An overview of the SET selection process
In 1998 the College endorsed the Best Practice Framework for Trainee Selection that subsequently became known as the Brennan Principles which continue to underpin the College Trainee selection processes.
- Selection processes for surgical education and training must comply with AMC and MCNZ accreditation requirements and the Brennan Principles
- Selection processes must be merit based, free of bias and, to the greatest possible extent, quantifiable.
- Selection processes must be compliant with relevant Australian and New Zealand laws and the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.
- Selection processes must be open to external scrutiny and conducted in an accountable manner using documented processes.
- Selection processes must be conducted on a national or bi-national basis in Australia and New Zealand.
- The opportunity to apply for selection must be publicised in a manner which creates awareness of opportunity for all eligible applicants.
- Criteria in all of the tools must be related to objectives of the training program and the desired attributes of graduates.
Each of the nine surgical specialties administers its own selection processes, under the auspices of the College Board of Surgical Education and Training (BSET). Specialty Boards receive approval from the Education Board for the selection tools they use and the weightings given to them. A range of selection tools is used. The weighting of selection tools must be reasonable and fair to all applicants and will be determined prior to commencement of the selection process.
Although some specialties have additional eligibility criteria, all of the specialty boards use the same generic eligibility criteria.
Each specialty decides:
- the number of trainees to be appointed in that specialty
(based on the number of available accredited hospital posts)
- the selection tools to be used and their comparative weightings
- any minimum acceptable score.
Further information can be found in the Brennan Report (PDF 935.11KB).
Stages of the selection process
Stage 1 - The registration stage
Anyone intending to apply for selection must register their intention to apply within the specified time-frame. At the time of registration, applicants must be able to meet all generic eligibility requirements. The registration fee must be paid by any applicant who is not a current SET Trainee or RACS Fellow. SIMGs who have been recommended to apply to SET must pay the registration fee. All registrations are conducted online through RACS. Potential applicants for selection into SET cannot register via specialty societies and associations.
Stage 2 - The application and selection stage
Doctors register for selection and are confirmed as satisfying the generic eligibility requirements may then lodge an application for selection from the specified date in February or March. The following specialties accept applications for selection through the RACS online application system:
- Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Australia and New Zealand
- Paediatric Surgery
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, New Zealand
The online application comprises a structured CV and referee report requirements.
The following specialties accept applications for selection through their specialty societies:
- General Surgery, Australia and New Zealand
- Orthopaedic Surgery, Australia and New Zealand
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Australia
- Vascular Surgery
Shortlisted applicants are then invited to attend an interview in June/July.
New Zealand offers are generally announced in June, and Australian offers are announced in July.