Medical Specialties

Ireland offers a huge variety of over 50 specialties with high quality training and career opportunities. Below is a view of the timelines required for the training programs. Then, within each specialty page, you can access information about that specialty and a link to the relevant training body for more details.

Basic Specialist Training (BST)
A hospital-based training programme that prepares you for Higher Specialist Training, which is the final stage of training.
Higher Specialist Training (HST)
A four- to six-year training programme completed in Specialist Registrar (SpR) posts, with programmes available in 15 Specialties and 50 subspecialties
Streamline Specialist Training (SST)
SST is an alternative pathway to BST & HST in a small number of specialties comprising an integrated programme of 4 to 6 years training. * Note the initial years of SST or BST pathways are referred to collectively as Initial Specialist Training (IST).

The Specialist Anaesthesiology Training (SAT) programme develops world class anaesthesiologists with specialist clinical knowledge, technical and communication skills and a focus on patient safety and care. Training is structured to maximise opportunities for learning and to provide a broad range of experience in different types of hospitals and various sub-specialties in anaesthesiology.

Emergency Medicine

The National Emergency Medicine Training Programme is a seven-year programme that takes doctors from internship (or later) through to Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Emergency Medicine.

General Practice (GP)

General practice training is in the main four years in duration. The first two years are spent primarily in hospital settings, with third and fourth year in supervised general practice.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The training programme offered will provide opportunities to fulfil all the requirements of the curriculum of training for Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Programmes will include posts in both general hospitals and maternity hospitals, all of which are teaching hospitals.


Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and disease of the eye and visual system. Ophthalmologists diagnose, medically treat and perform surgery to preserve vision and prevent sight loss in patients. The Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) is responsible for the delivery of Specialist Training in Ophthalmology and offers two training pathways: Medical Ophthalmology (5-year programme) and Surgical Ophthalmology (7 year programme).


In order to apply for Higher Specialist Training for any speciality in Paediatrics, you must complete Basic Specialist Training in General Paediatrics.


In order to apply for Higher Specialist Training for any speciality in Pathology, you must complete Basic Specialist Training in Histopathology.


In order to apply for Higher Specialist Training for any speciality in Psychiatry, you must complete Basic Specialist Training in Psychiatry.


In Surgery, initial training equivalent to BST is called Core Surgical Training (CST) of 2 years [known as ST1-ST2] which must completed before applying for HST in relevant Surgical Specialty of up to 6 years [known as ST3-ST8]. CST is included in the *General Surgery page but also applies to the other surgrical specilaities.