The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons


The following is an excerpt from the college website.

As a fellowship based organisation, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons commits to ensuring the highest standard of safe and comprehensive surgical care to the community through excellence in surgical education, training, professional development and support.

Service and Professionalism
Respect and Compassion
Commitment and Diligence
Collaboration and Teamwork

The RACS is an internationally recognised organisation for 5725 active and retired surgeons who are based mainly in Australia and New Zealand.

Approximately 90 per cent of all surgeons practising in Australia and New Zealand are Fellows of the RACS (FRACS). These surgeons were trained by the RACS in nine surgical specialties through its Basic Surgical Training and Specialist Surgical Training and Assessment programmes.

The College is also responsible for maintaining surgical standards in Australia and New Zealand through its Division of Fellowship and Standards.

Governance Structure of the College & Trainee Representation

Formed in 1927, the RACS is a non-Government organisation run by a Council made up of elected members from throughout Australia and New Zealand who work in an honorary capacity. There are also co-opted members to represent surgical specialties.

The College is governed by Council and a number of committees. RACS has recently formed the RACS Trainee Association (RACSTA).


The College introduced a new training program in 2007 called Surgical Education and Training (SET), which combines basic and specialist surgical training. Trainees are selected directly into one of the nine specialty training programs. The earliest point at which application can be made for the first year of training (SET1) is during Postgraduate Year 2 with entry for successful trainees in Postgraduate Year 3.

Having successfully completed SET1 training and assessment requirements, trainees move into SET2 without further selection. Trainees in SET1 are appointed by the employing hospital at the level which the hospital deems appropriate. The trainees will perform clinical rotations in units, designated by the specialty in which they are selected, as providing career-aligned requirements. During this period there is an increased focus on workplace competency assessment.

The year referred to as SET2, and subsequent years, will follow the pattern of previous specialist training. The length of this training depends on the specialty area. The following is a guide based on training times under the previous BST/SST system.

General Surgery: four yrs full time
Cardiothoracic Surgery: two yrs full time in Gen Surg. then four yrs full time
Neurosurgery: five yrs full time
Orthopaedic Surgery: four yrs full time
Otolaryngology: four yrs full time
Paediatric Surgery: three yrs full time in Gen Surg, then three yrs in Paediatric Surgery
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: one yr full time in Gen Surg, then four yrs full time in Plastic
Urological Surgery: four yrs full time
Vascular Surgery: two yrs full time in Gen Surgery, then three yrs in Vascular Surgery

Details are available on the College website


Most trainees must complete different rotations during their training, including rotations in rural locations. The exception is a number of speciality areas such as neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery where no rural posts exist. The College assist with the rotation system.

Recognition of Prior Learning

The College did not provide information on the recognition of prior learning.

Flexibility in Training

Part time training is possible at a minimum commitment of 50%. One year of full time training must be completed in both basic and advanced training. Interrupted training is available however is not normally granted in the first year of training.


Trainees must pass a basic sciences exam before entering specialist surgical training. To complete advanced training trainees must pass the Fellowship Examination.

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

The College also undertakes assessment of International Medical Graduates in surgery. Currently there are over 200 IMGs undergoing specialist assessment and/or practising in Area of Need positions. The College also provides Letters of Endorsement for approximately 350 IMGs who are undertaking short-term training in Australia provided by hospitals and/or universities.

Costs for 2008

Australian fees are subject to 10% GST except approved Educational Courses.

Basic Surgical Training (BST)

Annual Training Fee


Registration Fee


Website Fee - Distace Learning Program


Examination Fees

Exam Pending/Interruption or Deferral Administration Fee


Fellowship Examination Fee


Basic Science Examination - BSE (SET1)


Clinical Examination (SET1)


Skills Course Fees

ASSET Skills Course


CCrISP Course


EMST Provider Course


EMST Refresher Course


Surgical Education & Training - SET

Annual Fee


Selection Registration Fee


Selection Processing Fee


PreSET Registration


International Medical Graduates

Fee - paper based assessment


Fee - paper based assessment and interview


Occupational Training Visa


Overseas Trained Doctors Fees

Oversight - onsite


Oversight - remote


Contact details

The College is based in Melbourne.

College of Surgeon's Gardens
Spring Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9249 1200
Fax: (03) 9249 1219