Medical Officer Cadet

Service:Surface Fleet

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). You'll complete your foundation years within military Joint Hospital Group Unit and go on to serve on board ships, submarines and shore establishments as a General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO), primarily responsible for the provision of first-class health care to our personnel.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Following medical school you will complete your foundation training in one of the Joint Hospital Group's (JHG) NHS hospitals, you will complete clinical rotations, including primary care and emergency care before undertaking your officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
  • 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

  • Funding opportunities to continue personal and professional development and education
  • After spending time as a General Duties Medical Officer, the Royal Navy will offer to fund selected specialisms, subjective to service requirement

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


  • Aged 18 to 36
  • Cadetships are available for your final three years at a UK medical school (not including your intercalation year)
  • 5 grades A*-C (9-4) Including grade 6 (B) or above in English Language and Maths
  • A National of the United Kingdom or Dual National
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

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. Your recruiter will then check for cadetship availability prior to proceeding

    NB: Applications should be submitted in the first year of university and the full application process must be completed in time for the Cadetship Selection Board which takes place towards the end of the second year of university.

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • 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

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place in two parts. A Pre Recorded Interview (PRI) is an online assessment which assesses your motivation to join the Royal Navy as an officer and your awareness of the Royal Navy. The Group Planning Exercise (GPE) is the second stage of the AIB and is an online competency based assessment which will take place on a separate day to the PRI. It will be conducted in a virtual group environment and you will be assessed on your contribution to the team based on your individual performance

Initial training

Following your foundation years you will go to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth for 15 weeks, completing the militarisation phase of training and skills including weapon handling, leadership, teamwork, Naval history and physical fitness. You'll then complete 15 weeks of the New Entry Medical Officer course in Portsmouth. On completion of this, you will be ready to work as a General Duties Medical Officer 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 or in secondary care within a Joint Hospital Group Unit in acute and trauma based clinical areas.

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 earn your ‘Dolphins’ – the coveted badge of a fully qualified Submariner.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

Following your GDMO time you'll have the opportunity to specialise as you would in civilian medicine.  You will return to mainstream 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.

Throughout your career you will undertake various course including clinical training such as ILS and ALS as well as military training and leadership development courses and gain qualifications to reflect this.