What are all of the 'sub-categories' what make up the field of medicine? E.g. physiology and anatomy.

I'm looking into lectures to learn so please list the fields, places for potential resources and a brief explanation of the field if you can.

Not looking to become a Doctor nor give advise/treatment, just out of curiosity so university is not necessary.

  • Welcome to health SE :-). List questions are usually frowned upon across the SE network, so it would be best to avoid them in the future. Thanks!
    – Lucky
    Sep 3 '16 at 1:55
  • Thank you for the warm welcome. Will do my best to avoid in future. Felt it was necessary in this case and also incredibly helpful.
    – Matt B
    Sep 7 '16 at 23:37

From my current personal experience at medical school, I would like to add following precisions to Carey Gregory's answer:

Before going into clinical practice and rotating in the different subspecialties listed by Carey Gregory in his answer, in general, medical students learn the “fundamentals” of medicine during the first years of medical school. This contains:

  • Human physiology (= the study of how living organisms works): this is divided into several “sections” (or modules): cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, uro-genital physiology (regulation of body fluid volume and composition), immunology, neuroscience, muskulo-skelettal system, sensory physiology, digestive physiology, endocrine physiology, digestive physiology, etc, reproductive physiology. One of our reference book is the “Human Physiology- The mechanisms of body function” by Vander et al but there are other books available on the topic.
  • Pathophysiology: this studies the impaired physiological mechanisms that lead to diseases. There are many books on pathophysiology. Our reference book is “Robbins Basic Pathology” by Kumar et al.
  • Anatomy/Neuroanatomy: There are many online available atlas which can be very useful. Otherwise we use the “Clinically Oriented Anatomy” by Moore. It contains some text which gives you the importance of your studied anatomy structure in clinically practice (which makes studying more interesting in my opinion)
  • Histology: this studies the organisation of cells and tissues using a microscope.
  • Histopathology: studies the impaired organisation of cells and tissues in diseases (with a microscope). Again, there are plenty of books, one commonly used is the “Histology- A text and atlas” by Ross et al
  • Pathology: macroscopic study of organs from patients with specific conditions. You can find some online atlas of pathology. Otherwise the Robbins (see under pathophysiology) is useful too.

I want to emphasise that those books are personal recommendations and that there are other books available on the market which are probably as good as my recommendations (or even better). Also you may wish to consider “Lecture Notes” on the topics, which are basically giving you a summary (when you want to have a quick overview)

Hope this brings some clarifications!

  • You've shared some incredible insights. Thank you so very much.
    – Matt B
    Sep 1 '16 at 2:26
  • I am glad it helped! See you soon again on Health SE. Cheers!
    – Felipe
    Sep 1 '16 at 12:16

The list of sub-categories in medicine is pretty much the same as the list of specialists in medicine. This list is fairly complete, although there are one or two specialties that aren't listed such as sports medicine, and some fields such as radiology have more than one type of specialist. But for your purposes, this should be accurate enough.


Allergist or Immunologist - conducts the diagnosis and treatment of allergic conditions.

Anesthesiologist - treats chronic pain syndromes; administers anesthesia and monitors the patient during surgery.

Cardiologist - treats heart disease

Dermatologist -treats skin diseases, including some skin cancers

Gastroenterologist - treats stomach disorders

Hematologist/Oncologist - treats diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues (oncology including cancer and other tumors)

Internal Medicine Physician - treats diseases and disorders of internal structures of the body.

Nephrologist - treats kidney diseases.

Neurologist - treats diseases and disorders of the nervous system.

Neurosurgeon - conducts surgery of the nervous system.

Obstetrician - treats women during pregnancy and childbirth

Gynecologist - treats diseases of the female reproductive system and genital tract.

Nurse-Midwifery - manages a woman's health care, especially during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period.

Occupational Medicine Physician - diagnoses and treats work-related disease or injury.

Ophthalmologist - treats eye defects, injuries, and diseases.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon - surgically treats diseases, injuries, and defects of the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaws.

Orthopaedic Surgeon - preserves and restores the function of the musculoskeletal system.

Otolaryngologist (Head and Neck Surgeon) - treats diseases of the ear, nose, and throat,and some diseases of the head and neck, including facial plastic surgery.

Pathologist - diagnoses and treats the study of the changes in body tissues and organs which cause or are caused by disease

Pediatrician - treats infants, toddlers, children and teenagers.

Plastic Surgeon - restores, reconstructs, corrects or improves in the shape and appearance of damaged body structures, especially the face.

Podiatrist - provides medical and surgical treatment of the foot.

Psychiatrist - treats patients with mental and emotional disorders.

Pulmonary Medicine Physician - diagnoses and treats lung disorders.

Radiation Onconlogist - diagnoses and treats disorders with the use of diagnostic imaging, including X-rays, sound waves, radioactive substances, and magnetic fields.

Diagnostic Radiologist - diagnoses and medically treats diseases and disorders of internal structures of the body.

Rheumatologist - treats rheumatic diseases, or conditions characterized by inflammation, soreness and stiffness of muscles, and pain in joints and associated structures

Urologist - diagnoses and treats the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive system

  • The other users answer was much closer to what I was looking for however this is a great list still very relevant. Thank you so much Carey.
    – Matt B
    Sep 1 '16 at 2:27
  • @MattB Glad you found what you were looking for!
    – Carey Gregory
    Sep 1 '16 at 3:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.