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Applying to the foundation programme

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2020 Foundation Programme and Academic Foundation Programme


The online application window for Foundation and Academic Foundation Programme posts starting July/August 2020 opened on Monday 30 September 2019. It will close at 12pm (BST) on Friday 11 October 2019.

Please note, late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.

UKFPO applicant information and guidance is available online.

Read the UKFP applicants' handbook carefully before submitting your application.


Applicants must register on Oriel to verify their nomination (eligibility office applicants will have already registered as part of the eligibility application process). Applicants can register at any stage from Monday 23 September 2019 until the close of applications. You must use the email address you have been nominated by your medical school with.

Online application forms will be available.

View key dates: UKFP/ AFP 2020 application process key dates


2020 Foundation Programme eligibility guidance

The eligibility application window for the 2020 Foundation and Academic Foundation programme for posts starting from July/August 2019 closed on 7 August 2019.

UKFPO eligibility information is available online. Find out more


Further information

  • Tips for your application

    Applying for the foundation programme can be a stressful time. Make sure you're as prepared as possible, by getting ready in plenty of time for the two week period application period.

    Take a look at our tips and insider knowledge to help make the process as pain free as possible.

    • Log on and access the application as early as possible, so you can judge how long it's going to take you to fill in and plan your time accordingly
    • Get your evidence together as soon as you can - you will be at an advantage if you do this before the applications open
    • Submit your application a few days before the deadline in case of technical issues - if you miss out, you miss out
    • Download the foundation guide from the UKFPO website - it's got a lot of extra information and helpful tips
    • Don't lie in your application - you will get found out and your medical career will be permanently damaged
    • Make sure you ask your referees if you can add them in your application before you just add their names
    • Ask your referees to NOT use hotmail email accounts as they regularly block emails from NHS servers
    • Don't panic if you don't get any extra points for educational achievements - it's only worth a maximum of seven points out of 100 and there are thousands of pplicants who don't score for this section
    • Don't make your decisions on where to rank UoEs solely on the competition ratios from last year - look at what different foundation programmes will offer you in the way of rotations and teaching and match that to your needs - not all programmes are created equal
    • Be flexible - after being matched to a programme, placements may change as a result of service redesign, working time regulations or national directives (UK-wide)
  • Time out before foundation training

    If you plan to delay starting your FP training you should:

    1. Read the guidance provided by the GMC and The Foundation Programme. The GMC does not place a time limit between graduating from medical school and starting the Foundation Programme, however the UKFPO does have different criteria for those who have graduated more than two years before joining the programme. See delaying the start of your F1 post and Foundation Programme - eligibility guidance
    2. Read the GMC guidance important information about provisional registration as from 1 April 2015, the length of time a doctor can hold provisional registration was limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days)


  • Time out of programme during foundation training

    If you plan to take time out during your Foundation Training you should discuss this with your educational supervisor before making any decision. The time out of Foundation training programme will usually be 12 months to avoid FP doctors becoming out of phase with the programme. Time out of programme will typically be approved at the end of F1 so that time out is taken between end of F1 and beginning of F2. 

    For further guidance see FP Reference Guide

  • Time out between completion of foundation programme and start of specialty training

    Many doctors take time out between the Foundation Programme and the start of specialty training, as it is a logical break between finishing one part of your training and starting another.

    If you are considering working outside the UK between Foundation Programme and the start of specialty training see our going abroad guidance

  • Time out of programme during specialty training

    It is possible to take time out of programme (OOP) once you have started your specialty training for a number of reasons, which could be either personal and professional. Approval must be obtained from your Deanery or LETB beforehand in order for you to retain your National Training Number.

    There is always concern that any time out from your training could lead to a fading of your skills and knowledge. However, if it will give you more experience and a chance to develop your skills, then it can be seen as a benefit.

    For any OOP  experience to count towards your CCT (certificates of completion of training) it must have prior approval by the GMC. Usually approval is obtained by your Deanery or LETB (local education training board).

    The overall purpose of time OOP is to allow trainees to take up opportunities that their training programme would otherwise prevent. There are four types of OOP you can take any point of your training, read our guidance on OOP, that covers which OOP is right for your stage of training and how to apply.

    You may also consider less than full time training, which is available to all junior doctors who are unable to train full time due to 'well founded individual reasons'. This could be due to illness or caring responsibilities that prevent you from training full time. Read our guide to flexible training and see if you're eligible to apply.

    If you are considering volunteering or working in a low-resource setting as part of your OOP, get all the information from our guide on volunteering abroad.

    If you are on a visa and plan to delay the start of, or take time out of, training contact the BMA immigration service for advice.

  • Foundation programme FAQs

    Read our FAQs on applying to the foundation programme covering all the basics, submitting your application and information on the SJT (Situational Judgement Test) and EPM (Educational Performance Measure).

    See our foundation programme FAQs