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Diabetes Practice (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time distance learning

Start date

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Why study this course

Find out more about the MSc in Diabetes Practice from Cardiff University

The MSc Diabetes Practice aims to equip healthcare professionals, who have a special interest in diabetes, with an advanced clinical knowledge of diabetes and diabetes-related issues as they present in practice.

The MSc Diabetes Practice aims to equip healthcare professionals, who have a special interest in diabetes, with an advanced clinical knowledge of diabetes and diabetes-related issues as they present in practice.  It aims to do this by providing up-to-date clinical information with treatment and referral guidelines for those living with diabetes and experiencing diabetic complications seen in practice. The programme supports graduates to deliver novel, transformational approaches to improve the quality of care for people living with or at risk of developing diabetes, from theoretical and patient-based care to population-based care. By studying on this programme, you will be equipped to support health teams to create system wide change with vast improvements in outcomes. It provides an educational experience that fulfils the needs of healthcare services in supporting the development of outstanding care for the future within the field of diabetology, allowing responsive transformational changes to be made and evaluated, promoting continued improvement. This is increasingly important in a sector of heath care that is seeing rapid technological and therapeutic changes.

The programme will help you to assess where current gaps lie in the care that is delivered from a systems perspective in an integrated way, and you will be supported in reaching the correct diagnosis and management, addressing unmet clinical needs and improving patient outcomes.

The aim of the programme is to:

  • provide a comprehensive programme of diabetes education for healthcare professionals.
  • establish a stimulating environment for research, teaching and learning about diabetes to develop critical thinkers who are able to synthesise evidence to reflect innovatively and lead on the prevention, reduction of impact, assessment and management of this condition.
  • deliver truly up-to-date teaching in the field of diabetes treatment, research, technology and therapeutics
  • 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.
  • develop practitioners with life-long, adult learning principles to transform health care responding to the needs of people living with or likely to develop diabetes and their families, providing role models for their peers.
  • develop leadership and evaluation skills in the delivery of care.
  • encourage a culture for training of healthcare professionals by the development of a network of experienced clinical teachers.

The course is a development of the Cardiff University Diabetes Research Unit which has an international reputation for teaching and research in diabetes. It seeks to encourage critical thinking and improve the understanding of diabetes and diabetes related topics. You will be equipped not only with current factual knowledge, but will also have the opportunity to learn about strategies aimed at considering how best to deal with future advances in therapy and management.

Distinctive features

  1. Up-to-date, clinically focused teaching, through engaging case studies that use evidence synthesis to evaluate clinical innovations within diabetes care, providing an applicable clinical context to the learning materials.
  2. Learn about strategies aimed at considering how best to deal with future advances in technology, therapy, and management in this fast-moving field.
  3. Innovative eLearning delivery supports a community of practice, allowing students to engage in debate and discussion with peers and the faculty of experts, as well as using reflection on their own clinical practice as a learning tool.
  4. Gain valuable research skills to address clinically meaningful questions applicable to your field of practice. 

Where you'll study

School of Medicine

We are of the largest medical schools in UK, committed to the pursuit of improved human health through education and research.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2068 7214
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

This programme is suitable for all medical and allied healthcare practitioners who have clinical responsibility for individuals with diabetes in all health care settings.

In addition to satisfying Cardiff 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 with people who have diabetes or at risk of developing such.

Find out more about English language requirements.

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

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a master’s level programme taught part-time over 2 years:

Stage T1  

This stage lasts for 18 months and consists of six 20-credit modules totalling 120 credits, at Level 7, , each lasting 8 weeks. You will have the option of choosing topics within some of the modules that are aligned to your learning and clinical needs. Students who have successfully completed Stage T1 will be eligible for the Postgraduate Diploma award should they exit at this stage.

Stage T2

This stage lasts 28 weeks and consists of the 60 credit dissertation module at Level 7, during which students complete a dissertation in a special interest area of their choice negotiated with the programme faculty and supervisor.

Students who have successfully completed Stage T2 will be eligible for the MSc award.

Students may leave the course with a Postgraduate Certificate, after successfully completing 60 credits, only where these include the award of credit for three ‘required’ modules from stage T1. 

Each module can also be studied on a stand-alone CPD basis to allow greater flexibility of learning tailored to individual learning requirements.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

Taught Component

Module 1: Research and Evidence Based Healthcare in Diabetes

This module will allow you to have a robust appreciation of research, innovation, audit and service evaluation and will furnish you with the ability to challenge the evidence and to address clinically meaningful questions applicable to your clinical practice. 

Module 2: Principles of Diabetes and Promoting  Self-Management

This module introduces the subject field within its daily clinical context. The module provides the opportunity for you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the classification, presentation and diagnosis of diabetes, 'pre-diabetes' and disorders of glucose metabolism and to evaluate the implications of these diagnoses.  You will be invited to explore diagnostic tests, clinical management plans, the pathophysiology, aetiology and risk factors of diabetes and the complementary roles of healthcare professionals, other professional and patients. Special consideration will also be given to structured self-management programmes, lifestyle and weight management, diabetes remission and exploring psychological approaches.

This module invites you to evaluate ways of managing those with long-term conditions and you will be able to consider relatively new approaches to management using co-creation and co-production, shared decision making, self-management and social prescribing.

Module 3: Therapeutics in Diabetes

This module provides the opportunity for you to appraise past and current therapies in the management of people with diabetes.  This will include a range of pharmaceutical / therapeutic agents, oral and injectable therapies, risk modification interventions with attention to cardiovascular outcomes, obesity management and surgery.  The module will also explore emerging therapies relevant to the management of diabetes. Critical appraisal of research evidence is an important part of the studies for this module, to inform and support the ways in which health care professionals engage in clinical and/or lifestyle management for people with diabetes.

Module 4: Assessment and Management of Diabetes Complications and Cardiovascular Disease

This module provides the opportunity for you explore the prevention, recognition and management of complications in diabetes. You will be invited to evaluate current evidence base standards and recommendations of care in diabetes.  You will also be able to explore approaches applied to screening for microvascular and macrovascular complications in diabetes with additional focus upon cardiovascular disease, and formulate evidence-based management for a range of clinical scenarios. This will support your ability to introduce early preventative and management options to support those living with diabetes and the delivery of personalised care packages.

Year two

The optional modules allow you to focus on specific groups of individuals who may require differing prevention strategies, diagnosis and/or management approaches. Students may choose two from the following options:

Option 1: Special Considerations in Type 1 Diabetes

This module provides the opportunity to evaluate the current evidence based standards and clinical practice recommendations in Type 1 diabetes. You will explore special circumstances and formulate management plans for a range of clinical scenarios including transitional care, eating disorders, and gastroparesis. You will also evaluate the evidence for technology in diabetes and develop strategies for application in clinical practice.

Option 2: Diabetes in Pregnancy

The module aims to develop clinicians able to evaluate current evidence based standards to formulate clinical management, to the highest standards, for pre-existing diabetes pre-conception, during pregnancy and post-partum, as well as assessing and managing gestational diabetes during and after pregnancy. The module also develops your evaluation skills in the delivery of holistic diabetes care to women before, during and after pregnancies

Option 3: Diabetic Foot Disease

Diabetic foot disease has significant impact on both the individual and within the community.  The module aims to enable students distinguish the contributing pathologies of diabetic foot disease and develop strategies for screening for diabetic foot disease.  Students will explore strategies for evaluating and treating peripheral vascular disease, neuropathic foot disease and formulate management approaches for wound care and infections.  Another key focus will be the creation of local clinical practice guidelines for the recognition and management of diabetic foot conditions.

Option 4: Management of Diabetes in the Acute Hospital Setting

The module aims to enable students to recognise, evaluate and manage diabetes in acute illness circumstances during in-hospital admission.  Students will explore and critique current standards and recommendations of care, the evidence base and inter-professional roles in diabetes care in order to design, develop and justify local clinical practice guidelines and decisions.

Option 5: Diabetes Care in the Elderly

The module aims to enable students to recognise and evaluate the complex considerations for diabetes care in the elderly.  This will entail learning how to distinguish between functional categories of older individuals with diabetes, evaluate special circumstances for the elderly and implications for therapeutic interventions.  Students will explore current standards and recommendations of care in diabetes, local clinical practice guidelines and formulate strategies for individualising patient care including the management of end of life care in diabetes. 

Option 6: Professional Practice (Leadership and Coaching, Quality and Safety)

This module will present a number of principles impacting on the care you deliver and provides you with the opportunity to evaluate one principle in the following areas: leadership and coaching, quality and safety and team working. The leadership content 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. The patient safety and quality content 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.

Stage 2 – Masters Dissertation

This consists of a 60 credit (Level 7) dissertation module delivered over 28 weeks. The aim of the dissertation is to enable the student to demonstrate their ability to undertake an audit/service evaluation, quality improvement project, or an extended literature review of an aspect of clinical practice related to diabetes. You will be allocated a supervisor to support you during this period.

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

In the taught stages, you will complete high quality level 7 evidence-based practice assessments, which are directly relevant to your clinical practice, and you will be encouraged and supported to gain knowledge around clinical evaluation and research.

This course will be delivered entirely by online distance learning and therefore you can access it from anywhere within the international healthcare professional community.  This also allows for a degree of flexibility of study to suit your individual needs and support will be provided wherever possible with these. 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 (C4ME). You will actively participate in the learning experience through a series of engaging, relevant 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 and 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 the complex and fast-moving field of diabetes prevention and care. Students also receive regular constructive feedback throughout the course, to stimulate their enthusiasm and provide support, thus ensuring that all students will have the opportunity to achieve the learning outcomes. The use of multiple approaches for you to learn will build a community of practice and enhance your collaboration with your peers and the faculty.

How will I be assessed?

The assessments have been chosen to ensure that the learning outcomes are appropriately tested and that the teaching methods leading up to these assessments are suitable.  Each module is delivered over 8 weeks and will be assessed by a range of methods. The module assessments are wide ranging to allow you to focus on areas that best suit your learning needs and clinical role. Assignment aims ensure that they are appropriate to your 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
  • Blogs
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Group work
  • Clinical and case-based discussions using live webinars and online discussion boards
  • Development of guidelines / PowerPoint presentations. 

How will I be supported?

A team of academic, administrative, learning technology and library staff are available throughout the year to support students.  Each student is allocated a personal tutor and also has access to the module lead tutor for further support whenever the need arises.  The module lead oversees the student’s academic performance throughout the module. Students are expected to actively take part in the online schedule of activities offered by the course which will also help them meet other students online.  Students are also able to discuss personal issues with their Personal Tutor and there is also Cardiff University Student Support Service. 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. Formative feedback will be communicated through electronic and written means to support student development and performance. Summative feedback on assessment will be delivered within the timeframe set by us.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you.   

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

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

  • Critically review research on prevention, screening, diagnosis, assessment and management of those likely to develop or are presenting with diabetes and its co-morbidity to inform practice.
  • Evaluate the complementary roles of healthcare professionals, multi-disciplinary teams, researchers, health commissioners and people with diabetes, assessing the inter-relationships between different care providers and the effectiveness of diabetes care delivery in primary, intermediate and secondary care settings. 
  • Reflect on your clinical skills identifying your learning needs to advance as a diabetes educator including the communication of the risk-factors, implications and relevant science of diabetic conditions and the ability to devise structured education and self-management strategies in diabetes care.
  • Critically reflect on the variations in diabetes across UK, Europe and globally using theoretical perspectives and epidemiological evidence to make sense, where possible of these variations.
  • Critically review how co-morbidity may complicate diagnosis and management and the limitations of the evidence base in informing care.
  • Evaluate the role of clinical risk management, quality improvement, leadership and patient safety in facilitating clinical improvement.

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, 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.
  • Use a range of tools, models and cycles, based on critically reviewing strengths and weaknesses, to inform personal and work-related strategies.

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.
  • Navigate around Learning Central, familiarisation with distance learning library, discussion boards, Grade Centre and Turnitin
  • Reflect on safe, effective, patient-centred care with appropriate professionalism

Transferable/Key Skills:

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

  • Apply professional self-awareness and self-reflection to your own professional development in ways that enhance your practice and improve patient outcomes. 
  • Demonstrate team-working, leadership and sound judgement in dealing systematically with complex issues.
  • Demonstrate initiative, autonomy and personal responsibility in the planning and implementation of solutions in diabetes care. 
  • Plan, organise and manage coursework effectively, demonstrating independence, initiative and originality
  • Communicate accurately, clearly and concisely in variety of styles, using a range of media to a wide variety of audiences

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,100 £1,000
Year two £5,100 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2022/23 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £8,200 £1,000
Year two £8,200 None

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

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

This Masters programme enables you to demonstrate you are taking the opportunity to develop your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and in dealing with complex issues. Whilst we do not formally assess clinical skills or competencies in a face-to-face context (so the programme is not a substitute for a formal specialty training programme), studying at this level should help successful students demonstrate numerous academic skills that should be highly regarded in relation to their career development and progression. In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in relation to the application of evidence-based medicine and the potential enhancement of services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in relation to taking on greater responsibilities or perhaps seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.

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

Successful completion of this programme will add value to your CV. Graduates from this programme have progressed to specialise, practice and lead clinical services in diabetes in both the primary and secondary care settings. 


UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2022 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19, published by HESA in June 2021.