Skip to content

Clinical Leadership and Leading Change in Cardiology (PgDip)

This part-time PgDip in Clinical Leadership and Leading Change in Cardiology is an interprofessional e-learning programme for healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with cardiac conditions

This is an interprofessional e-learning programme for healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with cardiac conditions.  It aims to support clinicians and healthcare professionals to deliver novel, transformational approaches to improve the quality of care for people living with cardiac conditions from theoretical and patient-based care to population-based care. 

This programme provides education in cardiology leadership by combining modules on leadership and leading change, quality improvement, health care organisation and management and relevant clinical knowledge. It will enable health teams to create system wide change with vast improvements in outcomes. The content comprises a focus on, but is not exclusive to, hypertension, atrial fibrillation and heart failure. It provides an educational experience that fulfils the needs of the NHS in supporting the development of outstanding care for the future within the field of cardiology, allowing responsive system-wide transformational changes to be made and evaluated, and promoting continued improvement.

The programme facilitates a process in which students can understand where current gaps lie in their own places of work, and consider care that is delivered from a population and systems perspective in an integrated way. You will be supported in reaching the correct diagnosis and management, addressing unmet clinical needs.

In the taught stages you will complete assessments based on evidence-based practice, which will be directly relevant to your own clinical practice. You will be encouraged and supported to gain knowledge around clinical evaluation and research and undertake a local quality improvement activity.

The aim of the programme is to

  • Develop critical thinkers who are able to synthesise evidence to reflect laterally and innovatively about how to prevent cardiovascular disease and also how to assess and diagnose to provide early interventions reducing co-morbidity in the field of cardiology
  • Conceptualise those living with long-term conditions as individuals requiring differing approaches to care which may focus on symptom management rather than cure and use robust evidence to support self-management and social prescribing among other more long-term condition management interventions
  • Furnish clinicians with advanced skills in leadership and organisational health care management so that they can analyse the organisations within which they work, can evaluate steps required to change cultures, respond to the needs of stakeholders and effect clinically meaningful changes that can be evaluated
  • Develop practitioners with life-long, adult learning principles to transform health care responding to the needs of people living with or likely to develop cardiovascular conditions and their families, providing role models for their peers

Distinctive features

  • Our delivery model aligns quality improvement, leadership and change management for a variety of conditions ensuring that there is a clear impact on clinical practice through the assessment process
  • Opportunities to create “live” health improvements by undertaking assessments based on your own place of work
  • Evidence-based approach to promoting patient quality and safety
  • Our e-learning programme can be studied from anywhere in the world

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration2 years
ModePart-time - distance learning
Other ways to study this course

Admissions criteria

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entrance requirement, including English language requirements, applicants must:

  • Hold a UK higher education qualification, minimum of a BSc (Hons) grade 2:2 or above, from a UK institution with relevant degree awarding powers as detailed by the Department of Education and Skills.


  • Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Head of School or nominee, that they have held for a minimum of two years a position of responsibility of relevance to the proposed programme.


Be working in a clinical area that is relevant to the programme they are undertaking for the full duration of their studies. (During their studies, if the student's relevant clinical employment ceases or where they are unable to attend work in the necessary clinical setting for any period of time (exceeding 3 months), then they are required to notify the programme team immediately in order that appropriate arrangements can be made. In the case of temporary absence but continued relevant clinical employment, leave of absence (Interruption of Studies) and/or extensions shall be considered. In the event that a student's relevant clinical employment ceases then the University reserves the right to withdraw the student from the programme. Please refer to the University regulations on 'Fitness to Practise’ for further information.


English Language Requirements for non-UK applicants

Typical IELTS offer:  IELTS at least 6.5 (with at least 5.5 in each sub-score)

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

The Postgraduate Diploma programme takes two years to complete, although you can choose to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after one year, providing you have fulfilled all the criteria for that award.

Following successful completion of the Post Graduate Diploma, there is an option to pursue a one-year, part-time programme leading to an MSc.

The first taught stage of the programme lasts one academic year and consists of three 20-credit modules, totalling 60 credits, at Level 7. The second taught stage lasts one academic year and consists of three further 20-credit modules, totalling 60 credits, at Level 7.

At the end of the first taught stage (T1), students who have obtained a minimum of 60 credits will be eligible for the exit award of Postgraduate Certificate OR to progress to the T2 stage of the programme.

At the end of the second taught stage (T2), students who have obtained a minimum of 120 credits will be eligible for the exit award of Postgraduate Diploma OR to progress to the dissertation stage (R) of the programme.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year one comprises three 20 credit modules at level 7.

Module 1: Research, Statistics and Evidence Based Healthcare

The first module will allow students to have a robust appreciation of research, innovation, audit and service evaluation and will furnish students with the ability to challenge the evidence and write with mastery to address clinically meaningful questions.

Module 2: Cardiology in Context

Module 2 will place cardiology in context, allowing students to consider both individual and population perspective including variation in disease, inequalities and social contexts, pre-emptive approaches to reduce cardiovascular disease and the diagnosis, assessment and management of those presenting with early onset cardiovascular disease, reflecting on the biopsychosocial issues faced by the individual, their families and carers, health and social care and society as a whole.

Module 3: Leadership and Leading Change

Students then study a module which helps them to lead change and this module is highly interactive and presents students with the tools, cycles and methods to become leaders who are cognisant of the needs of stakeholders and who can unite teams, work effectively leading and working within teams to undertake innovative, evidence based and sustainable change.

 Students can exit at this stage with a PgCert having successfully completed and passed each module. 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Research and Evidence-based PracticeMET31820 credits
Cardiology in ContextMET91120 credits
Leadership and Leading ChangeMET91220 credits

Year two

Year Two, comprises another three 20 credit modules at level7:

Module 4: Cardiology, Managing Co-Morbidities, Long-Term Conditions and End of Life Care

This module sees student evaluating ways of managing those with long-term conditions, less common cardiovascular conditions and those with end of life care needs. Cure is no longer an option and students will consider relatively new approaches to management using co-creation and co-production, shared decision making, self-management and social prescribing.

Module 5: Health Care Organisations and Drivers for Care

The next module will furnish students with the insights and skills to reflect on organisational management at a local, regional and global level synthesising theories, evidence, epidemiological data and stakeholder engagement to critically reflect on how changes that they want to make fit with their health care environment and whether the study of global initiatives can help in making changes innovative and sustainable.

Module 6: Quality and Safety

The last module considers patient safety and quality and identifies drivers that impact on the patient journey across multiple health and social care settings. Content will allow students to focus on real life, clinical scenarios highlighting the importance of the quality and safety agenda in healthcare.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The course is delivered via our virtual learning environment, Learning Central. Teaching will be delivered by a diverse, multi-professional teaching team from within the Cardiff University School of Medicine’s Centre for Medical Education, and aligned to the Division of Population Medicine.

You will actively participate in the learning experience with a series of relevant and engaging e-learning modules. These will include, written materials, web-links, recorded lectures and a varied assessment strategy of online group work and discussions facilitated by experienced clinicians/educators. You will be educated to a very high standard and the faculty will support you through the transition from an independent thinker and learner to a scholar and researcher. On completion of the programme you will have acquired the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the increasingly complex field of quality improvement, leadership and change management in cardiology as a well-rounded, flexible and highly employable individual. 

How will I be supported?

The course content is housed on Learning Central, a platform that is designed to deliver a great student experience on-line. Engagement on the learning platform is enhanced by a number of discussion threads from the ‘Coffee Room’ for students to get to know each other, to ‘You Said We Did’ allowing student to freely and constructively comment on how the programme runs, and threads which allow for discussion and debate around interesting topics, formative assessments and to provide forward feedback. Video conferencing and virtual face to face tutorials all promote engagement while the nature of the programme, being online, promotes flexibility of study.

You will be allocated a personal tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who will be in regular contact to discuss progress and to provide advice and guidance as needed. Extensive written feedback is given on all assessments and all assignments are supported with forward feedback.


Formative feedback will be communicated through electronic and written means in a timely manner. Summative feedback on assessment will be delivered within the timeframe set by the University.

How will I be assessed?

Assignment aims in both years will be negotiated between the student and the faculty to ensure that they are appropriate to your individual learning needs, area of practice and interest, making them very clinically focused. A reflective portfolio maintained throughout the programme will support re-validation and synthesis of learning to care. There are a variety of formative and summative assessment methods used, such as:

  • Assignments
  • Wiki development
  • Blogs
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Group work
  • Development of guidelines / PowerPoint presentations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Evaluate research on prevention, screening, diagnosis, assessment and early management of those likely to develop or presenting with early onset cardiovascular disease using valid and reliable, clinically relevant tools and guidelines.
  • Critically reflect on the variations in heart disease across UK, Europe and globally using theoretical perspectives and epidemiological evidence to make sense, where possible of these variations.
  • Critically reflect on how co-morbidity may complicate diagnosis and management and the limitations of the evidence base in informing care.
  • Critically consider the role of leadership in leading effective and sustainable clinical change based on mastery of tools, cycles, techniques and theories to inform your role as a leader.
  • Evaluate research on the assessment and management of long-term conditions, specialist populations, co-morbidity and end of life care, reflecting on less traditional methods of prescribing including self-management and social prescribing.
  • Evaluate the principles, approaches, tools, strategies, and techniques for analysing, designing, and managing complex healthcare systems, critically assessing organizational performance to drive the development and implementation of innovation in health care settings in order to bring about improvement.

Critically reflect on the fundamental principles of clinical risk management, quality improvement and patient safety, critiquing tools and methods of measuring and analysing clinical improvement including methods of investigating incidents and adverse events.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Develop a critically informed approach to searching for evidence, evaluating and grading the strength of evidence, reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and synthesising the outcomes to inform clinically meaningful questions grounded in a robust knowledge base of research, innovation, audit and service evaluation.
  • Construct insightful reflections using level 7 descriptors, demonstrating your ability to challenge the evidence through analysis, reflection and synthesis, using theoretical perspective and articulate discussion and debate with the faculty and peers.
  • Approach leadership, clinical change, organisational management, quality and safety and clinical care with a critical perspective based on your enhanced ability as a reflective practitioner who can use data, resources and guidelines in an innovative, sustainable and constructive manner.
  • Formulate unbiased, research informed, patient orientated debate regarding the challenges in and possible solutions to managing those living with long-term conditions and at the end of life.
  • Use a range of tools, models and cycles, based on critically reviewing strengths and weaknesses, to inform personal and work-related strategies.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses, through critical evaluation of evidence, reflection and synthesis.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Master the skills needed to be a life-long learner through the ability to robustly seek evidence, challenge said evidence and introduce the strongest level of evidence (though the use of hierarchies of evidence) to influence care, using valid and reliable tools to evaluate changes made.
  • Communicate on an online programme through use of discussion boards with peers and faculty
  • Navigate around Learning Central, familiarisation with distance learning library, discussion boards, Grade Centre and Turnitin
  • Coach others to support leadership and change
  • Negotiate aims and objectives of clinical interventions/change based on appropriate justification and stakeholder needs
  • Reflect on safe, effective, patient-centred care with appropriate professionalism
  • Apply professional self-awareness and self-reflection to your own professional development in ways that enhance your practice and improve patient outcomes.  

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Plan, organise and manage coursework effectively, demonstrating independence, initiative and originality
  • Source a range of online tools to promote life-long learning
  • Demonstrate knowledge of health care systems and the drivers for care/change.
  • Apply problem solving skills to a range of diverse issues
  • Manage and prioritise workload and time effectively
    for the completion of quality projects, including working to deadlines
  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively with others to develop innovative solutions and solve problems
  • Demonstrate initiative, taking responsibility for accomplishing objectives and goals
  • Process effectively to understand important and/or complex information
  • Communicate accurately, clearly and concisely in variety of styles, using a range of media to a wide variety of audiences.

All of the students undertaking this programme will be in employment. However, many senior health care roles require clinicians to have advanced academic training and therefore the PgDip is seen as a vehicle for promotion to extended and senior roles. The involvement of leadership, organisational management and quality and safety modules, facilitate innovation and change within health care and provide transferable skills that alumni can apply in any health care setting.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Essential technical requirements:

To pursue this programme of study you will need regular access to a reliable computer (desktop or laptop) running an operating system that is still actively supported by the developer i.e. Microsoft, Apple, etc.  This system must have:

  • An up-to-date internet browser installed
  • Any other software specifically required for the course

Regular access to a stable internet connection that can consistently deliver 3Mbits per second or higher.