Symptomatic locomotor abnormalities are common in medical in-patients, form a significant part of a general practitioner's workload, and are the single most important factor influencing disability in later life. That any qualifying doctor should have basic competencies with respect to the locomotor system thus seems appropriate. A survey of medical schools undertaken jointly by the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council (ARC) and British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) in 1990, however, suggests that the locomotor system still has a relatively low priority in undergraduate medical training. In 1990 therefore, the Education Committees of ARC and BSR established a joint working party to define guidelines on an undergraduate curriculum for rheumatology. These guidelines were discussed and developed at a Workshop in Oxford, and circulated to the Deans and Chairmen of Curriculum Committees at all UK Medical Schools in October 1991. It is hoped these guidelines will encourage inclusion of basic rheumatological competencies within the 'core' curriculum for all medical undergraduates.