Applying to the foundation programme

Find out how to apply to the foundation programme and follow our guidance to be prepared for the application process.

Location: UK
Audience: Medical students
Last reviewed: 1 December 2021
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The application window for UKFP 2022 closed on 22 September 2021.

Applications for UKFP 2023 will open in October 2022.

Preparing to do your application

Be as prepared as possible for the two week application period to the foundation programme.

What you can do before applying

  • Log on and access the application as early as possible.
  • Get your evidence together before the applications open.
  • Download the applicants handbook from the UKFPO website. It's got a lot of extra information and helpful tips.
  • Ask you referees for permission before you add them to your application.
  • Ask your referees to not use hotmail email accounts as they regularly block emails from NHS servers.


How to apply

Step one - Register online

Applicants must register on Oriel to verify their nomination (eligibility office applicants will have already registered as part of the eligibility application process).

Make sure you use the same email address that your medical school has used in your nomination.

Visit the UKFPO website to see if you are eligible to apply.

Step two - Submit your application

From September 2021, you only need to complete one application form through Oriel.

As part of the main Oriel application, you will also be able to:

  • indicate your intention to apply for SFP (specialised foundation programme), including academic/research, medical education and leadership/management posts, and FPP (foundation priority programme). You will be able to set your ranking preferences
  • apply for pre-allocation based on personal circumstances, including significant caring responsibilities or financial difficulties requiring you to attend a medical school close to your home address
  • apply for reasonable adjustments for your SJT sitting like online proctoring.


The application process

What to expect

The application process can take two weeks. The selection to the foundation programme is based on the following:

Exam weightings

This refers to the amount of year group exam goes towards your foundation programme application. Weightings may vary depending on what medical school you attend. For example, at Queen's University Belfast, the weightings become more significant in your third and fourth year.

Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

The SJT is an invigilated test in exam conditions to assess the professional attributes expected of a foundation doctor, according to the person specification for the foundation programme.

Attributes include:

  • commitment to professionalism
  • coping with pressure
  • effective communication
  • learning and professional development
  • organisation and planning
  • patient focus
  • problem-solving and decision-making
  • self-awareness and insight
  • working effectively as part of a team. 

The format of the test consists of 70 questions and it is worth up to 50 points out of the total foundation programme application score of 100. It takes place in the final year of your medical degree and it lasts 2 hours and 20 minutes. Read more about SJT on UKFPO.

Educational Performance Measure (EPM)

The EPM is a measure of clinical and non-clinical skills, knowledge and performance up to the point of application.

The EPM score is made up of the following:

  • medical school performance in deciles (34 to 43 points)
  • additional degrees (0 to 5 points)
  • academic achievements (0 to 2 points). 

It is worth up to 50 points out of a total foundation programme application score of 100.

For more information on EPM you can visit the UKFPO website.

Please note, if you are graduating from 2023 onwards additional degrees and academic achievements will no longer count towards your EPM. For those applying to UKFP 2023, their medical school performance only will be worth up to 50 points.

Need to reschedule your SJT?

You can change your appointment up to 48 hours before your scheduled time. Slots are subject to availability and can vary as applicants make changes to their exam bookings. 


Check how to change your booking in the 2-year foundation programmes section of the UKFPO guidance.

Once you have submitted your application

  • Candidates are notified by email when they can logon to Oriel to see their overall score and the UoA (Unit of application) allocated to them. 
  • Foundation programme applicants on the primary list allocation are informed of allocation to Foundation School results by mid-March.
  • Applicants who have been allocated to a UoA as part of the primary list will be informed of how to rank groups or programmes within the timeline.
  • Applicants are required to preference groups and/ or individual programmes on Oriel in accordance with local foundation school timelines.

Reserve lists

If you are not on the primary list of successful candidates, you will be placed on a reserve list. Reserve list applicants will be allocated to any vacancies that arise since the last allocation. 

The highest scoring reserve list will be allocated to vacancies first.

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