 6 months before the final examination.
  • A thesis update has to be submitted to programme coordinator every month.


Conferences / Workshops - The Fellow will be allowed the opportunity to attend one conference / workshop held outside the institute. If a paper is accepted for presentation, then the registration fee, travel and accommodation / daily expenses will be reimbursed by the institute. Before applying for a conference students will have to obtain permission from the Academics In-charge and the Director of the Institute.

  • Not more than two students/Registrars from the hospital will be sent to a conference at a given time.
  • No Abstract for paper presentation can be sent without routing it through the Academics Department / Director’s approval.


Teaching- The individual should learn the basic methodology of teaching using various audio-visual aids available and he/she should have conducted clinical demonstrations for under-graduate students/nurses/para-medical staff etc.



Guidelines for Writing Thesis/Dissertation

Research forms an integral part of the education programme of all candidates registered for Diplomat of NB degrees of the Board. The Basic aim of requiring the candidates to write a thesis/dissertation is to familiarize him/her with research methodology. The members of the faculty guiding the thesis/dissertation work for the candidate shall ensure that the subject matter selected for the thesis/dissertation is feasible, economical and original.

Length - The thesis may be normally restricted to the size to 100 pages.

Title - Should be brief, clear and focus on the relevance of the topic.

Introduction - Should state the purpose of study, mention lacunae in current knowledge and enunciate the Hypothesis, if any.

Objectives of the study- should be specific, clear cut and measurable.

Review of Literature – Should be relevant, complete and current to date.

Material and Methods- Should include the type of study (prospective, retrospective, controlled double blind) details of material & experimental design procedure used for data collection & statistical methods employed; statement of limitations ethical issues involved.

Observations – Should be organized in readily identifiable sections having correct analysis of data be presented in appropriate charts, tables, graphs & diagram etc. These should be statistically interpreted.

Discussion- Observations of the study should be discussed and compared with other research studies. The discussion should highlight original findings and should also include suggestion for future.


Summary and Conclusion

Bibliography - Should be correctly arranged in Vancouver pattern.

Appendix - All tools used for data collection such as questionnaire, interview schedules, observation check lists etc should be put in the annexure.


Rules for Submission of Thesis/ Dissertation by candidates for DNB

(i) The protocol of Thesis/ Dissertation should be submitted to the office of the NBE through head of the institutions within three (3) months of joining the training in Medical college/university/DNB accredited institution.

(ii) No correspondence will be made in regard to acceptance of the protocol except only in the case of rejected protocols for which individual will be informed by office through mail/website.

(iii) The guide will be a recognized PG teacher in Medical college or university or NBE Accredited institutions. The teacher should have the experience of 5 years in speciality after obtaining the post graduate degree. The certificate of PG teaching and being Guide recognized by University/NBE must be enclosed along with thesis/dissertation. The Guide can guide one MD/MS candidate and one university diploma candidate desirous of taking the DNB examination, or one direct NBE candidate. Total number of candidates should be two including all sources.

(iv) Candidates who will be appearing in the subject under the heading Super Speciality (like Cardiology & Cardio Thoracic Surgery etc.) need not write their thesis/dissertation if they have already written their thesis during their MD/MS/NBE examinations. However they have to submit a proof in support of their having written thesis during their MD/MS examination.

(v) If the candidates appearing in the broad specialities have already written their thesis in the MD/MS examination, they need not submit the thesis/dissertation. However they are required to submit a copy of the letter accepting the thesis by the University.

(vi) If thesis is rejected or needs to be modified for acceptance, the Board will return it to the candidate with suggestion of assessors in writing for modification. The result of such candidate will be kept pending till the thesis is modified or rewritten, accordingly as the case may be and accepted by the assessors of the Board.

(vi) If any unethical practice is detected in work of the Thesis, the same is liable to be rejected. Such candidates are also liable to face disciplinary action as may be decided by the Board.

(vii) The thesis is to be submitted 6 MONTHS before the commencement of the DNB examination. Theory result of the candidates whose thesis/dissertation is accepted by the Board will be declared.


DNB Evaluation

Each student is evaluated every month by the programme coordinator. The evaluation forms should be collected from the Academics Department and be evaluated by the respective consultant at the end of every month. The filled in form should be submitted to the Academics Department before the 10th of each month.

Consultant Evaluation: The student gets the opportunity to evaluate the consultant with whom she is posted each month. The forms should be collected from the Academics Department and submitted after evaluation by 10th of every following month.

Log Books: The log books are to be collected from the Academics Department at the time of joining. The log books have to be signed by doctors and the update has to be submitted every month at the time of monthly evaluation. Please collect the update form from the department.

Assessments/ Examinations - The purpose of the concurrent assessment is to give regular feed back to the DNB candidates about their performance and to prepare them for the final terminal examination by giving them exposure to the examination pattern. As a part of the concurrent evaluation, the DNB candidates will be assessed every six months by an independent local appraiser selected by National Board of Examinations. This would include theory examination (100 marks of three hours duration) containing 10 short structured question related to the topics covered during the preceding six months by the accredited hospital/institution.


DNB Broad Specialities Examination Details

a) Theory Exam:

I. The theory exam comprises of four papers, maximum marks 100 each.

II. There is 10 short notes of 10 mark each, in each of the papers. The number of short notes and their respective marks weight-age may vary in some subjects/some papers.

III. Maximum time permitted is 3 hours.

IV. Candidate must score at least 50% in the aggregate of 4 papers to qualify the theory exam.

V. Candidates who have qualified the theory exam are permitted to take up the practical exam.

b) Practical Exam:

I. Maximum Marks: 300.

II. Comprises of Clinical Examination and Viva.

III. Candidate must obtain a minimum of 50 % marks in the Clinical Examination (including Viva) to qualify for the Practical exam.

IV. There are a maximum of three attempts that can be availed by a candidate for Practical Exam.

V. First attempt is the practical exam following immediately after the declaration of theory results.

VI. Second and Third attempt in practical examination shall be permitted out of the next three sessions of practical examinations placed along with the next three successive theory exam sessions; after payment of full examination fees as may be prescribed by the Board.

VII. Absentation from Practical Exam is counted as an attempt.

VIII. Appearance in first practical exam is compulsory. 


Guidelines & Instruction whilst pursuing DNB

  • The final exams or Exit Exams are taken Zone Wise
  • Thesis protocol should be submitted to NBE for approval within 3 months of joining.
  • Thesis should be sent to NBE for acceptance 6 months prior to final exams.
  • Thesis protocol is to be prepared under the guidance of the Guide. It is then reviewed by 3 hospital reviewers, at least one of which shall be from the department. The protocol along with the recommendations of the reviewers should be submitted to research committee chairman for approval. The thesis protocol should not be sent to NBE or work on thesis started without formal permission letter from research committee chairman.
  • A paper based on thesis must be sent for publication before training will be considered complete.
  • Candidate should maintain Logbook as prescribed and completed logbook is to be presented at the time of final practical examinations. Attendance as well as monthly evaluation / exam marks should also be entered in the logbook and counter- signature obtained monthly.
  • Attendance of above 75% should be maintained in academic meetings.
  • The candidate should periodically see the NBE website (www.natboard.nic.in) for their registration no., thesis protocol approval, roll number, thesis acceptance, results etc. and download & preserve information concerning these.
  • A trainee should also check the website for new rules and for changes in rules that may be applicable to them. NBE bulletins are published 6 monthly and should also be consulted for the same.
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