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The process of approving new schools and programmes

Application form

Institutions proposing a new school or programme complete an application form giving us relevant information, including staff expertise, and their ability to give adequate clinical experience for students.

This also generally applies to medical schools that have delivered undergraduate medical programmes jointly with other medical schools, but want to deliver a programme independently.

An application can be made around three years before the first cohort of students is expected to start.

The approval process

We make a decision whether or not to commit to a comprehensive quality assurance process. If we decide that the new school is viable to enter this process, quality assurance reviews are carried out over a number of years, and annual visits by a team of our associates and staff will start.

The visit team will determine if the new school is meeting the standards set out in Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training.

The visit process follows the first cohort of students to the point of graduation, and if successful, the institution will then be added to our list of bodies entitled to award a UK medical degree.

If we decide that the application is not sufficient, we will ask the medical school to delay the selection of its first cohort of students, to undertake further preparatory work.

After approval, ongoing reporting

Medical schools send us a medical school annual return (MSAR) each year, and all medical schools and postgraduate bodies regularly submit reports to us. These include outcomes of our visits and enhanced monitoring cases. They should show how their quality management processes meet our standards. Deans must be able to provide evidence to support their action plans if we request it.

Medical schools and postgraduate bodies should be aware of issues affecting medical education and training. Their actions should ensure safe training and be proportionate, measured and evaluated. They must share information and promote high standards of professional education and training.

Wherever possible, we coordinate our data collection with partner organisations.

View the medical school annual reports.