Core Surgical Training

The training pathway to becoming a Surgeon in Ireland commences at Core Surgical Training ST1 and completes at Specialty Training ST8. Within these 8 years of training a trainee will undergo Core Surgical Training in ST1 & ST2.

Core Surgical Training is a common trunk of training which is undertaken by all surgical trainees, irrespective of their future specialty aspiration. It is intended to introduce trainees to the principles of surgery in general and give them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are required by all surgical specialities in preparation for Specialty Training (ST3- ST8).

Throughout the two years of core training trainees are assessed via the Competency Assessment and Performance (CAPA) process.

ST3 is entry level into Specialty Training which completes at ST8. This is based on on-going progression assessment (CAPA), successful completion of the MRCS exam and specialty interview (ST3-ST8).

Entry Requirements

Medical graduates wishing to pursue a career in Surgery must complete an internship and must competitively apply for a position on the National Surgical Training Programme, commencing at Core Surgical Training (ST1 – ST2).

Appointed Trainees will be continuously assessed for progression to ST3 (first year of ‘higher’ Specialty Training through the CAPA (Competency Assessment Performance Appraisal) process, successful completion of the MRCS exam and Specialty interview in their chosen surgery.

The applications process is run through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and opens in October and closes in December each year, with commencement on ST1 of the National Surgical Training Programme in July.

Applicants can apply to the training programme a maximum of two times.


During the training pathway (ST1 – ST8) a trainee is expected to take and successfully pass 2 key exams the Membership exam of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) and the Fellowship exam Royal College of Surgeons.

The Membership exam of the Royal Colleges (MRCS) is an important part of the eligibility criteria for progression into Specialty Training (ST3- ST8) & must be completed before Specialty Interview in March each year.

The MRCS exam forms part of your successful completion of Core Surgical Training and the awarding of the Certificate of Completion of Core Surgical Training (CCST) , a mandatory requirement for progression to ST3

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