Applying to Higher Specialist Training

Trainees looking at notes.

Higher Specialist Training  

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 29 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 Higher Specialist Training programmes for July 2023 will open on Monday 3 October 2022 and will close at 12pm (midday) on Friday 28 October 2022.

Doctor taking notes.

Entry Requirements for HST

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

General entry requirements for HST:

  • You must have completed Basic Specialist Training in the relevant specialty (or an equivalent programme) by the start date for HST. Please note that not all BST programmes offer consideration of equivalence. Please click here for further information.
  • You must have achieved a relevant postgraduate qualification such as MRCPI in General Medicine, General Paediatrics or Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • You must be currently or previously registered on one of the divisions of the Irish Medical Council, or provide proof of eligibility for registration
  • You must have proof of competency in the English language in line with HSE Specifications
  • You must have demonstrated an aptitude for, and an interest in, that specialty.

Places in HST are allocated in the first instance to applicants who, at the time of application, are citizens of Ireland or nationals of another Member State of the European Union, Stamp 4 Visa Holders and UK nationals.

For more details on how training places are allocated, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Applying to HST

A Applications for July 2023 will open Monday 3 October 2022 and will close at 12pm (midday) on Friday 28 October 2022.

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.

Shortlisting for interviews (where necessary) will take place in December/January. 

Interviews for shortlisted candidates take place in February.

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

  1. Certificate of completion of Basic Specialist Training (BST)
  2. Evidence of postgraduate qualification such as MRCPI
  3. Proof of Irish Medical Council registration / eligibility for registration
  4. Proof of English language competency
  5. Two Appraisal Forms
  6. Passport identity page
  7. Stamp 4 Residency Permit (if applicable to you – other types of Residency Permits do not need to be submitted)
Click here for further details on these documents and a checklist to assist with your application preparation.

There are three ways to confirm your eligibility for Irish Medical Council (IMC) registration:

  1. Submit your certificate of current or previous registration on one of the divisions of the IMC.
  2. If you are not currently and have never been registered on one of the divisions of the IMC, you may be considered automatically eligible for registration if you completed your medical degree in one of a list of EU countries. Please refer to this document to see if your country is on the list. If your country is listed, please submit a copy of your medical degree from that country.
  3. If you do not fall into either category 1 or 2 above, please contact the IMC and ask them to provide a letter confirming your eligibility for registration and submit this with your application.

If you completed BST in July 2022 or earlier but do not yet have your BST Certificate, please apply now by contacting

Please note, if you completed BST in July 2022 or earlier you must submit your BST Certificate with your application to be considered for HST.


The online application form will ask you for the following information:

  • employment and training history
  • clinical practice - experience to date
  • academic achievements
  • teaching experience
  • audit experience
  • research experience
  • presentations to date
  • publications to date
  • management and leadership experience
  • career objectives
  • contact details of two references, one of whom must be your most recent supervising consultant (must be same two references who have completed your Appraisal Forms)

Please note you are not required to submit additional documents related to the above. 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).


Interviews for HST will take place in February 2023. All interviews will take place virtually via Zoom unless otherwise notified. Interviews generally take place between 7:00am – 5:00pm GMT on the interview date.


Click here to access the RCPI Help Centre for more Frequently Asked Questions on applying to HST

Apply Here for Higher Specialist Training

Applications for July 2023 will open Monday 3 October 2022 and will close at 12pm (midday) on Friday 28 October 2022.

Shortlisting Criteria and Interview Scoring

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.  Contact us on