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Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry

Professional competence.

A postgraduate qualification in Psychiatry

The Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry (DCP) is jointly awarded by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. It is an exam that assesses your ability to manage common psychiatric conditions in a primary care setting.

If you are a GP, you will already know that many patients presenting to primary care have mental health difficulties. International studies show that mental healthcare is most often provided by GPs, with only 10% of patients being referred to specialist psychiatric services.

This exam focuses on psychiatric conditions that are common in primary care, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, alcoholism, psychosis and sexual dysfunction.

COVID-19: Impact on RCPI exams

The DCP exam is currently suspended. This exam will not be held in May 2021. Please check back later for further information.

DCP at a glance

The Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry is held over two days. The exam consists of:

  • One essay paper
  • One multiple true/false question paper
  • A clinical/oral examination

Excellent preparation for a career in Psychiatry

If you've chosen Psychiatry as a career path you will need expert knowledge of common psychiatric conditions. You may be required to pass the MRCPsych as part of your postgraduate training.

The Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry is excellent preparation for doctors planning to take the MRCPsych at a later stage.

It shows that you can take a psychiatric history, conduct a mental state examination, and diagnose and manage a wide range of common psychiatric conditions.

Quality assured

It takes a dedication and hard work to pass the DCP. There's a lot at stake and you need to have faith in the delivery and grading of your exams.

We go to great lengths to ensure our exams are fairly and consistently marked. Each question is carefully reviewed and assessed for difficulty. Our examiners are experienced clinicians who have met strict eligibility criteria.

We are committed to continuously reviewing the format and delivery of our exams to ensure they are aligned with international best practice.

Smiling Doctor.

Exam format

The Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry is held over two days. The exam consists of:

  • One essay paper
  • One multiple true/false question paper
  • A clinical/oral examination

The essay paper contains four questions. You must answer two questions and the exam lasts 90 minutes.

The multiple true/false question paper has 100 questions (20 questions with five answer stems each) and you have one hour to answer all questions. There is no negative marking so we advise you to attempt all questions.

Both written exams are held on the same day.

The clinical/oral examination is held on a separate day in a psychiatric hospital. It takes 90 minutes and runs as follows:

  • 50 minutes for you to examine one patient
  • Ten minutes alone to write up your notes
  • Ten minutes to present the case to the examiners
  • Ten minutes for you to interview the patient in the presence of the examiners
  • Final ten-minute oral examination

The total time spent with examiners is 30 minutes.

Entry requirements

You must

  • have completed at least four months' training in psychiatry, either in an approved training post or a post with documented supervision and training. You will need to show evidence of the latter from your supervising Consultant Psychiatrist.
  • have been qualified for at least 18 months at the end of the four-month training post - There must be at least 18 months from the date of your primary degree graduation to the date of the examination

There is a limit of four attempts for this exam

What to include with your application

There is an online application process for this exam. When you apply you will need to upload

  • a scanned attested copy of your primary medical degree
  • a scanned copy of a consultant psychiatrist's letter attesting to your four months' training
  • An up-to-date copy of your CV

Your medical degree can be attested by:

  • An Garda Siochana (Irish police force)
  • The issuing University or Medical School
  • A solicitor/ notary public/ lawyer
  • A Commissioner for oaths
  • An Irish or British Consulate
  • Your Embassy or High Commissioner

Official translations will only be accepted if they have been prepared and/or authenticated by the issuing University or Medical School, an Irish or British Consulate or your Embassy or High Commissioner

Application fee

The fee to apply to this exam is €1,155.

The method of payment is credit or debit card, taken at the end of the online application process.

DCP Exam Syllabus

It's important to prepare for the DCP. When you're preparing your study plan, make sure to refer to the syllabus for this exam.

DCP Exam Regulations

Please read our exam regulations before you apply

Order past papers

You can order past essay question papers for a fee of €15 by submitting a past papers order form.

Apply for this exam

The DCP exam is currently suspended. This exam will not be held in May 2021. Please check back later for further information.

Please keep an eye on our website or contact us at examinations@rcpi.ie.

Cancellation policy

Before you apply, please read our Cancellation policy

Contact us

We have a dedicated examinations support team in our Dublin headquarters. They are there to guide you through your full exam journey, from application to MRCPI conferring. They are present at every exam and always happy to answer your questions. Contact us at examinations@rcpi.ie.

Examinations Department

Our Examinations Department is happy to talk to you about applying to any of our postgraduate examinations. Please note, at present the fastest way to contact this department is via email.