Medical experience in the Republic of Ireland

This page gives information on medical training routes in the Republic of Ireland, including undergraduate medical degrees, the intern year and specialist training programmes. You can also find out how to apply.

If you are interested in medical training in Ireland, the following information will give you an overview. It is important to use the links provided to contact the relevant medical bodies in Ireland to confirm details relating to your own personal circumstances. You should also note that the following information has not been verified by these bodies.

  • An undergraduate medical degree in Ireland is typically five to six years long. A four year graduate entry route is possible for those with an honours degree of 2:1 or above.  A list of institutions in Ireland offering undergraduate medical degrees can be found on the Medical Council website  

  • After finishing medical studies, an intern year must be completed to gain full registration with the Irish Medical Council. The Intern year is considered to be the first year of postgraduate medical training. It is a doctor’s first full-time paid job in a clinical setting and is usually carried out in a teaching or university hospital linked to their medical school. Training is through intern networks led by network co-ordinators. These are consultants with responsibility for overseeing the educational programmes in their area. 

    Posts run for a minimum of 12 months and should include:

    • at least three months in general medicine
    • three months in general surgery
    • two to four months in other specialties recognised by the Medical Council

    All Intern posts are approved by the Medical Council and governed by the Health Service Executive. On successful completion of the Intern year the Certificate of Experience is awarded by the Medical Council. This  is needed to progress to further training in Ireland and is required for registration in most other countries. It allows trainees to apply to the trainee specialist division or general division of the Register of Medical Practitioners.

    Can graduates from UK medical schools apply for Intern Training in Ireland?

    Yes. You can find eligibility criteria and the internship application process on the Health Service Executive website. Information on Intern training can also be found on The Irish Medical Council website. On completion of the Intern year in Ireland you will have full GMC registration.

    How do I apply?

    There are two stages to the application:

    • Stage 1 - determines eligibility
    • Stage 2 - application stage

    On your application you will need to list up to 20 Intern Training Networks in order of preference. Matching to intern posts is based on a centile provided by your medical school. There is no second round of offers, so you will need to accept your allocated post or reapply the following year. You cannot defer an offer. If you are not matched you are put on a reserve list.

    Those who have graduated from a non-English-speaking country will have to provide an English Language Proficiency Test Certificate (dated within the last two years), such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with a minimum standard score of 6.5 in each section and an overall band score of 7.0.

    Is it then possible to return to the UK to continue with specialty training?

    If you wish to return to the UK after completing the Intern Year (after being awarded The Certificate of Experience) you will need to do a further year of postgraduate training in a recognised programme, to be eligible to apply for UK specialty training. In effect this would mean a stand-alone F2 year or Locum Appointed to Training (LAT). Be careful, not all LAT posts will enable you to meet the required competencies to gain the Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC)*. Potential LAT posts should be discussed with your educational supervisor or foundation programme director to ensure the post is approved and enables you to complete the requirements of the foundation programme.

    *NB until August 2016 this was called the Foundation Achievement of Competency Document (FACD).

    Further information

  • On successful completion of registration with the Medical Council of Ireland further training is required towards specialisation.

    There are over forty programmes of specialist training in Ireland that you can choose from, delivered by thirteen recognised training bodies, as follows:

    There is a mix of formal education and vocational training. The full length of training can vary between four and seven years.

    First stage – two to three years

    You will follow one of these three routes depending on the specialist programme you choose:

    • Basic Specialist Training (BST)
    • Basic Surgical Training (BST)
    • General Professional Training (GPT)

    Once successfully passed you are awarded a Certificate of Completion.

    Second Stage– four to six years dependent on chosen career path

    This is called Higher Specialist Training (HST)

    There is a competitive application process for HST

    On completion you are awarded the Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training (CSCST). You can then apply to the Medical Council of Ireland for entry to the Register of Medical Specialists and apply for consultant posts.

  • Can UK trainee doctors apply to specialist training in Ireland?

    Trainees who have completed the Foundation programme in the UK can in some cases apply directly to basic specialist training in Ireland if they meet the entry requirements. Use the contact details below to explore this further.

    Specialist training programmes

    Medicine

    Basic Specialist Training (BST) – two years

    Accredited by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

    There are four pathways:

    • general internal medicine
    • paediatrics
    • obstetrics and gynaecology
    • histopathology

    BST is required to progress on to Higher Medical Training in the following specialist areas:

    • cardiology
    • chemical pathology
    • clinical microbiology
    • clinical pharmacology and therapeutics
    • dermatology
    • endocrinology
    • gastroenterology
    • general paediatrics
    • general internal medicine
    • genito-urinary medicine
    • geriatric medicine
    • haematology
    • immunology
    • infectious disease
    • medical oncology
    • microbiology
    • nephrology
    • obstetrics and gynaecology
    • occupational medicine
    • palliative medicine
    • public health medicine
    • rheumatology

    Surgery

    Basic Surgical Training (BST) – two years

    Accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland

    BST is required to progress to Higher Medical Training in the following specialist areas:

    • cardiothoracic surgery
    • general surgery
    • neurosurgery
    • oral and maxillofacial surgery
    • otolaryngology head and neck surgery
    • paediatric surgery
    • plastic surgery
    • trauma and orthopaedic surgery
    • urology

    General Professional Training (GPT) – two to three years

    Accredited by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

    GPT is required to progress to Higher Medical Training in:

    • histopathology
    • neurology
    • renal medicine
    • respiratory medicine

    Anaesthesia

    Two years' Basic Specialist Training followed by five years' Higher Specialist Training

    Details available from The Royal College of Anaesthetists of Ireland

    Emergency medicine

    Three years' GPT + relevant professional diploma followed by five years' Higher Specialist Training

    Details available from The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland

    General practice

    Four years’ specialist training. This consists of:

    • two years' hospital specialties including medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, A&E and ENT
    • two years in a GP setting

    Apply via the Irish College of General Practitioners.

    Ophthalmology

    Three years' Basic Specialist Training followed by one-and-a-half years' Higher Specialist Training

    Further information is available from the Irish College of Ophthalmologists

    Psychiatry

    Three to four years' GPT followed by three to four years' Higher Specialist Training.

    Further information from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland

    Rehabilitation medicine

    Two years’ GPT which should include patient contact in all rotations. Three of these should show exposure to acute problems and two should involve acute unselected medical intake. This is followed by a minimum of four years' Higher Specialist Training.

    Further information from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

    Radiology

    Four years' basic radiology training followed by one year in a subspecialty area such as:

    • interventional radiology
    • breast radiology
    • nuclear medicine
    • cross sectional imaging
    • paediatric radiology

    The Faculty of Radiologists in Ireland has further details.

    Sports and exercise medicine

    There is no Higher Specialist Training Scheme at present and there will be limited posts available once training has been approved.

    Further information can be found from the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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