Dentist checking a patient

What does MFDS stand for?

The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery.

What does the MFDS exam involve?  

The diploma is managed by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The exam has two parts.  

  • Part 1 is organised jointly by the two colleges. 
  • Part 2 is organised by each college separately. 

The format for each exam is the same wherever it is held. Sittings are held at least twice a year in the UK. Exams overseas will be held according to demand.

Part 1 of the exam includes two written papers of three hours:

  • The first paper consists of short answer questions.
  • The second includes multiple choice and extended-matching questions.

You will be awarded either a pass or a fail. 

You can only sit Part 2 of the MFDS exam with written confirmation that you have passed Part 1.

The exam consists of an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) of two hours. You will be awarded either a pass or a fail. 

What are the entry requirements?

For Part 1 you must have a primary dental qualification acceptable to the councils of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

For Part 2 you must have written confirmation of a Part 1 pass or must qualify for an exemption from Part 1. 

You must also provide evidence that you have completed 12 months’ experience in clinical dentistry before the closing date for entry to the Part 2 exam you want to sit.

Are the MFDS Part A, B and C exams still available?

These exams were last sat in 2008 and have been replaced by the MFDS (2007), which was introduced in October 2007.

Who offers the MFDS?

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh have produced a single set of regulations for the two colleges. You may enter through only one college for any particular exam sitting.

The MFDS (2007) exam is different to those offered by the Royal College of Surgeons of England or the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

How can I apply and pay?

Send applications for each part of the exam to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh by the closing date specified in the exam calendar. Applications received after the closing date will not be processed.

Please accompany applications with the full fee payable to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and sent to:

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Exams Section
The Adamson Centre
3 Hill Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9DS, UK

When are the exam and registration deadlines for Part 1?

For examination dates & fees, please visit the website.


What is the time limit on passing Part 2 once I have passed Part 1?

You have five years from the date of passing Part 1, or an exempting qualification, to pass Part 2 of the MFDS exam.

Can I apply to both the Glasgow and Edinburgh College for a particular sitting of the exam?

No. You must choose only one college with which to take the exam.

Can I apply for the MFDS, the MFD RCSI and the new MJDF (RCSENG) exam at the same time?

Yes, provided the exam dates do not coincide.

Once I have passed Part 1, how soon can I sit Part 2?

You must provide evidence of having passed Part 1 MFDS when you are applying for Part 2 MFDS as well as providing evidence of completion of a minimum of 12 months’ full-time postgraduate experience in clinical dentistry. 

You are not permitted to apply for Part 2 at the same time as applying for Part 1.


Is passing the MFDS exam a pre-requisite for entry into specialist training?

No, but passing the MFDS meets the General Dental Council’s stipulation that you must demonstrate you have the required broad-based knowledge to enter specialist training. 

If you’re successful you can consider the diploma to be a badge of excellence that represents a measure of your clinical practice and expertise.


When and where do parts 1 and 2 of the exam take place?

Part 1 is currently held twice a year in several centres in the UK and many overseas. Part 2 is currently held in Edinburgh twice a year and in Cairo once a year.

The exam calendar on the college website provides full and current information on the exam centres, dates and fees.

Are there preparatory courses and a reading list available?

A reading list is available on the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh website.

Preparatory courses are run within the college at various times subject to demand – for more information visit the Education section of the college website.

I have passed Part A of the MFDS/MFD (2001), am I exempt from Part1 of the MFDS exam?

No, only trainees who have passed the coursework module of the MFGDP (UK) together with Part A MFDS/MFD (2001) will be able to enter Part 2 of the MFDS (2007) without the need to pass Part B. You will have to pass Part 2 within five years of passing the coursework module.


If I have passed part of the MFDS/MFD (2001) or the MFDS exam, am I exempt from the new MJDF (RCSEng) or MFD RCSI exam?

You will have to contact the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh or the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for information on any exemptions they will offer. 




Where can I find more information about Part1 exemptions?

Full information of exemptions available for Part 1 of the MFDS exam can be found on the MFDS Exempting Qualifications document.

Does my training need to be in recognised posts for entry to the Part 2 MFDS exam?

No, postgraduate experience offered for entry to Part 2 MFDS is not required to be in recognised training posts.


Are candidates required to have completed 12 months or 24 months of experience before they can be awarded the diploma?

You need to have completed 12 months. The regulations were amended from 24 months in September 2010.

This is the same amount of experience as is required for entry to Part 2 and therefore you can apply for your diploma after passing Part 2 of the exam.

How can I get my results?

Results will be posted on the college websites and distributed by post.



How do I postpone my exam or get a refund?

All refunds or postponement requests should be sent directly to the British Council Cairo and will be at the discretion of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Refunds will only be paid by bank transfer. You cannot pay with cash or cheques. The British Council will not issue any refunds unless customers provide their correct bank account details attached to the refund claim form.


Where can I find out more information about the diploma and the exam?

Visit the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh website or email

For enquiries about registration in Cairo contact us.


See also