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Tri-Collegiate Membership in Special Care Dentistry

Exam overview

The Diploma of Membership in Special Care Dentistry (MSpec Care Dent) is a tri-collegiate specialty membership exam, run by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG).

Successful completion of the MSpec Care Dent examination is one criterion along with other non-examination criteria required prior to recommendation for entry onto the specialist list by the relevant deanery/HEE local office in the case of candidates with an NTN.

Extension to Examination Application Window within Training

The Joint Meeting of Dental Faculties has agreed to extend the window in which dental specialty trainees can sit surgical Royal College examinations as part of the training programme. Currently, trainees are not able to sit these examinations until six months before they are due to complete training. In future, they will be able to sit up to twelve months before they are due to complete training, provided they have the support of their Training Programme Director. Further details can be found here.


To be eligible to enter for the exam all candidates must provide certified evidence of possession of a primary dental qualification that is acceptable to the colleges.

Candidates may apply for entry to the exam having completed 2.5 years of full-time or equivalent part-time training acceptable to the colleges by the date of the examination. The training should preferably be continuous but in some cases breaks in training may be permitted. The total training period should not normally exceed 6 years. 

Candidates must also fulfill one or more of the following criteria: 

  • have normally completed at the date of commencement of the exam, a minimum of 30 months of a full-time 3-year training appointment (or pro-rata for part-time trainees) in appropriate posts, courses and programmes.
  • be registered as a specialist in Special Care Dentistry in the UK.
  • have completed at least 30 months of continuous full-time (or part-time equivalent i.e. not less than half-time over a maximum of six continuous years) specialty training overseas or in the EEA in a programme of specialty training which is acceptable to the colleges. 

Candidates who do not exactly fulfil the above requirements may apply for special consideration of their experience by submitting the full details normally at least 4 months before the closing date of the exam diet for which they wish to apply.

Exam format

The Diploma of Membership in Special Care Dentistry consists of three components.

  • Written Paper:A multiple-choice question (MCQ) paper in two parts, each of two hours duration and each consisting of 90 Single Best Answer (SBA) questions.
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE): There will be six stations, each having five minutes of reading time and 10 minutes of observed activity. The OSCE assesses the ability of the candidate to communicate in different clinical situations.
  • Unseen Cases: This will consist of eight unseen cases in a clinical scenario format. For each case, the candidate will be given five minutes to study the patient history, results of examination and where appropriate, investigations. The structured oral examination relating to each case will last for 15 minutes.


The Diploma of Membership in Special Care Dentistry tests candidates’ knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes relevant to the practice of a specialist in special care dentistry, as defined by the Specialty Advisory Committee for Special Care Dentistry and agreed by the General Dental Council.  

Read the specialty training curriculum for special care dentistry.

Joining fee information

There is a £150 joining fee for those with FDS Royal College of Surgeons of England. An annual subscription is required to maintain the post-nominal letters.