PgCertificate/PgDiploma/MSc in Therapeutics


The Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology in Cardiff has a major commitment to teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates. One of the aims of our teaching programmes is to encourage critical thinking, as we equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also provide a basic approach to therapeutic problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy.

The Department is also recognised as a major research centre; we have published hundreds of research articles has well as many books.  Members of the department regularly speak at scientific meetings in many parts of the world.  There is a large group of full-time pharmacology research workers in the department's research laboratories.  Advances in therapeutics have been pioneered in Cardiff, including methods for optimal use of anticoagulants, antiarrhythmic drugs and anticonvulsants. 

Why study Therapeutics?

The programmes are 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 courses will equip candidates with a sound understanding of the management of common medical conditions and develop skills in evidence-based medicine. Successful candidates will have gained the knowledge and understanding to act as the "local therapeutics expert". Many of our alumni have gone on to hold senior positions in clinical and governmental organisations.

Course Philosophy and Structure

The courses are part time and delivered entirely online via Cardiff University's e-learning platform, Learning Central. This allows candidates to work at their own pace at home or at work.

The courses comprise a number of detailed structured 10-week modules of learning. The Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) is delivered over one academic year during which three modules are studied. The Postgraduate Diploma (Pg Dip) is delivered over two academic years during which six modules are studied. Candidates may apply for either programme and it is possible to transfer between the two, e.g. candidates who pass the PgCert and who wish to progress to the PgDip may do so.

Most of the education process is problem-orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct relevance to practice.  There are several different integrated components to the course structure.  There is fortnightly reading with copies of or links to key articles.  There are regular clinical exercises to be completed which provide the basis of in-course assessment.  These are reviewed by the course supervisors and rapid feedback is given during the course. 

There is an electronic discussion board as well as dedicated email and telephone contacts to ensure good communication with the department and between candidates.

Assessment is entirely by continual assessment of regular written work. There is no final examination.

Each fortnight:

  • A different aspect of therapeutics is studied
  • Aims and Outcomes to guide your work for the period are given
  • Relevant articles are provided or links provided for online access
  • A podcast of a discussion with a specialist on the subject is available for download.
  • A short case-study on the topic is provided - an anonymised analysis of all responses is sent to the group to allow candidates to compare their practice with that of their peers. Specialist commentary is included.
  • A set of 10 MCQs contribute to the final mark

To complete each 10-week module:

  • A longer written task on the whole Module contibutes to the final mark. This may take the form of an essay-type question, several short-answer questions or a piece of portfolio work.

A short intensive study weekend (Friday pm - Saturday pm) is held during the first module and candidates are encouraged, although not required, to attend. Presentations are available online for those students unable to attend.


The MSc is available to a selected number of candidates who obtain acceptable marks on the Diploma and submit an MSc proposal which accords with the skills and expertise within the Department (all MSc candidates must first undertake the Diploma). Candidates must then complete a 20,000-word dissertation.

Module Information

Modules 1 to 3 are studied during the PgCert.

Modules 1 to 3 are studied during Yr 1 of the PgDip.
Modules 4 to 6 are studied during Yr 2 of the PgDip.

Within the modules, each fortnight a different subject is studied:

Module 1 - Foundation in Clinical Therapeutics
Information Technology and Evidence-based Medicine
Principles of Therapeutics
Basic Biostatistics and Scientific Evaluation
Drug Development and Clinical Trials
Health Economics

Module 2 - Safe Prescribing in Practice
Practice Prescribing Issues
Prescribing at the Extremes of Life
Prescribing in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Module 3 - Illness in Practice (Derm, Resp, GI and Gynae)
Dermatology: Skin and Wounds
Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders
HRT and Contraception
Respiratory 1: Asthma
Respiratory 2: COPD and Infections

Module 4 - Illness in Practice (Pain, Musculoskeletal and Endocrine)
Pain Management
Common Bone Disorders
Rheumatic Disorders and Gout
Endocrinological Disorders

Module 5 - Cardiovascular Therapeutics
Heart Failure
Thrombotic Disorders
Angina and Myocardial Infarction

Module 6 - Illness in Practice (Psychotherapy, Neurology and the Eye)
Psychotherapy 1: Depression
Psychotherapy 2: Antipsychotics, Anxiolytics and Hypnotics
Neurology 1: Epilepsy
Neurology 2: Parkinson's, headache and migraine
The Eye

Entry Requirements

The course is open to all health-care 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, pharmacists, and nurses).

Applications are very welcome from professionals currently working in other countries.

Further Information

The Certificate and Diploma in Therapeutics are only awarded to candidates who are able to demonstrate regular detailed study throughout the course and who reach a high standard of knowledge, understanding, and practical and clinical expertise.

One of the external examiners has commented “This therapeutics course is one of the most comprehensive and challenging currently delivered by distance learning in the UK. The wide range of clinical scenarios and therapeutic reviews makes the information very relevant to the practicing clinician…Course aims and outcomes are clearly stated and link with course materials, assessments and individual learning styles”.

Next intake: September


For further information, please contact:

Mrs Lynda Sullivan
Tel: +44 (0)29 2074 2659

Miss Emma Scott
Tel or Fax: +44 (0)29 2074 6698

Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology
Cardiff University School of Medicine
Heath Park
CARDIFF, CF14 4XN           


How to apply

Click here to apply online.