Cardiology is most competitive specialty for higher training

Authors: Helen Jaques 

Publication date:  03 Sep 2011

More than six applications were received for every specialty training year 3 (ST3) post in cardiology during round one of recruitment to higher specialty training this year, making it the most competitive medical specialty in which to get a training placement, according to figures from the Royal College of Physicians.

The college has published data on the numbers of posts, numbers of applications made, and rates of competition for the 12 medical specialties for which it coordinates recruitment to higher specialty training.

The competition ratios are calculated by dividing the number of applications, rather than the number of applicants, by the number of available posts in each specialty, because each candidate is able to submit up to two applications in each specialty and up to 10 applications in total.

“Cardiology is the most popular ST3 specialty, as usual, and London is the most popular deanery,” said a spokesperson for the Royal College of Physicians. “The increase in post numbers and the multi-applications tend to reduce the competition ratios during recruitment, so candidates shouldn’t necessarily be put off by the competition ratios if they are determined to apply to a particular specialty or deanery.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has advised that the competition ratio for psychiatry ST4 was 2.51 applications per post this year, although competition was slightly tougher in the subspecialties of forensic psychiatry (3.81 applications per post) and general adult psychiatry (3.1 per post).

For general surgery ST3, the London deanery, which coordinates national recruitment for the specialty, received almost five applications per post.

The Royal College of Physicians recommends that candidates look at deanery level data when considering their application, because some areas are more popular than others, and a specialty that appears very popular might have a lower competition ratio in particular areas.

  • The full competition ratio data for medical specialties is available on the Royal College of Physicians ST3 recruitment website at [Link] .

Helen Jaques news reporter BMJ Careers

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: