Palliative Medicine/Palliative Care (MSc/PgDip)
n/a (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / 24 months (PgDip), then up to 2 further years (MSc) (Distance / E-Learning)
The Postgraduate Diploma in Palliative Medicine/Care is designed for professionals who wish to gain expertise in the practical management of patients with non-curable and terminal illness, and emphasises the unique contribution made by each discipline involved in palliative care. The principles of reflective practice and learning underpin the Diploma. A major aim in the teaching programme is to encourage thought and discussion and equip students with practical and factual knowledge, and also provide an evidence-based approach to problems in palliative care. The attitudes and abilities acquired should be of lasting value long beyond specific advances in therapy and management.
The MSc in Palliative Medicine/Care draws on the knowledge and skill-base developed in the Postgraduate Diploma, with the specific intention of expanding students’ understanding of scientific method / research and critical appraisal. The principles of reflective practice learning remain as relevant, although the MSc reinforces this self-directed approach with appropriate tutor and supervisor support.
The Diploma was the first of its kind in the world and has been running successfully since 1989, producing over 1,000 graduates working in all regions of the world.
On graduation, students should be able to enhance the clinical service delivered to patients by positively influencing behaviour in their working environment and by acting as local facilitator for further educational and research developments in palliative medicine/care.
There are 2 pathways available:
The Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Palliative Medicine (open to doctors)
The Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Palliative Care (open to non-medical healthcare professionals.
The 2 pathways overlap in many ways. The residential teaching for both Diplomas is held as a multidisciplinary event and many of the modules are available to all students.
The Diploma Stage
The Postgraduate Diplomas offer students the option to study palliative medicine/care in either adults or children. Students choosing the full paediatric option must be working in paediatrics and will be required to choose the 3 paediatric modules as their optional modules and tailor their assignments to paediatric practice.
The Postgraduate Diplomas are designed for professionals who wish to gain expertise in the practical management of patients with incurable and terminal illness. The programme content is also designed to emphasise the unique contribution made by each discipline involved in palliative care. The programme is delivered over 2 academic years and aims to include learning about many aspects of palliative care practice. Over a hundred places are offered each year in September and students are self-funded or financially supported by their employers. The Diplomas are delivered largely through distance/electronic learning. The educational resources are accessed through a password-secure personal web space allocated to students. Students correspond with tutors by email or telephone and submit their coursework electronically. This makes the course particularly suitable for busy healthcare professionals in all regions of the world.
Each year of the Diploma has a 2-3 day compulsory residential teaching block. The residential teaching block allows topical issues to be discussed in small groups. During group work students are expected to actively contribute to the group discussion/activity. The residential teaching block for each year is held in
A holistic approach to patient care is adopted throughout with an emphasis on reflective practice where the student is encouraged to consider all aspects of their patients’ care. Different topics in palliative care are studied through a series of relevant articles, available through the Internet, which are categorised as "recommended reading" as well as additional "themed reading". Students will be asked to identify key areas for their own learning from this resource and select the themed reading material that meets their learning needs as well as identifying their own resources.
Module topics include: Pain and symptom control; psychosocial care; understanding the evidence: ethics and law; HIV and AIDS; end-stage cardiac; end stage respiratory; neurological; end stage renal disease; communication skills; oncology and haematology.
Assessment consists of a mixture of formative and summative assessments which include extended match questions a communication skills video/DVD -based assessment and written assignments. The written assignments include short end of module assignments, exploration of a critical incident, case reflection, audit, critique of out of hours care and preparation of a teaching session. All applicants must commence the diploma at year one, except in cases where there is accreditation of prior learning. We have a procedure for accreditation of prior learning (APL) gained from other educational institutions but we do not presently recognise experiential learning. If you believe that you have completed a recognised programme of learning equivalent to one or more modules of the Diploma and wish to apply for an APL exemption, please contact us prior to your application. There will be a cost incurred for the APL process.
The MSc Stage
The MSc aims to develop core knowledge of research methods and measurement tools, and to enhance your critical appraisal skills. Students will use this knowledge to merge research practice with clinical experience through a process of critical evaluation and reflective practice. It will be evidenced by the students’ ability to effectively design, execute and report a methodologically sound research project.
Two residential teaching blocks are offered to ensure that the student’s project is carefully planned and to provide students with core knowledge regarding research methodology and critical appraisal.
The first, 5-day, residential teaching block takes place early in the year. It is designed to give a sound basic knowledge of both research methodologies and critical appraisal skills. Interactive and problem-based teaching techniques are employed to enhance the learning opportunities for both individuals and the group as a whole.
The second, 2-day, residential teaching block is held later in the year. This reviews the progress that students have made in completing your data collection and provides you with support for writing up of the dissertation, including the effective presentation of your data.
The initial 5 day teaching block is compulsory, and the second 2 day teaching block is strongly recommended.
Assessment of the MSc is through a dissertation which provides an opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the core objectives of the MSc by effectively addressing a relevant research question. This may be attained by performing either: -
an original piece of qualitative or quantitative research, usually in your normal clinical practice; or
a rigorous qualitative review of published literature relevant to the practice of palliative medicine.
The dissertation forms the only assessment for this phase. Successful completion, in conjunction with success at Postgraduate Diploma leads to the award of the MSc in Palliative Medicine/Care.
The continuation fee for the dissertation in MSc in Palliative Medicine/Care (payable only if the student goes into the third year) is £617 for Home/EU and overseas students.
The course consists of core and optional modules to include
Core: Symptom control, communication skills, ethics and law, palliative care service organisation, understanding the evidence,
Optional choices include end stage cardiac disease, end stage respiratory disease, end stage neurological disease, end stage renal disease.
In recognition of paediatric palliative medicine becoming a sub-speciality, paediatric palliative care is now fully integrated throughout the diploma course modules and there are paediatric optional modules available for students to choose including
Principles of paediatric palliative care, malignancy and emergency care in paediatric palliative care
At present no modules are available as a stand alone option. They can only be taken as part of the 2 year diploma.
Face-to-face contact required for 2-3 days in September for each year of the postgraduate diploma and a 5 day and 2 day face-to-face teaching block for the Dissertation stage of the MSc.
The Diplomas aim to allow participants to acquire and develop the following skills:
- Best practice in pain and symptom management
- An understanding of ethics and law and how to apply this to complex decision making in practice
- Advanced communication skills
- An understanding of interprofessional working
- An understanding of the psychosocial aspects of living with a life limiting disease
The MSc aims to allow participants to:
- develop a core knowledge of research methods and measurement tools;
- enhance critical appraisal skills;
- understand the contribution of academic and clinical roles in integrating scientific and clinical practice;
- design, execute and report a methodologically sound research project; and
- use this knowledge to merge research practice with clinical experience through a process of sound evaluation and reflective practice.
Please visit the Palliative Care Education website for more information.
Palliative Medicine is becoming increasingly recognised as a speciality across the world. Palliative medicine and palliative care is increasingly integrated into healthcare in the UK and continues to develop to offer services to patients with any life-limiting illness. This course provides a well recognised qualification for any healthcare professional wishing to pursue palliative care work.
- Be a graduate in medicine or an allied profession, or a qualified nurse (RGN or equivalent) and
- Hold appropriate professional registration and
- Work with some patients with palliative care needs (this can be a minor part of your workload).
You are required to be a registered student of the University for each academic year of attendance on the programme.
MSc: Admission to the MSc is limited to students who have successfully completed the Postgraduate Diploma to a high standard. Entry to the MSc component is competitive.
Applicants whose first language is not English or Welsh must satisfy the English Language requirements for entry to the university by attainment of a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS exam. For overseas students (outside EU) please ensure that your referees comment on your English language abilityfor written, spoken, reading and listening.
Application deadline: May 31st each year although late applications will be considered where space allows.
Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
Commonwealth Scholarships may be available for students in India and surrounding countries. Please contact the office for more details.
UK & EU Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
Fees include a non-refundable deposit of £1000. MSc (post diploma) fee: £2000.
International Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
Fees include a non-refundable deposit of £1000. MSc (post diploma) fee: £4100. A continuation fee may be payable for students entering a third dissertation year.
Next intake: September 2013
Name: Palliative Medicine Admissions Team
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2019 6111