Your ST3 urology application and interview guide

Applying for an ST3 urology training number is a pivotal part of your urology career. This is where you begin to work your way through speciality training on the road to becoming a consultant.

Within this article, we have summarised the ST3 urology application process and provided useful resources for your ST3 urology interview. 

Applying for ST3 urology 

ST3 urology interview guide

  •  Format
  • Location
  • Questions
  • Preparation
  • Resources 

Applying for ST3 urology

In our first section, we have focused on outlining the application process to ST3 urology.

What is the core surgical training timeline for a urologist?

After completing foundation training (FY1 and FY2), aspiring urologists need to complete core surgical training (CT1 and CT2) to successfully move onto specialty urology training (ST3-ST7). 

Applications for core surgical training usually open in November for the following August. The Core Surgery Training CT1/ST1 recruitment timeline for 2024 will be announced in Autumn 2023.

As of 2023, National Recruitment for Improving Surgical Training (IST) is piloting urology run-through training in two regions. This means in the future, doctors may be able to apply to go straight from FY2 into ST1 Urology.

How many ST3 urology national training vacancies are there per year? 

Based on the 2023 numbers, there are between 27 and 54 ST3 urology vacancies across all deaneries in the UK. There were 235 applicants in 2022, making the competition ratio for urology training 3.98. That means there are roughly 4 doctors for every ST3 urology post. Based on the 66 specialties listed on the HEE competition ratios for 2022, urology applications are more competitive than 54% of other training specialties in the UK.

We know it can be disappointing if you are unsuccessful when applying to specialty training.  If you are unsuccessful there are still plenty of opportunities available to prepare you for reapplying the following year. You may want to look for a locum or fixed-term urology job to gain experience or improve your portfolio. At , we can help. Whether you’d want a full-time post or part-time shifts, we can support you in finding the perfect placement. 

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When do ST3 urology applications open? 

The ST3 urology applications timeline for 2024 will be announced in Autumn 2023. Until then, you can use the 2023 urology applications timeline to get a rough estimation of application dates. This timeline may be subject to change.

2023 Urology Application TimelineDatesTime
Applications open17th November 202210am
Application deadline8th December 20224pm
Longlistingby 10th January 2023NA
Shortlistingby 7th February 2023NA
Interviews30th and 31st March 2023NA
Initial Offersby 20th April 20235pm
Holding Deadline25th April 20231pm
Upgrade Deadline26th April 20231pm

What experience and qualifications are required to apply for ST3 urology? 

You will need the below experience and qualifications to be eligible to apply for ST3 urology training:

  • Meet the person specification.
  • MRCS to be completed by offer date.
  • MBBS or equivalent medical qualification.
  • Evidence of foundation competencies (FY1 and FY2).
  • CT1/ST1 in core surgery to be completed by application.
  • CT2/ST2 in core surgery to be completed by appointment. 
  • Full General Medical Council registration status and a current licence to practice.
  • Eligible to work in the UK: Applicants requiring visa sponsorship to take up a post are eligible to apply.

What is the urology person specification for 2024?

The ST3 urology person specification is a comprehensive guide of the entry criteria, eligibility, and selection criteria that a doctor would need to meet to be considered for ST3 urology training. The personal specification is updated annually.

The person specification for 2024 will be announced in Autumn. Until the latest version is published you can view the HEE urology personal specification for 2023. 

A top tip for aspiring urologists is to start looking at the annual person specification as soon as you decide you want to pursue a career in urology. This will give you an idea of the essential and desirable selection criteria so that you can start building your portfolio and experience around it.

How do I apply to urology ST3?

You apply for your ST3 urology training number by completing an application form on the NHS Oriel system. Applications will open in Autumn 2023 for August 2024.

What is the ST3 urology self-assessment?

There will be numerous self-assessment questions built into your application form. You will need to select the most appropriate responses from drop-down lists. Your answers will be validated against evidence that you submit following your application.  The evidence that you submit is commonly referred to as your portfolio for assessment and will be uploaded into the self-assessment portal. Your evidence will be reviewed by a panel of clinicians who will confirm the scores awarded.

Applicants will be shortlisted using their validated self-assessment score, with the highest scoring applicants being invited to attend an interview.

What evidence will I need in my ST3 urology portfolio? 

Information regarding the portfolio station and self-assessment are published annually in advance via the Yorks and Humber Deanery. The urology ST3 self-assessment guidance for 2024 will be announced in Autumn 2023.

Until the latest version is published you can view the Self-Assessment Guidance 2023.  A brief outline of the criteria and points that can be awarded are as follows:

Self-assessment evidencePoint categoriesTotal points
Postgraduate degrees and qualifications in medical science3Up to 11 points available
Paper publications3Up to 9 points available
Audits and quality improvement projects4Up to 4 points available
Presentations (including audits/QIPs) since medical school4Up to 10 points available
Postgraduate medical teaching / experience / qualifications2Up to 7 points available
Medical postgraduate prizes2Up to 5 points available
Surgical logbook4Up to 20 points available
Medical management or leadership roles1Up to 4 points available

Once your application, self-assessment and portfolio have been submitted, you will need to wait around 3 months to find out if you have been successfully shortlisted for an ST3 urology national training number interview.

Your ST3 urology interview guide

In this next section we will outline the interview process for urology specialty training. This includes useful resources for your ST3 urology interview. 

What is the format of the NHS ST3 urology interview?

The interview is broken down into four main questions. This could be presented as a single station split into four elements or over multiple stations. For each question, you will get two minutes of reading time and a 13-minute interview. The four scenarios that you will be presented with are as follows:

  1. Outpatient
  2. Emergency
  3. Communication
  4. Skills

Your performance is usually assessed and scored by two consultants with independent scores. There is usually an actor/actress present as a patient in the communication scenario. Sometimes there is a lay representative present who does not score or assess but makes sure the process is fair and consistent.

Is the ST3 urology interview in person or online? 

In recent years the ST3 urology interview has been held online, usually on Microsoft Teams. The same format is adhered to whether the interview is online or in person.

What questions are asked at an NHS urology ST3 interview?

The questions will vary as they will be based on the specific scenario you are presented with in your two minutes of reading time. The key to success is in the preparation, making sure you have the knowledge to apply to the scenario and the confidence to answer the questions you are asked concisely.

How to prepare for the ST3 urology interview 

You might find it useful to speak to senior colleagues within the urology department to suggest subject areas as starting points for your revision. Some useful online resources to help you get started include Urology News UK and this Sage Pub Journal.

Below, we have looked at what to expect and ways to prepare for each scenario.

Outpatient scenario

This scenario tests your urological knowledge and assessment of a patient as if they are in an outpatient clinic. The main point noted on this station is that a patient-centered approach is expected. Consider revising symptom presentation as this is generally how patients present rather than just by disease. You will need to confidently describe how you would assess the patient including a full explanation of any common and simple tests that would be required. Make sure you listen and answer the question being asked rather than over elaborating.

Emergency scenario 

This scenario assesses your ability to safely manage emergency urology scenarios. If you have recently completed your MRCS exams, this knowledge will lend itself to your urology interview. In this scenario you may be presented with multiple emergencies and your ability to work as part of a team, delegate and prioritise will also be assessed.

Communication scenario 

This scenario will assess your ability to communicate on a sensitive topic whilst drawing upon your urological knowledge. You will be marked on your communication skills specifically. You need to show that you can listen, understand, communicate, and provide a solution for the patient. You also need to conclude with a summary, concisely  reiterating everything you have discussed, understood their concerns, and have formulated a management plan.  

Skills scenario

This scenario is designed around a core practical skill but may incorporate other areas including patient safety and consent. You may also be presented with a piece of equipment in the interview that is different to the model in your unit. Knowing the common models and subtle differences is important.

ST3 urology interview resources

We have researched online blogs, testimonials, and online courses to collate a list of urology interview resources for you, as recommended by ST3+ urology doctors.


Designed by senior urology consultants and the highest-scoring trainees, MedSet brings together all the key knowledge, tips, and interview techniques that you need to get your ST3 number. This online course is split into four modules which cover everything you need to know for the urology ST3 interview including emergency stations, outpatient scenarios, key communication roleplay, essential clinical skills and how to stand out from the competition. The course is updated to include key changes for the upcoming 2024 interview. The current price of this course is £129.


Medibuddy’s urology ST3 question bank will provide you with both the content and structure of the ST3 urology interview. The team have written a multitude of questions, and each has a comprehensive model answer. The questions cover all aspects of the interview syllabus and will ensure you are thoroughly prepared for whatever they ask you. The current price of this course is £110.

Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS) (Edinburgh)

NOTSS provides courses, videos, and a free handbook to support surgeons with the non-technical skills needed to perform safely in the operating room. NOTSS allows measurement of several competencies, including professionalism, interpersonal and communication skills, and systems-based practice. More information about prices and availability can be found on the NOTSS website.

The British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS)

The BAUS patient information leaflets are an excellent resource that urologists use throughout their daily practice. These are free to read and download from the BAUS website.

Further reading 

It is worth remembering this is an interview and not an FRCS exam, but a base level of knowledge will be required to be able to respond to the scenarios that you are presented with. Some extra reading which may be beneficial according to doctor testimonials are the “urology technical and procedural skills” and “peri-operative care” sections in the core surgery curriculum.

It’s a good idea to refresh your memory of the various ethical principles and legislation relevant to the country you practice in. This might include the GMC’s ethical guidance for doctors , European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Final tips for preparation 

  • Spend time with senior colleagues in the urology department or outpatient clinics to observe their communication skills and hear the pronunciation of any unfamiliar terminology.
  • Speak to the scrub team after theatres to familiarise yourself with the equipment and practice putting them together.
  • Practice out loud with peers and consultants in your region.

Applying for a national training number is a pivotal part of your urology career. To prepare yourself for this process, it is important to understand the person specification and self-assessment guidance for the portfolio well in advance. Talk to colleagues and those who have recently been interviewed to familiarise yourself with the national selection process. Prior preparation, practice, and a clear understanding of what to expect on the day of the interview are essential. These steps can give you extra confidence and increase your chances of acing your ST3 urology interview.

The information in this blog is for general informational purposes only. This page contains references or links to third-party pages and their content. We are not affiliated with these third-party pages and the inclusion of any reference or link to a third-party page does not imply that we have reviewed or approved of their content. The author(s) and publisher(s) are not liable for errors or omissions, and reliance on the content is at your own risk.

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