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About the specialty

Rheumatology incorporates the investigation, holistic management and rehabilitation of patients with a wide spectrum of disorders of the muskuloskeletal system, encompassing the locomotor apparatus, bone and connective tissues and blood vessels. Rheumatic disorders include inflammatory arthritis, complex auto immune rheumatic and multi-system disease, soft tissue conditions including injuries, osteoarthritis, spinal pain, chronic pain syndromes and metabolic bone disease. The optimum investigation and management of such conditions is often challenging and rewarding and requires a multi-disciplinary approach linking the application of  principles of pathophysiology of disease and advanced therapeutics with sound principles of rehabilitation.

Rheumatology provides an excellent opportunity to practice clinical medicine in its broadest sense with principles of acute and chronic disease management at its core. This often results in satisfying and rewarding long term therapeutic and educational relationships with patients. The specialty may be linked with duties in General Internal Medicine and there are opportunities to develop special interests and research with a developing academic career pathway.

Entry into Rheumatology training is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme.There are two core training programmes for Rheumatology training:

  • Internal Medicine Training (IMT)
  • Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM)

Latest news and developments

A new curriculum for dual training in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine was implemented in August 2022. Trainees already in training in 2022 will need to transfer to the new curriculum unless in their final year of training. Please see our transition page for further information.


The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the capabilities needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). The curriculum includes the assessment system for measuring trainees’ progress comprising workplace based assessment and knowledge based assessment. Information on the Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in Rheumatology can be found on the MRCP(UK) website.

A new curriculum for Rheumatology has been approved by the GMC and implemented in August 2022.

Rheumatology 2022 Curriculum

The previous curriculum appears below. Earlier versions 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. The ARCP decision aid for the new 2022 curriculum is given below

Rheumatology 2022 ARCP Decision Aid

The decision aid below should be used for trainees remaining on the previous curriculum.

Forms and guidance

Guidance to support implementation of the 2022 curriculum

Rough Guide to Rheumatology 2022

A webinar was held on 8 June 2022 and a recording is available below.