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Postgraduate Medical Science

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  • Entry requirements
    You will need to be a doctor in active clinical practice to apply for this award. Certain individual modules are open to other health professionals with appropriate experience.
  • Academic Title
    MMedSci, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Medical Science
  • Course description
    Part-Time study


    This award has been designed to facilitate the learning of the generic skills and knowledge essential to successful higher clinical practice. These areas include an understanding of medical education, ability to appraise research and assess clinical effectiveness, an appreciation of medical ethics and management and leadership skills in the healthcare setting.

    Each module consists of a mixture of types of delivery, some on-line learning and some face to face blocks of teaching, utilising a mixture of seminars, group work and short lectures. There are a number of core modules and then a wide range of modules that are optional. We have designed the award to be as flexible as possible, including enabling students to study some modules from other Keele awards.

    This award has been mapped against the revised Good Medical Practice from the General Medical Council and can help you demonstrate your committment to maintaining your fitness to practice for when recertification is introduced as part of medical relicensing.

    Course Structure and Content

    Each module is given a credit rating within the national masters framework. These may be transferable from or to other institutions where the learning outcomes are comparable.

    • Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Science: 60 credits
    • Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Science: 120 credits
    • Masters in Medical Science: total 180 credits

    (The Masters degree must be completed within five years of registration, the Diploma within four years and the Certificate within three years. It will be possible to complete a Masters Degree in Medical Science in two years.)

    It is not necessary to carry out a piece of original research to complete the award. The final 60 credits can be for a practice-based project, a teaching project such as robust evaluation of a programme you might be running, or it may be possible to accumulate credits from independent studies or a reflective portfolio. Individual programmes will be constructed for you at this stage through negotiation with the award leader.

    Course Modules

    Taught Modules

    • Communication Skills for Health Professionals in Clinical Practice (15 credits) CORE – The module aims to develop excellent communication skills through an approach based on skills and values, to explore the theory and evidence underpinning communication skills teaching and to enable participants to use a skills-based approach to teach others.
    • Management of Patients with Chronic Diseases in Primary Care (15 credits) – The module aims to provide participants with an effective framework for planning, delivering and evaluating care packages for patients with chronic conditions, based on the National Service Frameworks and the principles of clinical governance. It explores the natural history, impact and outcomes of chronic disease, using cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and epilepsy as models.
    • Introduction to Healthcare Ethics (15 credits) CORE – To provide students with a high quality introduction to ethical issues in healthcare and the knowledge and skills for further work in the subject.
    • Medical Education (15 credits) – Much of a doctor’s professional life is concerned with the education and training of junior medical staff, as well as contributing to the education of other health professionals and patients. Yet in traditional training programmes remarkably little time is spent on understanding and delivering medical education.
    • Statistics and Epidemiology (15 credits) – A basic appreciation of epidemiology and statistics is invaluable in understanding published literature and in designing studies, both research and audit studies.
    • Health Informatics (15 credits) – This module aims to acquaint participants with the ways in which information technology can support clinicians, patients and managers.
    • The Interface between Primary and Secondary Care (15 credits) – This module aims to provide an understanding of UK healthcare in the context of primary and secondary care providers.
    • Research Methods (15 credits) – This module aims to introduce students to issues in health research and to research methodology.
    • Management and Leadership in Healthcare (15 credits) (One 3-day and one 2-day block) – A significant part of a clinician’s professional life is spent as a leader and dealing with managers and aspects of management, often despite minimal experience and training in this area.
    • Evidence Based Healthcare Practice – (15 credits) CORE (This module is run jointly with SHAR) – To familiarise students with the methods and processes of critical evaluation of the professional literature and applying this clinically and as a self-learning model.
    • Reflective Practice (15 credits) – This module explores the nature of professional practice, using the paradigm of “The Reflective Practitioner”. It uses a variety of methods and participants’ current clinical practice to develop skills of “reflection in action”.
    • Rational Prescribing (15 credits) CORE (This module is run jointly with the Department of Medicines Management) – This module explores the clinical decision making behind prescribing and offers a framework for evaluating new treatments.


    The award of an MMedSci follows successful completion of the taught modules which make up the Diploma in Medical Science and submission of a further 60 credits worth of learning. This latter may be a research dissertation in a subject related to the individual’s speciality, in which case all candidates will also be expected to have completed the Research Methods and usually the Statistics and Epidemiology modules. A practice based project is another possibility such as evaluation of changes implemented in a clinical setting, educational projects, or exploration of ethical dilemmas. It is expected to be a significant piece of work and we encourage all students to consider aiming for publication of their findings.

    All candidates will be expected to have a local clinical supervisor for their project and educational supervision will continue to be provided by the award team. Previous experience has shown us that this is an extremely popular component of the Degree. Candidates have often published or presented their dissertation at Regional and National meetings.

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