Apply to Higher Specialist Training

Trainees looking at notes.

Applying to Higher Specialist Training?

Applications for HST close on 30 November 2017

Higher Specialist Training (HST) is the final stage of postgraduate medical training.

It is a four- to six-year training programme completed in Specialist Registrar (SpR) posts. We offer Higher Specialist Training programmes in 27 specialties.

Our Higher Specialist Training programmes are designed to produce doctors who are leaders in their fields. We will help you develop the advanced skills and knowledge required for practising independently as a specialist, leading a clinical team and managing the everyday challenges of our health service.

On successful completion of HST, you will receive a CSCST (Certificate of satisfactory completion of specialist training). You will be eligible to register with the Medical Council of Ireland as a specialist.

Entry to HST is competitive. Completion of Basic Specialist Training, or an equivalent programme, is an essential entry requirement for HST.

Applications for HST programmes commencing July 2018 will open on 1 November 2017 and close on 30 November 2017.

Recruitment to all programmes is subject to the availability of clinical training posts by interview date.

Doctor taking notes.

Entry Requirements for 2018

The next start date for Higher Specialist Training is Monday 9 July 2018

Entry requirements for Higher Specialist Training are programme-specific. To see the entry requirements for your preferred programme, please check the relevant HST curriculum.

Generally speaking, you must:

  • have completed Basic Specialist Training in the relevant specialty (or an equivalent programme) by the start date for HST
  • be eligible for inclusion on the Trainee Specialist Division of the Medical Council’s register
  • have achieved a relevant postgraduate qualification such as MRCPI in General Medicine, Paediatrics or Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • have demonstrated an aptitude for, and an interest in, that specialty.

If you did not graduate from a medical school in Ireland, please read our guidance on Medical Council registration.

Places in HST are allocated in the first instance to candidates who are citizens of Ireland or nationals of another member state of the European Union. Read more about allocation of places in HST.

Apply now: Online application forms for Higher Specialist Training

Deadline to apply is 5:00pm sharp, Thursday 30 November 2017

You can apply for Higher Specialist Training Programmes commencing in July 2018 by clicking on the relevant programme application link below. You will be brought to an online application form for that training programme.

You will need your username and password for the RCPI website to complete an application.

Before you apply, please read the information contained in the Entry Requirements and FAQ sections on this web page.

Applications will close at 5:00pm sharp on Thursday 30 November. We advise you to complete your application in advance of this date in case there is an issue with your application. 

Recruitment to all programmes is subject to the availability of clinical training posts by interview date.


Applications for Training Programmes commencing in July 2018 are now closed

Frequently Asked Questions about applying to HST


You can apply to Higher Specialist Training in 28 programmes. You can apply to more than one programme, although we advise against applying to more than two programmes.

You must submit a separate application for each programme.

The application process is fully online –you don’t need to submit a paper application.

Make sure you read the entry requirements for your chosen programme carefully - The entry requirements are listed in the HST curriculum for each programme.

The recruitment and selection process for Higher Specialist Training (HST) opens in November every year.

Shortlisting for interviews will take place in January. Further information on the shortlisting criteria can be found here.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates take place the in February and March.

As there are a limited number of places in HST, entry to each programme is competitive.


The application process for Higher Specialist Training programmes commencing July 2018 open on Wednesday 1 November 2017.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 30 November 2017.

Online application forms will be made available here on 1 November 2017.


You will be required to upload two scanned reference forms as part of the online application process.

On the reference form your referees are asked to rate your clinical skills, professional attitude and personal attributes.

Your two referees must include your most recent supervisor.

Download Blank Reference Form


You will need to submit the following documents with your application:

  • A scanned copy of your certificate of completion of Basic Specialist Training (BST) in the relevant specialty, or a scanned letter from RCPI confirming equivalence of BST or an email from RCPI (not more than 12 months old) of provisional approval of completion of BST. Save this document to your desktop as “Email of provisional approval” or “Letter of equivalence”.
  • For most specialties you must have achieved a postgraduate qualification such as MRCPI. Please check the relevant HST curriculum.  If your qualification was not issued by RCPI, save a scanned certified copy of the certificate to your desktop as “MRCPUK” or “Equivalent Certificate”. You do not need to submit a copy of your MRCPI certificate.
  • Scanned/PDF of proof of English language competency (IELTS or Cambridge ESOL) or documentary evidence if you are exempt from this requirement - All applicants to our training programmes are required to demonstrate their competency in the English language in line with HSE specifications*
  • A scanned colour copy of your passport identity page

* If you completed your entire medical degree in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, UK or the United States you are exempt from having to provide proof of English language competency.

Guidance on making files smaller for upload is available here




On the online application form you will be asked for the following information:

  • employment and training history
  • clinical practice - experience to date
  • teaching experience
  • audit experience
  • research experience
  • presentations to date
  • publications to date
  • management experience
  • aims and achievements
  • contact details of two referees, one of whom must be your most recent supervising consultant.

Please be brief in describing only relevant experience under each of the headings on the application form. Please note that formatting (paragraphs, special characters, bullet points, spacing etc.) will not copy over to your final application. All free text boxes are limited to 500 characters (letters/spaces etc.).

Get in Touch

We have a dedicated team to help you through your Higher Specialist Training, available to deal with any questions you may have.

Theresa Murphy

Coordinator, Higher Specialist Training

Tel: +353 1 863 9778

Contact Theresa for information about Higher Specialist Training in

  • Endocrinology & Diabetus Mellitus
  • Genito-Urinary Medicine
  • General Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Rheumatology

Emily Horgan

Coordinator, Higher Specialist Training

Tel: +353 1 863 9714

Contact Emily for information about Higher Specialist Training in

  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmaceutical Medicine
  • Public Health Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine

Louis Lavelle

Team Lead, Higher Specialist Training

Tel: 01 863 9624

Contact Louis for information about Higher Specialist Training in

  • Chemical Pathology
  • Haematology
  • Histopathology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Medical Oncology
  • Gastroenterology

Andrei Vlad Vasilescu

Coordinator, Higher Specialist Training

Tel: +353 1 863 9712

Contact Andrei for information about Higher Specialist Training in

  • Clinical Genetics
  • Dermatology
  • General Paediatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatric Cardiology
  • Rehabilitation Medicine