Rheumatology Postgraduate Diploma

Team: Rheumatology Team
In partnership with: University of South Wales

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

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 Rheumatology Postgraduate Diploma.

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

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

The online course lasts one calendar year and is a part-time distance learning course. It consists of six modules per year, each of six weeks duration.

Aim of the module:
  • Develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the Epidemiology, Pathophysiology and the science in rheumatological disorders.
Synopsis of module content:
  • 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).
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  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
Aim of the module:
  • To develop a critical understanding of diagnostics, treatment and care of rheumatology patients, including the appreciation of the multi-disciplinary team involved.
Synopsis of module content:
  • 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.
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  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.
Aim of the module:
  • To develop critical knowledge and understand the scientific basis for therapeutic interventions available for the patient with a rheumatological disorder.
Synopsis of module content:
  • 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
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  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.
Aim of the module:
  • To critically analyse the diagnostic and management approaches in inflammatory arthritis
Synopsis of module content:
  • 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.
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  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.
Aim of the module:
  • 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.
Synopsis of module content:
  • Covering the modes of presentation of a patience with possible connective tissue disease or vasculitis.
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the wide range of connective tissue disorders and their protein 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.
Aim of the module:
  • To develop the in depth knowledge and understanding of soft tissue, hypermobility and connective tissue disorders, degenerative arthritis and traumatic conditions.
Synopsis of module content:
  • Biomechanical Principles.
  • Bone Biochemistry.
  • Hypermobility and associated connective tissue disorders.
  • Osteoarthritis/ degenerative disorders.
  • Traumatic conditions.
  • Crystal arthrpathies.
On completion of this module the student should be able to:
  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.


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 Postgraduate Diploma in Rheumatology.

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

Course Fees

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

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