Diploma in Endocrinology

Team: Endocrinology Team

Our Postgraduate Diploma in Endocrinology is accredited by the Royal College of General Practioners and is based on the Royal College of Physicians curriculum. Course Code: QPDP021

Course Information


Diploma MSc is a collaborative partner of the University of South Wales. On successful completion of this course, you will receive a University of South Wales Postgraduate Diploma.

The RCGP accredited course is designed to be very practical and clinically focused. On completion of the Postgraduate Diploma, students have:

  • A greater confidence and understanding of the management of patients with endocrine disorders through case studies and discussion.
  • Improved critical analysis of published data and data interpretation.

Applicants will typically be health professionals who have regular exposure to people with endocrine disorders. They may be part of a team which delivers care, a leader of that team or an individual who treats people with endocrine disorders.

The course is designed to be relevant to all health professionals who have exposure to people with endocrine related disorders and is particularly relevant to:

Specialist Registrars, Endocrine Nurses and those Primary Care Physicians with a specialist interest in Endocrinology

Course Structure

The Postgraduate Diploma course is based on the Royal College of Physicians Specialty Training curriculum. The online course lasts one calendar year and is a part time distance learning course. It consists of 6 modules per year, each of 6 weeks duration.

Aims of the module:

  • To explore the physiological principles of the hypothalamic pituitary axes and common disorders affecting the hypothalamus and pituitary.

Synopsis of the module content:

  1. Physiology of the hypothalamic-anterior pituitary-end organ axes together with an understanding of the posterior pituitary.
    Study of the various anterior and posterior pituitary hormones plus hypothalamic signals.
  2. Hormonal signalling including intracrine, paracrine and endocrine effects together with second messenger effects.
  3. Non-functional pituitary tumours – presentation, diagnosis, investigation and management including medical and surgical approaches.
  4. Surveillance of pituitary tumours
  5. Functional pituitary tumours – presentation, investigation and management including medical and surgical approaches:
    • Acromegaly
    • Cushing's disease
    • Prolactinomas
    • TSHomas
    • Hypopituitarism
  6. Congenital hypopituitarism and associated genetic disorders

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • To apply knowledge of the complex physiological principles involved in the hypothalamic-pituitary- end organ axis and patho-physiology to a range of endocrine disorders.
  • Critically evaluate the presentation, diagnosis and management of patients presenting with disorders of the hypothalamus and pituitary.

Aims of the module:

  • To apply an understanding of the physiology of the thyroid and its hormones to critical awareness of the diagnosis and management of disorders of the thyroid.

Synopsis of the module content:

  1. The physiology of the thyroid gland, basics control of hormonal secretion and the effects of thyroid hormones.
  2. Thyroid function tests and interpretation. Sick euthyroidism and non-thyroidal illness. Thyroiditis including DeQuervain’s thyroiditis. Thyroid eye disease.
  3. Hypothyroidism – presentation, diagnosis and management. Causes of hypothyroidism.
    Principles of thyroid hormone replacement and merits of T4 and T3 replacement.
  4. Hyperthyroidism – presentation, diagnosis and management. Causes of thyrotoxicosis – Graves’ disease, Multinodular goitre and drugs.
  5. Management of hyperthyroidism – surgery, drugs and radio-iodine. Preparation of the thyrotoxic patient for surgery.
    Use of thionamides, side effects and management of thionamides. Use of radio-iodine, outcomes and contra-indications to its use. Thyroidectomy, outcomes and potential risks of surgery.
  6. Management of the patient presenting with a thyroid nodule. Fine needle aspiration and classification of the aspirate

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  1. Critically appraise disorders of the thyroid with reference to the underlying physiology.
  2. Demonstrate critical clinical decision-making skills relating to the diagnosis and management of patients with thyroid disorders.

Aims of the module:

  • To facilitate an improved understanding of the physiology and patho-physiology of the adrenal glands in relation to endocrine disorders of the adrenal glands.

Synopsis of the module content:

  • Week 1:
    Physiology and pathophysiology of the adrenal medulla and cortex.
    Hormonal secretion of the adrenal medulla and cortex.
    Synthesis of the adrenal cortical hormones.
    Investigation of the adrenals –short synacthen testing, dexamethasone suppression testing, urinary catecholamines, plasma renin activity and aldosterone testing.
    Sensitivity/specificity of tests.
  • Week 2-3:Adrenal hypersecretion.
    Adrenal dependent Cushing’s disease – diagnosis and management including medical and surgical.
    Conn’s syndrome and primary hyperaldosteronism – diagnosis and management including medical and surgical. PRA – Aldosterone ratio.
    Apparent mineralocorticoid excess and Liddle’s syndrome
    Phaeochromocytoma – diagnosis and management
    Adrenal and extra-adrenal phaeochromocytoma
    Utility, sensitivity and specificity of urinary catecholamines and MIBG scintigraphy
    Genetic conditions associated with phaeochromocytoma – MEN Type 2, SDH B and D, Von Hippel Lindau and Neurofibromatosis.
  • Week 4-5:
    Congenital adrenal hyperplasia – classical, non-classical, investigation, diagnosis and management.
    Addison’s disease – presentation, diagnostic strategies, management including adequate replacement therapies.
    Acute hypoadrenalism – emergency treatment and appropriate advice to the patient.
    Advising the patient relating to the titration of steroid therapy during illness.
    Glucorticoids, relative potency, mechanism of action.
    Mineralocorticoids, mechanism of action and anatgonists.
    Safe withdrawal of steroid therapy.
  • Week 6:
    The adrenal nodule.
    Assessment of functionality.
    Monitoring and radiological investigation.
    Management including appropriate surgical referral.

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the complex pathophysiology of a variety of conditions affecting the adrenal glands.
  • Demonstrate critical clinical decision-making skills in relation to the management of a variety of conditions affecting the adrenal glands.

Aims of the module:

  • Demonstrate critical clinical decision-making skills in relation to the management of a variety of conditions affecting the adrenal glands.

Synopsis of the module content:

  1. The parathyroid glands, anatomy, basic physiology and pathophysiology:
  2. Hypercalcaemia, investigation and management to include
    • Familial Hypercalciuric Hypercalcaemia (FHH).
  3. Acute management of severe hypercalcaemia.
    Hypocalcaemica, investigation and management.
    Primary hyperparathyroidism:
    • Presentation
    • Diagnosis
    • Management with reference to guidelines including when to refer for surgery and medical management.
    • Calcium receptor mimetics
  4. Secondary hyperparathyroidism:
    • Vitamin D deficiency.
    • Renal failure and replacement of vitamin D.
    • Tertiary hyperparathyroidism.
  5. Investigation of bone mineralisation and interpretation of dual energy absorptiometry – DEXA
  6. Osteoporosis.
    Diagnosis and management.
    Drugs including mechanism of action and reference to guidance.
    Strontium Ranelate, SERMS, Vitamin D and Calcium, Bisphosphonates and Calcitonin.

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the complex management of patients with disorders of calcium and parathyroid disorders.
  • Critically appraise the investigation and management of patients presenting with osteoporosis.

Aims of the module:

  • To gain an in-depth understanding of the presentation, investigation, diagnosis and management of reproductive endocrine disorders.

Synopsis of the module content:

  1. Basic physiological principles of the ovaries and testes.
    Menstrual cycle.
    Semen formation.
    Sex Hormones and variations including SHBG, Testosterone, estradiols, 17OHP, androstenedione and DHEAS.
    Genetic disorders.
    Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome.
  2. Polycystic ovarian Syndrome.
    • Epidemiology
    • Investigations
    • Diagnostic criteria
    Management of associated disorders – hirsutism, oligomennorrhoea and basic fertility treatments.
    Medical therapies including metformin, clomiphene, spironolactone. Oral contraceptives and HCG.
    Investigation of male and female infertility.
    Management of the endocrine aspects of male and female infertility.
    Referral criteria for fertility units.
  3. Female hypogonadism.
    Premature menopause/primary ovarian failure.
    Treatments including Hormone replacement therapy and the OCP.
    Review of literature relating to HRT and safety.
    Treatments for associated flushing.
    Testosterone replacement in postmenopausal females.
  4. Male hypogonadism.
    Primary and secondary hypogonadism.
    Investigations – free testosterone, bioavailable testosterone and total testosterone.
    Causes including weight-related hypogonadism.
    IM testosterone, testosterone implants, testosterone gels.
    Emerging therapies – SARMs.
    Monitoring testosterone replacement
  5. Treatment and investigation of erectile dysfunction.
    PDE-5 inhibitors, vacuum pumps and intracavernosal injections.

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Critically appraise the evidence base and apply strategies for the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients presenting with endocrine disorders of the gonads.
  • Critically appraise the investigation, diagnosis and management of endocrine related fertility issues.

Aims of the module:

  • To gain an in-depth understanding of the presentation, investigation, diagnosis and management of endocrine-related cancers.

Synopsis of the module content:

  • Week 1-2:
    Thyroid cancer including follicular, medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
    Epidemiology, understanding evidence based treatments.
    Principles of investigation and management.
    Ablative radioiodine treatment.
    Surveillance of patients with thyroid cancer.
    Long term thyroid hormone replacement.
  • Week 3-4:
    Adrenal Cancer.
    Presentation, investigation and management.
    Adjunctive medical therapies.
    Basic principles of chemotherapies used in the treatment of adrenal cancer.
  • Week 5-6:
    Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs).
    Classification of NETs.
    Investigation of NETs including chromogranin and somatostatin scintigraphy.
    Management of NETs; somatostatin analogues.
    Carcinoid syndrome – presentation, investigation and treatment.
    NETs in genetic conditions such as MEN.

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Critically appraise the evidence relating to the diagnosis and management of patients with endocrine related cancers.
  • Recommend evidence based improvements to the investigation and management of patients with Neuroendocrine Tumours based on critical appraisal of the evidence.


Online Postgraduate Diploma in Endocrinology

The course puts assessment at the heart of learning by using clinical scenarios to facilitate problem-solving, critical analysis and evidence-based care. The scenarios act as both the focus for learning and assessment thus embedding assessment within the learning process.

Each of the 6 modules has the same assessment format. Due to the online nature of the course, students are expected to login and participate in the course regularly throughout the module (ideally on a daily basis).

Students are split into groups of 10-15 students and are assigned a dedicated expert tutor who:

  • Facilitates clinical case discussions with the group.
  • Monitors, assesses and marks each student throughout the module.
  • Students use the skills gained during the lectures to engage with the different activities (see below).

Each week, students are presented with 2/3 clinical cases with associated questions.  These cases are designed to promote discussion within a specific clinical area. Students:

  • Complete the questions.
  • Discuss the cases and issues surrounding the cases in a discussion forum.

Students discuss the cases within their tutor groups, facilitated by their tutor.  They use an online discussion forum to write well referenced, scientifically written postings.

The individual portfolio or journal is a learning log/diary. The purpose is for the student to reflect on their personal progress throughout the module. Students would typically include the following:

  • Initial expectations of the course, reasons for undertaking the course.
  • Module and/or personal learning objectives.
  • Description of events/issues/learning points within their personal practice.
  • Examples of change in personal practice due to knowledge gained throughout the module.
  • A description of what has been learned during the module.

Students are asked to think reflectively about what they are learning from each module, how this differs from their current practice, and how they can apply what they have learned through the course to their everyday practice as a health professional. Referencing would not typically be found in a learning portfolio nor would a simple list of points learned.

The group activity is designed to encourage group dynamics catering to the multidisciplinary nature within the field of Endocrinology. Students are required to produce the following:

  • A group submission.
  • An individual submission.

Students are also marked according to their contribution to the group submission.

The group is given a specific task to accomplish over the 6 weeks of the module e.g. Develop an appropriate screening method for your clinic. Students are required to write well referenced, scientific reports.

  • 30 single best answer (SBA) questions.
  • One hour online assessment.
  • Questions are based on the clinical aspects of the module and their discussion topics.

Teaching Methods

Each module has the same format. Using an online platform and one tutor per 10-15 students, the self-directed distance learning is guided by tutor stimulated discussion based on rich case scenarios. Group projects are undertaken alongside independent projects. Reflective practice is recorded in a reflective portfolio to help students consider how the learning can be translated into everyday work and practice.

Teaching starts with an induction day. Students may attend the event in the UK (Glyntaff campus, University of South Wales) and also online via a webinar.

They are a pre-course organiser, giving students the tools required to undertake the online course such as:

  • Scientific writing
  • Levels of evidence
  • Harvard referencing
  • Reflective writing

The day gives an opportunity to meet face to face with tutors/other students prior to the online course.

Students are not required to attend the induction day however those who attend do benefit as they get a "jump start" to the course. Students who are not able to attend, should request a skype/telephone call to orientate them onto the course and are advised to review the slides.

Entry Requirements

Health professionals working within a clinical setting, both UK and overseas, with a related Healthcare Science degree (including international qualifications) are eligible to apply for the PG Diploma in Endocrinology course.

Applicants without the above academic criteria but relevant/suitable experience can apply. Applications will be judged on the individual specifics of background and qualifications including ability to work at Postgraduate level (applicants may be asked to submit a piece of work for assessment to confirm that they are able to work comfortably at Postgraduate level and demonstrate requisite clinical/professional knowledge).

Applicants should submit copies of the following with their application:

  • Qualification certificates
  • One written reference
  • English language qualification (IELTS 6 or equivalent) please see University of South Wales for further details

Student Stories

Our customers gave this product 5 out of 5 stars based on 4 reviews

5 Star Rating

The PG Diploma team, right from the Course Director down to the backend support, were always available for assistance and any problems.

"I thank the entire team at PG Diploma in Endocrinology for a most enjoyable eleven months, and have no hesitation in recommending this course to any of my colleagues who wish to further their knowledge in this speciality. Read full story..."

5 Star Rating

This course suited me perfectly as it was totally online and did not require going to USW. Fees were also very competitive compared with other Masters courses

"In conclusion, the course teaches a lot more than endocrinology, certainly so in my case. Last but not the least, I met students, admin staff (very helpful) and some great tutors (endocrinologists are nice people). Read full story..."

5 Star Rating

The PGDip in Endocrinology has exposed me to various endocrine conditions, clinical scenarios and conundrums that stretched my knowledge further and prompted further reading.

"Feedback from tutors was constructive and prompt and the admin team were extremely helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am now in the process of undertaking the MSc in endocrinology. I would definitely recommend this course to others. Read full story..."

5 Star Rating

I learned a lot of theoretical and clinical knowledge in the endocrine field during which the interactive discussion with tutors and other students was really informative and fruitful.

"I am now able to manage the endocrine cases with confidence so I advise this course for all healthcare professional. Read full story..."

Applications open for March 2019