MSc, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care

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  • Regularly scheduled
  • St Christopher's Hospice and Cicely Saunders Institute

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MSc, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care


The MSc in Palliative Care course is intended for the future leaders of palliative and end of life care from multi-professional backgrounds (clinical care or teaching and research). The course will give you the skills necessary to critically appraise research and evidence on issues of palliative care to inform clinical practice and service development. Much of the work during the MSc will relate to your own personal work experience. This course draws on the research, expertise and international reputations of teaching staff at King’s College London and St Christopher’s Hospice. Other high profile experts in palliative care and other relevant disciplines and organisations also contribute to teaching.

We want to reflect the multi-professional nature of palliative care and provide an opportunity for different professionals to learn together. Past and present students include trainee doctors in palliative medicine, general practitioners, oncologists and anaesthetists, clinical nurse specialists in palliative care, community nurses, therapeutic radiographers, occupational therapists, social workers and music therapists. Previous overseas students have come from Europe (Denmark, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Switzerland) and from further afield (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Canada, South Africa, Uganda and the USA).

We promise the ‘cut and thrust’ of discussion among students and lecturers will always be exciting!

Programme content

The syllabus is arranged in modules each consisting of ten days taught tuition.

Core modules

  • Research methods and statistics in palliative care
  • Biology and management of symptoms in advanced disease
  • Service organisation and policy in palliative care
  • Psycho-social, cultural, ethical and spiritual issues

Optional modules

  • Advanced pain and symptom control
  • Service development and management
  • Advanced psycho-social, ethical and spiritual care
  • Applying epidemiology to palliative care

MSc research project

A research project (15,000 words) usually based on the analysis of original data you have collected in your place of work.

Flexible learning options

In addition to the MSc qualification, we also offer a Postgraduate Diploma and a Postgraduate Certificate. This enables you to access the MSc programme at a point that is relevant to your circumstances, achieve credits and leave at a point that specifically meets your needs. Work achieved at one level can be carried forward to the next level. A break from study can be taken providing the final qualification is completed within a five-year period from registration.

The successful completion of the core Research Methods and Statistics in Palliative Care module, plus two other modules achieves the Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care; four core modules and two optional modules achieves the Postgraduate Diploma in Palliative Care.

The addition of the completed research project achieves the MSc in Palliative Care.

Formal entry requirements

You should normally have a degree in medicine or nursing, or an upper second class honours degree in life sciences, social sciences, or other approved subject awarded by a United Kingdom university or a recognised overseas university. You should also be able to demonstrate experience of working in palliative care or palliative medicine – in clinical or social care, or from a practice or research point of view.

Further information or application forms

MSc Administrator
Department of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation, King’s College London School of Medicine, Cicely Saunders Institute, Bessemer Road, London SE5 9PJ
Telephone 020 7848 5435
Fax 020 7848 5517

Full details of the courses can be found on the Cicely Saunders Institute website at*

You can download a course information booklet at

Apply online at

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Learning at St Christopher’s

Why our education programme?

We have a well-established programme of high quality, cutting-edge, specialist palliative care education, designed for those working in the UK and internationally.

Why St Christopher’s?

Education is at the heart of St Christopher’s mission to promote and provide hospice care of the highest standards.

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