Frequently Asked Questions

Where is COSECSA based?

COSECSA is based across ten member countries, and conducts its training in accredited hospitals, which may be public, private or mission hospitals. It is a “College without walls,” meaning that it does not have a central campus, but rather utilizes the existing infrastructure of COSECSA accredited hospitals. There are also a number of COSECSA accredited hospitals in African countries beyond the COSECSA region. The College’s administrative offices, known as the “secretariat” are based in Arusha, Tanzania.

What are MCS and FCS?

MCS stands for “Membership of the College of Surgeons” and FCS stands for “Fellowship of the College of Surgeons.” The MCS is a certificate of competence in surgery, training for which is common to all MCS trainees and is of minimum two years duration. Candidates who are successful in both the MCS written and clinical/viva exams are known as Members and are entitled to the use the post nominal “MCS(ECSA).” Members may join one of the seven different Fellowship Programmes. The Fellowship is a specialist qualification in one of General Surgery, Orthopaedics, Urology, Paediatric Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, Plastic Surgery or Neurosurgery. All of these require further specialist training of a minimum of three years (four in the case of Neurosurgery).  Candidates who are successful in both the FCS written and clinical/viva exams are known as Fellows, recognized as surgical specialists, and are entitled to the use the post nominal “FCS(ECSA).”

Are there other ways to become a Member or Fellow?

It is also possible to become a Fellow of COSECSA by election, and there are also other categories of Membership and Fellowship. See “Examinations and Training” page for more information.

I am interested in becoming a COSECSA trainee, what do I need to apply?

MCS applicants must be in possession of a recognized undergraduate medical degree before they can submit their application. FCS applicants must possess a COSECSA MCS or an accepted university Masters of Medicine (Surgery) qualification or equivalent.

How do I know if my application has been accepted?

You will be contacted by the COSECSA Secretariat to confirm if your application has been accepted.

How do I apply to sit the examinations?

You no longer have to apply separately for COSECSA examinations. When you register for a training programme you will select an exam year, based on your eligility. If, at a later date, you wish to defer this examination until the following year, please contact the Secretariat to inform them.

What are the deadlines for applying for training?

Candidates who register by the end of February will be able to include that year as a training year. For example a candidate registering for the MCS in February 2016 will be eligible to sit the written exam in September 2017, and if successful, the clinical/viva exam in November/December 2017. A candidate who registers for MCS in April 2016 would not be eligible to sit the exams until 2018.

Where and when do COSECSA exams take place?

There are two stages to the COSECSA examinations process. A written exam takes places on the first Wednesday of September in a centre in each COSECSA country. Candidates who are successful in the written exam will be invited to the clinical/viva exam which usually takes place the first Monday and Tuesday of December, in a single location for all candidates.

What e-learning am I required to complete?

COSECSA’s e-learning platform is called “School for Surgeons” and contains a wide variety of surgical training resources which are useful for all COSECSA candidates. Each year, case studies are also posted for MCS, FCS General Surgery and FCS Orthopaedics. Candidates enrolled in these programmes must complete a minimum of 6 case studies, out of a total of 10. MCS candidates must also complete Surgery in Africa Journal club cases. From 2016, completion of the 6 cases (and, for MCS, 6 Surgery in Africa modules) will be mandatory for candidates in all training programme years, not only in the year of their exam.

How do I find out my log in details for School for Surgeons?

You will be supplied with your log in details upon registration. Should you have any difficulties or questions, please email info@cosecsa.org

Am I required to use the COSECSA electronic logbook?

COSECSA is gradually introducing its electronic logbook which will eventually become mandatory for all candidates. Candidates sitting the MCS exam in 2016 and subsequent years, and the FCS exams in 2017 and subsequent years are required to log all operations from the period of their training (ie. From 1st January 2014).

Is the COSECSA qualification recognized?

Yes, the COSECSA qualification is recognized in all COSECSA countries with the exception of Tanzania, where registration is currently in process. 

I am interested in becoming a COSECSA Examiner, how do I apply?

Please contact the Chair of the Examinations and Credentials Committee for more information. Chair_ECC@cosecsa.org

I am interested in volunteering/my organisation is interested in supporting COSECSA, how do I/we get involved?

COSECSA believes in the power of partnership and invites potential partners to discuss possible collaboration. Please contact info@cosecsa.org for more information.

Connect with COSECSA