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Therapeutics (MSc/PgDip/PgCert)

n/a (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / 1 year part-time (PgCert), 2 years part-time (PgDip), 3 years part-time (MSc); from 2015/16, the PgDip is also available as a full-time 1 year Distance Learning programme (distance / e-Learning)

Course Aims:

The courses will equip candidates with a sound understanding of the management of common medical conditions and develop skills in evidence-based medicine. Successful candidates will have gained the knowledge and understanding to act as the "local therapeutics expert".

The Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology at Cardiff has a major commitment to teaching postgraduate and undergraduate students. A key aim of our teaching programmes is to encourage critical thinking, as we equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also provide a basic approach to therapeutic problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy.

Course Description:

The courses comprise a number of detailed structured 10-week modules of learning. The Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) is delivered over one academic year during which three modules are studied. The Postgraduate Diploma (Pg Dip) is delivered over two academic years during which six modules are studied. Candidates may apply for either programme and it is possible to transfer between the two, e.g. candidates who pass the PgCert and who wish to progress to the PgDip may do so.

Most of the education process is problem-orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct relevance to practice.  There are several different integrated components to the course structure.  There is fortnightly reading with copies of or links to key articles.  There are regular clinical exercises to be completed which provide the basis of in-course assessment.  These are reviewed by the course supervisors and rapid feedback is given during the course.

Assessment is entirely by continual assessment of regular written work. There is no final examination.

There is an electronic discussion board as well as dedicated email and telephone contacts to ensure good communication with the department and between candidates.

The Diploma in Therapeutics is only awarded to candidates who have demonstrated regular detailed study throughout the course and who reach a high standard of knowledge, understanding, and clinical expertise. A commitment to regular study is required.

Available Modules

Modules 1 to 3 are studied during the PgCert.

Modules 1 to 3 are studied during Yr 1 of the PgDip.
Modules 4 to 6 are studied during Yr 2 of the PgDip.

Within the modules, each fortnight a different subject is studied:

Module 1 - Foundation in Clinical Therapeutics
Information Technology and Evidence-based Medicine
Principles of Therapeutics
Basic Biostatistics and Scientific Evaluation
Drug Development and Clinical Trials
Health Economics

Module 2 - Safe Prescribing in Practice
Practice Prescribing Issues
Prescribing at the Extremes of Life
Prescribing in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Module 3 - Illness in Practice (Derm, Resp, GI and Gynae)
Dermatology: Skin and Wounds
Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders
HRT and Contraception
Respiratory 1: Asthma
Respiratory 2: COPD and Infections

Module 4 - Illness in Practice (Pain, Musculoskeletal and Endocrine)
Pain Management
Common Bone Disorders
Rheumatic Disorders and Gout
Endocrinological Disorders

Module 5 - Cardiovascular Therapeutics
Heart Failure
Thrombotic Disorders
Angina and Myocardial Infarction

Module 6 - Illness in Practice (Psychotherapy, Neurology and the Eye)
Psychotherapy 1: Depression
Psychotherapy 2: Antipsychotics, Anxiolytics and Hypnotics
Neurology 1: Epilepsy
Neurology 2: Parkinson's, headache and migraine
The Eye

Assessment is entirely by continual appraisal of regular written work. There is no final examination.

To summarise, each fortnight:

To complete each 10-week module:

MSc in Therapeutics:

The MSc is available to a selected number of candidates who obtain acceptable marks on the Diploma and submit an MSc proposal which accords with the skills and expertise within the Department (all MSc candidates must first undertake the Diploma). Candidates must then complete a 20,000-word dissertation.

Special Features:

Career Prospects

Many of our alumni have gone on to hold senior positions in clinical and governmental organisations.


Some comments from previous graduates included:

“Having completed the Diploma I now feel much more able to prescribe appropriately, and, perhaps just as importantly, NOT prescribe when that is appropriate.”

“The course is well designed and should be made compulsory for all medics and pharmacists.”

“So, so useful... it has really re-ignited my enthusiasm for medicine!”

“An incredible way to increase one’s knowledge about common medical conditions and their treatment...”

One of our external examiners commented:

“This therapeutics course is one of the most comprehensive and challenging currently delivered by distance learning in the UK. The wide range of clinical scenarios and therapeutic reviews makes the information very relevant to the practicing clinician…Course aims and outcomes are clearly stated and link with course materials, assessments and individual learning styles.”

Entry Requirements:

The course is open to all health-care professionals who prescribe or use drug treatments in their work and who have usually had basic training in pharmacology at undergraduate level (e.g. medical practitioners, pharmacists, and nurses).

Applications are very welcome from professionals currently working in other countries.

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.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time PgCert: n/a
PgDip: £7,750
MSc: n/a
PgCert: n/a
PgDip: £11,250
MSc: n/a
Part-time PgCert: £3,875
PgDip: £3,875
MSc: £3,875
PgCert: £5,625
PgDip: £5,625
MSc: £5,625
Deposit Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy. Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Emma Scott OR Lynda Sullivan  

Telephone: +44 (0) 29 2074 2659 or +44 (0) 29 2074 6698 



School Website:

More information