Entry requirements, skills and interests (clinical oncology)

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.

Entry requirements

Before you train as a clinical oncologist you must complete a degree in medicine and have obtained a MBBS or equivalent qualification. Find out more about getting into medical school.

You then need to complete a two-year foundation programme followed by two or three 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.

Skills and interests

Clinical oncologists need:

  • a high level of compassion, sensitivity and empathy to treat people with cancer
  • an interest in the pathology and biology of cancers and radiation physics
  • an interest in the pharmacology of systemic cancer therapies
  • emotional resilience to help patients during very difficult times
  • the ability to work well in a team and to manage others effectively
  • excellent communication skills to deal with patients and colleagues
  • an interest in cancer research, statistics and new technologies

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.

Find out more about NHS values.

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