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: England
Audience: Medical students
Updated: Tuesday 20 July 2021
Career Progression Article Illustration

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 foundation guide 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).

You must use the email address you have been nominated by your medical school with.

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



The application process

What to expect

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

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 consists of 70 questions that students have to take in 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). 

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

Once you have submitted your application

  • Candidates are notified by email when they can logon to Oriel to see their overall score and the Unit of application (UoA) 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.