Specialist registration (CESR)



The GMC has approved and published our new clinical radiology curriculum (the previous version was approved in 2016).

All CESR applications made to the GMC from now will be evaluated against the approved 2021 clinical radiology curriculum.  You can find the curriculum by clicking on the link to the right of this page.

Please don't worry if you have been planning for your CESR application; any evidence you have collected or are preparing to collect is unlikely to be wasted.  But please make sure that you read the new curriculum and specialty-specific guidance carefully to make sure you are addressing all the new curriculum areas.

Clinical oncology curriculum - We are in the process of developing the new curriculum for approval by the GMC and this is unlikely to come into effect until well into 2020/2021.  Applications made before the approval and publication of the new clinical oncology curriculum continue to be made and evaluated against the current (2016) clinical oncology curriculum.  You can see the link to this on the right of this page.

As for radiology, any evidence you have collected or are preparing to collect for a clinical oncology CESR application is unlikely to be wasted even if you make your application against the new curriculum, so please don't worry about this. The GMC will make it clear to you what the position is when you apply.  But it is always wise to keep an eye on our website and the GMC's for up to date advice and read the new curriculum and specialty-specific guidance carefully to make sure you are addressing all the new curriculum areas.

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 aren't eligible for mutual recognition of EEA qualifications (see below), you should apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) to obtain specialist registration. Please see below for information about the CESR processes.

You need to make your CESR application to the GMC. 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 a CCT specialty (clinical radiology or clinical oncology)

This is the most appropriate route for most applicants and most people apply for a CESR in either clinical radiology or clinical oncology.  

The Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) is awarded to those who have successfully completed training in the UK specialty training programme for clinical radiology or clinical oncology according to the current specialty training curriculum.  This certification allows them entry to the GMC specialist register in clinical radiology or clinical oncology. 

To be awarded a CESR, you must demonstrate that your specialist qualifications and/or specialist training, and subsequent specialist medical experience, are equivalent to what is set out in the relevant specialty training curriculum. Please look at the documents to the right of this page, in particular:

  1. our "Advice for CESR  Applicants", which sets out the key evidence you must provide and things to note when making your CESR application;
  2. the relevant specialty training curriculum to which you must demonstrate equivalence;
  3. the Specialty Specific Guidance published by the GMC which sets out what evidence you must supply in your application.  When getting your evidence together, you can use it as a checklist to make sure you include all the documents we need.

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.  

CESR in a non-CCT specialty

The usual route to a CESR is an application in a CCT specialty as set out above, which if successful leads to specialist registration in clinical radiology or clinical oncology.

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 is a more limited medical specialty than “clinical radiology” or “clinical oncology”.  For radiology, this will almost certainly be a systems-based specialty (eg breast radiology, neuroradiology, paediatric radiology and so on).  In oncology, it’s 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.  

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). The only difference is that the clinical elements of it (such as the radiology reports you must submit) are likely to cover the core and higher specialty areas of the CCT curriculum relevant to that non-CCT specialty.

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 period of training outside the UK (such as a Fellowship; rotations in your general radiology or oncology training are unlikely to count) 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.  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.

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.  

Automatic Mutual Recognition of EEA qualifications

Please see the GMC's information for doctors about Brexit 

EEA nationals or those who have enforceable community rights, with a primary qualification acceptable to the GMC and/or certain EEA specialist qualifications, may be eligible for automatic mutual recognition of their qualifications by the GMC, for full registration and/or specialist registration.  The GMC website has more information about applying for mutual recognition

EEA citizenship or enforceable community rights may affect the application processes for medical or specialist registration, even if you do not have a mutually recognised qualification, and you should check your individual situation with the GMC.