Health Professions Education (PGCert/PGDip/MSc) - online 2023 entry

The Health Professions Education online programme is for those interested in developing themselves in a healthcare education role, and offers the flexibility of learning to suit those currently employed. The programme will cultivate teaching practice which instils the principles and values of interprofessional education to support the development of the future and current healthcare work force. 

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2026
Three years
School of Medicine
Register your interest

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Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

  • An existing teaching role in your workplace, with an interest in pursuing an academic career in healthcare education or healthcare education research.
  • Evidence of having completed at least one 30 credit module at a minimum of SCQF level 9 (or equivalent) within five years of the programme start date.
  • A 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a health profession or in a relevant field (including but not limited to Health Sciences). If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.


  • Significant professional or other relevant experience alongside evidence of prior alternative learning such as professional qualifications or certifications.

In reviewing applications for the programme, the School of Medicine looks especially at whether St Andrews is a good match for your specialist interests. The Programme Convenor is happy to be contacted and, if necessary, to set up a meeting in person or virtually so that you can discuss your plans and to ensure that St Andrews is the best place for you to pursue a Masters degree.

If you have any queries concerning the programme or your suitability for it, you are encouraged to make contact in advance of your application.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • A CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • A personal statement explaining:
  • why you have applied for this course
  • how it relates to your personal or professional ambitions
  • how your academic and professional background show you have the skills needed to work effectively at postgraduate level.
  • Two original signed academic references. One employment reference and one academic reference is acceptable for applicants unable to provide two academic references.
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

    English language proficiency

    If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

    Course details

    Increasing pressures on healthcare systems require flexible, accessible, creative, and relevant learning opportunities, particularly for educators who are also clinically active. On the Health Professions Education programme, you will examine the principles and values of a range of educational approaches. 


    • A fully online part-time programme which offers flexibility of learning to suit those currently employed in a health care or academic setting. 
    • As an interprofessional and interdisciplinary programme, it provides opportunities to learn collaboratively about a range of educational contexts and teaching practices.
    • Provision of experiential and immersive learning opportunities so that learners undertaking the modules can have real-time experience of the concepts being taught. 
    • Award-winning learning technology infrastructure and support to provide innovative, interactive and flexible learning and to support the student learning journey. 
    • Staff from a variety of disciplines and healthcare backgrounds with expertise and experience in educating healthcare professionals in a range of community and acute care settings, in interprofessional education, and in educational research. 

    The Health Professions Education programme will inspire scholarship, research and leadership in health professions education. This programme will help to develop inquisitive educators who are equipped to deliver high-quality learning opportunities for health professionals. 

    The programme content will cover a range of approaches and methods of teaching, learning and assessment where learners will engage in independent and group study.  Aspects of the programme will be interprofessional and interdisciplinary, enabling learners to reflect on and share their own teaching and learning practices. The programme will provide the opportunity to learn with, from and about each other’s educational contexts. Action learning sets will be utilised to bring a challenging or complex issue to discuss and share ideas for resolution. Learners will be able to develop a toolkit which will enhance their problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills and teaching strategies. 

    The School of Medicine academic staff provides expertise from a variety of disciplines and healthcare backgrounds. There is a wide range of experience in educating health professionals in the community and acute care settings, interprofessional education, and in educational research. The School of Medicine has institutional memberships of the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) and the UK Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE).

    Applicants will be able to choose which qualification they would like to apply for, depending on which level they wish to complete.

    For 2023 entry, applicants will be able to apply for the following. 

    • Option 1 - Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
    • Option 2 - Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) starting at Year 1 (direct entry to Year 2/PgDip is not available for 2023 entry)
    • Option 3 - Master of Health Professions Education (MSc) starting at Year 1 (direct entry to Year 2 or Year 3 of the MSc is not available for 2023 entry)


    Learners will normally be required to complete the following two core modules: 

    Semester 1 

    • Fundamentals of Designing and Facilitating Learning: explores the fundamentals and theoretical underpinning of designing and facilitating learning for health professions education. You will consider different methods of learning, reflect, and apply their critical understanding of learning to their own academic and/or health or social care environment. 

    Semester 2 

    • Impact of Learning: focus on the key principles of assessment, evaluation and feedback and how these can be used to determine impact on learning. You will learn how quality can be achieved, measured and maintained in education.

    On completion of the required modules, totalling 60 credits at level 11, learners may wish to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Health Professions Education.

    Learners will normally be required to complete the core module, along with two optional modules. Optional modules allow you to shape the degree around your own personal and professional interests.

    Semester 1 

    Optional modules are expected to be offered in the following areas:

    • Curriculum and programme development
    • Contemporary global issues in health professions education
    • Interprofessional education: design, delivery and assessment

    The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

    Semester 2 

    • Research Methods in Education: covers the fundamentals of research methods for health professions education. You will be provided the opportunity to critique, appraise and plan a research proposal.  

    On completion of the required modules, totalling 120 credits at level 11, learners may wish to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Health Professions Education.

    The final part of the MSc programme is the end of degree project.

    This takes the form of a period of supervised research where you will undertake an in-depth investigation into a chosen topic in health professions education. 

    Through the project you will show your ability to undertake sustained critical analysis, develop and improve your research skills, and produce an extended piece of written work that demonstrates a high level of understanding of your area of study.  A flexible approach will be offered to suit the learner with respect to project options.

    All options available will develop research skills to help with future intentions to study at higher level of PhD/MD.  

    • Option 1: an empirical piece of research   
    • Option 2: a systematic review 
    • Option 3: an extended research proposal (including ethics application)

    The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


    The taught modules are taken over two semesters – September to December (Semester 1) and January to May (Semester 2). The period from June to August is used to complete summative assessments. 

    Each taught module will use teaching and learning methods appropriate to its aims and learning outcomes, this may include lectures, seminars, facilitated workshops and tutorials. 

    The programme will be delivered online with a mixture of some real-time, scheduled teaching and some independent study where there is flexibility of accessing learning materials at a time convenient to your own circumstances. All scheduled teaching will take place in GMT/BST, where online attendance is required.

    The programme delivery platform is supported by an award-winning learning technology infrastructure. This innovative and interactive platform allows you to access all of the programme resources, announcements, timetable, and lectures (both live and recorded),  To help build a sense of community online, this platform also hosts a discussion board for you to engage in threaded discussions with other learners on the programme. 

    On average, each 30 credit module would involve 4 hours of weekly scheduled online attendance throughout the semester. The rest of the workload hours would consist of a range of activities, which can be undertaken in your own time during the semester. These may consist of preparatory reading and reflection, assignment preparation. small group work, and participation in online discussion forums.

    There are a broad range of sources of support within the school, and the wider University, which are available to you as postgraduate student studying online. Throughout your programme you will be allocated an Adviser of Studies to provide academic support and advice.

    The University has a mature and established Student Support Service able to offer advice on any welfare matters. The University Information Technology (IT) services can help if you require support, advice, or guidance with any IT issues.  Academic and study skills support is available to help students throughout their university studies as well as opportunities to support professional and personal development.


    • MSc (3 years) £15,300 (charged £5,100 per year of study)
    • PG Dip (2 years) £10,200 (charged £5,100 per year of study)
    • PG Cert (1 year) £5,100

    More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

    Funding and scholarships

    The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

    NHS Staff Discount 

    The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount to NHS-funded staff who wish to undertake the programme.

    Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

    After your degree


    The University of St Andrews’ global reputation makes its graduates highly valued by employers. The Health Professions Education programme is aimed at individuals who may wish to develop their healthcare educational role, or wish to follow an academic career in healthcare education or healthcare education research. 

    In addition to broadening your subject knowledge and applying established techniques of research and enquiry, you will develop and demonstrate essential skills including: 

    • critical thinking and creativity 
    • analysis and appraisal 
    • problem-solving and decision making 
    • personal leadership and project management 
    • interpersonal communication and team working 

    The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

    Further study

    St Andrews offers a vibrant and stimulating research environment. One of the great strengths of our research degrees is the collegiate atmosphere which enables access to expertise beyond your formal supervisors and the ability to conduct interdisciplinary research. 

    Research students are supported by a supervisory team throughout their studies and are assessed by means of a substantial thesis of original research.

    Postgraduate research

    What to do next

    Postgraduate virtual days

    We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

    Contact us

    +44 (0)1334 46 3599
    School of Medicine
    Medical and Biological Sciences Building
    North Haugh
    St Andrews
    KY16 9TF

    School of Medicine website