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Medical education in the UK: an overview

This page provides a brief overview of medical training in the UK, with links to external sites which will give you more information.

Medical education in the UK is wide and diverse. On average, undergraduate courses last between 4 and 6 years. After their undergraduate training, newly qualified doctors undergo 2 years of foundation programme training before choosing a specialty. In obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G), specialty training takes 7 years.

Undergraduate training

To find out which UK universities offer medical degrees at undergraduate level, please visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.

For more detail about O&G training at undergraduate level, see the undergraduate curriculum in O&G.

Foundation training

The 2-year foundation programme was set up to ensure that all newly qualified doctors followed a structured programme of study and practical experience before progressing to specialist training.

For more information, please visit the foundation programme website and read the RCOG’s information about foundation training.

Specialty training

Upon successful completion of the foundation programme, doctors then have the option to undertake further study in a specific field of medicine to develop the intermediate and advanced competencies and skills required to practise in their chosen discipline.

Specialty training in O&G

The RCOG works closely with the training deaneries and the General Medical Council (GMC) to promote medical education, develop standards and curricula and deliver specialty training in O&G. For more information, please visit the Health Education England website.

Doctors who’ve completed their foundation years or have equivalent training who wish to become obstetricians and gynaecologists must apply for selection onto the national specialist training programme via the Oriel website. It’s not possible to enter run-through training in O&G at a later point in your career.

Find out more about the structure of specialist education and training in O&G.

Find out more about the specialty training curriculum in O&G.

Contact us

If you’re considering a career in O&G and want more information, please email the careers team or call +44 20 7772 6317, or see the full list of contacts at the RCOG.

If you have a question about specialty training in O&G, please see the list of useful contacts at the RCOG for trainees.

Elsewhere on the site

Specialty training in O&G
An overview of the specialty training programme in obstetrics and gynaecology
Applying for specialty training
How to apply for the specialty training programme in O&G