Diplomate of National Board (DNB)


Diplomate of National Board or the D.N.B. as it is popularly called is the name given to post graduate degree courses and post-doctoral courses pertaining to the various disciplines in medicine. D.N.B. does not stand for any single medical course, it is a general title for a course attached with a particular specialisation. The specializations/courses in D.N.B. can be divided into two categories: Broad Specialities and Super Specialities.

The D.N.B. is conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The NBE is an autonomous body under the Central Government established in 1975. The purpose behind establishing NBE was to improve the quality of medical education by laying down high quality norms & standards for postgraduate medicine examinations across the country. The advantage of such norms was to have uniform standards & mechanisms for evaluation of the minimum level of attainment of the objective for which PG medical courses were started.

D.N.B. courses are considered to be at par with the other postgraduate and post doctorate degrees for all intents and purposes including for employment opportunities. D.N.B. degree holding candidates are therefore also eligible to be considered for a specialist’s position or as a faculty in any hospital.

Although it is at par with MD/MS courses, most of the candidates appearing for postgraduate medical programs are not familiar with it as it is only a few years old, whereas MD/MS programs have been around for a long time. It is a common practice for candidates who fail to secure an MD/MS seat to look for opportunities in D.N.B.

Age limit

The upper age limit to pursue a D.N.B. course if 50 years.


The duration of the D.N.B. course is 3 years of training (a minimum training of 20 hours per week in 3 years).


During the D.N.B. course students perform a wide array of clinical work, emergency duties and also expected to maintain records. They are normally posted in various locations and are required to participate in meetings (mostly academic in nature), present case studies, and participate/conduct reviews & seminars. Throughout the course, their skills & competence are constantly tested/evaluated.


D.N.B. trainees are provided with a stipend during their training period.

D.N.B. specialities

To be eligible to apply for any D.N.B. specialities, it is mandatory to complete MBBS or equivalent and qualify the DNB-CET examination.

  • DNB Anatomy
  • DNB Emergency Medicine
  • DNB Field Epidemiology
  • DNB Immunohematology & Transfusion Medicine
  • DNB Rural Surgery
  • DNB Endocrinology
  • DNB Hematology
  • DNB Medical Genetics
  • DNB Neonatology
  • DNB Peripheral Vascular Surgery
  • DNB Rheumatology
  • DNB Neurosurgery
  • DNB Paediatric Surgery
  • DNB Neurology
  • DNB Gastroenterology
  • DNB Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • DNB Plastic Surgery
  • DNB Genito-Urinary Surgery
  • DNB Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • DNB Surgical Gastroenterology
  • DNB Surgical Oncology
  • DNB Thoracic Surgery
  • DNB Physiology
  • DNB Biochemistry
  • DNB Pathology
  • DNB Microbiology
  • DNB Forensic Medicine
  • DNB Maternal Child Health
  • DNB Nephrology
  • DNB Cardiology
  • DNB Pharmacology
  • DNB General Medicine
  • DNB Paediatrics
  • DNB Psychiatry
  • DNB Radiotherapy
  • DNB Radio Diagnosis
  • DNB Anaesthesiology
  • DNB Dermatology & Venereology
  • DNB Orthopaedics
  • DNB Respiratory Diseases
  • DNB Nuclear Medicine
  • DNB General Surgery
  • DNB Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • DNB Ophthalmology
  • DNB Otorhinolaryngology
  • DNB Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • DNB Social & Preventive Medicine
  • DNB Health Administration including Hospital Administration
  • DNB Family Medicine
  • DNB Immunohematology & Transfusion Medicine

Important points

  • For entry into Broad Specialities, the candidates need to qualify the D.N.B. CET exam. The CET scores are valid for a year.
  • A merit list based on the candidate’s performance in the examination will be published subject to a minimum score of 50%.
  • Those candidates who qualify the CET examination can register online to participate in the counselling for admission to D.N.B. courses, conducted by the NBE.
  • The counselling is centralised in nature and seats are alloted only on the basis of merit. The candidates can choose their subject/specialisation based on their merit.
  • Candidates have the option to register (submit the application and pay the fee) for different specialisations, provided they complete the registration process for each specialisation. If a candidate gets accepted and pays fees for a seat in a subject and then opts for a different seat, their admission fee automatically gets transferred to that subject.


Candidates must have completed their M.B.B.S. degree, the one-year of mandatory internship and should have qualified the D.N.B. - CET exam.

Those candidates who possess a Provisional Registration certificate issued by the MCI/State Medical Council and who are more than likely to complete their one year of mandatory internship before the last date of application form submission are also eligible to apply for the CET examination, subject to them submitting a certificate from the Head of the Institution/Hospital that they can complete their one year of mandatory internship on or before the examinations.

It is mandatory for candidates to submit their internship completion certificate and a certificate of permanent registration with MCI/State Medical Council.


Academic Sessions/Lectures3-4 days in a week is usually reserved for academic sessions. The institute usually informs the students well in advance.
Seminars and Case Discussions Every week, there will be a D.N.B. seminar and a case presentation, exclusively for the D.N.B. students. The institute usually keeps the students informed.
Paper PresentationsEach students in consultation with the program coordinator needs to select a topic and present a paper for presentation in a state-wide or nation-wide conference.
Audits/ProjectsIn consultation with the program coordinator, each students needs to choose at least one topic (the more the projects, the better) and have it approved by the Institutional Review Board/Ethics Committee. All projects must be completed within 6 months of starting so that they may be presented in conferences (both state and national), submitted to potential publishers or even presented in-house.
Thesis/Research ProjectStudents need to decide and get their thesis topics approved within one month of joining the D.N.B. course.
Each student is assigned a guide (from amongst the Consultants) and they are henceforth responsible for all of the student’s thesis work and log book.
Students are required to complete their thesis paper and submit it to the national board/hospital at least 6 months before the final examination.
Students need to submit an update to their thesis every month to the program coordinator.
Conferences/WorkshopsStudents whose papers are accepted to be presented to an external conference/workshop will have all their expenses (registration fee, travel, accommodation, daily expenses) reimbursed by the institute. However, before applying for such an external event, the students need to obtain permission from the Head of Academics and the DIrector of the institute.
An institute will not allow more than two students from the hospital for a conference at any given time.
Students need to rout any abstracts for paper presentations with the Academics department or the Director’s approval.
TeachingStudents must learn the basic methodology of teaching and should conduct clinical demonstrations for undergraduate students (including nurses and para-medical staff).

Guidelines for Writing Thesis/Dissertation

The whole point of making the thesis paper a mandatory part of all D.N.B. courses is to introduce the students to the various research methodologies. Research is a vital part of the entire D.N.B. course structure. The faculty members who guide the students ensure that each thesis paper is a feasible venture.

  • Length : The thesis papers are normally restricted to under 100 pages.
  • Title : The title of the these should always be clear, concise and must clearly explain the nature and relevance of the topic.
  • Introduction : The introduction must always state the purpose of the study, mention the gaps in the current understanding of the subject and be very clear about any hypothesis (if any).
  • Objectives of the study : Must always be clear, specific and as concise as possible. Objectives must also be easy to measure.
  • LReview of Literatureength : All the literature used must be relevant, complete and as latest as possible.
  • Material and Methods : The students need to clearly mention the type of study and details of any material and/or experimental design procedure and processes used for collection of data. Statistical methods (if any) used for data collection must also be clearly specified. The statement of limitations and any ethical issues involved should be made clear.
  • Observations : All observations must be organised in readily identifiable sections and have correct analysis of data that is generally presented using charts, graphs, tables and diagrams.
  • Discussion : All the observations of the study should be discussed and as best practice dictates it should be compared with other research studies. The observations must highlight the original finds and ideally must also make a suggestion for the future.

Rules for Submission of Thesis/ Dissertation by candidates for DNB

  • The protocol of the thesis should be submitted to the office of the NBE through the head of the institution within 3 months of joining the D.N.B. course.
  • If a student’s protocol is not accepted they will be informed via email by the institute.
  • The guides assigned to the students will be recognised postgraduate teachers in the medical college/university or any other NBE accredited institute with at least 5 years of experience in the specialisation post completion of the postgraduate degree. They must enclose the certificate of postgraduate teaching and being guide recognised by the university/NBE along with the thesis paper.
  • A guide can provide guidance to only one MD/MS candidate and one university diploma candidate (who wishes to take the D.N.B. exam) or one direct NBE candidate. The total number of candidates should be two, from all sources combined.
  • Candidates who appear for the super speciality subjects (ex: cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery) do not need to write a thesis paper if they have already done so during their MD/MS/NBE examinations. Such candidates must submit proof of them having completed their thesis paper.
  • If the candidates appearing in the broad specialities have written their thesis during their MD/MS examination, then they do not need to submit a thesis paper. Such candidates need to submit proof of having completed their thesis previously.
  • If a candidate’s thesis needs to be modified, the Board will return the thesis to the candidate with their suggestions in writing. Such candidates need to re-submit their thesis with the changes and get it approved by the assessors of the Board to complete their course.
  • If the Board detects any unethical practice in the thesis, then such work is liable to be rejected and the students may face disciplinary action as recommended by the Board.
  • The thesis paper must be submitted at least 6 months before the commencement of the D.N.B. examination. The theory results will be declared only of those candidates whose thesis paper has been accepted by the Board.

DNB Evaluation

Every student is evaluated by the program coordinator on a monthly basis. These evaluation forms must be collected from the respective departments and be evaluated by the consultants at the end of every month. The filled in form should ideally be submitted to the respective departments before the 10th of every month.

Consultant Evaluation : The students also get the chance to evaluate the consultant with whom they are posted (on a monthly basis). These forms need to be collected from the respective department and submitted after evaluation by the 10th of the every following month.

Log Books : Students need to collect their logbooks from the respective department at the time of course commencement. This logbook needs to be regularly signed by the doctors and updates need to submitted at the end of every month for monthly evaluation.

Assessments/ Examinations : The objective of the two-way assessment is simply to give them regular feedback about their performance and to prepare them for the end-term examination by exposing them to the pattern of the examination. As part of this concurrent evaluation the D.N.B. candidates will also be evaluated by an independent local appraiser every six months. This appraise will be selected by the NBE. The evaluation process would include a theory examination for a total of 100 marks.

DNB Broad Specialities Examination Details

  • Theory Exam :
    • 4 papers of 100 marks each.
    • 10 short notes of 10 marks each in each of these papers.
    • Maximum time permitted is 3 hours.
    • Candidates need to score at least 50% aggregate in the 4 papers to qualify the theory exam.
    • Only those candidates who qualify the theory exam are permitted to take up the practical exam.
  • Practical Exam :
    • Total marks 300.
    • Consists of both clinical examination and viva and candidates must obtain 50% marks in both to qualify the practical exam.
    • Candidates have a maximum of 3 attempts to clear the practical exam.
    • Being absent from the practical exam is counted as an attempt.
    • Appearance in the first practical exam is mandatory.

Guidelines & Instruction whilst pursuing DNB

  • Final exams or end term examinations are conducted on a zonal level.
  • Post 3 months of joining a DNB course, the candidate must submit the Thesis protocol to NBE for approval.
  • 6 months prior to the final exam or end term the thesis must be sent to NBE for acceptance.
  • Under the guidance of a Guide a thesis protocol has to be prepared which is then reviewed by 3 hospital experts, where at least one will from the department. Along with the recommendations of the experts the protocol must be submitted to the research committee chairman for approval.
  • Without a formal letter of permission form the chairman, the work on the thesis must not be started or be sent to the NBE.
  • Training will be considered complete only once the paper based on the thesis is sent for publication.
  • All candidates must maintain their logbooks in the prescribed manner and present it for the final practical examinations.
  • Attendance and monthly evaluation scores also have to be entered in the logbook and must be countersigned.
  • Candidates must maintain more than 75% attendance in academic meetings.
  • Candidates must always keep a watch on the official NBE website to see the progress of their thesis paper, registration number, roll number, thesis acceptance and their results.
  • It is strongly advised that candidates keep a copy of the above mentioned documents with them for safe-keeping.
  • Trainees must regularly check the website for any changes in the rules & regulations that may apply to them. NBE usually published the bulletins every 6 months and the candidates must consult this document as well.