Medical Council logoComhairle na nDochtúirí Leighis | Medical Council

Your Questions Answered

Open all questions


You are about to embark on a challenging, yet rewarding, course of study which will equip you with the competencies you need to begin your medical career. As you will be interacting with patients from an early stage, you will develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary for a medical career.

What can I expect as a medical student?

Medical courses involve academic study and hospital-based study, both theoretical and practical, with time spent studying in your medical school, in teaching hospitals and other clinical training sites.

What sort of clinical training sites will be involved in my education and training?

Major teaching hospitals, smaller affiliated hospitals, general practice settings and community sites (e.g. clinics) will provide you with practical and theoretical instruction during your training. The amount of time you spend at clinical training sites will increase as you progress through the course, as will opportunities for contact with patients.

What does a typical medical programme involve?

Programmes vary in specific content but will include a combination of lectures, tutorials, small group teaching, problem-based learning, and student-selected modules that allow you to pursue your own interests. You will learn to work as a member of a team alongside other healthcare students. You will also learn how to be a professional and start your lifelong commitment to the high standards of ethical and professional behaviour.

How can I be sure that my course reaches high standards?

All medical schools in Ireland and their medical degree courses are accredited and monitored by us. The feedback from medical students is a key element of our assessment process.

It’s my final year in medical school – what comes next for me?

Your degree course will prepare you for becoming a registered doctor. After graduation, most doctors will immediately proceed to complete a period of highly supervised education and training known as an internship, where they will continue to learn and deliver patient care. Your medical school will advise us that you are close to completing your degree, and will provide us with your contact details so that we can contact you in relation to the registration process. In order to practise medicine in Ireland, including practising as an intern, you must be appropriately registered with the Medical Council. You can learn more about intern training under the ‘intern’ section of this website. Please remember that you must be registered with the Medical Council in order to commence intern training. It is an offence to practice medicine while unregistered.

What is an intern training post?

Intern training posts are made up of a series of rotations (clinical placements) which, on completion, will provide you with the necessary competencies, skills and experience to receive a Certificate of Experience , and to progress in your medical career.

Am I guaranteed an intern training post after I qualify?

No. Qualifying from a medical school does not guarantee an intern training post. In Ireland, access to intern training is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE) through a national matching system. At the application stage, you will be able to view every available post, and the specifics of each post including the composition of rotations, and the geographical location of each rotation. You will be asked to rank in order of preference the posts that you are interested in. If you are successful in your application, you will have your intern training mapped out for you, and you will know in advance where your training will be located. Each intern training post is proposed to the Medical Council for our approval, and this ensures that each intern training post meets our intern training standards. Applying for intern training posts is a competitive process, and you will be required to meet certain eligibility criteria as determined by the HSE. Further information can be found on the HSE website. Your medical school will be able to provide additional advice on the intern application process, and the associated timelines for applying.

Is it important that I complete an internship?

Yes. Doctors who successfully complete an internship in Ireland are entitled to receive a document known as a Certificate of Experience . A Certificate of Experience is required in order to continue in structured medical training in Ireland, and in most other jurisdictions. A Certificate of Experience, when combined with your medical degree, entitles you to automatic registration in EU/EEA countries.

What is a typical internship programme?

In Ireland, an internship a minimum of 12 months. During this time, you will spend a minimum of three months working in general medicine, and a minimum of three months working in general surgery. The remainder of your internship will be spent working in a combination of specialist rotations in areas such as paediatrics and anaesthesia. During your internship, you will complete your rotations across a number of different training sites, which may mean moving between hospitals and other clinical sites after two, three or four months, depending on your intern training post. Each training post is made up of a number of rotations, and is constructed in such a way that you will gain the necessary training experience as defined by us in our intern standards and guidelines.

Can you tell me more about the Medical Council’s intern standards and guidelines?

Our standards and guidelines outline our requirements for the content of your intern training and the environment in which you train, including the following requirements

  • the range of core specialties which are appropriate for interns to gain experience in
  • the minimum duration of intern training
  • the requirement for training sites to be affiliated to medical schools
  • the requirement for intern posts to have a strong educational component, including formal education and training
  • the requirement for regular assessments, and constructive feedback following assessments

View the World Federation for Medical Education's (WFME) Standards in Basic Medical Education here.

  • the range of core specialties which are appropriate for interns to gain experience in
  • the minimum duration of intern training
  • the requirement for training sites to be affiliated to medical schools
  • the requirement for intern posts to have a strong educational component, including formal education and training
  • the requirement for regular assessments, and constructive feedback following assessments

View the World Federation for Medical Education's (WFME) Standards in Basic Medical Education here.

View the World Federation for Medical Education's (WFME) Standards in Basic Medical Education here.