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Build your career on solid foundations

Build your career on solid foundations

To go from practicing on hypothetical patients in an educational setting to working in real hospitals with real patients and real consequences can seem like an overwhelming development.

Helping you take the first steps in your new career.

Launched in 2005, The UK Foundation Programme is a two year training course for newly qualified doctors which aims to provide a link between medical school and specialist or general practice training.

This programme gives new doctors the opportunity to put all of their knowledge and skills into practice in a ‘real’ environment. Foundation schools are not actual physical buildings or campuses but a group of institutions such as hospitals, hospices and GP practices which are overseen and administered by local staff.

Who is eligible for the programme?

There are a number of criteria which must be fulfilled in order to be eligible to apply for a place on the Foundation Programme. Among others an eligible candidate must:

  • have a valid medical degree recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC).
  • expect to obtain provisional registration with a licence to practise with the GMC before they apply to the Foundation Programme.
  • be a UK or EEA national OR be a student of a UK medical school in their final year of study OR have the right to work as a doctor in training in the UK which remains valid until the start of the UK Foundation Programme in 2013.
  • be of good standing and fit to practise medicine safely in accordance with the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (2006)1.
  • have demonstrable English language skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking

For more information concerning eligibility and how to apply visit The Foundation Programme website:

How does the application process work?

The programme offers a certain number of placements each year for students who have completed or are about to complete their final year of medical school. The application process is extremely competitive with demand for places consistently outnumbering available places. Applicants are rated according to a points system which is made up of two parts: educational performance and a situational judgement test. The educational performance is a score between 34 -43 points which assessed and awarded by the students medical school based upon their performance and ability throughout their studies. Applicants can also obtain extra points for having supplementary degrees and other achievements such as publications and prizes. The situational judgement test is taken in exam conditions and consists of multiple choice and ranked questions. If it is the case that there are more eligible applicants than available places then a student’s score will be taken into account.

Choosing a location.

Each candidate must rank all of the available foundation schools in order of preference. Once a candidate has successfully completed the application process and been accepted onto the programme they are allocated to one school according to their choice and their scoring. With foundation schools located in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there are a number of aspects to consider when choosing which school you would prefer, of course location is important but also you should keep in mind which specialisations are offered and how many places are available.

In 2011, nearly 92% of applicants were allocated a place in one of their top five preferred locations.

Why should you choose The Foundation Programme?

The Foundation Programme is exactly that, a foundation. It provides a new doctor with the experience and clinical practice on which to build a long and successful career.

Here’s what some doctors who have taken part in the Foundation Programme had to say:

I undertook a placement in general practice during my F2. This proved to be a valuable placement to me in so many ways. I always felt supported during my placement. A senior partner supervised me during each clinic; they provided quick and easily accessible advice and would also review patients when I was unsure.

Dr Thomas Cannon

F2 Doctor Doncaster Royal Infirmary


The Foundation Programme provides trainees with various opportunities apart from clinical experience and skills. The programme provides an opportunity to undertake a taster in your career of choice. I have found the Foundation Programme and the e-portfolio very useful in helping me make career decisions and prepare for ST applications.”

Dr Sangeetha Govinda Rajoo

F1 Doctor Queens Hospital Burton, Burton Upon Trent


I had a supportive team of seniors and nursing staff; they made the transition to what was my first ‘real’ job so much easier.  There are people there who have been working at the hospital for far longer than you have and they will have some gems of advice for the coming year. Always know that you are not alone.  Get help whenever you can.  You’ll learn best from watching expert seniors at work.

Dr Anirban Pal

F1 Doctor


For much more information about the Foundation Programme including applications, eligibility, locations and benefits visit