August 2021 – Important note: these regulations are under continual review, therefore it is recommended that candidates keep in regular contact with the College to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information.
This document contains the regulations for the Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England 38-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PE Tel: 020 7869 6281
Further information can be obtained on the RCS England website.
All parts of the examination are conducted in English.
The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) represents a summative assessment of candidates’ core knowledge, application of knowledge and understanding of the structures and processes required to provide quality-assured dental care.
To allow the candidate to demonstrate a core knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of quality assured dental care.
Content of the examination
The MFDS will assess the candidate’s understanding of the syllabus areas and the assessment domains of communication skills, clinical competence and clinical reasoning. Further information can be found in the relevant examination blueprint.
Format of the examination
The examination consists of two parts:
Part 1 – A three-hour written paper consisting of 150 single best answer (SBA) questions
Part 2 – A two and a half hour Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) circuit comprising of 14 stations.
The Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons of England may be granted to those who:
Possess a primary dental qualification acceptable to the Boards of the FDS at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, and should normally be registered to practise dentistry in their country of residence;
Have completed 18 months’ full-time postgraduate experience in dentistry. Normally, equivalent part-time experience will be acceptable if gained over a period of three-and- a-half years;
Have passed Parts 1 and 2 of the examination in accordance with the requirements set out in section 3 of these regulations.
Have complied with all the regulations.
To be eligible to enter for the MFDS examination all candidates must provide evidence of a primary dental qualification and registration to practice dentistry in their country of residence. If successful at MFDS Part 1 (or equivalent), candidates must have 12 months clinical experience before they can apply for MFDS Part 2.
Candidates are required to successfully complete MFDS Part 1 (or equivalent) before they can apply for MFDS Part 2.
Candidates are unable to apply for MFDS Part 2 without receiving confirmation of their MFDS Part 1 (or equivalent) result.
The Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons reserves the right, regardless of eligibility, to review applications on an individual basis.
Applications for admission to the examination must be completed fully with the required certified evidence and accompanied by the full amount of the fee payable for the examination.
If an application is found to be incomplete, the candidate will be informed and no action will be taken until the application is complete.
Applications for the examination must be received by the closing date and time specified in the examinations’ calendar. Applications received after the closing date will not normally be processed.
Applications for the examination need to be submitted online through the RSC England website.
Both MFDS Part 1 and MFDS Part 2 exams will normally be held twice per year.
Further information regarding the examination can be found on the RCS England website.
Results will be posted on the secure RCS England website and distributed by post.
Unsuccessful Part 2 candidates will be given feedback on their performance by domain.
Candidates are usually permitted a maximum of six attempts at the Part 1 examination. Part 2 of the Diploma must normally be completed within five years of passing the Part 1.
Candidates are usually permitted a maximum of four attempts at the Part 2 MFDS examination.
Failure to successfully complete MFDS Part 2 within five years of successfully completing MFDS Part 1 (or equivalent) will usually debar the candidate from applying for any part of the MFDS examination.
Any candidates re-sitting the examination will need to pay the full fee, regardless of which parts of the exam they are sitting. In the exceptional circumstance where a candidate is allowed to sit the examinations without paying the examination fee, their result will be withheld until payment is received in full.
An attempt is defined as an occasion when a candidate commences, but not necessarily completes, the MFDS Part 1 or MFDS Part 2.
The College may refuse to admit to the examination, or may not allow to proceed with the examination, any candidate who infringes any of the regulations or who is considered by the examiners to be guilty of behaviour prejudicial to the proper management and conduct of the examination. Examples of such infringements are as follows:
Entry to the examination being attempted by making false claims about eligibility or falsifying entry documentation. The College reserves the right to make checks to validate any information or documents supplied by the candidate;
Unfair advantage being sought or obtained: by possession of material or devices during an examination that might give advantage; by plagiarism of any description; by communicating or attempting to communicate with another candidate once the examination has commenced; or by refusing to follow instructions given by examiners or examinations staff regarding the conduct and procedure of the examination.
Candidates shall not give or receive any assistance or communicate by any means with one another or any person, other than the invigilator(s) and examiner(s), at any time while an Examination is in progress. Any candidate acting in breach of this Regulation or who is considered by the examiners to be guilty of behaviour prejudicial to the proper management and conduct of the Examination may be suspended from the examination.
Candidates should not remove from the examination venue, or make copies of, any papers or examination materials.
Candidates should not attempt to obtain confidential information relating to the examination from an examiner or examination officials or pass confidential information on the content of the examination to a third party.
Any candidate who infringes any of the Regulations may be refused admission to, or may face expulsion from, the Examination. All instances of misconduct are reported to the Chair of the Examination Board.
All allegations of misconduct will be investigated in accordance with the procedures published on the Colleges website; any penalties incurred will also be in accordance with the published procedures.
Details of the appeals process and fees charged may be obtained on request from the RCS England Examinations Department.
Any candidate who wishes to withdraw an application for admission to the examination must notify the College in writing. A refund or transfer of the fee paid may be made (less a 20% administrative fee), provided that notice of an intention to withdraw is received by the College before the closing date by which applications are due, as shown in the examinations calendar. Refunds or transfers are not normally made to any candidate who withdraws after the closing date.
Any candidate who wishes to withdraw an application for admission to the examination on medical grounds and request a refund or transfer of fee must submit a request in writing to the relevant College, accompanied by a medical certificate. An application for consideration of a refund or transfer of fee on compassionate grounds should be
supported by full details, plus a supporting letter from an appropriate professional. Each such application must be submitted to the College within 28 days following the date of the commencement date of the examination.
The College reserves the right to review admission to the examination on an individual basis in exceptional circumstances.
A candidate who becomes ill or has an accident during the examination must inform the Lead Examiner for that diet as soon as possible. On the advice of the Lead Examiner, the candidate may withdraw from the examination or the Lead Examiner may agree with the candidate how the candidate should proceed to complete the examination.
Tailored examination and other assessment arrangements will be made for individual candidates with additional needs due to learning differences (such as dyslexia) or due to permanent or temporary disability through reasonable adjustments. These arrangements are intended to ensure that candidates are able to perform to the best of their ability and that they are not discriminated against because of learning differences or because of permanent or temporary disability.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to notify the College when they submit their application of any additional needs they have, the reason for them, and any reasonable adjustments that have been helpful in the past.
Applications for reasonable adjustments to meet additional needs are normally required to be supported by written evidence. For example, in the form of a medical report from their general medical practitioner for medical conditions, or an educational psychologist’s report for a learning difference such as dyslexia.
Candidates must bring their passports to each part of the examination. Exceptionally, candidates who are not in a position to provide a passport must produce an official document that includes their name, signature and a current photograph e.g. current photographic driving license.
For the purpose of visual identification, any candidate sitting any examination may be required to remove any clothing and/or other item which covers all, or part of, the candidate’s face. The College will observe sensitivity in the visual identification of candidates.
To facilitate the assessment of non-verbal communication skills and interaction with the examiner, the College reserves the right to require candidates to remove any item of
clothing and/or other item which covers all or part of the candidate’s face.
The COPDEND Dental Foundation Training Curriculum can be found on the following webpage: https://www.copdend.org/postgraduate-training/872-2/
The MFDS examination will test the candidates’ broad-based understanding of the theory and practice of dental health set in the context of total patient care. The relevant basic and clinical science will be included.
All the domains from the COPDEND curriculum will be assessed: clinical, communication, professionalism and management & leadership. The specific clinical topics and major competencies assessed can be found in the examination syllabus.
For any queries regarding the application process or to submit your documentation please contact the Examinations department at:
The Royal College of Surgeons of England 38-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PE
Telephone: +44 (0)207 405 3474 (Option 3)