Obesity and Weight Management Postgraduate Diploma

The online Obesity and Weight Management Postgraduate Diploma will enable healthcare professionals to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to treat patients effectively. Course Code: QPDP005

Course Overview

British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Welsh Obesity Society

Diploma MSc is a collaborative partner of the University of South Wales and on successful completion of this course, you will receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Obesity and Weight Management.

Given the high prevalence of obesity, the complex aetiology and associated co-morbidity, and the treatment components available, it is of paramount importance that individuals living with obesity have the support of healthcare professionals with an advanced level of education and training in the field of obesity and weight management.

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, it has become more common for people with severe and complex obesity to be treated by a multi-disciplinary team that typically consists of medical specialists, dieticians/nutritionists, psychologists/counsellors/behaviorists, nurses and exercise professionals/physiotherapists.

Despite this growth in specialist services, access for patients is by no means straightforward and can be limited by the availability of a service and/or appropriately qualified healthcare personnel. The population health burden of obesity is not limited to the UK and other advanced economies; in recent years an increase in obesity prevalence has been highlighted in almost every country in the world. This creates a particular public health crisis in some countries that have to combat high rates of infectious disease, malnutrition and now also obesity.

The modules are designed to extend medical knowledge of obesity and to facilitate the enhancement of patient care and procedural skills, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice – the six competency domains described by the Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative (Obesity Competencies, The Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative, 2019).

The course aims to:

  • Produce graduates who can articulate professional decisions, incorporating an evidence-based rationale, in a variety of diverse and complex situations.
  • Extend the scope of practice by exploring obesity and weight management in more depth, utilising knowledge gained in the previous modules.
  • Produce graduates with an in-depth and contemporary knowledge of the science of obesity and weight management, who are equipped to work and lead in the delivery and advancement of related care, and who can advocate for policies and practice that are free of weight bias and have the potential for stigmatisation.
  • Produce graduates who demonstrate an awareness of the complex nature of obesity and have the ability to work in multi-agency, multi-cultural and/or international contexts where they use language that is respectful, non-judgemental and non-biased.
  • Develop leadership and evaluation skills in the delivery of evidence-based care to patients who are living with obesity.
  • Produce graduates who have an extensive knowledge and understanding of research methods and an ability to apply these attributes in relation to furthering the scientific evidence-base for the benefit of people living with obesity.

Course Structure

Our online Obesity and Weight Management Postgraduate Diploma allows you to study for just one calendar year and is a part-time, distance-learning course. The course is worth 120 credits and comprises six modules of 20 credits, each running over a period of six weeks.

Module Aims
  • Develop a critical understanding and knowledge of adipose tissue, fat deposition and storage, and human energy balance.
Module Content
  • The histology and physiology of the adipocyte and adipose tissue.
  • Regional distribution of body fat: sex-specific characteristics of subcutaneous, visceral and gluteo-femoral adiposity. The role of adipose tissue as an endocrine organ and its role in health and disease.
  • Adipose tissue and inter-organ communication.
  • Appetite regulation and the role of adipose tissue, the brain, gastrointestinal tract and other organs and tissues (e.g. liver and skeletal muscle) in the complex neuro-endocrine regulation of food intake, energy expenditure and body composition.
  • Introduction to the assessment of energy intake, energy expenditure and body composition and their application in clinical weight management.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive and critical knowledge of adipose tissue biology and the regulation of energy homeostasis and body composition through the integrated actions of various organs and tissues.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the methods used to assess human body composition, energy intake and energy expenditure and knowledge of the application of these methods in the setting of clinical weight management.
Module Aims
  • To critically explore obesity as a chronic disease, its epidemiology and the global burden of obesity, and obesity-related comorbidities in populations.
Module Content
  • The strengths and limitations of body mass index and the definition of obesity.
  • Justification for classifying obesity as a disease.
  • Global trends in obesity, its relationship to population health and differences in the identification of obesity in different ethnic populations.
  • Abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome and comorbidity, including obesity and cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and ectopic lipid.
  • Obesity assessment in children and adults.
  • Obesity phenotypes: overall, central and peripheral obesity.
  • Ectopic fat and health.
  • The economic and societal impact of obesity on a multi-level including regional, national and international levels.
  • The primary prevention of obesity and the complex systems approach.
Learning Outcomes:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the epidemiology and global burden of obesity, and enhanced skills in the clinical assessment and staging of individuals living with obesity.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the economic and societal impact of obesity and the wider determinants of weight gain and obesity that operate across the life course, including environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and behavioural determinants in the context of the global burden of obesity.
Module Aims
  • To develop a critical understanding of the medical, genetic, and environmental factors that can cause weight gain and obesity.
Module Content
  • Genes (e.g. FTO, LEP/POMC/MC4, PPAR-gamma ) and genetic conditions associated with obesity and obesity phenotypes (e.g. Bardet-Biedel syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome).
  • Epigenetics and gene-environment interactions in relation to obesity.
  • Endocrine disorders and other conditions predisposing to weight gain and obesity (e.g. Cushing Syndrome, hypothyroidism and pregnancy).
  • Drugs and their association with weight gain, including glucocorticoids, oral contraceptives and psychotropic agents.
  • Environmental endocrine disruptors and other biological agents (e.g. viruses) and obesity.
  • The gut microbiota
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of genetics, inherited conditions and gene-environment interactions linked with weight gain and obesity.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of selected medical conditions, drugs and other biological factors in relation to weight gain and obesity.
Module Aims
  • To enhance the knowledge and clinical skills required to effectively evaluate and treat obesity with emphasis on personalised care, nutrition, physical activity and behavioural modification.
Module Content
  • Analysis of specific obesity treatment guidelines.
  • Behaviour change theories and models and the clinical evaluation of the patient living with obesity to understand the obstacles to changes in behaviour and the implementation of specific strategies of behavioural modification.
  • Psychological strategies to promote behaviour change, including cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing.
  • Key concepts in human nutrition (e.g. glycaemic index and glycaemic load).
  • Hydration and obesity.
  • The evidence for nutritional interventions in personalised weight management and their application in clinical practice, including appraisal of selected and specific dietary approaches such as low-fat, low-carbohydrate and plant-based diets.
  • Appraisal of physical activity interventions and increased energy expenditure in the personalised management of obesity, including the effect of different exercise programmes on BMI, adiposity, fat distribution and obesity-related risk factors.
  • Critically appraising the role and responsibilities of the multi-disciplinary team in the implementation and delivery of personalised weight management.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding and application of physical activity, nutritional and behavioural interventions in the context of obesity and the personalised care of the person living with obesity.
  2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the need to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team and to use appropriate language, compassion and ethical behaviour when communicating with patients and their families who are living with obesity.
Module Aims
  • To enhance the knowledge and clinical skills required to effectively evaluate and treat obesity with emphasis on personalised care, pharmacotherapy and new and emerging therapies.
Module Content
  • Analysis of specific guidelines for obesity pharmacotherapy.
  • 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 and evaluation of the evidence.
  • Unlicensed therapies used in weight management, their pharmacological properties, evidence regarding 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.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of medical therapies used in the clinical treatment of obesity and application of this understanding to the personalised care of the person living with obesity.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of past, current, new and emerging therapies for weight management and the role of pharmacovigilance in evaluating their adverse effects.
Module Aims
  • To enhance the knowledge and clinical skills required to effectively evaluate and treat obesity with personalised care and surgery, and to manage the post-bariatric surgery patient.
Module Content
  • Analysis of specific obesity treatment guidelines.
  • Surgical approaches involved in the management of weight related disorders and evaluation of the evidence.
  • Short and long-term risks associated with surgical interventions in weight management.
  • The identification of patients for bariatric procedures and the role of the multi-disciplinary team.
  • The critical role of the multi-disciplinary team in the management of the patient with obesity before and after bariatric surgery, including the management of post-operative nutrition and physical activity.
  • The health economics of bariatric procedures and medical therapies.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the need for the reversal of certain bariatric procedures. An appreciation of the health economics of bariatric procedures as well as medical therapies.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the need for the reversal of certain bariatric procedures.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of surgical interventions used in the clinical treatment of obesity and application of this understanding to the personalised pre- and post-surgical care of the person living with obesity.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the health economic evaluation of surgical and medical interventions for obesity.

Entry Requirements

Since our courses are conducted entirely online, they are accessible to both UK and international registered healthcare professionals.

Applicants will typically hold a first degree or equivalent (including international qualifications) in a relevant professional healthcare field, such as a medical or nursing degree. Registered healthcare professionals without these recognised qualifications will be considered on an individual basis and a wide range of prior experience may be taken into account.

In some cases, applicants may be asked to submit a piece of work for assessment in order to confirm that they are able to work comfortably at postgraduate level, and demonstrate the requisite clinical and professional knowledge.


Documents Required
  • A copy of your updated CV including your address and date of birth.
  • A copy of your undergraduate degree certificate.
  • The name and email address of someone who is able to provide a reference, this can be a work colleague, employer or former tutor.
  • A detailed personal statement explaining why you would like to undertake the course.
  • A copy of your proof of English competency (see below).

English Language Requirements

Proficiency in the English language is also essential to completing our courses. If English is NOT your first language, we ask for proof of competency during the application process. We are able to accept an IELTS overall score of 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 for each band) or an equivalent qualification.

If you do not meet these requirements, please don’t worry. The University of South Wales run a number of English Language Programmes at the Centre for International English to prepare you for your academic studies. You can also contact our admissions team on [email protected] for more information on the qualifications we accept.


Teaching Methods

You will be supported throughout your studies by a committed team of internationally recognised educational experts. Find out more about our world-class tutors on the Obesity and Weight Management Team Page.

Our courses are conducted entirely online through self-directed distance learning. You’ll receive guidance throughout your course with tutor-stimulated academic discussions, which are based on clinically-rich case scenarios. These usually occur within groups of 10-20 students, allowing you to clearly communicate with both your tutor and fellow students.

You will also participate in a combination of module activities that may be group and/or individual based, dependent on the module. These innovative teaching methods enable you to envisage the translation of your studies into your every day work and practice.

Our dedicated Student Support Team are also available to help with any problems you may face. From navigating our online platform to advising you on deadlines, our team can assist with any questions or challenges you may have along the way.


Orientation and Study Skills Week (online)

Once you have secured your place on the course you will be invited to participate in our Orientation and Study Skills week, held in the week preceding the start of the course. This will prepare you for your course and take you through how to navigate the learning platform, course format and teaching methods, the assessments for each module, research skills and good academic practise.



Assessments

The Obesity and Weight Management course places assessments at the heart of the learning process through the employment of clinical scenarios to enhance problem-solving, critical analysis and evidence-based care. Since the scenarios act as a focus for learning and assessment, the two are intrinsically linked.

The six modules on the course have the same assessment format and for all modules, you will be assigned a dedicated expert tutor. Your tutor will then facilitate case discussions with the group, whilst monitoring, assessing and marking your work throughout.

Due to the online nature of the course, you will be expected to regularly login and participate in the course - ideally on a daily basis. Students are recommended to spend around two hours per day on their studies.

  • Every week students are presented with two/three clinical case-based scenarios that are reflective of every day clinical practice and research.
  • Your tutor will post a number of questions and prompts to aid students in a formal discussion of each case.
  • These discussions are facilitated throughout by your tutor and are then assessed at the end of every module.

The reflective journal is used by students throughout each module to monitor personal progress. This is guided by weekly feedback from your tutor and is graded at the end of every module. The journal typically includes the following:

  • Initial expectations and reasons for taking the course.
  • Module and/or personal learning objectives.
  • Description of events, issues and learning points within current personal practice.
  • Change in every day practice due to knowledge gained on each module.
  • A description of what has been learned during the module.

For this assessment, students will work on a group assignment and/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.
  • Students are provided with case-based problems in the form of a one-hour timed examination.
  • The exam consists of 30 'Single Best Answer' questions.
  • Students are required to complete the exam online within the set time.

Course Fees

Total Course Fees for UK & International Students for September 2021: £4,500
Total Course Fees for UK & International
Students for September 2021:
£4,500

Application deadline - August 15th 2021

Fee payments may be made via the following options:

Date Instalments Up-Front Payments
Deposit payable
on acceptance
£750 £4500
1st November 2021 £750
1st January 2022 £750
1st March 2022 £750
1st May 2022 £750
1st July 2022 £750

Deposits are non-refundable


Early Bird Offer | More details and T&C's here |