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Neonatal Medicine (PgDip)

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

Start date

Open day

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

Why study this course

This programme provides a highly marketable academic qualification for hospital practitioners and trainees, nursing, paramedical and other professionals who are involved in the multidisciplinary care of neonates and very young children.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Neonatal Medicine is open to all qualified medical doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals. 

This two-year part-time distance learning course focuses on the study of clinical problems and therapeutic approaches specific to neonatal healthcare. The physiological and anatomical changes that occur during gestation and after birth influence clinical presentation and effective treatment strategies for sick and premature infants.  Understanding the scientific basis for neonatal healthcare is vital to clinical decision making and managing the ethical and communication challenges faced by clinical teams every day.

The course therefore aims to provide training and education in the identification, critical appraisal, planning and implementation of more effective treatments based on a sound knowledge of relevant research evidence, clinical practice, anatomy and pathophysiology.

Core and optional modules cover respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and nutritional care, critical care and the safe transfer of neonates/children between services and carers – all of which are crucial to improving survival rates and quality of care. The abilities to research, review, evaluate, design and plan these key components in healthcare systems represent highly marketable skills for graduates.

Throughout the taught modules, the aim is to develop your clinical, academic and research acumen in ways that integrate individual and collaborative learning. Tests of key factual knowledge are combined with online discussions and the submission of individual written assessments which test  understanding and application of concepts. 

Distinctive features

  • The distance-learning  format gives clinicians the flexibility to gain a postgraduate qualification alongside busy jobs
  • The active involvement of clinical neonatologists and academics ensures there is both scientific rigour and relevance to day to day clinical work.

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

You will typically be:

  • Qualified medical doctors holding the clinical professional qualification recognised as the required entry qualification for their clinical profession (MBBCh, BMBS, MBBS, or equivalent).

  • Qualified Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (ANNP) holding the clinical professional qualification recognised as the required entry qualification for their clinical profession (i.e. BN or equivalent) and in addition the training qualifying them to work as an ANNP (BSc / BSc and post graduate certificate at MSc level / MSc, or equivalent).

  • Will need to provide evidence that you are currently registered with the professional body relevant to your profession.

Applicants holding differing qualifications but working in relevant areas of a health service will be considered provided they have a suitable initial qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s Degree.

English Language Requirements
IELTS with at least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all subskills or equivalent.

There is no set application deadline but we allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend that you apply as early as possible

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 course starts in September, runs over two years, and consists of two taught stages:

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 both stages of 120 credits.

You may exit the course with a Postgraduate Certificate on successful completion of a minimum 60 credits, where this includes the award of credit for particular modules.

At the end of stage T2, students who have obtained a minimum of 120 credits at Level 7, including the award of credit for all required modules, will be eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma, or they may apply to enter the MSc course. 

Subsequent entry to the MSc stage is selective – it is dependent upon successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Neonatal Medicine (not more than three years prior to the date you are applying to start the MSc).

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

You will study three 20-credit modules.

Year two

You will study a further three 20-credit modules.

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?

You will be taught through a variety of online activities, including but not limited to: individual study of course material, group discussions, individual and group coursework, working through specially designed coursework and interactive materials. You will also receive regular constructive feedback to stimulate your enthusiasm and provide support.

This course is delivered entirely by distance learning and therefore can be accessed by eligible students from anywhere within the international healthcare community. This also allows for flexibility and convenience of study to suit your individual needs. 

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessments consist of exercises such as objective test (e.g. multiple choice / single best answer items) and short answer items testing knowledge and application, plus online discussion and reflective entries. 

Summative assessments will consist of a mixture of methods including the completion of objective test / short answer items based on scientific and clinical scenarios, case reports, personal online reflection and other written assignments such as treatment and patient communication strategies, a proposal / business case and discussions of controversies. 

How will I be supported?

The Postgraduate Diploma is delivered as a distance-learning programme via our online learning environment, where you will find course materials, a discussion forum and links to related materials and assessments.

You will be allocated a personal tutor for academic and pastoral support, who you can contact to discuss progress and for advice and guidance as needed. 

Support will be provided wherever possible for students with additional learning needs.


You will receive feedback throughout the duration of the programme from tutors. Formative feedback will be communicated through electronic and written means in a timely manner. Summative feedback on assessment will be delivered within the timeframes set by the University.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this course, you will have the opportunity to develop a wealth of skills and abilities relevant to your professional setting. In addition to greater conceptual understanding of current knowledge, issues and methods, you will have the opportunity to practise and develop abilities in critical analysis, in the application of evidence based medicine and in dealing with complex issues systematically and creatively. Your studies should also help develop your problem-solving and decision-making abilities . Through research focused elements you will have the opportunity to develop and enhance skills in literature review, critical evaluation and research principles.

In addition, progress to Master’s level study will enable you to practise and develop a variety of important professional skills:

  • Initiative, autonomy and personal responsibility in the planning and implementation of solutions in clinical care
  • Reflection upon learning, relating this to clinical practice and experience

By fully engaging in the postgraduate diploma course, you should be able to:

  • Articulate key physiological, anatomical and other changes occurring from fetal life to the neonatal period
  • Illustrate specific vulnerabilities relevant to neonates and how these impact on treatment and management options
  • Diagnose common conditions and disorders presenting in the neonatal period and illustrate the relevant pathophysiology, classification, implications and management
  • Identify suitable therapies based on a knowledge of the actions, interactions and contraindications of drugs in the neonate
  • Critically assess the evidence for common interventions in neonatal health
  • Select and justify treatment strategies that maximise benefit whilst minimising short and long term consequences for the neonate
  • Critically appraise the ethical dilemmas, choices and long term consequences faced by parents of a critically ill neonate
  • Critically appraise research into the science underlying our understanding of current and emerging clinical practice in neonates

Tuition fees for 2023 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 £5,475 £2,000
Year two £5,475 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 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 £8,950 £2,000
Year two £8,950 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

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 Postgraduate Diploma can form part of the professional development portfolio of those who are applying for promotion or to a specialist role.

This Masters programme enables you to demonstrate your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and 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 academic skills that are likely to be highly regarded for their career development and progression.

In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in the application of evidence-based medicine and potential enhancement of local, regional and national services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in taking on greater responsibilities or seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.

““After working as an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for over 20 years I was in need of a comprehensive update. The course provided an evidence-based review of neonatal care and is an ideal foundation for a career in neonatal medicine/advanced neonatal nursing practice or as an update for experienced clinicians. Year 3 provided an opportunity to undertake a detailed project in order to enhance care. Being supported to address an issue pertaining to my own area meant that I was able to address the prevention of CPAP failure in a low dependency neonatal unit in a systematic and structured way.

The weekly release of course materials  divided into distinct parts made it easier to find short time slots to undertake the all the e-learning tasks in stages throughout the week. The shared discussion forums with tutors and fellow learners helped maintain momentum and motivated us all.

The MSc in Neonatal Medicine provides academic credibility to those in clinical roles and is suitable for trainees, non-specialist paediatricians with a commitment to the neonatal unit and senior nurses aspiring to develop within the role of Nurse Consultant.”

George Brooks, Neonatal Nurse Consultant and MSc in Neonatal Medicine alumnus


UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2023 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 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 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.