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Certificate Confirming Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR)


In order to be eligible to apply for substantive, honorary or fixed term Ophthalmology Consultant posts in the NHS, you must be on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council (GMC). There are two routes to being placed on the Register, the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR).  Doctors with a European recognised ophthalmic specialist qualification may however apply directly to the GMC.

If you are planning on applying for CESR in the near future, please email [email protected] to join a mailing list and receive curriculum updates.


Allows doctors who have not completed a UK specialist training programme and have a combination of qualifications and/or training and experience gained anywhere in the world to be evaluated as part of an application for entry to the GMC Specialist Register. (If you are interested in Medical Ophthalmology you need to contact The Royal College of Physicians (JRCPTB) as they assess applications for medical ophthalmology).

Also provides a route to the Specialist Register for a small number of doctors with highly specialised knowledge and skill derived from academic or research work.


Marks the completion of a GMC approved ophthalmology “run-through” training programme usually lasting 7 years.

Before you apply

Doctors are strongly advised to read all relevant guidance published on the GMC website and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists website prior to submitting their CESR application to GMC.

The College has assisted the GMC in producing Specialty Specific Guidance for applicants and is available on the GMC website.

The College has also produced a Frequently Asked Questions document that gives an overview of the application process and addresses many of the questions that the College has been asked by previous applicants.

Finally there is a CESR applicants – Application Guide that is specifically aimed at helping applicants provide their evidence in the correct order and gives details about the learning outcomes required and areas where evidence is often missing.

It must be remembered that the application is now assessed against the current CCT curriculum which is available here.  This should be studied in detail as there must be evidence in your application of competence in all the learning outcomes of this curriculum.

It is very important that prospective applicants read all the guidance documents in detail.  Some previous applicants have failed because of lack of a single piece of evidence despite the remaining evidence covering all the remaining learning outcomes.  Attention to detail is the most important part of a successful application.

Applying for a CESR

All paperwork must be sent directly to the GMC. Any enquiries about the administrative process should be made to the GMC via email or addressed to the GMC’s offices.

GMC Guidance and Application form.

Role of the College

The College’s role is to evaluate individual applications and send recommendations to the GMC. The College works closely with the GMC to ensure that a robust system of assessment is established.

The College is happy to provide guidance and advice but is not responsible for giving guarantees or opinions as to the likelihood of a specific application being successful.

Please see flowchart on the application process

The College will hold various training days in 2018 from 10.00am to 4.30pm at The Royal College Of Ophthalmologists. This training session would be beneficial for anyone thinking of or in the process of applying for Specialist Registration via the CESR route.

The Training Session will include:

• What is a CESR and who is eligible to apply?

• Tips on how to prepare a CESR application in Ophthalmology

• An overview of the process and why some applications are unsuccessful

• Practical exercise reviewing an evidence bundle to provide guidance on typed of evidence submitted

• Question and Answer session

• Lunch

Places are limited to 24 and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. The fee is £115.00 inclusive of VAT and includes lunch. If you are interested in attending then please complete the application form attached. Please note places will only be confirmed once payment has been received. To book your place please visit here.

Contacting the College

All specialty specific questions must be made in writing, by email or letter to:

[email protected]

Education and Training Department
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
18 Stephenson Way