Applying for specialist assessment
This page outlines the application process for the Specialist Pathway for specialist international medical graduate (SIMG) admission to Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Fellowship.
Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the Specialist pathway handbook [PDF; 206 KB], as it contains detailed information on the application process.
Please also refer to the Flowchart of specialist pathway and Area of Need application process [PDF; 233 KB] (Published 23 February 2021) for the steps involved in specialist assessment with the expected timeframes.
A Comparability Assessment criteria checklist [PDF; 109 KB] is available to assist applicants in determining the level of comparability of their training and qualifications.
Eligibility criteria for specialist assessment
E-learning modules to help SIMGs
These e-learning modules are designed to help SIMGs understand the pathway to becoming a psychiatrist in Australia.
To be eligible for specialist assessment a SIMG must:
- hold the highest psychiatry qualification obtainable as a specialist clinical psychiatrist in their country of origin at the time of qualification
- have gained that qualification through an appropriately supervised specialist training program which:
- was at least three (3) years in duration
- included at least 12 months general adult training, of which six (6) months was acute in-patient.
- have attained registration as a specialist psychiatrist in that country
- want to live and work in Australia permanently
- have a job offer in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand (refer to our Psychiatry Jobs Hub or DoctorConnect for current psychiatry job vacancies)
- have applied to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification of their primary and specialist psychiatry qualifications. All specialist psychiatry qualifications which constitute the highest specialist psychiatry qualification in the country of qualification need to be verified e.g. UK applicants must get both the MRCPsych and the CCT/CCST verified and Sri Lankan applicants must get both the MD(Psych) and Board Certification verified.
- provide evidence of English language proficiency – for example, an overall score of 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please refer to the AMC website for acceptable tests and score results.
It is important to note that the MRCPsych qualification (without a CCT/CCST) from the United Kingdom is not recognised as the highest specialist qualification by the RANZCP. Applicants with an MRCPsych only who are applying for Fellowship will be directed to the 2012 Fellowship Training Pathway.
The MRCPsych with the CESR qualification will only be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Eligibility for Substantial Comparability Placement assessment
The above are the minimum criteria required to be considered for assessment. Those wishing to have their existing qualifications, training and experience deemed as Substantially Comparable to Australian training standards will need to meet additional eligibility criteria.
Substantial Comparability Placement eligibility criteria
Eligibility for Area of Need assessment
SIMGs who wish to work in an Area of Need position must also meet further criteria.
Applicants who are assessed as Partially Comparable will not be eligible for an Area of Need position.
More information about Area of Need positions
How to apply
To apply for a specialist pathway or specialist pathway and Area of Need assessment, please complete the Specialist assessment application form on the Forms and documents – overseas specialists web page.
- Please ensure you are using the current version of the form, as old versions of this application form will not be accepted.
- Before completing the application form, please ensure you are familiar with the eligibility requirements listed above, and the correct application process as outlined in the Specialist pathway handbook [PDF; 206 KB].
- Ensure that your application is complete with all the required supporting documents as per the checklist on the final page of the application form. Incomplete applications could incur an additional incomplete application fee, and will delay the application process.
Please refer to the Forms and documents – overseas specialists web page under application fees for the different fee amounts and payment options.
Types of specialist assessment application fees
- Administration fee: should be included with the completed application form.
- Incomplete application fee: can be incurred if an application is considered incomplete. The application will not proceed until all required documents and information are provided.
- Assessment fee: when the application is deemed complete the applicant will be invoiced this fee. The assessment fee needs to be paid in full before the assessment can proceed.
- Substantial Comparability Placement fee: an additional fee payable by candidates who are offered a Substantial Comparability placement.
Specialist assessment process
Assessment and interview dates
On receipt of the completed application form and all the required supporting documents, members from the relevant State Assessment Panel will review the application. If deemed eligible the application will then proceed to an interview, which will be arranged by RANZCP staff.
The place of proposed employment in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand will determine which State Assessment Panel is assigned to assess an application. For example, if the proposed position is in New South Wales, then the New South Wales Assessment Panel will conduct the assessment.
A maximum of three applications per state for each State Assessment Panel can be assessed per monthly assessment round. If the maximum number of complete applications has been received, then the next available assessment round date will be offered.
Applications will only be submitted for assessment when the application is deemed complete with all supporting documentation, as per the checklist on the specialist assessment application form. If you intend to get into a specific assessment round, then your application and supporting materials need to be submitted well before the application closing date. This will allow the timely return of referee reports, which the RANZCP needs to forward to your nominated referees for completion before the application closing date.
The closing dates for each assessment round can be found in the State Assessment Panel assessment dates document on the Forms and documents – overseas specialists web page. Please note that requests for date changes cannot be considered and extensions for closing dates will not be granted.
Videoconference interviews are available in selected states for overseas applicants only. A videoconference interview can only be considered if found appropriate by the relevant State Assessment Panel. All costs on both sides must be covered by the applicant. The applicant is responsible for organising their own videoconference facilities and for contacting the RANZCP well in advance regarding dial-in information. The RANZCP will organise test calls for applicants having videoconference interviews.
Area of Need interviews
On receipt and review of an Area of Need (AoN) application, the relevant State Assessment Panel will decide if an interview is required as a part of your RANZCP AoN assessment.
RANZCP staff will confirm this with each applicant via email once the paper-based assessment has been completed.
Specialist assessment outcome
There are three possible outcomes of the specialist assessment process:
- Substantially Comparable
- Partially Comparable
- Not Comparable.
To determine comparability, a candidate's qualifications, quality of training and supervision, and experience as compared with Australian standards are evaluated. To ensure consistency of evaluations between State Assessment Panels, a uniform assessment framework called the Comparability Assessment Form (CAF) is used.
A broad range of categories are considered and rated in the CAF, which include:
- training standards
- accreditation standards
- health and mental health standards and systems
- experience at a consultant psychiatrist
- recognition of further learning
State assessment panellists who are RANZCP Fellows use the CAF to calculate a total score. This score will determine whether the applicant is Substantially Comparable, Partially Comparable or Not Comparable.
The entire assessment process will take approximately 15 weeks from the time the application is received until the outcome result.
Applicants will be informed by email of the assessment outcome.
Possible assessment outcomes
Applicants who attain the substantially comparable score and who meet all other relevant eligibility criteria, will be offered the next available place in a Substantial Comparability Placement cohort.
The Substantial Comparability Placement involves 12-months of workplace-based assessments, as well as some additional requirements depending on possible gaps in training and experience compared with Australian training standards.
A list of the exact training and experience requirements to be completed will be noted in the assessment outcome letter.
Before starting the Substantial Comparability Placement, all new candidates must complete a three-month job orientation period, which must be signed off by the candidate and the supervisor and declares that the candidate is prepared and ready to commence the placement with sufficient support and caseload. This three-month time is additional and not included in the 12-month Substantial Comparability Placement.
Applicants who are deemed Partially Comparable will be offered a place on the Partial Comparability Placement.
The Partial Comparability Placement involves two years of workplace-based assessments, the clinical exam (OSCE) and the essay style written examination, as well as any gaps identified in training and experience as compared with Australian training standards. A list of the exact training and assessment requirements to be completed will be noted in the assessment outcome letter.
New SIMG candidates enrolled on the specialist pathway after 1 January 2016, with a partially comparable specialist assessment outcome at initial application will not be eligible for reassessment for their comparability status, unless they can provide evidence of additional experiences to satisfy the CSIMGE for it to consider reassessment of the application.
Applicants whose qualifications, training and experiences are not considered equivalent to Australian training standards have the option to apply for the 2012 Fellowship Training Pathway