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Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine

About the specialty

The specialty of Infectious Diseases (ID) allows an exciting and varied career in the clinical management of infection which regularly presents new challenges, exemplified very much by the current Covid pandemic. For many years the specialty has been closely allied with general internal medicine (GIM) and many ID physicians continue to practise as consultants in both ID and GIM.

Since August 2015, the first two years of higher specialist training has been combined with training in medical microbiology (or virology) (MMMV). This is known as Combined Infection Training (CIT) and is made up of four components – clinical infection experience on an ID unit, infection related outpatient clinics, laboratory benchwork in MMMV and infection consultancy work. Following CIT, trainees have been able to progress into further higher infection training either in conjunction with MMMV or with GIM, and emerge from training with a dual CCT.

The new curriculum for ID is unique amongst physician curricula in that it is a Group 1 specialty (ie combined with Internal Medicine Stage 2 (IMS2) training and recruited from completion of Internal Medicine Stage 1 – IMS1) or it can be a Group 2 specialty (combined with MMMV and recruited from the completion of two years IMS1). It is no longer possible to train in ID alone (training in MMMV alone is still possible through the relevant curricula managed by RCPath). Training under the new ID curriculum will commence in August 2021 if combined with MMMV and in August 2022 if combined with IMS2.

Tropical Medicine training covers the same curriculum as Infectious Diseases but also includes 12 months in an overseas, resource poor setting that has been recognised for training and at least 12 months of the UK-based training must be in a recognised Tropical Centre ie Liverpool, London (HTD) and Birmingham. Trainees also attend a full-time Diploma of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene course. As for ID, it must be combined with IM or MMMV.

Many ID trainees take the opportunity to do clinical or laboratory research or take time out of programme for experience (OOPE) – especially overseas. This is encouraged and facilitated by the curriculum but it is not mandatory.

Entry into ID and TM is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme.

For ID/TM with IMS2 (Group 1):

  • Internal Medicine (IM) Stage 1 – three years
  • Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM) – four years

For ID/TM with MMMV (Group 2):

  • Internal Medicine (IM) Stage 1 – two years
  • Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM) – three years

Latest news and developments

New curricula have been developed for the infection specialties and were implemented in August 2021 for trainees dual training in Infectious Diseases or Tropical Medicine with Medical Microbiology or Medical Virology (RCPath specialties). Training in the new curricula for ID and TM will also be possible as part of a dual programme with Internal Medicine from August 2022.

Doctors in training will need to transfer to the new curriculum from August 2022 unless their CCT date is on or before 31 August 2023. Please see the sections below for the curricula and supporting guidance. 


The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). New curricula were approved for Infectious Diseases (ID) and Tropical Medicine (TM) for implementation in August 2021. New curricula for the pathology infection specialties of Medical Microbiology (MM) and Medical Virology (MV) have also been approved and links are given below. Please see the RCPath website for information about the FRCPath examinations. 

Infectious Diseases 2021 curriculum

Tropical Medicine 2021 curriculum

Infectious Diseases 2021 syllabus

Tropical Medicine 2021 syllabus

Medical Microbiology 2021 curriculum

Medical Virology 2021 curriculum

ARCP decision aids for the new curriculum appear in the section below and documents to support the implementation of the curricula can be found in the forms and guidance section. 

The 2014 curricula for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine are provided below. Previous versions of the curriculum are no longer available online but copies can be requested from


ARCP Decision Aids

The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year. 

Guidance has been produced for 2022 ARCPs reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Infection specialties ARCP guidance April 2022

The ARCP decision aids for trainees on the 2021 curricula appear below

Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology or Virology 2021 ARCP decision aid

Tropical Medicine and Medical Microbiology or Virology 2021 ARCP decision aid

Infectious Diseases in dual with General Internal Medicine 2022 ARCP Decision Aid

Tropical Medicine in dual with General Internal Medicine 2022 ARCP Decision Aid

The ARCP decision aids for trainees on the 2014 curricula are given below





Forms and guidance

Infection specialties transitional arrangements webinar and FAQs

Infection specialties curriculum launch event recording

FAQs are available on the RCPath website via this link

Rough guide to the 2021 infection curricula

The rough guide has been developed to support trainees, supervisors and training programme directors and should be used in conjunction with the 2021 curricula. 

Rough guide to 2021 Infection Specialties curricula

The following document provides guidance on the implementation of internal medicine training in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine.

Guidance on the implementation of internal medicine in Infection training

Guidance on dual ID GIM training and ARCP requirements