Medical Officer Cadetship - Definitive Guide!


Hello everyone,

The RN website is not great for the Medical Officer Cadetship application process, and so I will summarise it here for everyone's benefit. I hope it helps someone else in the future. --- this is the best link available on the internet, and I strongly recommend anyone wishing to apply for a cadetship reads it.


You apply to join as a Surgeon Sub-Lietenant during year 3 of a 5 year undergraduate course, year 4 of a 6 year undergraduate course, or year 2 of a graduate medicine course.

You receive a salary in return for the cadetship. Tuition fees are also paid for in full by the Navy. In 2015 salaries were as follows:

Year 3 - £19,486
Year 2 - £17,583
Year 1 - £15,689

You are paid from when the Cadetship is awarded, NOT the year of your medical course. So if you join up in your final year at medical school, you will get £15k and not £19k. You usually will be a member of URNU in return for the cadetship, and you will be attached to Blake Squadron at BRNC Dartmouth. You will attend summer camps with other cadets with Blake Squadron. You will be able to do your elective with the military, fully paid for, with various options they offer.

You complete your F1 and F2 years (in military uniform) at either Birmingham QE, Plymouth Derriford MDHU or Portsmouth QA MDHU. Upon completion of F2, your minimum 6 year return of service begins: 3 years is spent as a General Duties Medical Officer and 3 years in speciality training.

After F2 is signed off, you head to BRNC Dartmouth for your 15 week commissioning course. This starts every September. This involves 10 weeks Militarisation phase at BRNC. Following Militarisation phase you will then conduct the 5 week “MDQ” Phase. You will undergo a shortened version of Marinisation with studies in Maritime Tactical Estimate, Maritime Operations and Strategy. You will also complete the Junior Officer Leadership Course at HMS COLLINGWOOD, Basic Sea Survival Course at HMS EXCELLENT, First Aid Level 2 Course at HMS RALEIGH and the Phase culminates with the Passing Out week.

After you are commissioned, you undertake the New Entry Medical Officer (NEMO) course. This covers dive, aviation, dentistry, pharmacy, BATLS, NBC medicine, amongst other things. This lasts 3 months.

You now begin as as a general duties medical officer (GDMO) for the remaining 2.5 years. You are streamed in to the Royal Marines (you can earn your green lid by completing the All Arms Commando Course after the NEMO course), surface fleet, or Submarine Service. To join the submarine service, you are required to earn your Dolphins after the NEMO course. Note that you would typically only serve on SSBNs, as SSNs do not routinely carry medical officers. Your job on a submarine principally concerns managing the atmosphere and radiation exposure.

After your 3 years as a GDMO are up, you then commence speciality training. Your speciality is decided with your careers officer but the Service's needs come first, although a mutually beneficial agreement is normally sought.

The specialities available are, in essence, GP, emergency medicine and anaesthetics. You may get to do other things, but don't bank on it. For EM and anaesthetics, you will be sent through the Acute Common Care Stem (ACCS) training pathway. For GP, you complete training in the NHS.

The PONG specialities (paeds, obstetrics, neonatology and gynaecology) are not required by the service and thus unavailable. Most speciality care is now provided by RNR doctors, so cardiology/neurology/etc. are not routinely available.

You can leave the RN after your 3 years of speciality training are complete, or continue with a longer-term commission of 18 years.


I hope this helps someone out there. For more details, contact medical recruiters who will send you on an acquaint visit in Gosport. You get the chance to speak with current Navy doctors and see the Institute of Naval Medicine.


War Hero
Nothing to do with me, but an informative and interesting post, thank you.

The bit about doing a First Aid Course made me chuckle, too.


War Hero
Yep, most Doctors only see the casualty after first aid is carried out unless they happen to be at the scene of the incident. It always used to bemuse me seeing a killick MA instructing a Medical Officer, but the truth is, most Docs arrive with advanced skills rather than basic lifesaving/leakstopping stuff.


where did you do your f1 and f2 , and were did you live , my daughter has to decide where shes going to do heand any info would be useful


Hi my name is Lorna I'm 47 and looking to join I had some experience when I was younger in the sea cadets loved every minute of it and would really like to join up in the cadet field thank you Mrs Lorna lee thynne


Lantern Swinger
Hi my name is XXX I'm 47 and looking to join I had some experience when I was younger in the sea cadets loved every minute of it and would really like to join up in the cadet field thank you Mrs XXX
That's not your real name, is it? A quick Google search brings up some website that may actually give your address, so I'd suggest removing that from your post and changing your account name.

Edit: if you do change it I will of course edit my quote to remove the bit from the top that gives your account name.

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