Rheumatology Postgraduate Diploma

The online Rheumatology Postgraduate Diploma is designed to be practical and clinically focused. Course Code: QPDP006

Course Overview

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 Rheumatology.

This postgraduate diploma has been endorsed by Primary Care Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine Society.

All physicians need to be familiar with rheumatologically related conditions. Having specialist knowledge in the field of rheumatology is an increasingly important role and extra responsibility of medical personnel.

Our Postgraduate Diploma in Rheumatology has been developed for Doctors, GPs, Allied Health Professionals, Practice Nurses and those with related undergraduate degrees (e.g. Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Occupational therapists, Pharmacists) or equivalent professional qualifications and background experience.

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

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the care of patients in rheumatology
  • Critically evaluate current research in rheumatology
  • Apply a critical awareness of current issues affecting the care of patients undertaking rheumatology treatments
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of rheumatology that will facilitate decision-making in unpredictable and/or complex situations

Course Structure

Our online Rheumatology 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 the Epidemiology, Pathophysiology and the science in rheumatological disorders.
Module Summary
  • The evolution of rheumatology as a speciality including notable people with rheumatological disorders throughout history and the representation of rheumatology within art.
  • Epidemiology and economic impact.
  • Pathophysiology of rheumatology disorders.
  • Science in rheumatology (Including immunology, genetics and biomechanics).
Learning Outcomes
  1. Extract evidence of the evolution of the rheumatology speciality from art, history and science.
  2. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the pathophysiology and science of rheumatology disorders.
  3. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology and global impact of rheumatology conditions.
  4. Have the ability to critically appraise the health and economic consequences of rheumatology.
Module Aims
  • To develop a critical understanding of diagnostics, treatment and care of rheumatology patients, including the appreciation of the multi-disciplinary team involved.
Module Summary
  • Patient treatment pathways, triage and the role of primary care.
  • What is the Multi-Disciplinary Team?
  • The Role of Alternative and Complementary treatments.
  • Understanding, recognition and care of the Psychological aspects of the disorders (Psyche meets the Soma).
  • Patient education and management of their concerns.
  • Self-Management techniques, support groups, use of social media and consequence of the digital age.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an ability to critically appraise the multi-disciplinary approach to the management of rheumatological treatment.
  2. Demonstrate active engagement in the evolving role of the rheumatology healthcare professional in the digital age for improved patient treatment and care.
  3. Apply appropriate patient education and management techniques in complex clinical situations
  4. Incorporate knowledge of the psychological aspects of Rheumatology disorders into clinical practice.
Module Aims
  • To develop critical knowledge and understand the scientific basis for therapeutic interventions available for the patient with a rheumatological disorder.
Module Summary
  • Self Management Techniques, over the counter alternative medicine
  • Portal of entry care.
  • Specialist treatments in secondary care setting
  • Horizin scanning and scientific rationale of new treatments
  • Non drug therapeutic treatments
  • Cooperative management
Learning Outcomes
  1. Apply knowledge of the wide range of drug and therapeutics available to select the appropriate management choices for rheumatology patients in clinical practice.
  2. Demonstrate in depth knowledge and understanding of the scientific basis for therapeutics in rheumatology treatment.
  3. Critically evaluate information on emerging treatment pathways, including drug and non-drug therapies for rheumatology.
Module Aims
  • To critically analyse the diagnostic and management approaches in inflammatory arthritis
Module Summary
  • Diagnosis approach to a patient first presenting with rheumatology symptoms.
  • Differential diagnosis of Inflammatory Arthritis.
  • The role of laboratory test and imaging.
  • The range of inflammatory arthritides including paediatric inflammatory arthritis.
  • Non rheumatological disorders presenting to the rheumatology specialist.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the diagnosis and management of a patient presenting with joint pain or loss of function.
  2. Demonstrate in depth knowledge and understanding of inflammatory arthritis and its diagnosis.
  3. Critically evaluate diagnostic techniques used in the clinical setting.
Module Aims
  • To provide in depth understanding of the wide range of connective tissue disorders, their protein manifestations and the approaches to patients with possible connective tissue disease, with an emphasis on diagnosis and management.
Module Summary
  • Covering the modes of presentation of a patient with possible connective tissue disease or vasculitis.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the wide range of connective tissue disorders and their protean manifestations.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the diagnosis and management of connective tissue disorders.
  3. Differentiate between the various modes of presentation in the patient with possible connective tissue diseases.
Module Aims
  • To develop the in depth knowledge and understanding of soft tissue, hypermobility and connective tissue disorders, degenerative arthritis and traumatic conditions.
Module Summary
  • Biomechanical Principles.
  • Bone Biochemistry.
  • Hypermobility and associated connective tissue disorders.
  • Osteoarthritis/ degenerative disorders.
  • Traumatic conditions.
  • Crystal arthrpathies.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the complexities of a wide range of soft tissue disorders, hypermobility and connective tissue disorders, degenerative arthritis and crystal arthropathies, traumatic conditions.
  2. Demonstrate a critical approach to the diagnosis and management of patients with these conditions/disorders.

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 Rheumatology 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.


The Rheumatology 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 March 2022: £3,900
Total Course Fees for UK & International
Students for March 2022:

Application deadline - February 14th 2022

Fee payments may be made via the following options:

Date Instalments Up-Front Payments
Deposit payable
on acceptance
£650 £3900
1st May 2022 £650
1st July 2022 £650
1st Sept 2022 £650
1st Nov 2022 £650
1st Jan 2023 £650

Deposits are non-refundable

Early Bird Discount Deadline