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Pain Management (Primary and Community Care) (PgCert)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • 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

These are interprofessional, e-Learning courses intended for any healthcare professional who has an interest in and/or wants to specialise in the field of pain management in primary and community care.


Flexible e-learning programme

Distance-learning, online format enables flexible learning at your own pace.


Relevant to your practice

Content and assessments related to managing patients with pain in primary and secondary care


Tailor your learning

Focus your learning and assessments, on your area of pain interest


Student support via online tools

Student support via online tools, for learning and for development of assessments and for pastoral support


Interprofessional study

Work, learn and collaborate with students and staff from a range of healthcare professions and other academic disciplines.

Pain is a multidimensional phenomenon and as such needs to be managed through multidisciplinary initiatives. These initiatives must be based on specialist knowledge, rigorous research and an advanced understanding of the physiological and behavioural concepts involved.

This Postgraduate Certificate aims to help you to develop your knowledge to an advanced level within the field of Pain Assessment and Management in the Primary and Community Care setting. This is undertaken within a broader context, which allows you to understand your own level of expertise and knowledge base and how it fits into inter-professional practice and Pain Management as a whole.

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.

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

Admissions criteria

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

  • Hold a higher education qualification, minimum of a BSc (Hons) grade 2:2 or equivalent, from a recognised institution.


  • 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.)

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

Every applicant has to apply for the Postgraduate Certificate year first. Once they have completed and passed this, they can either choose to exit with the Postgraduate Certificate award or they can apply to undertake the Postgraduate Diploma. The same applies for the transition from Postgraduate Diploma to MSc.

The Postgraduate Certificate stage lasts for nine months and consists of three 20-credit modules totalling 60 credits, at Level 7.

After successfully completing this stage, you may leave with a Postgraduate Certificate, or apply to progress to the Postgraduate Diploma stage.

There are no residential components or written examinations to attend so there would be no need for you to travel to Cardiff for course purposes.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

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?

A wide range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the course, which are delivered via e-learning format through our virtual learning environment Learning Central. The course consists of a number of compulsory modules and sub-topics where the student has a choice. A variety of media is used to deliver the content:

  • Written modules
  • Voice over PowerPoint presentations
  • Talking heads
  • Video presentations
  • Interactive modules

The course starts with a two-week introductory period to enable you to familiarise yourself with the course and e-learning. 

How will I be assessed?

The assessment methods are written assignments and online assessments (individual and group work).

How will I be supported?

Students will have access to course materials, links to related materials, assessments and discussion boards, via our virtual learning environment. Group and individual video tutorials will be available to support you throughout your studies.

You will be encouraged to make regular contribution through the online discussion boards, where you will be supported by the programme team and a panel of experts.  You will be able to plan and reflect on your learning through your own personal blog.

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. 


Formative feedback will be communicated to the students through electronic and written means in a timely manner. Summative feedback on assessment will be provided in the same way and 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 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 practise and develop abilities in critical analysis, 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 literature review, critical evaluation, research design, research methodologies, data collection, data analysis and research principles.

The course aims to facilitate students to develop their knowledge to an advanced level in their area of expertise and or interest within the field of pain assessment and management in the primary and community care setting. This is however, undertaken within a broader context, which allows the student to understand their level of expertise and knowledge base and how it fits into inter-professional practice and pain management as a whole.

After fully engaging in the course, you should have:

  • Developed a critical approach to pain management in primary care and community setting.
  • Integrated knowledge of pain from different disciplines in order to approach pain management from a multidimensional perspective, reflecting on the complexities of managing pain outside a secondary or tertiary care setting.
  • Challenged traditional approaches to conceptualising pain in primary care and community setting.
  • Examined current practice and evaluated traditional methods and attitudes to pain and its management commencing with rigorous screening and assessment in primary and community care, reflecting on the management approaches within this setting and when referral is required.
  • Developed an inter-professional knowledge base of pain to support any educational initiatives.
  • Consolidated and considered extending current practice through research activities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Tuition fee (2021/22)Deposit

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 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)

Tuition fee (2021/22)Deposit

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

This programme is particularly suitable for those who wish to improve their knowledge of pain management in order to help improve patient care, in the primary and community care setting. Successful completion of this programme will add value to your CV. Graduates have reported that it led directly to new job opportunities in pain management.

“This PGCert in Pain Management (Primary and Community Care) has extensively developed my skills, knowledge and understanding and consequently has resulted in improved patient care.”

NHS primary care pharmacist

"The most useful learning was about understanding the importance of a biopsychosocial approach to pain management and use of rehabilitation, self-care and lifestyle management approaches. This is because many patients with chronic pain consider pain in the context of the traditional “Medical Model” (as do many healthcare Application of theory to practice professionals) i.e. there is a simple problem with a cause that can and should be fixed. I have learnt that in most cases this couldn’t be further from the truth and effective chronic pain management requires a holistic approach utilising the biopsychosocial approach. I learnt and have applied to my practice this approach and built in to my initial patient assessment components that explore the patients beliefs regarding their pain, evaluating their expectations, and exploring perceived outcomes of analgesics, evaluation of whether or not the patient has come to terms i.e. has acceptance of their pain condition. To not manage a patient utilising this approach in many cases leads to inappropriate and potentially harmful prescribing of medication without addressing psychosocial issues contributing to the pain experience."

Primary care pharmacist, non-medical independent prescriber


Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2020 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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