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Applying for recognition of an Area of Focused Competence diploma

Area of Focused Competence (AFC) diplomas represent areas of medical expertise that respond to significant societal needs, but do not meet the criteria of a subspecialty discipline. They are meant to enhance (not replace) a physician’s scope of practice. The intent is to recognize trends in specialization without further fragmenting medical education and practice. AFC diplomas are meant to establish pan-Canadian national standards for post-graduate medical education.

Interested applicants should submit a letter of intent to pursue recognition of an AFC diploma. The Office of Specialty Education (OSE) at the Royal College assists applicant groups with the process and can provide guidance and coaching. It typically takes one to two years to refine the application before formal submission.

AFC Application Process
AFC Application Process Documents Required Notes
  • Letter of intent
  • Completed application form
  • Letter of support from relevant sponsoring specialty and national specialty society
  • Letter of support from at least one training site authority describing how they will support appropriate infrastructure to implement the discipline, if approved
  • Letters of support from other entry disciplines and/or any existing disciplines with which there is overlap of competencies with the proposed diploma discipline
  • Completed Competency Training Requirements (CTR) document
  • Application fee
  • We have compiled a How to Guide, containing helpful tips and suggestions, that may aid in completing the application,
  • Reference any supporting documentation in the appropriate section, clearly labeled and appended to the application.
  • It typically takes one to two years to refine the application before formal submission.
Fees Notes
  1. Application fee for review by Committee on Specialties: $14,000 per application
  2. Program fee for accreditation: $2,000 per program/school
  3. Credentialing and assessment fee: $925 per candidate
  4. PER-AFC credentialing and assessment fee: $1872 per candidate
  • The Royal College does not provide clerical support or financial assistance to complete the application.
  • The application fee is to be paid in full upfront. Fees are not reimbursed if the committee rejects the application.
  • Fees are established annually by the Royal College for Diplomates and Diplomate Affiliates.
Timelines Notes Important
It typically takes one to two years for submitted applications to move through the committee approval process.

Deadline to submit final application: Two months prior to meeting (e.g., Feb. 1 for the spring meeting; Sept. 1 for the fall meeting).
New applications are reviewed at COS meetings twice a year (fall and spring). We strongly encourage applicants to submit preliminary drafts of their applications and associated documents (such as the CTR) well before deadlines so that our office may review them for completeness and offer feedback and guidance as needed.

Applications should be submitted with all required documents in either PDF or MS Word format to All correspondence from the Office of Specialty Education will be sent to the primary contact person for the application. We will return incomplete applications to the applicant.

Contact the Diplomas Administrator
AFC diploma: Eligibility