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Medical Toxicology (PgDip)

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

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This programme is designed for doctors, pharmacists and other scientists who wish to develop a broad understanding of the principles underlying medical toxicology.

This Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Toxicology is a two year part-time distance learning course for medical personnel.

It is particularly designed for clinical pharmacologists in training, specialist trainees in accident and emergency medicine or acute medicine and other disciplines, and those intending to enter or already working in the pharmaceutical industry.

It is also designed for those working in poisons centres, for health professionals, including hospital and community pharmacists and for those with a degree in Life Sciences or other individuals seeking a career in the government regulatory bodies or the pharmaceutical or chemical industry.

The course aims to:

  • introduce you to the broad principles underlying medical toxicology.
  • seek to integrate an understanding of the mechanisms by which drugs and other chemicals produce toxic effects and how these can be predicted, treated and whenever possible, prevented.

A key aim of the teaching programme is to encourage critical thinking, as we aim to equip you with practical and factual knowledge and also provide a basic approach to toxicological problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which will be of lasting value in the future.

Distinctive features

This is a distance learning course delivered entirely online so students can choose when and where to study. Case studies will provide opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge in solving problems. This course is designed to give skills to candidates working or planning to work in various Toxicological fields which include clinical, laboratory, environmental and occupational and also in an advisory capacity.

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

In addition to satisfying the requirements of the Cardiff University General Entrance Requirement, candidates will normally possess a primary degree in any science speciality awarded by a recognised institution. Your performance in previous academic courses and the relevance of the subject area and/or evidence of commitment to a career using toxicology will be used as part of the selection process. 

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

The Postgraduate Diploma consists of six 20-credit modules. The six modules are studied part-time over two years.

There are two stages to the Postgraduate Diploma course: T1, the first taught stage, and T2, second taught stage. 

Stage T1
This stage lasts for one academic year and consists of three 20-credit modules totalling 60 credits, at Level 7.

Stage T2
This stage lasts for a further academic year and consists of a further three 20-credit modules totalling 60 credits, at Level 7, to give a combined total for stages T1 & T2 of 120 credits.

You may exit the course with a Postgraduate Certificate, after completing 60 credits, only where these include the award of credit for each module from stage T1.

At the end of stage T2, students who have obtained a minimum of 120 credits at Level 7, including the award of credit in all required modules from stage T1 and T2, will be eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma. 

Entry to the MSc in Medical Toxicology (dissertation stage) is available to a selected number of candidates only, and eligibility is dependent upon successful completion of the Cardiff University Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Toxicology to an acceptable standard.

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

Year two

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?

  • The course takes advantage of home (student’s own environment) and practice-based learning techniques.
  • The course is managed and delivered via the internet through Cardiff University’s e-learning platform, Learning Central™.
  • Most of the education process is problem-orientated and there are several different integrated components to the course structure.
  • There is fortnightly reading for each module 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 tutors and you will receive feedback during the course.
  • There is a discussion forum and also a direct telephone number to ensure good communication with the University and between students.
  • Candidates are encouraged to attend a two-day Toxicology Update course organised by NPIS Cardiff to meet the course team and also fellow students in person. This is available without any extra fee.

How will I be assessed?

The in-course formative and summative assessment is delivered and submitted via Learning Central™. Summative assessment for each module is carried out by means of one written assignment and one set of objective test exercises (e.g. multiple-choice questions) conducted every two weeks throughout each of the modules.

The summative objective test exercises are marked in-house. Feedback and explanations of the correct answers are provided to students. This element is worth 30% of the marks for each module. The written assignment is marked by one of the programme markers and marking is moderated by a member of the course team. This element contributes the remaining 70% of the marks for the module.

How will I be supported?

The course is entirely delivered as a distance-learning course via Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Learning Central™, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and assessments.

All students are allocated a personal tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who you can contact to discuss progress and to provide advice and guidance as needed. 


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.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this course, you will have the opportunity to develop skills relevant to the diagnosis and management of patients in regard to common poisons and to advising the industry and environmental agencies in managing and preventing toxicological accidents. 

You will also have the opportunity to practise and develop a number of skills which can be transferred to your daily working life, such as the ability to use the general medical literature and become more familiar with effective and efficient search strategies used to interrogate the commonly used databases of medical literature, and to make effective use of Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment and the library facilities for distance-learning students.

In addition, by fully engaging in this course, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of common poisons and their antidotes, routes of exposure, sites of action, drug metabolism, toxicokinetics and the epidemiology of poisoning incidents.
  • Analyse the toxicity effects, features of poisoning and toxicodynamics of commonly used pharmaceuticals.
  • Identify the adverse reactions, adverse effects, interactions and toxicity in relation to a range of non-pharmaceutical medications, products, animal and plant toxins.
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the mechanisms and risk factors relating to adverse drug reactions/interactions and design strategies to detect, manage and avoid them.
  • Critically appraise relevant aspects of current approaches to drug development and drug safety.
  • Explain the processes resulting in chemical carcinogenesis, evaluating the evidence base for our understanding of these processes.
  • Design methods for risk assessment, risk management, prevention of poisoning and improvement of practice in relation to preventative and regulatory toxicology, toxicological incidents and the role of analytical toxicology.
  • Critically assess the toxicology of the living and working environment and the roles of key regional, national and international mechanisms for managing risk and dealing with incidents.
  • Demonstrate the effective use of relevant information technology to research, synthesise and communicate evidence based approaches to the diagnosis and management of poisoning by commonly used pharmaceuticals.
  • Investigate the various diagnostic tools and management methods available for the clinical management of poisoning, evaluating the evidence base for such tools and methods.
  • Take responsibility for your use of the diagnostic tools and management methods for the diagnosis and management of poisoned patients and in formulating plans for the improvement of your current practice in relation to management of poisoning.
  • Translate your knowledge of Medical Toxicology and the principles of diagnosis and management into your clinical arena.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,100 £1,000

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £8,200 £1,000

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

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

You will need a reliable computer with high speed Internet access (and up-to-date virus and malware protection) and appropriate software.

Living costs

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

Career prospects

The course is suitable for clinical pharmacologists in training, specialist registrars in other disciplines, those working in the pharmaceutical industry, those working in the National Poisons Information Services, pharmacists, nurses and other life science graduates. The course may be of interest to individuals seeking a career in the government regulatory bodies or the pharmaceutical or chemical industry.


UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. 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 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.