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Therapeutics (MSc-Diploma)

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  • Objectives
    The Diploma in Therapeutics course is designed for medical practitioners, pharmacists, specialist nurses and other practitioners who wish to gain further expertise in the practical management of common therapeutic problems. The major aims of the course are to equip the candidate with a sound understanding of the management of common medical conditions and to develop skills in evidence-based medicine. Successful candidates should have gained the knowledge and understanding to act as the "local therapeutics expert."

    The Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology at Cardiff has a major commitment to teaching postgraduate and undergraduate students. A key aim of our teaching programmes is to encourage critical thinking, as we hope to equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also to provide a basic approach to therapeutic problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which we hope will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements:

    The course is open to healthcare professionals who prescribe or use drug treatments in their work and who have usually had basic training in pharmacology at undergraduate level (e.g. medical practitioners, nurses and pharmacists).

    Applications are considered from professionals currently working in other countries, provided that the applicants are able to travel to the UK for the study weekend and the final examination.
  • Academic Title
    Therapeutics (MSc/Diploma)
  • Course description
    Course Description:

    During this course, which takes place over an academic year (September to June), a detailed structured programme of learning is provided with the course divided into six (5-week) main modules. Most of the education process is problem-orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct relevance to general practice. There are several different integrated components to the course structure. There is weekly reading with copies of, or links to, key articles and there are interviews with experts. There are also regular clinical exercises to be completed which provide the basis of in-course assessment. These are reviewed by the course supervisors and feedback is given during the course.

    Module Information

    Each week a different subject is studied:

        * Module 1 (Compulsory) - Information Technology; Principles of Therapeutics; Principles of Biostatistics and Evaluation of Scientific Studies; Drug Development and Clinical Trials; Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions
        * Module 2 (Compulsory) - Prescribing at the Extremes of Life; Prescribing in Pregnancy and Lactation; Practice Prescribing Issues; Wound Healing; Management of Chronic Pain and Other Symptoms in Palliative Care
        * Module 3 (Compulsory) - The Eye in General Practice; Management of Thrombotic Management of Angina and MI; HRT, Oral Contraceptives and Vulval Disorders; Management of Endocrinological Disorders; Management of Hyperlipdaemia
        * Module 4 (Compulsory) - Management of Common Skin Disorders; Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders; Management of Epilepsy; Management of Common Bone Disorders; Management of Rheumatic Disorders and Gout
        * Module 5 (Compulsory) - Management of Hypertension; Management of Heart Failure; Management of Thrombotic Disorders; Psychotherapy – Depression; Psychotherapy - Other Disorders
        * Module 6 (Compulsory) - Management of Asthma; Management of Respiratory Disorders; Management of Diabetes; Management of Common Neurological Disorders

    An optional Module 3 (Global Therapeutics) for 2007/08 is under discussion which it is intended will include: Antihelminthic Therapy; Management of Tuberculosis and leprosy; HIV and antiviral therapy; Antimalarial therapy; Antiproozoal and antifungal therapy

    The module not studied will be supplied for formative reading.


    Assessment is partly by continual assessment of regular written work and partly by the final examination which is held in Cardiff. Each week a different aspect of therapeutics is studied and ‘study aims’ to guide your work for the week are given. Relevant articles are provided or links provided for access via the Internet, an audio interview is available to download covering that week's topic and there is a written task concerning the subject area. A short case-study on the topic is also sent for candidates’ comment and an analysis of the group's responses, with comments on the results, is returned to the candidates.

    A short intensive study weekend (Friday pm - Saturday pm) is held during the first module which all students are expected to attend. The cost of this course (excluding travel) is included in the course fee.

    The Diploma in Therapeutics is only awarded to candidates who have demonstrated regular detailed study throughout the course and who reach a high standard of knowledge, understanding, and practical and clinical expertise. A commitment to regular daily study at home is required, with an estimated 8 hours of study weekly for each module considered to be the minimum necessary.

    MSc in Thereapeutics

    The MSc is available to a selected number of candidates who obtain acceptable marks on the Diploma and submit an MSc project which accords with the skills and expertise within the Department. All candidates must undertake the Diploma in the first year. In the second year MSc candidates complete four 2,500-word assignments. MSc candidates also have to complete a 15,000-word dissertation. There is also a biostatistics module which is not assessed.

    Special Features:

        * Distance-learning, delivered via the internet
        * The course includes a compulsory study weekend
        * There is an email discussion forum and also a direct telephone number for use by candidates taking the course to ensure good communication with the department and between candidates.
        * The Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology is also recognised as a major research centre. Advances in therapeutics have been pioneered in Cardiff, including methods for optimal use of anticoagulants, antiarrhythmic drugs and anticonvulsants.

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