Obesity and Weight Management Postgraduate Diploma

Team: Obesity and Weight Management Team
In partnership with: University of South Wales

Course Code: QPDP005

Next Intake: 2019 Sept

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.

Delivered over one year, the online part time distance learning Postgraduate Diploma in Obesity and Weight Management course is specially developed for busy health professionals. Comprising of 6 modules (120 credits), each of 6 weeks duration; the course is designed to be practical and clinically focused.

On completion of the course, graduates will be able to demonstrate:

  • A systematic understanding of the care of patients in obesity and weight management.
  • A critical awareness of current issues affecting the care of patients undertaking weight and obesity management treatments.
  • An advanced knowledge of obesity and weight management that will facilitate decision-making in unpredictable and/or complex situations.
  • An ability to use knowledge to adapt professional practice to meet the changing demands of health care systems.

Course Structure

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.

Aim of the module:
  • Develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the physiology and regulation of the adipocyte, adipose tissue, human nutrition and appetite.
Synopsis of module content:
  • The physiology of the adipocyte and adipose tissue.
  • The role of adipose tissue as an endocrine organ as well as its role in health and disease.
  • The regulation of adipose tissue and energy balance.
  • Appetite regulation and the role of adipose tissue, the brain and GI tract in the complex neuro-endocrine regulation of appetite and the uncoupling of many of these processes in relation to specific diets and disease states.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. A critical awareness of the regulation of the adipocyte, adipose tissue and its endocrine function.
  2. An in-depth knowledge of the regulation of appetite and its relationship to obesity and weight gain.
  3. An in-depth knowledge of aspects of nutrition in relationship to body mass, weight gain and obesity.
Aim of the module:
  • To develop a critical understanding of the definitions of body mass. The importance of the distribution of adiposity, its epidemiology, the global problems of obesity and its relationship in different populations.
Synopsis of module content:
  • Global trends in obesity, its relationship to public health and the differences in the diagnosis of obesity in differing ethic populations.
  • The aetiology of obesity, anthropometry including the importance of central obesity, and the epidemiological trends in obesity and its integral relationship with other co-morbidities in particular diabetes.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the diagnostic criteria for obesity, central adiposity and its impact upon health.
  2. An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology and the global evolution of obesity and overweight.
  3. An ability to critically appraise the health and economic consequences of obesity and overweight in relation to associated co-morbidities.
  4. An understanding of and ability to diagnose the metabolic syndrome and appreciate its relationship to disease.
Aim of the module:
  • To develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the medical and genetic conditions that can cause obesity and weight gain.
Synopsis of module content:
  • Overview of genetic conditions associated with obesity such as Prader-Willi syndrome as well as other genes related to weight gain including FTO.
  • Other conditions predisposing to weight gain and obesity such as Cushing Syndrome, hypothyroidism and pregnancy.
  • Drugs and their association with weight gain such as glucocorticoids, oral contraceptives and psychotropic agents.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. An in depth knowledge and understanding of the inherited conditions linked with weight gain and obesity as well as an understanding of genes implicated in the development of obesity.
  2. An in-depth knowledge of conditions associated with weight gain and an ability to implement diagnostic strategies in specific endocrinopathies.
  3. The ability to critically evaluate and understand the contribution of drugs and medications used in clinical practice and their contribution to weight gain.
Aim of the module:
  • To enhance the clinical skills and knowledge required to effectively evaluate and treat obesity with emphasis on lifestyle and behavioural modifications.
Synopsis of module content:
  • Theories on behavioural changes, such as Prochaska’s model of change and the clinical evaluation of the obese patient with this in mind.
  • The evaluation of the patient to understand the obstacles to changes in behaviour.
  • The implementation of specific strategies of lifestyle modification including diet and exercise to effect those.
  • Psychological strategies to promote change such as cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing.
  • The role of dietary interventions in weight management and the relative merits of different diets such as GI diet, VLCD, Atkin’s diet and 5+2 diets. Understanding why specific diets may work for individuals, rationales for implementation and relating this to evidence.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. An expertise in behavioural change in relation to weight management and its applicability to the obese patient.
  2. A critical awareness of dietary programmes and the evidence relating to specific dietary interventions in weight management.
  3. An in depth knowledge of the health benefits of exercise and its applicability in weight related conditions.
  4. An expertise on the role of the multi-disciplinary team in weight management and the strategies used in public health to tackle obesity.
Aim of the module:
  • To understand the role of medications used in weight management, their pharmacology, mechanism of action and adverse effects.
  • The student will acquire an understanding of the potential for emerging therapies in weight management.
  • The student will develop a knowledge of previously used therapies in weight management and appreciate the role of pharmacovigilance and post-marketing surveillance regarding drug safety in weight management.
Synopsis of module content:
  • The role and clinical applicability of medical therapies in weight management.
  • The pharmacological effects, mechanism of action, efficacy and adverse events associated with licensed medical therapies used in weight management.
  • Unlicensed therapies used in weight management, their pharmacological properties, evidence regarding surrounding their use, controversies and legalities of use and the associated adverse effects.
  • Previously licensed/used medical therapies, their pharmacology and reasons for withdrawal with an emphasis upon pharmacovigilance and post marketing surveillance.
  • The role of emerging therapies in weight management with emphasis upon the physiological basis for potential therapies.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. An in-depth knowledge of medical therapies used in the clinical treatment of the obese or overweight patient and an ability to appreciate their clinical utility.
  2. The ability to critically evaluate emerging therapies with potential for use in weight management.
  3. An in-depth knowledge of agents previously used in the treatment of obesity and a critical understanding of the role pharmacovigilance in appreciating their associated adverse events.
Aim of the module:
  • To enhance the clinical skills and knowledge required to understand surgical weight management strategies.
Synopsis of module content:
  • The variety of surgical approaches involved in the management of weight related disorders.
  • Risks associated with surgical interventions in weight management, both short term (intra and peri-operative) as well as longer term morbidity issues.
  • The identification of patients appropriate for bariatric procedures and the role of the multi-disciplinary team.
  • An appreciation of the critical role of the multi-disciplinary team in the management of the obese and overweight patient prior to and after bariatric surgery including the management of post-operative nutrition.
  • An appreciation of the health economics of bariatric procedures as well as medical therapies.
  • An understanding and appreciation of need for the reversal of certain bariatric procedures.
On completion of this module the student should have:
  1. An in-depth knowledge of the surgical interventions for the treatment of patients including pre and post-surgical considerations and complications.
  2. The ability to identify patients that would be suitable for bariatric procedures and to be able to discuss issues relating to bariatric procedures including risks of the procedure.
  3. An ability to critically appraise health economic data relating to bariatric surgical and medical management.


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 six 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 two - three clinical cases, which are designed to promote discussion within a specific clinical area. 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 reflective 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 reflective journal nor would a simple list of points learned.

For this assessment, students will work on either a group assignment or an individual assignment:

  • Group assignments are designed to hone skills in the multidisciplinary, holistic approach to modern treatments and patient management by requiring group participation in a single piece of work
  • Individual assignments are designed to hone skills in academic career progression through such tasks as reviewing papers, developing scientific posters or abstracts, peer-reviewing, social media activities, patient information leaflets, and essays.
  • 30 single best answer 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 journal to help students consider how the learning can be translated into everyday work and practice.

Once you have secured your place on the course, you will be invited to an online Induction Day webinar. This will give you the opportunity to participate in study skills workshops on Harvard referencing, scientific and reflective writings, and levels of evidence in preparation for your studies. It is not compulsory for you to attend our Induction Day, but it is recommended as it’ll provide you with a sturdy introduction to the course.

Entry Requirements

Registered healthcare 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 Obesity and Weight Management.

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 the University of South Wales for further details

How much is the course?

Total Course Fees for UK/EU & International Students for September 2019: £3900

Please Note: These are the fees for a single year.

Fee payments may be made via the following options:

Date Option A Option B
Deposit payable on acceptance £650 £650
1st November 2019 £3,250 £650
1st January 2020 £650
1st March 2020 £650
1st May 2020 £650
1st June 2020 £650

Deposits are non-refundable

Student Stories

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A very effective and stimulating way of learning!

"The Postgraduate Diploma in Obesity and Weight Management has been a great opportunity of knowledge recycling in an exciting and challenging area of the medical sciences! Read full story..."

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