Specialist registration (CESR)

IMPORTANT UPDATE - Clinical oncology curriculum

Our 2021 specialty training curriculum has been approved by the GMC and will be implemented for CCT training programmes in August 2021. If you had made a CESR application to the GMC before 3rd August 2022, you could choose to have it evaluated against either the previous 2016 curriculum or the new 2021 curriculum.

From 3rd August 2022 all CESR applications must be made and evaluated against the 2021 curriculum.  

Please see the GMC's information about CESR applications in Clinical oncology. Any evidence you have collected or are preparing to collect for your CESR application is unlikely to be wasted even if you make your application against the new curriculum, so please don't worry about this.

If you have any questions about this then please email specreg@rcr.ac.uk with a copy of your CV and we'll be happy to help. 

CESR applications

Please note that in providing you with any advice and guidance in respect of your CESR application, the RCR cannot give guarantees or opinions as to the likelihood of your application being successful, nor can any such advice guarantee success in any application.

Doctors must be registered on the GMC’s Specialist Register to take up a substantive (permanent), fixed-term, or honorary NHS consultant post.
If you haven't completed training in the UK or don't have a relevant European qualification (see below), you should apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) to obtain specialist registration. 

You need to make your CESR application to the GMC.  The GMC has a dedicated online application process for CESRs.  To make a CESR application you will need to open a GMC Online account and upload all your evidence electronically as requested in the online application. Anything recorded in Kaizen or in any other ePortfolio won't be transferred into a CESR application.

The GMC will send your completed application to us for specialist evaluation. We make a recommendation to the GMC as to whether or not the application should be approved, but the GMC makes the final decision.

We are happy to assist with queries by  about our specialty-specific guidance.  Please send us a copy of your CV when you email. Please think about structuring your CV in accordance with the GMC's CESR CV advice, and see this article about preparing a medical CV. Your questions may be answered in our advice and documents on this page, so please do have a look at these first.

Queries about the application form, fee, or general application process should be directed by 

The application form, fees, guidance, and criteria are subject to change; please refer to the General Medical Council's (GMC) website for current information. 

CESR in the CCT specialty of Clinical oncology

This is the most appropriate route for most applicants and most people apply for a CESR in Clinical oncology.  However, Clinical oncology training and practice in the UK may differ significantly from training and practice elsewhere, so please read the curriculum and specialty specific guidance carefully to make sure you can meet the standards.

In the UK, Clinical oncology trainees complete about five years of specialty training according to the current training curriculum, having obtained the MRCP(UK) to enter training. When they successfully complete training they are awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in the specialty of Clinical oncology. The CCT allows them entry to the GMC specialist register. 

To be awarded this CESR,  you need to submit a range of evidence to demonstrate that your specialty training, qualifications and experience taken together are equivalent to the CCT in Clinical oncology, the requirements for which are set out in our specialty training curriculum. A CESR allows you entry to the GMC specialist register.

To be eligible to apply under this route, you must have either a specialist qualification in the specialty you apply in or at least six months of continuous specialist training in the specialty you apply in.  

Please look at the documents to the right of this page, in particular:

  1. the specialty training curriculum to which you must demonstrate equivalence different depending on whether you are applying against the 2016 or 2021 curriculum;
  2. the Specialty Specific Guidance published by the GMC to help you make your application, different depending on whether you are applying against the 2016 or 2021 curriculum.  When getting your evidence together, you can use it as a checklist to make sure you include all the documents we need.
  3. our "Advice for CESR  Applicants" and "Guidance for Submission of Radiotherapy and Clinical Cases", which sets out the key evidence you must provide and things to note when making your CESR application. Please also see the 2021 curriculum specialty specific guidance for information about this.


CESR in a non-CCT specialty

The usual route to a CESR is an application in the CCT specialty of Clinical oncology, which if successful leads to specialist registration in that specialty.

Some doctors may be eligible to apply for a CESR in a non-CCT specialty, which if successful leads to specialist registration in that specialty. 

A non-CCT specialty will be a narrower medical specialty than  “Clinical oncology” -  likely to be “radiotherapy” or “radiation oncology”.

To be eligible to apply under this route, you must have either a specialist medical qualification from outside the UK in any non-CCT specialty or at least six months of continuous specialist training outside the UK in any non-CCT specialty. It must be a specialty consistent with consultant practice in the NHS.

To be awarded this CESR, you must demonstrate that your qualification and/or training, along with your subsequent experience, gives a level of knowledge and skill consistent with practice as a consultant in the NHS in that non-CCT specialty.

The application process is the same as for the CESR in a CCT specialty and you will have to provide the same range of evidence (please see the links to our advice and guidance on the right including the Specialty Specific Guidance). NHS consultant practice includes all the areas set out in the CCT curriculum, so we expect that a non-CCT CESR application will reflect this. The difference is that the clinical elements of it are likely to cover the specialty areas of the CCT curriculum relevant to that non-CCT specialty, rather than across the whole of the oncology specific areas. Please refer to the curriculum.

Please consider very carefully whether you are eligible to apply. Simply because you have worked in one area of expertise for some years will not necessarily mean that you are eligible to apply for a non-CCT CESR. You must have completed a dedicated specific period of training outside the UK or obtained an overseas specialist qualification in a non-CCT specialty. A successful applicant is likely to be practising independently in their field at NHS consultant level, so please consider any potential differences in your practice and what is expected of an NHS consultant in the UK.

Specialist registration in a narrow area may limit your employment options and you should check whether you are likely to obtain employment in that area, particularly given how oncology consultants work in the NHS.  You must check with the GMC as to your eligibility and whether the specialty in which you intend to apply is acceptable. You can also contact the RCR for advice by . Please attach a copy of your CV. Please think about structuring your CV in accordance with the GMC's CESR CV advice

CESR in Academic or Research Medicine

This route is designed for those who are nationally renowned leaders and are known internationally in their field through their academic or research activity.

Applicants must show that the knowledge and skills they have gained through academic or research work are consistent with practice as a consultant in any of the UK health services.  Successful applications tend to be submitted in very specific areas. This is because it would be difficult to demonstrate academic or research work to the required standard in a broad area such as a CCT specialty. 

This application needs to show two things – that your academic or research work has given you knowledge and skills to the standard of an NHS consultant and that your clinical knowledge, skills and experience of the specialty you have applied in are equivalent to the standards of an NHS consultant.

The range of evidence requested here is different from the other CESR pathways, as you can see in the GMC academic CESR guidance. You will have to provide evidence of your academic or research activities, as well as evidence of your clinical skills in the area in which you apply - the clinical elements are likely to cover the relevant specialty areas of the CCT curriculum. You must check with the GMC as to your eligibility and whether the specialty you intend to apply in is acceptable under this route.  

EEA qualifications

Please see the GMC's information for doctors about Brexit 

If you have an EEA or Swiss primary and/or specialist medical qualification classed as a "relevant European qualification", you may be able to apply for GMC full and/or specialist registration using those qualifications.  It is the qualification you hold and not your nationality that determines whether you can use these qualifications to obtain registration.

See apply for full with specialist registration with a relevant European qualification