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Neonatal Medicine (PgDip)

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 problems and approaches specific to neonatal health. As a result of the numerous anatomical and physiological changes occurring as a child develops, similar conditions can have very different clinical presentations and pathologies at different ages. This has implications for risk-benefit analysis and the ethics involved in choices faced by professionals and parents.  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 of the award.

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 the understanding and application of concepts. 

Distinctive features

  • The distance and e-learning format allows clinicians to learn while doing busy jobs and achieve a high quality higher degree.
  • The active involvement of clinical neonatologists ensures there is both academic rigour and relevance to day to day clinical work.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration2 years
ModePart-time - distance learning
Other ways to study this course

Admissions criteria

Applicants 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). 


Be working in a clinical area that is relevant to the programme they are undertaking for the full duration of their studies (evidenced by a reference).

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.

Find out more about English language requirements.

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

All students must register initially for the postgraduate diploma (Postgraduate Diploma) in Neonatal Medicine.

Subsequent entry to the MSc (dissertation 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) and competitive selection including an interview (Skype / telephone / in person).

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 a minimum of 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. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

You will study three 20-credit modules. 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Respiratory Care in Neonatal MedicineMET85120 credits
Cardiovascular Care in Neonatal MedicineMET85220 credits
Critical Care in NeonatesMET85320 credits

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.

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 of study to suit individual student needs. Support will be provided wherever possible for students with additional learning needs.

How will I be supported?

The Postgraduate Diploma is delivered as a distance-learning programme via Cardiff University’s online learning environment, where 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 for advice and guidance as needed. 


Students will receive feedback throughout the duration of the programme from their 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.

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. 

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 you can apply to any 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 you develop your problem-solving and decision-making abilities by enabling you to utilise evidence effectively and communicate important concepts to colleagues and others. Through any research focused elements you will have the opportunity to develop and enhance skills in aspects such as literature review, critical evaluation and knowledge of research principles.

In addition, progress to Master’s level study should enable students to identify opportunities 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 ethics, 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.

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

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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

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 (2019/20)

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?

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