NCTFS recruits only once a year for the two-year Foundation Programme (FP) and for the two-year Academic Foundation Programme (AFP). Both recruitment processes are run through the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO).

Please click on the relevant link for more information about applying for:

  • Foundation Programme (FP) (two-year training programme consisting of six standard (medical and surgical) placements)
  • Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) (two-year training programme consisting of five standard placements and one research placement in year 2)
  • Vacancies (if there are any unfilled places after the UKFPO recruitment process is closed)

All applicants should note that:

  1. Due to a large number of NHS Trust service reconfigurations, all posts may be subject to change (sometimes at short notice) in relation to placement order, specialty, length and site. All F1 and F2 posts are subject to confirmation at any time during your Foundation Programme.
  2. As placements may be subject to change, trainees receive a further confirmation of their F2 placements during the F1 year (usually in February).
  3. Foundation training is not in any way training for Specialty. Trainees will work in a mixture of surgical and medical placements giving them the general training they need in order to achieve Foundation competencies.

Applicants from UK medical schools

Students attending a medical school in the UK will be informed by their local administrators when and how to apply. 

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EEA graduating from a UK medical school and are preparing to take up the Foundation Programme in August, you must first ensure that you have the right to work in the UK. Please see information on Tier 4 Visas on this site and on the UKFPO website.

Applicants from non-UK medical schools

Applicants from non-UK medical schools will find a dedicated page on the UKFPO website for detailed information on eligibility to work in the UK. All enquiries from non-UK applicants are dealt with through the UKFPO.

Linked applications

A national policy for ‘linked applications’ means that applicants may link their application to that of one other person. This enables a pair of applicants to be guaranteed admittance to the same foundation school, but not necessarily to the same hospital or hospitals close to each other.

Certain criteria apply to this option - for details see the Foundation Applicant’s Handbook which is published on the UKFPO website each year.

Special circumstances

The UKFPO recognises that a small number of applicants have circumstances which may require them to be within a certain geographical area. Therefore, during the national recruitment, it is possible to be pre-allocated to a foundation school based on this status. However, it does not guarantee a specific programme or hospital/trust. The NCTFS special circumstances allocation policy can be found here.

The national criteria for special circumstances and the application form can be found on the UKFPO website in the 'Key Documents' section.

Your medical school is responsible, while you remain a student, for deciding if you are eligible for special circumstances. Applicants should initially discuss their situation with their medical school. If approved for special circumstances, your medical school should then submit the special circumstances form to the appropriate foundation school.

Students from a non-UK medical school who are eligible for special circumstances should apply directly through the UKFPO.


For information about the appeals process, see the 'Key Documents' section on the UKFPO website.