Education for Health Professionals MEd/ Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate

Education for Health Professionals

This suite of three year-long part-time programmes is for all health professionals involved in the education and training of undergraduates and postgraduates. Each year is self-contained and a qualification is obtained after each year: Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PG Cert) in year one, Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in year two; and, Masters (MEd) in year three.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, taught

Study Options: Part time

Duration: The Certificate is usually one year part-time. The Diploma usually takes 2 years in total and the MEd 3 years.

Start date: Contact the School directly


This part-time programme is designed for health professionals involved in teaching at all levels, the PGCert allows you to develop your knowledge of theory and practice in teaching and learning. The PGDip and MEd focus on your skills as a researcher in education. 

PGCert (Year 1)

This course is for health professionals who are involved in education and training. It provides opportunities to explore the theory underpinning current practice and enables you to apply this to your own education and training context. It is structured round the UK Professional Standards Framework and is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. There are two parallel one year part-time Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) courses.

One is a partnership between the Centre for Research in Medical and Dental Education (CRMDE) in the School of Education and Health Education West Midlands.

The other is a partnership between CRMDE and the Medical School with team teaching from both. This course is specifically for Education Fellows involved in the education of undergraduates from the University of Birmingham.  

There are 5 teaching days on each of the 3 modules below:

  • Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals
  • Assessment for Health Professionals
  • Developing and Sustaining a Curriculum for Health Professionals

PGDip (Year 2)

Successful completion of an additional three modules part-time over one year, leads to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Education for Health Professionals.Your research skills and theoretical understanding will develop through engaging with literature, then designing and undertaking a small project focused on an educational topic of your choice.

There are 5 days of teaching on each of the 2 modules below

  • Reviewing Education for Health Professionals – What’s out there?
  • Researching Education for Health Professionals

In addition, there is a third module which is research based

  • Project in Education for Health Professionals 

MEd (Year 3) 

The PGDip can be extended to a Masters (MEd) qualification by completing a 15,000 word dissertation based on an educational research project of your choice.

  • Dissertation


Module information for the PGCert, PGDip and MEd programmes

PGCert Programme Modules

Module 1: Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals (Module Code: 11 19851)

From the perspective of both teacher and learner, this module explores theories of education and themes of professional values and practice within clinical education. Approaches to teaching, including planning, expectations, targets and strategies, are explored.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the role and function of education within a medical setting.
  • Demonstrate how to compare and contrast learning theories in the context of medical education. 
  • Provide evidence of a critical awareness of concepts of achievement and of ways in which learning can be maximised, from the perspectives of teachers and learners. 
  • Structure appropriate teaching and learning objectives and plan learning activities, taking account of assessment requirements and of the needs of the learner. 
  • Demonstrate an ability to critically reflect on the success, or otherwise, of their teaching.
  • Organise and manage teaching/learning time, space, resources, etc to meet planned learning objectives. 
  • Demonstrate how to build successful educational relationships, set high expectations and establish purposeful learning environments in medical education. 
  • Develop a critical awareness of the varying interests, experiences and achievements of the learner and the need to differentiate teaching strategies to accommodate these. 
  • Understand the entitlement of the learner, from the perspective of both the teacher and the learner. Appreciate the influence of educational climate, the use of constructive feedback and the role of mentors.

A 4,000 word assignment, comprising of two parts (1 and 2). In part 1 you have an option:
i) Either a portfolio of teaching plans in medical education, or a structured ‘learner’s log’.
This must show evidence of critical evaluation and reflection.
ii) A 360º assessment of your skills and abilities as a teacher

Module 2: Assessment for Health Professionals (Module Code: 11 19881)

In this module the purposes of assessment and methods of assessment are examined using examples from both the health and school education sectors. Relationships between different learning theories and approaches to assessment are examined. The concepts of validity, reliability and practical application are considered in relation to different purposes and methods of assessment.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and ability to critically appraise the different purposes and uses of assessment in the health sector. 
  • Provide evidence of a critical understanding of different learning theories, their epistemological roots and their relationship with different methods of assessment. 
  • Critically analyse the choice of assessment methods for specific contexts and purposes. 
  • Understand key concepts and processes such as validity, reliability, standard setting and blue printing. 
  • Apply this knowledge and understanding to specific applications of assessment in the health sector.

Produce a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates knowledge and understanding of current assessment issues in the Health Professions and illustrates the learning achieved during this module. The portfolio will be equivalent to a 4000 word essay.

Module 3: Developing and Sustaining a Curriculum for Health Professionals (Module Code: 11 19854)

In this module, principles of curriculum design and ways of undertaking needs analysis are examined. The implications for curriculum design of developments such as interprofessional working are considered. Historical, educational, social and political influences on curriculum development will be discussed and curricular models (such as SPICES, spiral, outcome-based and competency-based) are appraised.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of key theories, principles and approaches to curriculum design and be able to critically appraise them and the possible mismatch between learning theories, educational purposes and curriculum design. 
  • Assess the implications for curriculum design and implementation of policies of professional learning and development in the health sector.
  • Critically appraise specific approaches to curriculum design, such as SPICES and PRISMS and apply their knowledge to develop an illustrative example of a curriculum unit in their area of professional expertise. 
  • Be aware of the influence of the 'hidden curriculum' on what is learnt. 
  • Understand and appraise the impact of the curriculum on what is taught and learnt through concepts of curriculum control.

A 4000 word assignment or a critical review of a curriculum project in which they have been involved.

PGDip Programme Modules

Module 1: Reviewing Education for Health Professionals – What’s out there?

5 days teaching; approximately 6 hours per day.

There is no point in re-inventing the wheel. There is an overwhelming quantity of published research and many sources of data relevant to education for health professionals. This module helps you find the information you require.

To gain practical knowledge of how to retrieve relevant literature and data. To be able to use Reference management software to organised your literature and for writing papers. To be able to undertake different types of literature review.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Use search terms to find literature using a variety of databases
  • Be aware of PROMS
  • Have an understanding of Reference management software
  • Be aware of data held in their place of work and how they can be accessed
  • Understand the pros and cons of narrative, structured and systematic reviews
  • Be aware of the steps required to undertake a systematic review

A protocol for a systematic review adhering to the PRISMA statement (4,000 words). This should describe: the rationale for the review; the objectives; the methods that would be used to locate, select, and critically appraise studies; and, the plan to collect and analyse data from the included studies.

Module 2: Researching Education for Health Professionals

A range of research frameworks and methods are examined to allow the development of practical skills in the design and conduct of educational research.

5 days of teaching; approximately 6 hours per day.

This module introduces the nature of evidence in education and also examines a variety of research methods together with modes of analysis, interpretation and reporting.

To introduce approaches to conducting and appraising educational research including the nature of evidence in education, project planning and research design.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge and understanding of different theoretical perspectives and research methodologies.
  • Show a critical understanding of the nature of evidence in education.
  • Assess the relationship between research methodologies and decisions on research methods or techniques.
  • Critically appraise the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to undertaking field research.
  • Show an understanding of key principles of research design and their application to a selected project in educational for health professionals.

Module 3: Project in Education for Health Professionals

This module will involve students undertaking their own research project into education for health professionals.

1-1 tutorial and email support provided by research supervisor

This module provides an opportunity to undertake a small scale research project focusing on a topical issue in education.

To provide an opportunity to conduct and appraise educational research that will allow consolidation of topics introduced in Module 1 including: the nature of evidence in education, project planning, research design and methodology.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Show a critical understanding of the nature of evidence in education.
  • Demonstrate an ability to explain the reasons for selecting a particular research method to explore a selected research problem.
  • Undertake a small scale project showing a depth of analytical competence in the appraisal.
  • Critically analyse the application of a selected research design to a small scale empirical project.

A single 4,000 word assignment on a small scale research project written in a form that is potentially publishable, adhering to the nominated journals’ guidance.

Masters Programme Modules

All students will be required to complete a dissertation in ‘Education for Health Professionals’

This module will be delivered on campus and by distance e-based support through a one-day introductory teaching seminar and subsequent tutorials. Each student will be allocated a supervisor who will support their work and provide guidance through distance e-based support and one-to-one tutorials. The seminar and tutorials will be supported by self study that will include extensive reading beyond the recommended texts; accessing web-based materials; conduct of literature review; critical appraisal and reflection on research activity undertaken.

This module will enable students to extend their understanding of research methods by applying their skills to an empirical problem related to education in the NHS or other health related sectors of the economy.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Apply a suitable research methodology to a specific empirical problem. 
  • Show a critical understanding of the research design used in the dissertation.
  • Demonstrate a suitable choice of research methodology to the specific areas of the selected enquiry.
  • Critically appraise the limitations of the work. 
  • Demonstrate well developed analytical writing skills.

Fees and funding

Fees Home/EU/Overseas 2015-2016

  • Code 6475 PGCert £3,210
  • Code 168A PGCert £3,210
  • Code 8010 PGDip £3,210 
  • Code 8447 MEd £3,183

The fee shown above is the annual fee for students starting their courses September in 2015. Please note that the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Please view our Fees for International Students page for further details. 

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries

Entry requirements

You need a first degree or equivalent professional qualification, proficient English and satisfactory references. 

Those who apply are normally employed in the health service or otherwise involved with the training of health professionals. To undertake the Diploma, satisfactory completion of the Certificate or an equivalent course is required. Similarly, entry onto the Masters requires completion of the Diploma or equivalent. Please contact us if you think you may have equivalent qualifications.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students
We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

In the PG Certificate, you will experience numerous approaches including presentations, plenaries and small group discussions. Your active engagement is strongly encouraged e.g. teaching someone a practical skill and presenting a poster at the Birmingham Conference. As is usual at Masters level, considerable self-study time is required outside the teaching days. The first two modules of the Diploma are similar with active participation from students. The third Diploma module and Masters are based on self-study to undertake your own research. Tutorial support is largely one-to-one meetings and emails, although occasional group sessions are arranged as required.

Related research


Contact Details
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 4863

Related staff


Students are usually already employed in the NHS or other Health organisations such as universities and the military. The PG Certificate is HEA accredited, so on successful completion of the course, students are able to apply for professional recognition as Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Currently the HEA are charging for this widely recognised teaching qualification: see The Diploma and Masters are research-based so suitable for those who would like to develop an academic component to their work.