Entry requirements, skills and interests (general surgery)
This page provides useful information about the entry requirements needed for this specialty up to and including foundation training. It also includes information on the skills and interests you will need.
Before you train as a surgeon you must complete a degree in medicine and have obtained a MBBS or equivalent qualification. Find out about getting into medical school.
You then need to complete a two-year foundation programme and then two years of core training. After successfully completing your first year of foundation training you become eligible for registration as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC). Foundation training includes undertaking rotations in a range of specialties including surgery.
To find information about the Foundation Programme, visit our applying for foundation training page.
Once you have completed your foundation programme you need to complete core surgical training and ST3 specialty training in general surgery.
Skills and interests
General surgeons need a blend of skills and personal qualities which include:
- a high degree of manual dexterity
- good hand-eye co-ordination, excellent vision and visuo-spatial awareness
- good organisational ability and effective decision-making skills
- excellent communication skills to deal with a wide range of colleagues, patients and their families
- emotional resilience, a calm temperament and the ability to work well under pressure
- physical stamina to cope with the demands of surgery
- the ability to lead and manage a team effectively
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you're applying for a university course funded by the NHS.