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How the International Training Fellowship Programme works

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International training fellows are enrolled in continuous, full-time training for the duration of the programme.

The training is a hands-on experience, delivered by senior clinicians and researchers. No distinction is made between international training fellows and indigenous local UK trainees. All trainees are required to participate in the full range of departmental clinical and educational activities.

The training is comprehensive and includes inpatient, outpatient and emergency management as appropriate, involving progression of patient care and responsibility.

The fellowship is a full-time commitment and fellows are required to participate in the on-call rota. All trainees are allocated a named educational supervisor.

Admission criteria

The programme is open to international postgraduate medical trainees, sponsored either by their government or another recognised sponsoring body.

Applicants must have all of the following:

  • A primary medical qualification recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • A postgraduate qualification and/or evidence of satisfactory completion of a recognised training scheme (applicants must have board certification/board eligibility or alternatively have satisfactorily completed residency)
  • Between three and five years’ experience in their specialty

Applicants must also satisfy the GMC’s language requirements for English. This requires both of the following:

  • An overall score of 7.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (academic version) test, with a minimum of 7.0 in each area of the test obtained in the same test. The certificate is valid for two years and must be valid at the time of submission to the GMC
  • A minimum score of B in all four domains of the Occupational English Test (OET) (medical version), obtained in one sitting. The certificate is valid for two years and must be valid at the time of submission to the GMC

The application process

Admission to the International Fellowship Programme requires the support of an applicant’s overseas employer, government or other sponsoring body.

After obtaining written approval from the overseas organisation, an applicant must email all of the following documentation to UHB’s International Office. 

  • A full and detailed CV, including a log book of procedures to show the level of experience
  • The latest and valid OET/IELTS certificates
  • A letter from the sponsoring overseas organisation confirming the availability of funding for the fellow and that the fellow will have employment following completion of the programme

The selection process

Once suitably qualified postgraduate doctors have been identified and selected by the overseas sponsor, the CV will be reviewed by the International team and the doctors will be interviewed in country by the international faculty’s senior consultants.

Selection will be made will be made on the basis of:

  • an applicant’s CV and log book
  • previous academic performance
  • references
  • interview

We may seek additional information from the applicant’s clinical supervisor.

Applicants will be notified directly or via their overseas organisation of the acceptance or otherwise of their application.


The Fellowship Programme commences in February and August of each year.

  • Applications for those wishing to commence in February must be received by 1 June of the preceding year
  • Applications for those wishing to commence in August must be received by 1 December of the preceding year


There is a month-long bespoke mandatory induction for each intake which provides an introduction to the UK, to Birmingham and to the NHS. It has both formal clinical and non-clinical teaching aspects and includes a period of shadowing for fellows in their clinical environment before they formally start their training and clinical work.

During this period international fellows will not undertake unsupervised clinical work or participate in the on-call rota.

Clinical supervision

Initially, fellows work with a dedicated clinical supervisor to develop and agree an appropriate personal education and training plan, based on their experience and identified learning needs. Progress is monitored through regular assessment and supervised practice; the personal development plan is updated as the training progresses.

All education and training is regularly monitored to ensure both the highest quality and to guarantee that trainees are exposed to an integrated research and clinical education environment of the highest standard.

The programme is supported by UHB’s Medical Director for Education and dedicated clinical tutors with specific responsibility for the international training fellows. These senior consultants have considerable experience in medical education.


In the first year, fellows develop and consolidate the clinical skills in their chosen specialty. They participate fully in the on call-rota, theatre lists (where appropriate) and procedures to gain the same level of experience as UK-based trainees.

In the second year, fellows have the opportunity to specialise in a range of sub-specialties, dependent on their competencies and development plan. Fellows continue with out-of-hours, on-call duties.


If you would like to know more about international education at University Hospitals Birmingham, please contact the International Office.

Last reviewed: 09 February 2022