The 2022 application round timeline and key dates are yet to be confirmed. See below for the dates for 2021 application round.

Adverts appear Monday 2nd November 2020
Applications open 10:00am Thursday 5th November 2020
Applications close 4:00pm Tuesday 1st December 2020
Evidence upload portal opens Wednesday 23rd December 2020
Evidence upload portal closes Thursday 7th January 2021
Interview window 22nd February to 5th March 2021
Preferencing window 8th to 16th March 2021
Initial offers released Thursday 18th March 2021
Hold deadline Friday 16th April 2021
Upgrade deadline Monday 19th April 2021

The Core Surgical Training application process takes place at a national level (excluding applications to Northern Ireland), and is coordinated by the London and South East Recruitment Office. The application window opens once per year at about the start of November. Applications are submitted via the Oriel Recruitment Portal. As part of the application, candidates have to complete a set of Self-assessment Questions.

Following this, each Deanery (or LETB as they are now called) releases the number of jobs they have available. This number often varies, and may not be confirmed until the last minute. The table below shows the average number of CST jobs per deanery over the last 3 years. Please note  that Competition Rates for jobs vary between deaneries.

Rough CST numbers per region
East Midlands 41
East of England 49
Kent, Surrey, Sussex 38
London 79
North West 79
Northern (North East) 31
Thames Valley (Oxford) 18
South West 43
Scotland 47
Wessex 23
West Midlands 51
Yorkshire and Humber 54
Wales 44
Total 596

Map of UK core surgical training application deaneries

Once all the jobs have been released, applicants then have to rank them in order of preference. How well candidates perform in their interview determines how likely they are to get their first preference. Some Core Surgical posts are themed towards a particular surgical sub specialty.

The Improving Surgical Training Pilot Scheme

This  is a scheme which took on its first trainees in August 2018.

  • It is a run through scheme – trainees enter at the ST1 level and progress through to ST8
  • It has the same curriculum and required competencies as the current Core Surgical Training scheme
  • It is applied for through the same application process and interview as Core Surgical Training – one application and one interview however when it comes to ranking you rank the IST jobs as well as the CST jobs and they will be allocated based on the score from interview

More on this can be found  on the Royal College of Surgeons Website.


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