A. About the Residency Programme
1. What is a Sponsoring Institution and how many are there in Singapore?
A Sponsoring Institution (SI) is an organisation (or entity) that has the primary purpose of providing graduate medical education programs. It assumes the ultimate financial and academic responsibility for a program of Graduate Medical Education (GME). Currently, there are 3 approved Sponsoring Institutions, namely National Healthcare Group (NHG), National University Health System (NUHS) and SingHealth (SHS). Each SIs is composed of various healthcare institutions, including national specialist centres and primary care clinics.
1. National Healthcare Group (NHG):
- Tan Tock Seng Hospital
- Institute of Mental Health
- Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
- National Skin Centre
- NHG Polyclinics
2. National University Health System (NUHS):
- National University Hospital
- Jurong Health / Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
- St Luke’s Hospital
- Frontier Healthcare
3. SingHealth (SHS):
- Singapore General Hospital
- KK Women's and Children’s Hospital
- Changi General Hospital
- National Cancer Centre
- National Heart Centre
- National Neuroscience Institute
- Singapore National Eye Centre
- SingHealth Polyclinics
2. What are the key roles and responsibilities of the people in a Sponsoring Institution?
Each SI appoints a Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) tasked to provide oversight and governance overall all residency training programmes offered by the Sponsoring Institution. Each Sponsoring Institution’s GMEC comprises the Designated Institutional Official (DIO) and Associate DIOs, Programme Directors (PDs) and Associate PDs, peer-nominated residents, administrators and any other members of the faculty deemed appropriate by the Sponsoring Institution.
The Designated Institutional Official (DIO) leads the organised administrative system that overseas all residency training programmes in the Sponsoring Institution. The goal of the DIO is to establish an educational experience that would enable residents to acquire the necessary competencies and attitudes in order to practice independently in their chosen specialty. An associate DIO may be appointed to represent various participating sites.
The Programme Director (PD) is the person responsible for all aspects of the relevant residency programme. The PD provides the educational environment necessary to achieve the learning objectives of the programme. Associate PDs may be appointed for larger residency programmes.
Core Clinical Faculty Members (CCFMs) are individuals formally appointed to teach residents in their respective specialties.
Each SI also appoints Institutional and Programme Coordinators to manage administrative tasks related to residency training.
3. What are the residency programmes I can apply for?
The following residency programmes are available for application:
- Family Medicine
Family Medicine is one of the most important expanding programmes under the residency system. The Family Medicine programme is also linked to two subspecialties and Geriatrics. Family Physicians can apply to specialise in Palliative Medicine, Sports Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.
- Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Diagnostic Radiology
- Emergency Medicine
- General Surgery
- Hand Surgery
- *Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Orthopaedic Surgery
- Paediatric Medicine
- Plastic Surgery
- Preventive Medicine
- Radiation Oncology
* Internal Medicine Related Specialties
- Advanced Internal Medicine
- Geriatric Medicine
- Infectious Diseases
- Medical Oncology
- Nuclear Medicine
- Renal Medicine
- Rehabilitation Medicine
- Respiratory Medicine
For details on which programmes are offered by the various SIs, please visit the websites of the respective SIs:
- Chemical Pathology
- Forensic Pathology
- Dermatology (Seamless)
4. What is a Transitional Year?
Some residency programmes require PGY1 residents to go through a specialty specific categorical Transitional Year (TY) which is a one year programme, designed to provide a well-balanced, broad-based training in multiple disciplines and within the structured framework of the residency system, before progressing to specialist training.
5. What are the programmes with Clinician Scientist tracks and how do they differ from the usual Residency?
Programmes with clinician scientist tracks retain the educational requirements of the clinical track with additional educational requirements for research. Clinician scientist residents are expected to complete an additional year of research which is built into the curricula of the advanced residency years. During the course of their training, clinician scientist residents are given the opportunity to pursue a part-time Masters in Clinical Investigation (or a PhD if desired). From 2015 onwards, the entry to the clinician scientist track will start at Residency Year 4 unless there are exceptional reasons. If you wish to apply for Clinician Scientist residency, please refer to the FAQs on Clinician Scientist Track.back to top
B. Application for Residency
1. Who can apply for the Residency Programme?
Graduands/graduates of Singapore medical schools and those with primary medical qualifications registrable under the Medical Registration Act (First Schedule) are eligible to apply to the Residency Programme. Graduands from overseas must secure an offer of employment as a doctor from the MOH Holdings Pte Ltd (MOHH) first. If you are an overseas graduand or graduate and require more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. I have some working experience (service MO, MOT, etc); can I join the programme in its second year?
All candidates are expected to enter residency training at Residency Year 1 (R1) regardless of prior experience. programmes, and depending on the specialty-specific requirements for completeness of training. Only for certain programmes will those with prior experience in the specialty be reviewed by the Programme Director and the Residency Advisory Committee in the first months of R1 to determine whether the resident possesses the required competencies to progress to the R2 year immediately.
3. How do I apply for Residency?
Applications for residency training are submitted to MOH Holdings Pte Ltd (MOHH) through their online portal. A step by step video guide is available.
4. What should I expect after my application has been submitted?
Upon completion of the application, MOHH will schedule an interview day for you. The interview will be conducted using a Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI) format. More information on the MMI can be found here.
The Sponsoring Institutions also organise Open Houses to introduce their training programmes and get to know you better. Applicants submit the list of their preferred residency programmes and sponsoring institutions in ranked order and the Sponsoring Institution submit the selected ranked applicants through the MOHH website for the national match.
5. How does the Residency Matching Exercise work?
The matching is based on your submitted choices during matching by matching your choices with the Sponsoring Institution’s choices. Applicants are matched by their ranked order of programme choices and stops when a match is made. No match happens if there is no corresponding selection by the Sponsoring Institution.
You are thus advised to rank as many training programmes as possible to increase the chances of a successful match. The results of the matching exercise will be announced on the MOHH website.
6. How will my application be evaluated?
Applications are generally evaluated according to a number of criteria including:
- Academic scores
- SIP performance
- Interview performance
- Letters of reference
Sponsoring Institutions (SIs) may also use other criteria when ranking their preferred candidates like clinical work experience and performance. Applicants should speak to the programme directors if they wish to know more about how the various SIs identify their preferred applicants.
7. When will the matching results be released?
For local medical school graduands, the results will be released in April each year while for PGY1/HO/MO applicants, the results will be released earlier in February. You are advised to check the MOHH website and your email inbox for notifications.
8. What happens if I am unsuccessful in obtaining entry into, or do not wish to apply for, a Residency Programme?
Graduands who do not wish apply for residency yet will go through a one-year National PGY1 training. Unsuccessful applicants for residency will also be offered a National PGY1 Training position (for medical graduands) or a Medical Officer position for those who have competed PGY1 successfully. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to apply again the following year. Their chances to get a residency position may increase if they show good promise or excellent performance in their work in their chosen training unit or posting.
9. If I get matched to a Residency Programme, can I change my mind later?
Residency positions are limited and the cost of residency training is high. Your choices should be based on a seriously considered decision as the training position could have been given to someone else who failed to get the match. However if you wish to pursue a different specialty after you are matched, you will incur a penalty barring you from applying for residency the following year unless there are exceptional grounds and reasons for the change.
10. Will I be allowed to drop out of a Residency Programme?
Candidates who drop out of a Residency Programme without exceptional grounds and reasons will not be eligible to apply for entry in the next cycle for residency programme.
11. When does Residency begin? How long will my Residency Programme last?
For successful YLLSOM medical graduands, the first year of residency begins in May. For graduands of other medical schools, the start date from May to July will depend on the graduation time and each year of residency requires a minimum of 12 months. Thereafter, the regular residency cycle commences in July of every year. 5 to 7 years of residency training is required before specialist accreditation.
12. How will assessments be carried out in a Residency Programme?
There will be regular competency-based, formative assessments for all residents including annual In-Training Exams administered by the Academy of Medicine. All residents are also expected to sit for their respective in-training examinations. This will enable Residents (and their Programme Directors and supervisors to identify areas for improvement. These assessments will also help to determine whether a resident can progress to the next residency year.
13. Is there a training fee for residency training?
Residents in seven highly-subscribed and popular specialties, namely Dermatology, Paediatric Medicine, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and Plastic Surgery co-pay a small portion ($450 per month) of the total training cost incurred. Such specialties were noted to have higher early attrition and since a significant portion of their training cost are from public funds, co-payment was instituted. However, many of these specialists intend to stay in the public sector and can request for a waiver of the monthly training fee if they are able to assure a service obligation of 3 years upon completion of residency. They can apply for the MOH Training Award to be exempt from the co-payment. The MOH Training Award also funds the main examination fees during training. More information on the MOH Training Award can be found here.
14. Will there be an application fee for residency application?
Yes. MOHH will be collecting a standard administrative fee of S$100 per applicant. Please make cheque payable to "MOH Holdings Pte Ltd".
c/o MOH Holdings Pte Ltd
1 Maritime Square #11-25
15. Who will be my employer?
MOHH will administer your contracts and other relevant Human Resource matters including leave, payroll, etc. The Sponsoring Institutions (SIs) will be responsible for overseeing your training and rotations throughout your residency. Residents do not participate in the Medical Officer Posting Exercise (MOPEX).
16. If I go on long leave during the residency year, (e.g maternity leave), does it mean I will have to repeat the whole year?
Depending on your period of absence, the specialty you are in and the point at which you left residency training, you may enter where you left off. However, if the period of absence exceeds the allowable period of leave, you are then expected to make up for the missing days of training or repeat the posting. Programme Directors may also impose a “refresher” period of training and an assessment prior to resumption of residency training if the period away is long e.g. after coming back from NS.
17. What will happen to males who have to re-enlist to serve the remainder of their National Service?
For doctors who have to re-enlist, they may undergo a period of Residency training prior to their re-enlistment (disruption of Residency training). Generally, re-enlistment for residents occur at the end of postgraduate year 2 (PGY2), which can be at the end of R1 or R2. At the end of the prescribed National Service period, one may resume where training left off. A "refresher" period and assessments may be required before a resident is allowed to join the next residency year.
18. Will National Service training count towards Residency training?
National Service will not count towards Residency training. Trainees will need to complete the required training and acquire the expected competencies before they are allowed to exit.back to top
C. Residency Interview - Multiple-Mini-Interviews (MMI)
1. What is the Multiple-Mini-Interview (MMI)?
MMI refers to a series of mini-interviews lasting 10 minutes each. It is similar to the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), and designed specifically to evaluate a candidate’s communication, reasoning, and problem solving skills that are considered important for any doctor commencing residency.
Candidates complete a circuit of 4 mini-interview stations, rotating from station to station. Each station will assess a candidate through their response to a range of scenarios on pre-determined domains, namely: teamwork and collegiality, communication skills, compassion, professional and ethical conduct, and other personal attributes. One to two interviewers will be present at each station to rate each candidate using a standardised, annotated rating scale.
2. What is the purpose of the MMI?
Together with the submitted letters of Reference (LOR), the MMI is intended to identify candidates suitable to commence residency training. It is not intended to identify suitable applicants for a specific specialty although some of the case scenarios may be specialty specific. Subsequent interviews to determine suitability for a specific specialty may be conducted by the Programme Directors in the respective Sponsoring Institutions during Open Houses or other arranged meetings.
3. What is the duration of the MMI for each candidate?
The MMI residency interview consists of 4 stations. Each candidate is given 10 minutes at each station: 2 minutes for the candidate to read the scenario and 8 minutes for discussion with the interviewer. Each candidate is expected to spend a total of 40 minutes to complete the entire circuit, excluding waiting time between stations.
4. How will the MMI be conducted?
Each candidate will be assigned to any of the 4 MMI stations/ interview rooms. Once the MMI cycle begins, all 4 interviews will occur simultaneously and candidates will move to the next station simultaneously once the allotted 10 minutes is up (2 minutes for the candidate to read the scenario, and 8 minutes for discussion with the interviewer). After all 4 candidates have completed the circuit, they will be ushered out of the interview area and a new cycle commences with the next group of candidates. Administrative staff will be at hand to facilitate the interview process.
5. What am I supposed to bring (or not bring) with me during the interview?
Candidates are required to bring their identification documents (NRIC, driving licence or passport) for the initial identification. You are not permitted to present the interviewers with documents or written supplementary information such as letters of recommendation, CVs or academic grades. This is to ensure that you will be graded based solely on your performance during the interview.
Please note that handphones and any audio/image recording devices are not allowed to be used at all times during the MMI.
6. What will be asked during the MMI?
At each station, candidates will be presented with a case scenario. These scenarios may be clinical or non-clinical in nature. Each scenario is expected to yield different responses depending on the candidate’s values and inclinations.
The case scenario will generally be 1 to 2 paragraphs long. Interviewers may choose a free flowing discussion format or role play with the candidate.
7. Can the interviewer ask questions not related to the scenario?
Interviewers will be given specific instructions on what they can and cannot ask. They should not ask questions outside of the case scenario. They should not ask about your other choices of Specialty or which Sponsoring Institution you choose.
8. Who are the interviewers?
The interviewers will comprise of senior doctors from the Residency Advisory Committee and the Programme Directors from the Sponsoring Institutions. There will be 1 or 2 interviewers at each station.
9. How will I be graded for the MMI?
The interviewer at each station will give a score using a standard rating scale assessed on such qualities as ethos, reasoning and approach to the issue.
The interviewer will not be privy to the scores awarded by other interviewers at the other stations. After the candidate has completed all 4 stations, the scores at all the stations will be added up as the candidate’s total score.
10. What happens if I cannot complete answering all the questions within the allotted time?
8 minutes will be allotted for discussion, and candidates must leave the interview room when the time is up. Candidates and interviewers will be notified when they have 1 minute left to finish their discussion.
11. What happens if I have answered all the questions asked by the interviewer before the allotted time is up.
When there are no more questions to be asked, and the interviewer or candidate has nothing further to discuss, the interview at that station can be stopped. The candidate can then leave the room with the permission of the interviewer and remain seated outside until the 10 minutes is up (seats will be placed outside the rooms). Candidates should not converse with each other outside their rooms or share information about the scenarios, and must wait for instructions before proceeding to the next station.
12. Will my score at any one MMI station affect how the interviewers grade me at the other stations?
The interviewer at any one station is not privy to the scores awarded by other interviewers at the other stations. Hence, the MMI gives the candidates a different assessment at every MMI station.
13. Can I prepare for the scenarios and are there "right answers" for the questions asked?
There is no need to prepare for the MMI because of its whole person approach. It may also test your professionalism, ethics and attitudes eg how you manage a difficult patient or his relatives.
14. What is the MMI trying to "get at"?
The scenario can be designed to assess a particular trait, but it may not be obvious to you what trait this is. It would be better to focus on the question and answer sincerely rather than try to figure out the answer which you think the interviewer wants.
15. Should I use the MMI as an opportunity to talk about myself and highlight my strengths?
The MMI scenarios and questions will not ask you to talk about yourself but rather what you think or what you would do in a given situation and why. Candidates should be careful not to give pre-prepared answers as the scenarios are meant to test a spontaneous response.
16. Where will the MMI be held?
The applicants will be informed of the venue via email.
17. What do I need to take note of on the day of MMI?
You are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time, and register at the registration counter at the ground floor lobby.
You will be organised into your respective MMI group and be ushered to the interview stations accordingly. After completing the interview at each station, you are to proceed to the next station, until you have completed all 4 stations. Once all in your group has completed all 4 stations the group will be dismissed.
You are to move briskly between stations and follow instructions given by the staff at all times.
18. What do I need to look out for during the interview?
Please note the timing at each station (10 minutes) will be strictly adhered to. There will be a timekeeper to signal the start and end of each interview session. When the time is up, the interviewer will stop the interview. You can leave the interview room immediately and proceed to the next station.
19. What if I am sick or late?
As the residency interviews (MMI) run on a very tight schedule, candidates must come on time for their allocated interview time slots. If a candidate is late, his place may be taken by another candidate and he will in turn be relegated to the next available round. Candidates who are unable to turn up on the day of interview may contact MOHH via email early, to see what arrangements are possible. Candidates who fail to show up for their interviews without good reason may be excluded from the matching process. A repeat interview will not be held as the scenarios will not be repeated once the cycle is completed.back to top
D. Letter of Reference (LOR)
1. What is the purpose of the Letter of Reference (LOR)?
The LOR is intended to provide information of the applicant's past supervised performance. Applicants are required to provide the names of referees who can complete an online structured LOR. In the LOR, referees will be asked their opinion on the applicant's overall performance during the time spent with them, including professionalism, conduct and character, clinical performance and procedural skills. The LOR and the MMI enables feedback from the work environment as well as interviews with programme directors and faculty to gauge the suitability of applicants for the specialty applied.
2. Am I supposed to submit the required LOR as part of my application?
Applicants will be required to provide the names and contact details of the referees. Nominated referees will receive an email with a web-link to access the online LOR. The completed LOR remains confidential and the contents will not be known or made known to the applicant.
3. Who can you nominate as a referee?
Referees are expected to provide information related to the period of supervision of work in which he or she can observe you reasonably in order to feedback on your qualities. They are required to strictly fulfil the following criteria:
(a) Have supervised or worked with you or have been your personal tutor for a minimum of 3 weeks, and
(b) Is EITHER
- A faculty member of your medical school; or
- A Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine or Duke-NUS GMS appointed clinical tutor; or
- At least a hospital registrar, or lecturer or higher.
4. How many referees am I required to nominate?
All applicants are required to nominate up to 4 referees. Applicants are advised to seek the consent of their nominated referees before submitting their names. For graduating seniors from YLL-SOM and Duke-NUS GMS, one of the 4 referees will be the Dean of the respective medical schools who will submit LORs directly to MOH/MOHH. Please note that the referees have the same deadline as you do. So please nominate your referees early to ensure they have adequate response time.
5. I am a graduating senior from YLL-SOM and Duke-NUS GMS and I am unable to find 3 referees willing to serve as my referee. Will my application be considered incomplete?
Applicants who are graduating seniors from YLL-SOM and Duke-NUS GMS are expected to exercise all reasonable means to provide 3 referees as part of their application. This is to allow for a more well-rounded assessment of an applicant’s qualities and capabilities. In the event that an applicant is unable to do so, the LOR from the respective Deans may suffice to cover for any shortfall of referees.
6. Will I be held accountable for a nominated referee’s failure to submit the LOR in time?
a. is responsible for providing the name and contact information of the required number of referees.
b. can also monitor the progress of the LOR submission by logging back into the Residency Portal.
c. is responsible for ensuring the Referee has a reasonable period of time to submit, and subsequent submission of, the LOR.
7. The people I work closest with who can provide assessment of my performance are House Officers / Medical Officers, but they do not qualify as referees according to the criteria. Why is this so?
While your closest junior colleagues may be able to provide an assessment of your performance, they too may be fellow applicants in this exercise. Referees must be senior and of sufficient experience to make a fair standard assessment.
8. Can a resident physician be considered as a Registrar or equivalent?
A Registrar is a designated position. Usually one must have passed an intermediate examination and have gone through basic specialist training before they can be promoted to Registrar. A resident physician or any other person may serve as a referee if they are Registrars.
9. I am applying for a specialty with potentially few or nil clinical requirements. Does the LOR requirement apply to me?
All applicants, regardless of the specialty applied for, are required to nominate the required numbers of referees. This is because residency training is primarily higher medical training and will require, at the very least, some form of patient contact or clinical exposure or interaction with clinical colleagues. The domains covered in the LOR are applicable to a doctor applying for any residency training.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained here is accurate until the date of publication. At its discretion, MOH and MOHH reserve the rights to add to, eliminate, or modify the contents. Appropriate notice of such alterations will be published online as necessary.
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International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and Residency Training
IMG Applying to be Specialist Trainee
International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who are existing residents or specialist trainees in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and UK can apply to enter into the residency programmes in Singapore with their years of training taken into account after it is assessed by the committees of the Specialists Accreditation Board. They must be first matched into a residency programme to be accepted and assessed.
Passing postgraduate exams without undergoing a formal structured or accredited training programme does not indicate that competency milestones in training have been reliably reached or ensure that training standards, level of competency and completeness of training is attained. Hence all non-trainee doctors will start from Residency Year One if they are accepted and matched into a residency. Singaporeans who are IMGs and would like to undergo residency training in Singapore are advised to apply early and return to Singapore as soon as they complete their medical studies.
Please email to email@example.com if you have further specific personal enquiries concerning entry into the residency training.
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