There are three parts to the MRCP(UK) examination - Part 1, Part 2 (written), and Part 2 (clinical examination) - commonly referred to as 'Part 1', 'Part 2' (or 'Part 2 Written') and 'PACES'.
You must have at least Part 1 of the MRCP(UK) when applying. Normally it is a requirement to have the full MRCP(UK) by a set date before your post starts. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this requirement is being waived in 2021 and there will not be a requirement to have Part 2 Written or PACES before starting in post and these can be completed in ST3 if you accept an offer.
For information on the MRCP(UK) examination and its constituent parts, please visit the MRCP(UK) website .
While all specialties will accept the MRCP(UK) as a suitable postgraduate examination for ST3 entry, several will also accept applications from trainees who have undertaken alternative training pathways; and will thus accept alternative UK postgraduate examinations.
The specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated process which accept alternative training pathways: audiovestibular medicine, clinical genetics, clinical neurophysiology, dermatology, haematology, immunology, medical ophthalmology, palliative medicine, rehabilitation medicine and sport & exercise medicine.
The only postgraduate examination accepted by the other participating specialties is MRCP(UK).
For information on what alternative examinations your specialty accepts, please visit that specialty's page.
Please note that from 2022 recruitment, person specifications are changing regarding the EEA eligibility rules. The rules published here remain in place for the second round of 2021 recruitment. Please see our news item for information about the new rules.
In order to be considered eligible to apply for an ST3 medical specialty, candidates are ordinarily required to hold evidence of completion of the UK core medical training programme including the full MRCP(UK) diploma (or an alternative UK specialty examination for some specialties).
However, in accordance with EU directive 2005/36/EC (describing free movement of professionals) it is possible for certain individuals to provide alternate evidence in order to fulfil this requirement.
In order to support movement of professionals within the EEA, whist ensuring candidates are trained to an appropriate level to enter UK training at ST3, the following guidance must be demonstrated in order to be considered under directive 2005/36/EC, rather than need to have undertaken the MRCP(UK) or alternative.
This is an extremely complex area, so please read the guidance carefully if you wish to apply under these rules. Please click on the relevant heading for more information:
This term refers to the interpretation of EU directive 2005/36/EC (regarding free movement of professionals) within the field of medical recruitment.
The directive itself is a particularly large and complex document; but essentially, this describes the removal of obstacles to EEA nationals wishing to 'pursue a profession...in (an EEA) Member State other than the one in which they have obtained their professional qualifications.'
The qualification requirements within ST3 person specifications are set up with a primary focus on those which are available to UK trainees. This directive requires that consideration is given to EEA trainees who may have gained comparable training and qualifications in the EEA, but outside of the UK.
UK core medical trainees cannot fully complete their CMT programme until they gain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, as this examination is an exit requirement.
So if a trainee is considered to be at the same level as someone who has completed UK CMT, they could also be considered to be at the same level as someone who has gained the full MRCP(UK) examination.
If a candidate is in a position to apply to ST3 via the 'EEA eligibility' route, their training to date may be considered sufficient to meet the qualifications requirement. Therefore they may not need to gain the MRCP(UK) diploma to be eligible for ST3 recruitment.
This also applies to specialties which accept alternative UK specialty pathways and examinations (eg general practice or paediatrics).
Essentially if you are an EEA national, and you have trained:
- outside of the UK in another EEA nation;
- on a training programme which is comparable to the UK's core medical training (CMT) programme
- you are eligible for the GMC specialist register in general internal medicine
Then it may be possible for you to be considered as having achieved comparable training to someone who has completed CMT in the UK (from an ST3 recruitment perspective); and thus you may not need to gain the full MRCP(UK).
We have given clarification on what a training programme must contain to be considered comparable to UK core medical training. Your training programme must have met all of the below criteria, in addition to the points above, in order for you to be EEA eligible.
Training must have:
- been for at least two years in duration in a structured post-foundation level training programme
- involved rotation through at least four medical specialties with each rotation lasting at least three months
- involved a minimum of 12 months in specialties involving the care of acute medical in-patients
- required the completion of a general internal medicine examination, linked to the programme, which includes both a written and an observational assessment of clinical skills; this should be of a similar academic rigour as the MRCP(UK)
- included a formal assessment procedure of workplace-based assessment.
All time lengths refer to whole time equivalent. Details of what counts as medical specialty experience can be found on the experience page of our website.
Please note that to be eligible your training must have been completed by time of application. You cannot apply without the MRCP(UK) on the basis of EEA training which is due to finish after the application period.
This will depend on your training status to date, as below:
Completed CMT-comparable training
If you have completed a training programme which is comparable to the UK's CMT programme you need to provide evidence as below:
- details of how your training has met the criteria for being considered 'comparable' to UK core medical training, and
- a letter from the equivalent of the UK GMC in the country in which your training was completed, confirming that your training meets the EC directive;
- if you completed Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine in Ireland, as the programme has already been assessed as comparable to UK CMT, you will just need to supply evidence that you completed this programme, along with your MRCPI diploma. Please note: you will still have to complete the 'Alternative Certificate of Core Competence' to demonstrate you meet the core competences you are required to have gained prior to entering ST3 training
You will need to demonstrate on the application form, via the employment section and in the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained CMT-comparable training. You will be required to load documentary to your application of evidence of completion of the programme and the linked general internal medicine examination. You will be required to bring original copies of this evidence to interview if your application reaches that stage.
Gained a CCT (certificate of completion of training)
If you have gained a CCT in general internal medicine, or an alternative specialty which is an entry pathway for the specialty, and in a country that falls under the EC directive, you can provide evidence in one of two ways:
- acceptance onto the GMC specialist/GP register, or
- a letter from the GMC confirming mutual recognition of training.
You will need to demonstrate on the application form via the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained this level of training. You will also need to upload evidence to your application form; this could be via a screenshot of the GMC specialist register or a scan of the letter from the GMC. If submitting the latter, you will need to supply the original document at interview.
Please note that completion of Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine in Ireland is not at the level of a CCT.
We must emphasise that the information provided on this website is just the starting point in providing evidence of your EEA eligibility. Assessment of this evidence alongside your application will be undertaken after submission.
Please note that it will be at the discretion of the PSRO and those assessing your application as to whether they are satisfied that your training is indeed at the level required.
It is important to note that, depending on evidence submitted, it may not be possible to confirm eligibility at the time of application. So this should be considered an on-going assessment process up to the point of any interview attended.
In the MRCP(UK) section of the application form you will be given the chance to indicate that you are applying via the EEA alternative training route and that you meet the MRCP(UK) requirement through your EEA training.
Those who are not eligible for the specialist register in general internal medicine, will be directed to include details of their training to demonstrate that it is comparable to UK core medical training. This will require explaining how the training meets each of the bullet points within the "How do I know if I am 'EEA eligible?'" heading above detailing what training must have entailed.
You will be required to upload evidence to your application form. This will depend on which route you are applying under:
- Eligible for the GMC specialist register in general internal medicine - if you are on the GMC specialist register for general internal medicine/alternative, this can be demonstrated via a screenshot from the GMC register. If you are not yet on the register, you will need to supply a letter from the GMC confirming mutual recognition of your training.
- CMT-comparable training - you will need to supply documents showing that you have completed the programme and the linked general internal medicine examination. If you are required to supply anything else, you will be contacted. Irish trainees completing Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine should provide evidence of completing this programme, in addition to their MRCPI diploma.
The MRCP(Ireland) examination will not be accepted as a direct substitute for the MRCP(UK) in Physician ST3 recruitment.
However, candidates who are EEA nationals, whose training to date has been undertaken under the Irish 'Basic Specialty Training' system, and who have gained the MRCP(Ireland) examination, are likely to be eligible under the EEA eligibility rule described in the above tab (assuming all other criteria are also met).
Hong Kong & Singapore
The MHKCP (Hong Kong) and MMed Singapore qualifications both contain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, and hence both will continue to be accepted as 'alternative' to MRCP(UK); as has been the case in previous years.