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Therapeutics (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

This programme is designed for GPs, pharmacists and specialist nurses who wish to further develop their knowledge of the evidence-based management of commonly encountered medical conditions.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutics is designed for medical practitioners, pharmacists, specialist nurses, and others who wish to gain further expertise in the practical management of common therapeutic problems. 

This one-year part-time, distance-learning course is taught online, and aims to equip you with a sound understanding of the management of common medical conditions and to develop skills in evidence-based medicine. Graduates would be expected to gain the skills and expertise necessary to become the ‘local therapeutics expert’.

The course arises from a leading research centre and aims to encourage critical thinking and to equip students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also provide a basic approach to therapeutic problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy.

Most of the teaching is problem-orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct relevance to practice. 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 also regular clinical exercises to be completed which provide the basis of in-course assessment. There is an electronic discussion board, as well as dedicated email and telephone contacts, to ensure good communication with the University and between candidates.

Distinctive features

  • Problem orientated, evidence-based learning specifically designed to be of direct relevance to practice.
  • Distance-learning, delivered entirely online. You can choose when and where to study, at home, at work or on the move.
  • The course includes a ‘study day’ held in Cardiff, which all candidates are encouraged (but not required) to attend. Presentations will be available online to those unable to attend.
  • Targeted fortnightly reading guided by aims and outcomes for the period.
  • Audio interviews and presentations are available to download.
  • We are also recognised as a major research centre. Advances in therapeutics have been pioneered in Cardiff, including methods for optimal use of anticoagulants, antiarrhythmic drugs and anticonvulsants.

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

The programme is suitable for all health-care professionals who prescribe or use drug treatments in their work and who have usually had basic training in pharmacology at undergraduate level (e.g. doctors, pharmacists, and nurses).

At the discretion of the Board of Studies, non-graduates whose relative lack of formal qualifications is compensated for by their relevant work experience may also be admitted to candidature provided the candidate has held, for a minimum period of two years, a position of responsibility relevant to the programme.


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 Certificate consists of one stage: stage T.

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

At the end of stage T, students who have obtained a minimum of 60 credits at Level 7, including the award of credit for all required modules, may exit with the award of Postgraduate Certificate or may apply to progress to the Postgraduate Diploma. 

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?

The course uses home and practice-based learning techniques, managed and delivered via the internet through Cardiff University’s e-learning platform, Learning Central™. During the course a detailed structured programme of learning is provided. The Postgraduate Certificate consists of three 20-credit modules. 

Most of the course teaching is problem-orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct relevance to practice. There are several different integrated components to the programme structure. There is fortnightly directed reading for each module with copies of, or links to, key articles and regular clinical exercises to be completed which provide the basis of in-course assessment. The clinical exercises are reviewed by the course supervisors and feedback is provided. There is an online discussion forum to ensure good communication between candidates and email addresses and a central direct phone number are provided for the course team. 

How will I be assessed?

The taught stage in-course assessment is delivered and submitted via Learning Central™. Assessment for each module is carried out by one formative case study and one summative objective assessment (e.g. multiple-choice questions) exercise each fortnight, together with a summative written assignment. The written assignment may take the form of an essay, a piece of portfolio learning or a task such as a practice audit.

The formative case studies encourage candidates to reflect on their own practice, the evidence base, and any national or local guidelines which cover the topic. Responses to the case study are analysed and feedback is provided in a report that follows. This provides candidates with an opportunity to assess their clinical practice and compare it with that of their peers.

The summative objective assessment is marked in-house and feedback and explanations of the correct answers are provided to the students. This element is worth 30% of the marks for each module. The written task is marked by one of the programme markers and then moderated by a member of the course team; this contributes the remaining 70% of the marks for the module.

How will I be supported?

The Postgraduate Certificate is entirely delivered as distance-learning programmes via Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment, where students 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 who will 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 practise and develop a number of skills which are not among the formal learning outcomes and which will not be formally assessed.

We aim to encourage critical thinking and to equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also with a basic approach to therapeutic problems, encouraging attitudes and abilities which will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy. 

You will have the opportunity to develop a number of transferable skills such as the ability to: use the general medical literature and be familiar with effective search strategies; effectively and efficiently interrogate the commonly used databases of medical literature; make effective use of Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment (Learning Central) and the library facilities for distance-learning students.

After fully engaging in the course, you should:

  • Be able to think critically, as we will aim to equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also with a basic approach to therapeutic problems, which will encourage attitudes and abilities that will be of lasting value in dealing with future advances in therapy.
  • Continue to improve your prescribing skills, having gained a cutting-edge postgraduate qualification by distance-learning.
  • Demonstrate appropriate skills and attitudes in relation to the use of evidence-based medicine and the critical analysis of scientific / medical literature.
  • Develop and further advance a sound understanding of the management of common medical conditions.
  • Put into practice current standards for safe prescribing and explain such guidelines with reference to the knowledge you have gained concerning drug safety.

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £4,850 £1,000

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)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £7,850 £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

This programme is particularly suitable for those who wish to gain a good grounding in their knowledge of therapeutics in order to improve the management of common medical conditions and to develop skills in evidence-based medicine.

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.


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


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2021 dates.

Make an enquiry

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