Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM)

The Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM), awarded by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), is an examination developed collaboratively by the RCP and the British Geriatrics Society. It is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the healthcare of older people. GPs and old age psychiatrists, together with some doctors undergoing training in geriatric medicine, have been the main candidates for the DGM over recent years. Since 2021, the exam has been opened up to nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists and physician associates (on the managed voluntary register).

The DGM is a credential that recognises the in-depth critical understanding, clinical knowledge and skills required in the field of geriatric medicine to provide expert care for older people. Candidates sit two examinations: an online knowledge-based assessment, and a clinical exam, currently taken in person at the RCP’s Examination Assessment Centre in Liverpool.

If you're a member of the multidisciplinary team involved in the provision of care of older people and want to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of managing frailty and the chronic conditions experienced by older people, the DGM provides a recognised, well-regarded award. You might be working in community, primary or secondary care, and you will have had at least two years’ post-qualification experience, at least four months of which will be in a setting where you have interacted with a large number of older people. You’ll be familiar with developing care plans for older people. Check out the full candidate eligibility criteria and other information on the RCP website.

I thought the DGM was really really useful. I enjoyed the academic rigour of the multiple choice paper and felt a lot more confident in some areas because of it." - GP, 2021

In preparing for the exam, you need to allocate time for self-guided study. Material on the RCP website includes sample questions for the online knowledge-based assessment, and information about the four stations of the clinical exam. Some universities and private providers offer short courses to help you prepare for the DGM . BGS and RCP do not endorse any particular course, but we encourage you to prepare well, and take advantage of our conferences and online resources.

[As a GP], the bits [of the DGM] I use most and advise on most are Frailty, MCA, DOLS, Parkinsons, Dementia, Falls, Nutrition, Equipment, Continence, UTI, Bone protection and Depression  in older people." - GP, 2021

DGM was one of the best exams I did post qualification. As a GP it led to becoming a GPwSI in frailty and working in a one-stop elderly clinic at local district general hospital, which was so rewarding." - GP, past candidate

The DGM has been created specifically for healthcare professionals who are not specialist geriatricians to help demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the care of older people and in particular the management of frailty. It offers external recognition as part of your continuing professional development.

I found the station on comprehensive geriatric assessment to lend itself well to being a GP and practising holistic medicine." - GP, 2019

The DGM is a two-part assessment. Part 1 is a single paper consisting of a 100-question, best of five, online knowledge-based assessment, sat on a single day.

Part 2 is a clinical assessment which takes place at the RCP’s bespoke assessment centre in Liverpool. The clinical assessment comprises four stations:

  1. History-taking skills
  2. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)
  3. Communication skills and ethics
  4. Clinical examining skills including:
    - Dermatology or locomotor examination
    - Neurological, cardiovascular or respiratory examination

Details for examinations for the 2023 diet are shown below. For full details of dates and fees, please visit the RCP website.

DGM Part 1: Online knowledge-based assessment
  • Application period: 9 January – 23 January 2023
  • Examination fee: £290
  • Examination date: 1 March 2023
  • Results release date: 29 March 2023
DGM Part 2: Clinical examination
Set 1
  • Application period: 3 April – 16 April 2023
  • Examination fee: £554
  • Examination dates: 6 June – 7 June 2023
  • Results release date: 5 July 2023
Set 2
  • Application period: 18 September – 1 October 2022
  • Examination fee: £554
  • Examination dates: 7 November – 8 November 2023
  • Results release date: 6 December 2023
The Part 2 clinical examination will take place in Liverpool, UK.

More information, including links on how to apply, can be found on the RCP website