Diploma in Child Health (DCH) - about

The DCH recognises competence in the care of children in trainees in specialties allied to paediatrics. Candidates, including GPs and paediatricians, use this as an opportunity to upskill and gain an internationally recognised postgraduate medical diploma. Each year there are about 300 DCH candidates in the UK, Hong Kong, India and Egypt.


The Diploma in Child Health was established in 1935 to enable a range of medical professionals to provide evidence of their experience in child health. DCH is:

  • mapped to a syllabus developed by a diverse range of medical professionals including paediatricians and GPs
  • informed by the latest research and evidence based
  • responsive to changes in UK training.

The exams

DCH comprises two exams. These are non-sequential and so can be taken in any order.

The Foundation of Practice (FOP) theory exam is taken on a computer at a est centre. There are usually three sittings a year in the UK and other countries. FOP is also part of the MRCPCH, or membership exam.

The DCH Clinical exam takes place in a hospital and follows a 'circuit' of eight stations. Our trained examiners, who have extensive experience working in paediatrics, assess candidates' performance. Some of the scenarios include children, young people and adults acting as patients or family members. There are usually two exam weeks in the UK each year, and one exam week in Hong Kong, India and Egypt.

Our standards

The College is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for its exams. The DCH is modelled to assess key competencies expected of medical trainees with four to six months experience of providing paediatric clinical care. We strive to ensure that all exams are valid and reliable.

To ensure the pre-eminence of the DCH, the College rigorously quality assures all processes and actively engages in research and ongoing development work.


The DCH is not linked to any recognised training programme.

If you are interested in sitting the DCH it is recommended that you take full advantage of the available College resources including the Clinical Cases in Paediatrics: DCH Clinical textbook. 

We periodically offer DCH Clinical exam preparation courses - check our course listing.

How children, young people and families are involved

DCH Clinical relies upon engagement from exam host centres who are responsible for recruiting patients for some clinical stations. Patients and parents are regularly asked for feedback on the running of these events in order to assist with development.


The DCH has a separate syllabus to the MRCPCH. However, the theoretical elements of the Foundation of Practice theory exam is shared across both the DCH and the MRCPCH (membership exam).

The DCH syllabus outlines the competencies required in both knowledge and skills. It takes into account the short period of paediatric training necessary before candidates are eligible to enter the exam. It provides a summary list of topics to be covered, and specifies the depth of knowledge and skills required and guidance for trainees and teachers on what they must be taught and learn.

You can download the DCH syllabus below.


You must have a primary medical qualification or be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

Candidates do not need pass English language tests. However, we recommend that your English language proficiency be equivalent to IELTS Level 7.

We recommend that candidates working in the UK have four to six months' experience in paediatrics, though this is not required. If you are taking the exam overseas, we recommend you have six months' paediatrics experience.

Your diploma

When you pass both DCH Clinical and Foundation of Practice exams, you will receive a Diploma certificate. This certifies you are a holder of the Diploma in Child Health (RCPCH).

If you need a replacement diploma

The replacement certificate fee is £25.

If you sat DCH Clinical after 1 January 2000 with the RCPCH, please contact us on exams@rcpch.ac.uk with details of when you passed the exam, your RCPCH number and your contact details.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) ran the DCH clinical exam before 1 January 2000. If you sat before that date, we can provide a replacement certificate once we have confirmed that you passed the exam with the RCP, please contact us on exams@rcpch.ac.uk with details of when you passed the exam, your RCPCH number, full name, date of birth and your contact details. These details will help us verify with the RCP.

Next steps

Get your exam account

Apply and prepare for theory exam (FOP)

Apply and prepare for DCH Clinical