April 20, 2016, by studentcontributor

What happens after Medical School?

Hi everyone, it’s TJ again. I’ve just finished my final exams at medical school and am busy sorting out what I’ll be doing when I start work as a junior doctor in August. Here’s a quick overview of what happens after medical school:

The Medicine Careers Pathway

The current training pathway

After studying for 4-6 years at medical school, you apply to the UK Foundation Programme. This is a national application process which is similar to UCAS and matches all medicine graduates to a set of 4-6 jobs, over 2 years, in hospitals all over the UK. These 2 years are referred to as FY1 and FY2.

In the November of your FY2, just over a year after you leave medical school, you will be able to apply for speciality training. This could be General Practice, Core Medical Training, Core Surgical Training, the Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) or a sub-speciality such as Paediatrics or Radiology. If you successfully apply for Core Training, you will re-apply for a Specialist Training job in another 2 to 3 years. Alternatively, some programmes are “run-through” which means you only apply once and the training continues until you are a consultant.

Alternative routes

Not everyone follows the career pathway described above. It depends on what you want from your job and also your personal life, the location you wish to work in, and whether you wish to pursue other interests, such as voluntary work or academic research. The supply and demand for the jobs that you want may also affect how quickly you progress through each stage of your career.




Some doctors choose to take between a few months to a few years “out of programme”, during which time they may carry out a research project, get involved in teaching medical students or doctors, carry out charity work or spend time abroad. This may be possible at a number of times during your career but one option is to take a year out after FY2, known as an “FY3 year”.


More information

There is lots of information around and although you definitely do not need to have completely decided on your career plan whilst at medical school, it’s useful to start thinking about it! Here are some places to start looking:

Posted in Medicine