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Program development and history

This information is about the RANZCP 2012 Fellowship Program for psychiatry training.

A new training program

The new Fellowship Program was developed in 2012 to improve on the College's previous psychiatry training program which was implemented in 2003.

In adopting a new training program, the College aimed to:

  • adopt a competency-based framework (in line with current international best practice)
  • increase flexibility
  • decrease the time taken to complete training
  • improve examination pass rates
  • address workforce shortages
  • meet increasing demands in the area of mental health.

Key differences

Some important differences between the 2003 and 2012 Fellowship Programs are as follows.


The 2012 curriculum is based on the acquisition of key competencies.

In the 2012 program, the curriculum is aligned with integration between outcomes, learning opportunities and assessments. It is underpinned by current best practice approaches in adult education, including notions of lifelong learning, self-reflection and workplace-based assessment.


The 2003 program comprised basic (3 years) and advanced training (2 years).

The 2012 program comprises three stages: Stage 1 (year 1; basic level), Stage 2 (years 2 and 3; proficient level), Stage 3 (years 4 and 5; advanced level).


Feedback between supervisor and trainee is more formalised in the 2012 program, particularly in-training formative feedback (using Workplace-Based Assessments).

Supervisors' work practices will change, but there will be no changes to the time allocations for supervision.


Workplace-based Assessments (WBAs): This assessment type has been added to the program. It is a formative assessment that is performed in the workplace. It replaces the informal formative feedback processes of the previous training program.

Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs): This assessment type has been added to the program. It is a summative assessment that is performed in the workplace. It replaces many of the experiences required in the previous training program.

Psychotherapies: Psychotherapy EPAs have been added to the program. They replace the briefer interventions (short cases) required in the previous program. The Psychotherapy Long Case remains from the previous program (now the Psychotherapy Written Case) but the First Presentation Case is no longer required.

In-Training Assessment forms and reports: The In-Training Assessment Forms replace the mid-rotation report and end-of-term report.

Scholarly Project: This assessment has been added to the program. It was added in recognition of the fact that psychiatrists must be capable of scholarly evaluation of their practice.

Written exam: In the 2003 program, the written exam was assessed at an end of basic training standard. In the 2012 program, the written exam has been split into two separate exams, assessed at the standard expected at the end of Stage 3, which can be attempted separately. 

Pass rates

Curriculum alignment is intended to improve pass rates in the 2012 program. In particular, alignment of formative and summative assessments will better prepare trainees.

A competency-based training system will also mean that trainees in difficulty can be identified and assisted earlier in the training process.

Development of the program

Information gathered through the following activities was used to inform development of the curriculum.

  • The existing curriculum (2003 training regulations) was reviewed using an online survey and focus groups of trainees and Directors of Training.
  • A literature review was undertaken to examine the various frameworks used in medical education. The CanMEDS framework of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada was identified as the most appropriate model.
  • The College liaised extensively with the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada regarding curriculum and curriculum implementation.
  • The College consulted widely with trainees, Directors of Training and supervisors.

Further development work was undertaken via dedicated working groups, overseen by the Competency-Based Fellowship Program Project Management Group. The Educational Content and Quality Group ensured the educational validity of development work.

The curriculum was blueprinted (mapped) to ensure that the learning activities (Entrustable Professional Activities) and assessment tasks are clearly related to the intended learning outcomes.


Curriculum development involved significant input from stakeholders, including Directors of Training, supervisors, Fellows, trainees, various College committees, carers and consumers. Health jurisdictions and health services were also consulted.

Regular updates continue to be provided to various College committees, Directors of Training and the wider Fellowship.
Feedback have been requested during the implementation process to address any issues that arise.

Transition between the training programs

The Transition and Recognition of Prior Learning Working Party consulted extensively with the then Board of Education and its various committees, including the Training Representative Committee.

The 2012 Fellowship Program’s stages have been implemented sequentially. The stages of the new program were rolled out in line with the progression of a (full-time) trainee commencing in December 2012 in New Zealand or January 2013 in Australia.

A guiding principle was that no trainee should experience any disadvantage because of the change process.

.More about transition between the training programs