2 Year Foundation Programmes FAQs

Visit this section regularly to see the new frequently asked questions posted. Our questions are split into groups to make them easier to view.


Who is eligible to apply for the Foundation programme?

UK medical school graduates who have been nominated by their medical school.

UK medical school graduates who graduated more than two years before the start of the programme who have applied through the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office and their application has been deemed eligible.

Overseas graduates who have applied through the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office and their application has been deemed eligible.

How do I apply for foundation training/to the Foundation Programme?

Applicants will either be nominated by a UK medical school or by the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office (refer to separate guidance on thee Eligibility Information page). You will need to submit an online application through the Oriel system.

All applications must be submitted through Oriel (the national online application system). Applicants can access Oriel via https://www.oriel.nhs.uk. Applicants should start their applications early to allow sufficient time to complete the necessary sections of the application form and to gather evidence in support of their application.

Once you have been nominated and have registered on Oriel, or deemed eligible by the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office, you will need to search for the Foundation Programme (FP) vacancy.

If I apply through the eligibility application process or took the test last year, am I required to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

Yes. All applicants will be required to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) as part of the application process and scores from previous years are not carried forwards.

Some of my documents are in a different name (e.g. previous last name), can I still apply?

Yes. If the names given on your passport, eligibility application form, medical school degree certificate and Dean’s Statement do not match, you must upload documentation to Oriel confirming an official name change (for example, a copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree certificate).

You must complete all documentation and the online applications using the same name, in the same format each time it is shown. For example, if your name is written as John Smith on the eligibility application form, then it must appear that way in all future documentation and correspondence, not as Jonathan Smith, John A Smith, JA Smith, Smith John, etc. The name you record on your online eligibility application form must match the name on your passport.

I have more than one nationality, which one should I include on my application form?

If you have dual nationality / multi citizenship, please ensure that you complete the online Oriel application with information on the most relevant nationality regarding providing evidence of your right to work in the UK and upload the relevant passport / ID card. 

Please note that the nationality provided on your application form will be used to determine whether or not you would be required to undertake the PLAB examinations.

I am studying medicine at a non-UK medical school; can I apply to the Foundation Programme?

Yes. You will need to apply through the eligibility application process first over the summer months. Please refer to the Eligibility Applicant Guidance on the Eligibility Information page.

Can I link my application to another applicant?

Yes. You can link your FP application to that of another applicant to ensure you are both allocated to the same UoA, providing you both score highly enough to be allocated to the primary list. You can only link to one other applicant.

Links will not be considered if either applicant accepts an SFP or FPP offer.

If you link with someone who is subsequently approved for pre-allocation to a UoA based on personal circumstances, your link will be broken.

Links will be broken if your UoA preferences (ranking of foundation schools) are not in the same order as each other. You can both update your preferences once you have submitted your applications, but these must be in the same order as each other.

Follow the instructions, in the Guidance on How to Apply to the Foundation Programme, to link your application to another applicant.

If the above criteria are met then linking your application will ensure that you and your partner are placed into the same foundation school.  It is not possible however to use linking to be placed into the same group, trust or programme as your partnerSuccessfully linking will ensure you each receive a post in the same foundation school, but the two posts could be in different locations within that foundation school.

How is my application scored?

The decile score is determined by your medical school. You should contact your medical school at the earliest opportunity if you notice a discrepancy.

Applications have a maximum score of 100 points and this consists of two components:

Educational Performance Measure (EPM) – 50 points maximum

Situational Judgement Test (SJT) – 50 points maximum

What is the character limit for the presentation title/ medical school name?

The character count limit for most parts of the application is 50 characters, please ensure you shorten any titles to meet the character limit.

I have a UK medical degree from a school outside of the UK, will my medical school nominate me?

If you are a UK national, your medical school will be able to nominate you. If you are a non-UK or non-EEA national, you will need to apply through the eligibility application process.

How do I apply for less than full time training?

You will have an opportunity to indicate that you would like to work on the less than full-time basis on your application form. Please speak to your foundation school at the earliest opportunity once you have been allocated.

How will I be allocated to a place/how does the allocation process work?

All applicants will be ranked in score order and given a unique rank on Oriel. In the event of tied scores, the decile score will be used to break the ties. If there are still tied scores, the SJT score will be used to break the ties and then ties will be broken randomly. The unique ranks will be carried forward for the process of matching to groups and individual programmes.

If there are more eligible applicants than places, the ‘n’ top ranking applicants will automatically be placed on the primary list, where ‘n’ is the total number of FP places available across the UK. Applicants who are not allocated to the primary list will be placed on a reserve list and will be allocated in batches on predetermined dates.

Following the national allocation process, local foundation schools manage the process of group/programme matching. Applicants should check the websites of each foundation school to familiarise themselves with local matching processes.

What happens if there are not enough foundation jobs for the number of applicants who apply?

Applicants will be allocated in batches when vacancies arise due to primary list applicant withdrawals.

Can I appeal against the outcome of my application?

You can appeal against national elements of the application process. This includes appeals relating to eligibility for overseas graduated and UK medical school graduates who qualified more than two years before the start of the programme, clinical assessment, pre-allocation and the SFP process. You can view the processes here.

Is it possible for me to be allocated to my first preference if I am on the reserve list?

Yes. Places will arise due to applicant withdrawals. These places could be located anywhere across the programme.

What happens if I do not wish to accept the post?

You must contact your allocated foundation school at the earliest convenience and request for your application to be withdrawn. If you choose to withdraw your application, you will not be able to work as a doctor in the UK with provisional registration under the GMC guidelines. You will need to apply to the UKFP again the following year.

What is the process for providing references for the Foundation Programme?

Referees will be able to submit references online through Oriel in March and April. After this time, your foundation school and/or employing organisation will chase referees for references. It is not a problem if your referees do not complete a reference online.

What happens if I do not pass my final exams and graduate as expected?

You will not be eligible to commence foundation training and your application will need to be withdrawn. You will be able to apply the following year.

How do I apply as a refugee doctor?

Everyone has to apply through the Oriel application system. You can contact the UKFPO team directly for further advice and support in your application via helpdesk@foundationprogramme.nhs.uk.

Eligibility applicants: If my application is deemed eligible, does this mean that I will be guaranteed a job?

We endeavour to allocate eligible applicants; however, we cannot guarantee you will be allocated a job.

If your application has been deemed eligible with conditions, the condition must be met. You must also meet all requirements of the person specification, for example you will need to achieve a satisfactory SJT score.

If you are required to pass PLAB, you must pass both PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 by the deadlines specified.

You will need to ensure you have the right to work in the UK.

I only wish to be considered for Less Than Full-Time training, what should I apply for?

Once you have been nominated and have registered on Oriel, or deemed eligible by the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office, you will need to search for and apply to the Foundation Programme (FP) vacancy. You will be able to indicate on your application form for FP if you wish to be considered for less than full-time (LTFT) training and will later be able to apply for LTFT training directly with your allocated foundation school.

You can also apply for Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFP) and Foundation Priority Programmes (FPP) through the main FP vacancy. You will need to rank programmes once you have submitted your application form. You should rank only the programmes you wish to be considered for, for example, those that offer less than full-time models of working. Programmes you would not accept should be listed in the ‘not wanted’ column.

All foundation schools offer LTFT working options. Review foundation school websites for their local process for applying for LTFT training.

Disclaimer for Right to Work Information

Disclaimer for Right to Work Information

Although every effort has been made to ensure that this guidance is accurate and up-to date at the time of publication, the right for overseas citizens to work in the UK is governed by legislation which may change from time to time, and is ultimately a matter for Parliament and the courts. The UKFPO accepts no responsibility or liability where the content of this guidance is relied upon and later found to be inaccurate, or legislation is changed. You are advised to check the up-to-date position using the web links provided.

UK Home Office

Applying to work as a European doctor in the UK

Immigration rules and the points-based system

The UK’s points-based immigration system – further details

Settlement and permanent residency

EU or EEA family permit

UK ancestry

Family members of EEA citizens

What should I do once I have received my match to programme outcome?

If you do not want to accept the programme you have been matched to, you will need to withdraw your application from the FP process entirely and reapply next year. If you wish to accept the programme you have been matched to, there is nothing further you need to do.

More information is on our 2 Year Foundation Programmes page.