Residency in Ireland

In Ireland the term ‘internship’ is equivalent to the term ‘residency.’

All graduates of Irish medical schools who hold EU Passports and who applied to medical school in Ireland through the CAO (Central Applications Office) are guaranteed an internship post in Ireland. Graduates who hold EU Passports, but did not apply through the CAO, are ranked below those who hold CAO numbers, regardless of their centile ranking in their graduating class. This system was introduced in early-2016.

American and Canadian citizens are eligible to apply for any remaining residency positions but it should be noted that there are very few places available and the application process will be extremely competitive.

Non-EU citizens will be ranked after all eligible EU candidates (CAO and non-CAO). Ranking is based on the centile in the candidate’s graduating class. The number of available posts for non-EU citizens tends to vary from one year to the next and cannot be guaranteed. However, extra posts are sometimes available. American and Canadian citizens are eligible to apply for any available positions, but their first preference should always be to return to North America for residency training.

In order to practice medicine in Ireland or the EU, all graduates of Irish medical schools must be registered with the Medical Council of Ireland. The Medical Council requires that graduates who wish to practice in Ireland / EU complete an Internship year of supervised medical and surgical training in order to receive their Certificate of Experience. This is the first year of your internship after graduation. Graduates who complete the Intern year and receive a Certificate of Experience can then apply for further training.

Residency in Ireland and the EU is different from North America in that trainees need to apply for each successive stage of their post-graduate training. For example, a new graduate applies for an intern position in a teaching hospital in one of the six Intern Networks (affiliated with the six medical schools). The intern (or resident) year is comprised of a number of medical and surgical rotations. A Certificate of Experience is awarded on completion of the Intern year. (For additional information, please click here).

In the following year you apply for a Senior House Officer (SHO) position and begin Basic Specialist Training which usually lasts for two years. (For additional information, please click here).

Following Basic Specialist Training junior doctors can apply for Higher Specialist Training in the Registrar Training Programme. Higher Specialist Training is provided by a number of specialist postgraduate training bodies who are responsible for training and oversight in these specialties. Registrar training generally lasts from four to six years but can take longer depending on the specialty.

Ireland is a member country of the European Union. Thus, a degree from Ireland is portable to other member European Union countries.

However, medical training in other EU countries will largely depend on the spoken language. Training in the UK is generally the next most popular option for graduates who wish to remain in Europe.

United Kingdom / Great Britain

The General Medical Council is the authority which regulates medical training in the UK.

  • The UK has approximately 8,000 internship jobs available for interns annually. Their basic level training is 2 years (Foundation 1 and Foundation 2).
  •  Medical graduate from Ireland can apply for a place in the year they graduate. With 8,000 places on offer Irish Graduates routinely secure a place.
  • Note: In recent years the application process did not distinguish between EU vs UK vs Others as there is a shortage of physicians, so even if you are non EU/UK you will be ranked on the same level.
  • The UK is divided into 20 regions and you can rank your regions by preference.

The Irish medical degree is recognized and highly regarded all over the world. Irish medical school graduates have undertaken postgraduate (residency) training throughout the world, including the Middle East, Australia, North America, Asia, etc.


Applications are now closed for Fall 2024 Entry.

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