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Tri-Collegiate Membership in Special Care Dentistry

Exam overview

The Diploma of Membership in Special Care Dentistry (MSpec Care Dent) is a tri-collegiate specialty membership exam, run by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG).

Successful completion of the MSpec Care Dent examination is one criterion along with other non-examination criteria required prior to recommendation for entry onto the specialist list by the relevant deanery/HEE local office in the case of candidates with an NTN.

Extension to Examination Application Window within Training

The Joint Meeting of Dental Faculties has agreed to extend the window in which dental specialty trainees can sit surgical Royal College examinations as part of the training programme. Currently, trainees are not able to sit these examinations until six months before they are due to complete training. In future, they will be able to sit up to twelve months before they are due to complete training, provided they have the support of their Training Programme Director. Further details can be found here.


To be eligible to enter for the exam all candidates must provide certified evidence of possession of a primary dental qualification that is acceptable to the colleges.

Candidates may apply for entry to the exam having completed 2.5 years of full-time or equivalent part-time training acceptable to the colleges by the date of the examination. The training should preferably be continuous but in some cases breaks in training may be permitted. The total training period should not normally exceed 6 years. 

Candidates must also fulfill one or more of the following criteria: 

  • have normally completed at the date of commencement of the exam, a minimum of 30 months of a full-time 3-year training appointment (or pro-rata for part-time trainees) in appropriate posts, courses and programmes.
  • be registered as a specialist in Special Care Dentistry in the UK.
  • have completed at least 30 months of continuous full-time (or part-time equivalent i.e. not less than half-time over a maximum of six continuous years) specialty training overseas or in the EEA in a programme of specialty training which is acceptable to the colleges. 

Candidates who do not exactly fulfil the above requirements may apply for special consideration of their experience by submitting the full details normally at least 4 months before the closing date of the exam diet for which they wish to apply.

Exam format

The exam consists of five components. At their first sitting, candidates must attempt all five components. Each component must be passed independently. At any subsequent sitting, candidates must attempt all outstanding elements of the exam.

The exam consists of: 

  • component 1: a written examination of 2.5 hours’ duration
  • omponent 2: a structured oral problem-solving examination
  • component 3: a structured oral examination based on two simulated cases
  •  component 4: a communication skills test based on two communication scenarios.
  • component 5: a structured oral examination based on a submitted portfolio of experience which includes two documented clinical case histories.

For more information on the exam structure please read the guidance to candidates document. 


The Diploma of Membership in Special Care Dentistry tests candidates’ knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes relevant to the practice of a specialist in special care dentistry, as defined by the Specialty Advisory Committee for Special Care Dentistry and agreed by the General Dental Council.  

Read the specialty training curriculum for special care dentistry.

Joining fee information

There is a £150 joining fee for those with FDS Royal College of Surgeons of England. An annual subscription is required to maintain the post-nominal letters.