Obesity and Weight Management MSc
Obesity is a growing epidemic worldwide. However, fewer than 1% of UK health professionals have received any specialised obesity training (Source: The College of Contemporary Health and Candesic).
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.
Next intake: 2022 MarchKey Facts
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 in this online Obesity and Weight Management MSc 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 MSc obesity and weight management 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.
- An applied understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in an appropriate clinical setting.
- An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the discipline informed by current scholarship and research.
University of South Wales
The University of South Wales (USW) is a modern, industry focused University located in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd in South Wales, UK. It was rated best in the UK for the Health Professions in the Guardian University Guide 2020 and, in the latest Complete University Guide 2022, is in the top 10 in the UK for Health Studies. USW is one of Britain’s largest and most exciting new universities attracting a cosmopolitan mix of students from across the globe.
Accreditors and Endorsers
UEMS - European Union of Medical Specialists
This postgraduate diploma has also been accredited by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS)
Dr Simon Williams
Dr Simon Williams is an Associate Professor at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Programme Leader for the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Obesity and Weight Management...
Next intake: 2022 March Key Facts
Why Study with Learna
We have over 10 years’ experience delivering online courses, giving you access to flexible, affordable distance learning in partnership with world-leading educators.
Value for money
Distance learning allows us to work with the worldwide industry-leading professionals.
Get a PgDip from £3,900 or an MSc from £7,500 - the most affordable courses of their kind in the UK.
Pay in instalments.
Boost your career
Get a postgraduate qualification in just 1 calendar year instead of 2 academic years.
40% of our alumni reported an increase in salary 2 years after studying with us.
Learn online. No fixed study times mean you can log in and learn whenever and wherever.
Multidisciplinary - study in a group of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
15:1 student tutor ratio. We have a 92% student satisfaction rate.
Who is this course for?
The masters in obesity and weight management course is designed for health professionals who are interested in a leadership role within weight and obesity management including GP’s, doctors, nurses, physicians, surgeons, physiotherapists, dieticians, psychologists and counsellors running clinics.
How Will I Learn?
You will be supported throughout your studies by a committed team of internationally recognised educational experts.
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.
CurriculumThe Obesity and Weight Management MSc is a two year course, consisting of eight modules (180 credits) with the first 120 credits deriving from the Postgraduate Diploma. The second year of the Obesity and Weight Management Masters course starts with an initial 10 week online module that will develop skills in critical appraisal and knowledge of research methodologies. Students then complete the professional project module, which consists of a 1,500 word proposal and 10,500 word professional project (dissertation).
Develop a critical understanding and knowledge of adipose tissue, fat deposition and storage, and human energy balance.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
To critically explore obesity as a chronic disease, its epidemiology and the global burden of obesity, and obesity-related comorbidities in populations.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
To develop a critical understanding of the medical, genetic, and environmental factors that can cause weight gain and obesity.
- 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
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of genetics, inherited conditions and gene-environment interactions linked with weight gain and obesity.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of selected medical conditions, drugs and other biological factors in relation to weight gain and obesity.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of past, current, new and emerging therapies for weight management and the role of pharmacovigilance in evaluating their adverse effects.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the health economic evaluation of surgical and medical interventions for obesity.
To enhance knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice and policy and to prepare students to undertake an independent research-based project.
- Quantitative Studies
- Research and Epidemiology
- Confounding, Bias and Causality
- Statistical Analysis Interpretation
- Interpreting the Evidence
- Meta-analysis and Systematic Reviews
- Qualitative Studies and Mixed Methods Research
- Appraising, Grading, Synthesising, Summarising and Interpreting Studies
- Diagnosis, Audit and Quality Improvement,
- Preparing a Research Proposal: Research Committees, Consent, Ethics, Probity and Literature Review
- Critically analyse and interpret research to assess its application to delivery/service development.
- Select and apply different methodological approaches and tools to answer research questions in the chosen field of study.
- To formulate the research question that you seek to answer.
- To develop an ability to critically evaluate areas of professional practice.
- To critically appraise specific areas of clinical, research and organisational practice.
- To develop skills in independent research and study.
- To develop skills relevant to scientific publications.
The module will depend on the creation of a piece of work based upon a specific public health-related project relevant to the student’s practice. This project may comprise:
- Systematic literature review and appraisal of the evidence.
- Audit of non-patient data/organisational audit.
- Review and implementation of evidence-based practice.
- Literature review and qualitative or quantitative research proposal.
- Case(s)-based and quality of service review with critical appraisal.
- Case report, review of literature and organisational assessment.
- Secondary data analysis
- Design and undertake a research and development project related to obesity and weight management in order to produce an extensive piece of literature which may be suitable for peer-reviewed publication.
- Critically evaluate practice and suggest improvements or change in an obesity and weight management setting.
- Incorporate knowledge of the research process in developing obesity and weight management services appropriately.
The Obesity and Weight Management MSc 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 first seven 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. 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.
For the final module of the course you will be required to produce a piece of work based upon a project that is relevant to your practice. Once you have selected a specific project, you will submit a project summary/proposal of approximately 1,500 words. Following the approval of your proposal you will then complete a 10,500 word professional project.
To produce the professional project you will continue to study online. Much of the work is self-directed, however you will receive guidance from your tutor throughout the module.
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. 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
This module runs over a 8 week period and is designed to develop skills in critical appraisal and knowledge of research methodologies. The module consists of mandatory formative assessment activities to support your learning and development prior to the Professional Project module.
Students will work with their supervisor to submit a professional project proposal for their chosen topic.
Students will deliver an abstract (1000 words) outlining their proposal and, if deemed necessary, develop and submit documentation for the University’s ethical committee approval.
- Students will create a dissertation, the theme of which has been developed in discussion with their tutor.
- Supervision will normally involve direct online support involving planned progress, supporting research activity and reading student work.
- Supervisors and students will agree on a communications plan, which may involve emails or online chats. Some students may employ the use of freely available chat or audio conferencing facilities for live discussion with supervisors.
- Students will have access to online forums where they can develop their research capabilities together.
- All communications with tutors will be logged on the Professional Project forum by the student, and consists of brief summaries of discussion.
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.
- 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.
Should you have already successfully completed the 1 year Postgraduate Diploma and wish to convert to the MSc and complete only the second year of the programme this is possible. Please contact our admissions department [email protected] to find out more.
Fee payments may be made via the following options:
|Deposit payable on acceptance†||£750||£750|
|1st May 2022||£750||£7,650|
|1st July 2022||£750|
|1st September 2022||£750|
|1st November 2022||£750|
|1st January 2023||£750|
|1st March 2023||£650|
|1st May 2023||£650|
|1st July 2023||£650|
|1st September 2023||£650|
|1st November 2023||£650|
|1st January 2024||£650|
† Deposits are non-refundable