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Glossary of terms for acceptable overseas medical qualifications

Term Meaning
Acceptable qualifications not currently listed on the World Directory of Medical Schools
A qualification that isn't listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools because it is a primary European qualification OR is in a country/territory not recognised by the United Nations AND has been assessed by the GMC as acceptable and is listed on the ‘Qualifications not listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools’ chapter of this guide.
Allopathic medicine
Allopathic medicine refers to the practice of traditional or conventional Western medicine. The term allopathic medicine is most often used to contrast conventional medicine with alternative/complementary medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine or homeopathy.
AOQ/Acceptable overseas qualification
A qualification which was not awarded in the UK and is not a primary European qualification (with reference to The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications (the Directive)).
Awarding body
The institution, usually a university, which confers your qualification. This is sometimes the same as your medical school/college but not always.
Qualifications which may be acceptable
The list of qualifications/medical schools maintained by the GMC which may be acceptable for the purposes of sitting the PLAB test and applying for GMC registration but which require more in-depth assessment to establish their acceptability.
Directory or directories specified by the GMC Currently the World Directory of Medical Schools.
Distance learning
Any learning, studies or part of your course undertaken other than on a face to face basis. This includes: correspondence (ie written work or exercises being set and sent to you (either by post, email, fax etc) for you to complete independently and send back to a tutor to mark; online learning courses and modules, self-directed learning, attendance at lectures or seminars via web link or using an electronic classroom and any other training or learning done other than on a face-to-face basis.
EPQ/PEQ Primary European qualification
Qualification awarded by a medical school in a relevant country in accordance with the Directive.
Exclude study where considered unsuitable to qualify as a doctor and refused graduation or offered alternative degree
Where a student has been removed from a course of study, refused graduation with a medical qualification or offered an alternative degree title (such as a BSc for example), all of their study there will be discounted for the purposes of calculating the length of their course of study.
GMC registration Registration required to obtain a licence to practise and work in a medical capacity in the UK.
Institution
Medical schools and colleges, awarding bodies, universities, and places of study.
Listing

A listing in the GMC’s specified directories must include, as a minimum: 

  • name and country of institution (or, where different)
  • name and country of awarding body/place of study, and
  • sufficient contact details for verification.
Medical school/college
The institution where you undertook your medical studies. This is sometimes the same as your awarding body or it may be an affiliated medical school/college which teaches your courses under the authority of the university which grants your qualification.
Outside the country that awarded the qualification
Any study or clinical rotations undertaken physically outside the country that awarded the qualification, even whilst under the auspices of the awarding body. This includes taking part in lectures etc. via webinars, online classrooms as well as electives or rotations under taken overseas, etc.
Overseas medical qualifications we do not accept
The list of qualifications/medical schools maintained by the GMC which are not acceptable for the purposes of sitting the PLAB test or for applying for GMC registration.
Overseas medical qualifications we may accept
The list of qualifications/medical schools maintained by the GMC which may be acceptable for the purposes of sitting the PLAB test and applying for GMC registration but which require more in-depth assessment to establish their acceptability.
PLAB
Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board. Two part test set and assessed by the GMC for the purposes of ascertaining the level of medical knowledge and skill of a potential applicant for GMC registration.
PMQ/Primary medical qualification
Medical qualification awarded following a course of study providing a basic grounding in the core areas of medicine and physiology required for undertaking a practical period of training in order to gain entry to the medical profession. Please refer to the full criteria to understand the basic minimum training requirements your PMQ must meet.
Programme of study
The course of study followed by each individual applicant leading to their qualification.
Qualification
The satisfactory completion of an acceptable course of study at a relevant institution leading to the award of a degree entitling the holder to practice medicine as a doctor.
Self-directed study
Self-directed study includes revision (wherever it is undertaken), studying for exams or any study or learning where the scope is defined by the student rather than a tutor. Self-directed study is not included in calculations of clock hours as there is no robust way in which the learning or the number of hours undertaken can be objectively substantiated.
Standard duration of the qualification
The standard length of the course of study leading towards the qualification - for example the course of study as detailed in the medical school's listing in a directory or directories specified by the GMC.
World Directory of Medical Schools
The World Directory of Medical Schools (WDoMS).