Our criteria for acceptable overseas qualifications

Our criteria

To be eligible to sit the PLAB test and/or to apply for GMC registration, you must hold or have passed all the qualifying examinations necessary for obtaining an acceptable overseas qualification.

Prior to booking a PLAB place you must ensure that your qualification meets all of the criteria. If you choose to sit PLAB with a qualification that is later assessed as being unacceptable, you will not be entitled to a refund of your PLAB fees. If you are unsure if your qualification meets our criteria, you should contact us.

An acceptable overseas qualification must meet all the criteria approved by the GMC. A qualification which does not meet all of the criteria cannot be accepted.

Please note the criteria we use to define an acceptable overseas qualification may change. Qualifications which meet our criteria are currently acceptable, but that does not necessarily mean that they will always be acceptable.

The criteria are set out below:

  1. Your primary medical qualification must be in allopathic medicine that:
  2. If you hold a relevant European qualification, this is also acceptable.
  3. Where your qualification is not listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools it will be acceptable only where the reason that it is not listed is because:
    • the country awarding the qualification is not recognised by the United Nations, and/or
    • the institution that awarded the qualification no longer exists or no longer delivers medical education and we are certain the qualification is valid.

    In each of these circumstances, your qualification must satisfy all of the other criteria for an overseas qualification to be acceptable.

    Where relevant, the institution listed in the directory must have sufficient contact details (address or email address, fax or telephone number) to allow verification of the qualifications it has issued.

  4. Your qualification must have been awarded after a programme of study comprising at least 5,500 hours over a period of three years.

    A programme of study is the course of study followed by each individual applicant leading to their qualification and does not include study at an institution:

  5. Your qualification cannot have been undertaken entirely virtually.

  6. If you have studied at more than one institution which contributed to the award of your primary medical qualification it will only be acceptable where:
    • the institution is part of a recognised twinning programme or a recognised campus of another institution, or

    • it has not been possible to complete your qualification at one institution for justifiable reasons, and

    • the course credits which contributed to the award of your qualification must not have included credits transferred from another institution where you failed or were excluded, and

    • the course credits which contributed to the award of your qualification must not have included credits transferred from an institution listed on our unacceptable list.

    • if your qualification is from or includes credits transferred from an institution listed on our case by case list, we will need to undertake an assessment to determine whether your qualification is acceptable.

    • the course credits which contributed to the award of your qualification must not have been transferred from a degree that would not lead to an award of an MBBS or equivalent.

  7. You must have undertaken clinical rotations as part of your primary medical qualification or during a pre-graduate internship (where applicable) which have provided you with appropriate clinical experience, meaning:
    • your clinical rotations must have been of an acceptable duration, including sufficient in person interactions with patients and other healthcare colleagues (for more information please refer to the glossary), and

    • included exposure to medicine and surgery, and

    • were overseen and/or approved by the institution you attended, and

    • formed part of your overall programme of study.

  8. Where your qualification fails to satisfy any one or more of the above criteria you will not be considered to hold an acceptable overseas qualification.
    • where an assessment of your PMQ is required after you have applied, that application will be closed whilst an assessment is undertaken.

    • if your qualification has been assessed as not acceptable, you will not be eligible to sit the PLAB test or apply for registration. We will refuse to accept future applications using your qualification until you/the institution provide evidence which demonstrates it meets our criteria.