Medical Officer Cadet

Service:Surface Fleet
A Royal Navy Medical Cadet at work.

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

The Medical branch of the Royal Navy is full of dedicated healthcare professionals who support people in the UK and all over the world. And a Medical Officer Cadetship is designed to support the development of the next generation of military practitioners, giving them the skills they will need to tackle uniquely challenging environments, all over the world.

Your journey will start at university, where you’ll be able to apply to finish your studies in the Royal Navy, earning a salary and having the final three years’ fees paid for by us (not including any intercalation year). And after that? You’ll be on course for a medical career like no other.

Your role

  • Following university you will complete your foundation training in one of the Defence Medical Group's (DMG) NHS hospitals, you will complete clinical rotations, including primary care and emergency care before undertaking your officer training at BRNC
  • Flexibility is essential. You could be on the battlefield advancing the treatment of trauma victims, or specialising in major disciplines, from surgery to anaesthetics
  • Be part of a world-class medical service that’s respected far beyond the Armed Forces


What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, paid for by us
  • After spending time as a General Duties Medical Officer, the Royal Navy will offer to fund selected specialisms

Skills you'll develop

  • How to be a leader and apply your medical knowledge in challenging conditions
  • Opportunities to specialise in major disciplines

Career progression

What you'll need


  • Cadetships are available for your final three years at a UK medical school (not including your intercalation year)
  • If you take your GCSEs after the start of 2017, you need 5 grades 9 – 4 including English Language and Maths; before 2017, you need 5 grades A* – C
  • You must be between 18 to 36 years old
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • Ambitious and passionate about medicine
  • A confident leader

  • Always calm under pressure
  • Have a spirit of adventure

Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Officer

Initial training

Following your foundation years you will go to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) cand complete a six-month new entry Medical Officer course including a 14-week induction course at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth. You will then be ready to work as a General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO) and could find yourself on a ship, submarine or working with the Royal Marines.

Between deployments at sea, you’ll work in shore establishments, providing primary care to all personnel. To serve with the Royal Marines, you’ll need to complete the All Arms Commando Course (AACC) which will earn you the coveted green beret.

If you join the Submarine Service, you’ll carry out further medical training in radiation medicine and atmosphere control, before spending four months at the Submarine School at HMS Raleigh to learn about all aspects of submarine operation, warfare, weapons, nuclear propulsion and escape training. You’ll then go to sea for the first time in a submarine and win your ‘Dolphins’ – the coveted badge of a fully qualified Submariner.

Professional training

With your initial training under your belt, you will then go to Portsmouth to complete your Naval Doctor Training, here you will learn battlefield first aid and medical evacuation. You'll then deploy either on a surface ship or you could earn a Green Beret by completing the All Arms Commando Course (AACC) and service alongside Royal Marines, alternatively you could join the Submarine Service and learn about radiation medicine.  This is classed as your General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO) time.

Following your GDMO time you'll have the opportunity to specialise as you would in civilian medicine.  You will return to clinical practice, where you can focus on a specialist area, this area will depend on service needs, so your career manager will work with you to make choices that meet your own ambitions and our needs.