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:

Providing information

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.

MRCP Ireland

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.