Frequently Asked Questions
Membership by College Examination (SDP)
I am a registered Specialist Dental Practitioner in Australia. What are my options for Membership?
The College offers Membership in eight different specialities. If you have completed a three (3) year postgraduate qualification in Australia or New Zealand you may be eligible to undertake the Membership examination in your chosen Speciality.
I graduated from my Specialist qualification outside of Australia. Am I still eligible to apply?
If you have completed your qualification outside Australia or New Zealand, you are still eligible to apply for an Assessment of Eligibility to sit the Membership examination however you will need to provide additional documentation e.g. evidence of program accreditation in your country of study.
The Assessment of Eligibility application will determine if you are eligible to sit the Membership examination and applications are assessed by the relevant Board of Studies on a case-by-case basis.
When is the Membership examination held?
The College Membership examinations are held annually in August. The location will be at the College offices in the Sydney CBD. It is likely you would be required to attend in person for 1-2 days.
How and when are Assessments of Eligibility (AOE) conducted?
The cut-off date to submit an application for Assessment of Eligibility is 1 April each year. This leaves enough time for the College to make an assessment of your qualifications and experience and for you to submit case reports. Case reports are sent to examiners about four weeks prior to the examination.
The form you need to submit is the MSDP02 – Assessment of Eligibility for Membership by Examination. The fees do change each year, so please refer to the College Fees document available for download on the College website homepage.
What happens after my eligibility is assessed?
If you are assessed as eligible to sit the Membership examination, the College will write to you advising of this and you will be asked to submit a MSDP04 - Enrolment for the Membership Examination. A separate fee is required for this application.
You will also be asked to submit the required number of case reports as set out in the SDP Handbook.
Who covers the cost of my time in Sydney?
Each candidate is responsible for covering the costs associated with travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred while attending Sydney for an examination. Attendance will be no more than 2 days and all other parts of the process can be completed online. The College will be happy to provide general advice on location, accommodation and transport.
What does the Membership exam include?
The Membership examination for Specialist Dental Practice includes a written paper, a viva voce based on unseen case/s, a viva voce based on previously submitted case report/s and a viva voce based on your chosen speciality with general discussion.
You may be exempt from the written paper component if you have completed your specialist qualification in Australia or New Zealand within the last 3 years.
SDP Handbook for specific information regarding the examination structure and content.
If I am already a Fellow or Member in General Dental Practice, can I proceed with the Specialist Dental Practice?
If you are a Member or Fellow in General Dental Practice you can still pursue Specialist Dental Practice. Specialist Dental Practice is intended for people practicing as specialists. A general dentist who is interested in a specialist discipline but who does not hold any specific qualifications in that field will not be eligible to sit a Membership examination in Specialist Dental Practice. The RACDS has many Members and Fellows who have chosen to undertake Membership and/or Fellowship in both fields.
Will I have to pay two annual fees if I have Membership or Fellowship in General Dental Practice (GDP) and Specialist Dental Practice (SDP)?
No, you will only need to pay one annual fee if you hold a qualification in GDP and SDP.
How will I be notified of the results?
The results of the examination will be published on the College website within a week of the exams taking place. A letter will also be sent to you advising of the results by e-mail.
What happens if I fail the Membership exam?
If you are unsuccessful, you will be notified at the same time as the successful candidates. The examiners will produce a report within six weeks of the exam with constructive feedback designed to assist you with future attempts. The Registrar - SDP will be available to discuss the feedback with you should the need arise.
There is no reason you cannot try again the next year, however you will need to submit a new Enrolment form.
Why should I do this examination?
If you pass the Membership examination you would be invited to submit an Admission to Membership application and be able to use the Post-nominals in your chosen speciality.
Completing any of the College programs can contribute to professional development, recognition, career pathways and will give access to College events and opportunities for advancement to Fellowship (SDP).
Members and Fellows enjoy a collegial experience and there are often opportunities to become actively involved with College activities. Members and Fellows may be invited to act as assessors, examiners, mentors or members of a Committee or Board of Studies.
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Membership by Conjoint Examination (SDP)
What is a conjoint examination?
A conjoint examination means the College holds an agreement with a separate University or international College to allow candidates to sit one examination and receive two qualifications. This agreement is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Which Universities hold a MoU with the College?
RACDS has a MoU with the dental schools of four Australian Universities - The University of Sydney, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia and University of Otago.
Candidates who complete programs at these universities may apply for Membership examination conjointly with their exit examination from those universities.
The College would send an examiner to contribute to your exam at the University, and if successful, you would be invited to receive Membership in your chosen Speciality.
Which Colleges hold a MoU with the College?
RACDS has a conjoint arrangement with the Faculty of Dental Surgeons of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The conjoint examination MOrth/MRACDS(Orth) is held twice per year - June in Edinburgh and November in Adelaide
RACDS also has a conjoint arrangement with the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong for Dental Public Health (also known as Community Dentistry). The conjoint examination is usually held in January each year.
How do I apply for a conjoint examination?
You will first need to subscribe to the RACDS. Once you have subscribed, you just need to submit a MSDP03 – Enrolment for Conjoint Membership Examination and indicate on the form which exam you are intending to complete.
Enrolments for conjoint examinations do not require a separate assessment of eligibility form.
Who sets the requirements for the examination?
The respective University or international College will set the requirements and be in charge of the structure of the conjoint examination.
Do I need to submit case reports to RACDS?
No. All the examination requirements, including case reports, are set by the respective University or international College.
Why should I do the Membership exam conjointly with my University exit examination?
By choosing this pathway, you are omitted from sitting a separate examination at the College. Other than submitting a form and paying a fee to RACDS, there are no additional requirements you would need to fulfil to receive Membership.
There may be advantages to sitting exams while you are immersed in study at University, as opposed to when you are practising clinically and have not studied or been examined for some time.
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