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What is the purpose and value of the Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) examination that is being offered by the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS Eng)?

The purpose of the MFDS examination is to demonstrate that successful candidates possess the necessary competencies for a specialist dental career in either primary or secondary care following the completion of their foundation training curriculum.

As with the Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF) examination which it replaces, and the equivalent qualification offered by other surgical Royal Colleges, the MFDS does not represent a formal criterion for entry into specialist training. The General Dental Council do not set a formal examination requirement for this purpose, and selection is likely to be on the basis of a range of criteria. Possession of a postgraduate qualification such as the MFDS will play a part in demonstrating a candidate's suitability for specialist training, but is not an absolute requirement.

I have passed the MJDF Part 1. What are my options now?

MJDF Part 2 examinations will continue to take place until February 2021, so candidates who have passed the MJDF Part 1 can still apply to take the Part 2 examination before this date.

Anyone who has passed the MJDF Part 1 will also be eligible to sit the MFDS Part 2 examination with RCS Eng. The only restriction is that the MFDS Part 2 examination must be taken within five years of passing the MJDF Part 1.

Candidates who have passed MFDS Part 1 examinations with other surgical Royal Colleges, such as the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCS Ed) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG), are also eligible to sit the MFDS Part 2 examination with RCS Eng within five years.

Equally, anyone who passes the MFDS Part 1 with RCS Eng will be eligible to sit the MJDF Part 2 examination (prior to February 2021) or the MFDS Part 2 offered by RCS Ed and RCPSG.

I have sat, but not passed, MJDF Part 2. Can I sit the MFDS Part 2?

Yes. Those candidates eligible to sit the MJDF Part 2 are also eligible to sit the MFDS Part 2, providing they are within the five-year “currency period” after passing the MJDF Part 1.

Since the MFDS assesses competencies in the foundation training curriculum, is it relevant to a practitioner with several years' experience post qualification?

Yes. The MFDS will be the starting point for dentists who wish to develop their careers in a number of directions. All dentists should consider the MFDS as a valuable demonstration of having achieved the postgraduate competencies set out in the foundation training curriculum. The qualification also provides you with membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at RCS Eng and all of the benefits this entails.

Where can I find information on the content of the MFDS examination?

The publication Dental Foundation Training Curriculum is the basis for the MFDS assessment. The curriculum can be downloaded from the COPDEND website. The syllabus, identifying the curricular content covered in the examination, can be found on the RCS Eng website.

What is the format of the MFDS examination?

The Part 1 examination consists of one paper, based on the foundation training curriculum, assessing knowledge and applied knowledge. This includes 150 Single Best Answer (SBA) questions within a single three-hour paper. The questions carry equal marks. The examination is not negatively marked and there are no trick questions.

The Part 2 examination consists of a structured professional skills assessment, compromising 14 stations within a single circuit. The assessment will test candidates on the following domains:

  • Applied clinical knowledge;
  • Diagnosis;
  • Information gathering;
  • Information imparting;
  • Investigations;
  • Management.

Will the MFDS be offered in the same examination centres as the MJDF?

Yes. It is planned that candidates will be able to sit the MFDS examination (both Part 1 and Part 2) at each of the centres at which the MJDF was offered.

A full list of examination centres will be published on the MFDS page of the RCS Eng website once bookings are opened.

When do I receive my MFDS certificate?

Candidates will receive their certificates and may use the MFDS post-nominal letters once they have paid for membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery. The annual membership fee entitles candidates to use the post-nominal letters after their name. The certificate is evidence of this membership.

To attend the Diplomates Day ceremony and subsequently receive the certificate, candidates need to have paid their membership fee first. To receive their certificate in the post, candidates also need to have paid their membership fee. This rule applies across the board since use of post-nominal letters and the wording of the certificate is actively tied to the membership.

The MFDS is a membership qualification and the expectation is that candidates are taking the exam in order to become a member. The certificate alone implies that its owner is a member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery.

As an overseas candidate, what sort of visa do I need to sit the exam?

The College Examinations Directorate is not involved in administering visas and is therefore unable to advise on this. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that they are permitted to be in the UK to take the exam that they are booked onto. For information on visas and entry to the UK, please contact UK Visas and Immigration.  

If you pay for an exam and then are unable to obtain a visa, you will not be refunded your fees. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can obtain a visa before you pay for an exam.

As an overseas candidate applying for the examination, should I submit original or certified documents?

To avoid the possibility of original documents being mislaid by postal services, it is recommended that all candidates supply only certified copies of their supporting documentation.

A correctly certified photocopy requires a consultant’s signature and the appropriate hospital stamp. Please note that all hospital stamps should be in English or have an official translation provided.

If you choose to send original documents with your application form, we strongly recommend that you use recorded or special delivery (UK only) or international signed for (if overseas). All original documents will be returned to you using these methods to ensure their safe return.

I already have the MJDF qualification and MJDF membership. What happens to me?

If you are a fully paid-up MJDF member then for now nothing changes. You continue to enjoy the benefits of membership of both the Faculty of Dental Surgery and the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).

In the future, the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) plans to leave RCS Eng and become a new independent body (the Faculty of Dental Surgery will remain part of RCS Eng). Once this happens you will be eligible for membership of the new organisation and for membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, should you wish to take up membership of either, or indeed both.

The two Faculties are working on a plan to accommodate your six-year entitlement to membership of both Faculties at a preferential rate at the time of separation.

Who should I contact for further information?

If you have a question about the MFDS examination itself you should contact the College’s Exams team by phone on 020 7405 3474 (Option 3) or by email at

If you are an existing MJDF member and have questions about your membership then you should contact the College’s Membership team by phone on 020 7405 3474 (Option 1) or by email at

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