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One year full-time, two years part-time

Application Deadline

30 June


St George's, University of London

UK, EU and non-EU (international)

citizens may apply

Start dates

9 September 2024

The only programme of its kind in the UK and Europe, our MSc is taught by world-leading experts from the Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George’s NHS Foundation Trust – one of the UK’s top multidisciplinary clinics dedicated to sudden cardiac death prevention and one of few centres globally specialising in sports cardiology.

Our course directors are the leading sports cardiologists in the UK and consultants to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), English Institute of Sport, English and Wales Cricket Board and the Rugby Football Union. Professor Sanjay Sharma is also the Medical Director for the London Marathon and consultant to the football association and the British Lawn Tennis Association. Professor Michael Papadakis is the president of the European section of Sports Cardiology and Exercise of the European Association of Preventative Cardiology (EAPC).

As well as their unrivalled expertise and cutting-edge research, you’ll benefit from the team’s global connections. This brings opportunities to hear direct from international experts, evaluate several hundred patients with heart disease, and screen young people and top-level athletes, which has previously included footballers from Premier League teams such as Chelsea and Tottenham, the England rugby squad and the British Olympic squad.

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Course overview

Sudden cardiac death is the leading medical cause of death in athletes and sadly at least 12 apparently fit young people die in the UK each week from an underlying, undiagnosed heart condition. Around 80% of these individuals have no prior symptoms and therefore cardiac screening is the only way to determine if they are carrying a hereditary heart defect.

A rapidly evolving subspecialty in cardiology, more sports cardiologists are needed to work with patients – especially athletes – to monitor, check for risk of and prevent cardiac complications. This is done by assessing family history, medical background and conduct tests such as echocardiogram (ECG) or measuring the heart rhythm during exercise.

This course will be of interest to a broad range of physicians and allied health professionals wishing to learn more about sports cardiology and inherited cardiac conditions, including cardiac physiologists, cardiac physiotherapists, nurses and sports scientists. This course may be suitable for highly motivated medical students with the opportunity to register for an intercalated MSc.

It offers a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive range of expertise in sports cardiology, including cardiovascular evaluation, cardiac screening, cardiac rehabilitation and exercise prescription and the management of athletes and individuals with heart disease. Specialist optional modules allow you to tailor your study to match your interests, for example, in emergency response planning in sport arenas or interpretation of genetic testing in inherited cardiac conditions.

You will also cement your practical skills for the evaluation of athletes of different demographics and sporting disciplines, as well as healthy sedentary young individuals and patients with heart disease.

You will be taught (and most likely inspired) by our highly respected, world-leading experts in the field of sports cardiology based at the St George’s renowned Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology. Since opening in 2010 with support from CRY, the Centre has helped shape the future for cardiac screening in young people with thousands of screening tests conducted by our students.

Teaching is delivered in collaboration with an internationally renowned consortium, giving you access to expertise limited to only a few centers around the world. The active involvement of key figures from sporting organisations facilitates innovative educational projects, enhancing your practical experience and cultivating your leadership skills.

St George’s, University of London is a university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research. We share our site with a major London teaching hospital which is both on the clinical frontline for a diverse local community and a center of excellence for specialist conditions. You’ll study in a clinical setting with like-minded individuals, mixing with the many different healthcare professionals you will go on to work alongside throughout your career.

Course highlights

  • Taught by highly respected, world-leading experts in the field of sports cardiology, responsible for the key recommendations and guidance in the field, publications in high impact peer reviewed medical journals and numerous presentations at national and international conferences.
  • Innovative case-based learning covers different clinical scenarios and multiple practical opportunities to review real-life cases.
  • The centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology is considered one of the best in the world for its research on athletes’ hearts and their adaptation to exercise and provides screening for major sporting organisations in the UK.
  • First accredited centre in Sports Cardiology by the EAPC.
  • Part of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute, the Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group (CAG) is leading research to decipher the mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disorders, improving patient diagnosis, risk stratification, treatment and outcomes.
  • Established in 1752, St George’s, University of London is the UK’s specialist health university, and we are the only UK university to share our campus with a major teaching hospital, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, helping to build your multidisciplinary understanding and context.
  • St George's offers a number of scholarships for outstanding students wishing to study a postgraduate course.

““I worked in general cardiology, screening football teams in São Paulo and in the Rio Olympic games as a volunteer doctor, and wanted to learn more about sports cardiology. Dr Papadakis and Professor Sharma were a huge influence in choosing St George’s because they are experts in this area. It also helps to have the hospital here; we do the clinics and I have all the access to patients.””

- Clea

Entry criteria

To be considered for this course, you will need to:

  • meet the entry criteria
  • write a personal statement
  • provide two suitable references.

Undergraduate degree or equivalent

You should have or be expected to achieve, a minimum of a second class degree (2:2) in a life science subject.  For healthcare graduates, a pass is required. All degrees must be awarded before 1 August on the year of entry for September start.

It is highly desirable for applicants to have practical experience in a healthcare role.

Please note, we require all students to have a basic competency with the interpretation of the 12-lead ECG.

For individuals who do not have experience of ECG interpretation, cannot provide evidence, or wish to refresh their ECG skills, an ECG course offered by St George’s will be available close to the commencement of the course.

We may invite you to interview if we are unable to make a decision directly from your application.

Intercalating students

Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree but are current medical students who have successfully completed 360 credits (or equivalent) including at least 120 credits at Level 6 (or equivalent) of their medical degree are also eligible to apply.

International qualifications

We accept equivalent qualifications gained in other countries and use to assess. Please see our International Student Support pages for more information.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at

English Language

This is a Group 2 course.

Full details can be found on our English Language requirements webpages.

Personal statement and references

You will be asked to outline your reasons for applying for the course in a brief personal statement. This must be completed on the subject-specific personal statement form located on the ‘Apply’ tab. Please upload this when completing your application form. You will also need to provide two satisfactory references. See the ‘Apply’ tab for more information.

Course structure

Research shows that those who participate in sport, on average, live six years longer than those who do not. Sports and regular exercise has countless beneficial effects on a number of conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and heart disease.

On this course, core modules will help you understand the effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system and the impact of exercise on individuals with heart disease; from coronary artery disease most commonly associated with middle aged adults, to some of the more uncommon heart conditions, ranging from arrhythmias to structural abnormalities such as cardiomyopathies.

The goals is not to tell people to avoid sport, but to understand how we can best monitor athletes and those who want to safely participate in exercise to reduce the risks presented by undiagnosed heart conditions. Referring to real-life cases and dealing with patients in clinic, you will discover how lifestyle modifications, pharmaceutical remedies and surgical options can allow a continuation of a relatively active lifestyle even for those with inherited or congenital heart defects.

MSc students will select and research an in-depth topic on a subject/issue of their choice, with supervision from our expert staff and the possibility for additional external supervision. Previous students have, for example, researched the composition of coronary artery disease in older athletes, the prevalence and impact of arrhythmias in older athletes, and the impact of exercise on the adolescent footballer’s heart and aorta. They have implemented and assessed the impact of resuscitation training in schoolchildren and even created a national screening programme for cardiac conditions in high schools in Malta.

The full-time MSc will normally be completed over one year or part-time over two years. To qualify for the award of Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), you must complete all core modules (excluding the research project) and two option modules. For the award of Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), students are required to complete four modules. Lectures and tutorials are typically delivered on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, leaving Wednesday free for self-study.

Our wide range of specialist modules can also be studied individually as part of Continuous Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) however, practice modules must be studied with their corresponding theory module.

Modules throughout the course may include the below core and optional modules. Please note modules listed here are indicative and the actual modules available may vary when you enrol.

Course start date

The course will start with enrolment and induction activities on 9 - 10 September 2024. Topics covered will include the virtual learning platform, library and careers service as well as course specific sessions. There will also be keynote speakers and a social event where students from a variety of postgraduate taught courses can get to know each other.

Core modules

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Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology (15 credits)

Students will explore cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, including knowledge of cellular and molecular mechanisms. They will study the interaction between the cardiovascular and respiratory systems during exercise and the impact of different sports and training regimes on the cardiovascular system. Students will appraise the long-term impact of exercise on the cardiovascular system and how this is influenced by demographic factors, disease processes and performance enhancing substances. They will report on the impact of exercising under extreme environmental conditions as well as the notion of overtraining.

Cardiac Rehabilitation (15 credits)

This module is designed to enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies to organise, manage and deliver Cardiac Rehabilitation programmes within a hospital or community setting. The module will provide special focus to rehabilitation of athletes or individuals with cardiac disorders who wish to return to exercise and work and learn to manage their condition and deal with activities of daily living. The module will be based on the European guidelines for cardiac rehabilitation, which promote evidence-based practice for individuals who have had a known cardiac event. Students will be equipped with knowledge of aspects of cardiac disease, be exposed to the multi-disciplinary nature of effective cardiac rehabilitation services and learn to modify rehabilitation programmes for athletes and older people with cardiac disease.

Principles of Cardiovascular Evaluation of Athletes (15 credits)

This module provides students with comprehensive knowledge of the principles of cardiovascular evaluation of athletes and athletic and non-athletic individuals with suspected cardiac disease. Students will gain in depth understanding of how to differentiate between physiological adaptation to exercise and phenotypes of cardiac disease. Students will explore the indications and interpretation of a number of investigative modalities including, 12-lead ECG, ECG monitor, signal averaged ECG, exercise ECG and cardiopulmonary exercise testing, echocardiography, cardiac MRI, CT coronary angiography and drug provocation testing. In addition, students will gain an appreciation of the value and challenges of genetic testing and potential implications for the athlete. Finally, students will critically appraise current recommendations relating to sport participation of individuals with inherited, congenital and acquired cardiac conditions.

Practice of Cardiovascular Evaluation of Atheletes (15 credits)

This module provides students with comprehensive practical experience on the cardiovascular evaluation of athletic and non-athletic individuals with suspected cardiac disease. Students will gain in depth understanding of how to evaluate athletes within different clinical scenarios and how to differentiate between physiological adaptation to exercise and phenotypes of cardiac disease. Students will explore the indications and interpretation of a number of investigative modalities including, 12-lead ECG, ECG monitor, signal averaged ECG, exercise ECG and cardiopulmonary exercise testing, echocardiography, cardiac MRI, CT coronary angiography and drug provocation testing. In addition, students will gain an understanding of the value and challenges of genetic testing and potential implications for the athlete. Finally, students will gain an understanding of current recommendations relating to sport participation of individuals with inherited, congenital and acquired cardiac conditions.

Principles of Cardiovascular Screening (15 credits)

In this module students will gain insight into phenotypes, investigative modalities and management of cardiac conditions predisposing young individuals to sudden cardiac death. They will appraise different primary and secondary prevention measures with particular emphasis on pre-participation cardiovascular screening. Students will explore different perspectives and practices around the globe. They will critically appraise the potential benefits and risks of a widespread screening programme and its application in different populations. They will evaluate the advantages and limitations of different screening modalities, including the psychological impact of screening and associated ethical and legal considerations.

Practice of Cardiovascular Screening (15 credits)

In this module students will have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of cardiac screening of various populations including: elite athletes; amateur athletes; master athletes; school children who exercise; and sedentary individuals. Students will critically appraise the advantages and limitations of different screening modalities and gain competencies in performing cardiovascular screening in order to prevent acute cardiovascular events and potential worsening of cardiovascular disease. Students will analyse the logistical, financial, ethical and medico-legal challenges of organizing a screening programme. Finally, students will gain an appreciation of the psychological, ethical and legal considerations associated with the disqualification of athletes with heart disease from competitive sport.

Research Methods (15 credits)

This module starts by addressing the question ‘what is research?’ and goes on to look at a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research study designs and approaches and their advantages and disadvantages. There is a strong emphasis on good research practice, designing studies using tools and approaches to minimise bias and maximise scientific rigour. This is augmented by establishing the mechanisms of collecting quantitative and qualitative data. There will also be a lecture on writing a research protocol as preparation for the module assignment.

This module is optional if you hold another postgraduate degree (MSc, PhD).

Research Project/Thesis (60 credits)

Optional modules

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Emergency Response Planning (15 credits)

In this module students will review current recommendations from scientific and sporting bodies regarding safety measures in sport arenas as well as outdoors competitions in city streets, open water and motor sports. They will gain insight into the current state of safety measures in sport facilities around Europe, and will critically appraise evidence supporting the use of automated external defibrillators. Students will have the opportunity to listen to organisers (medical directors, team doctors) of mass events who will provide them with first-hand experience of the challenges of ensuring the safety of athletes and spectators in such events.

Advanced Management and Genomics of Inherited Cardiac Conditions (15 credits)

This module builds on the knowledge provided in the Principles of Cardiovascular Screening module where students gained insight into phenotypes, investigative modalities and management of cardiac conditions predisposing young individuals to sudden cardiac death. This module will provide students with a systematic approach to assess complex, disease-specific, issues related to inherited cardiac conditions and formulate appropriate management plans. Students will also gain insight in cardiac genetics and genomics and will evaluate the role of genetic testing in the setting of an inherited cardiac conditions clinic and Sports Cardiology. Students will assess the need for genetic testing, evaluate potential ethical, medicolegal and clinical implications and gain insight into the interpretation of the results.

Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Applied Genomics (15 credits)

Students will be provided with a platform of ethical understanding from which to consider issues of confidentiality, privacy and disclosure, autonomy, welfare, informed consent and justice. Upon this platform, students will consider the impact of genomic technologies on individual lives and public discourse. The social implications of the availability of genetic testing and screening will be considered, especially in the context of reproductive technologies. Finally, students will be provided with a discussion of legal issues surrounding the use of genetic information as well as the use of genetic data for research, diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Counselling Skills in Genomics (15 credits)

This module will provide students with an introduction to general communication skills and specific counselling skills used in genomic medicine. Students undertaking this module will be taught how to communicate and provide appropriate support to individuals and their families. Development of counselling skills will be achieved via theoretical and practical sessions through the use of role play within an academic setting. Students will understand the importance of a family history and communication of pathogenic and/or uncertain results.

Teaching and learning

Traditional teaching is delivered through a variety of methods such as lectures, course-specific seminars and small group sessions. You will also participate in self-directed study and wider reading, as well as individual and group practical sessions.

This is a highly practical and interactive course where you will have the opportunity to review hundreds of real-life cases and their investigations, including ECGs, echocardiograms, exercise tests and cardiopulmonary exercise tests, ECG monitors, cardiac MRIs and more advanced cardiac investigations. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art equipment used by cardiac physiologists, such as ECG, echocardiography, cardiopulmonary exercise machines and cardiac MRIs.

You’ll learn how to treat young patients and top-level athletes, which has previously included footballers from Premier League teams such as Chelsea and Tottenham, the England rugby squad and the British Olympic squad.

Our expertise

One of the things students tell us they like most about and often attracted them to the course is the world class knowledge and expertise of our lecturers. Professor Sharma and Dr Papadakis have been integral to the publication of the European curriculum of Sports Cardiology, the international ECG criteria for an athlete’s evaluation and the recently published 2020 European Society of Cardiology Guidelines on Sports Cardiology and Exercise in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease, which will be used to guide physicians for the next decade.

Your learning draws on their excellent connections in the sporting world, which ranges from guest lectures to panels of experts from different sporting disciplines discussing topics as diverse as their experiences of organising screening for athletes or the contrasting approaches to finance within organised sport.

Relating what you are learning to real events and activities, where possible, you’ll also visit sports clubs to speak to team doctors about how sports planning works. On the emergency response planning module, for example, you will hear direct from those involved in organising major events like the London Marathon, triathlons and road cycling races with the possibility of acting as part of the medical team in one of those events.

We encourage our students to publish assignments consider to be of the highest quality. You will also be invited to write book chapters, review articles and publish your original research.

Assessment methods

Progress throughout the course will be assessed through a variety of methods, including literature review, essays, case reports, presentations, data analysis and your research project.


The growth in the number of competitive athletes, the drive for preventive medicine and a healthier lifestyle and the rising population of amateur athletes – with 2.5 million marathon runs per year in Europe alone – has led to an increase in the need for cardiologists with an in-depth knowledge of sports cardiology.

Sports cardiologists evaluate a wide range of individuals, including young athletes (with symptoms or as part of cardiac screening), athletes with inherited cardiac conditions, older recreational athletes with coronary artery disease and individuals who simply want to take up exercise as part of improving their general wellbeing.

The lack of dedicated training means that, currently, physicians with no formal training in sports cardiology perform the majority of these evaluations. Given the complexities of the field, individuals with limited knowledge and experience are likely to resort to numerous, costly and often redundant investigations, which has huge implications for health services around the world. In the professional sporting world, such practice has the potential for causing delays in an athlete’s clearance for competition, unwarranted anxiety and potentially false disqualification.

Our Sports Cardiology MSc aims to address the lack of structured training in the field and enhance the qualifications of physicians, physiologists, physiotherapists, nurses and sports scientists who are committed to training in cardiology, sports medicine or exercise physiology by providing them with a unique degree and highly sought-after set of skills.

Our long-standing collaboration with major sporting bodies, clubs and charitable organisations and the participation of key figures from the industry offers the chance to network and explore the prospect of potential employers. You will gain a good understanding of the needs of such organisations and receive career advice from potential employers.

Successful completion of our master’s courses will set you apart from the competition and provide you with unique employment opportunities within national health systems, sporting organisations and charitable organisations dedicated to sport and prevention of sudden cardiac death.

Whether you are interested in a career within the NHS or elsewhere, our MSc will provide you with the skills and qualifications in the field of Sports Cardiology and inherited cardiac conditions to rise above the competition. It will equip you with knowledge to evaluate a wide range of individuals, from high-level, elite athletes, to older recreational athletes at risk of coronary artery disease and individuals with or without heart disease who wish to take up exercise as part of improving their general wellbeing.

Example career routes

  • Charitable organisations
  • NHS
  • PhD study
  • Private practice
  • Research
  • Sporting events
  • Sports clubs
  • Sports organisations
  • Teaching/training

Facilities and support

St George’s is the only UK university, which specialises in healthcare education and is based on a hospital site, namely St George’s Hospital, where much of the Channel 4 television series 24 hours in A&E was filmed. We offer a unique opportunity to study and work alongside the full range of clinical professionals and their patients.

Since its first inception in 1954, the St George’s Hospital Cardiology department has been at the forefront of providing pioneering specialist cardiology care to patients. The Cardiology Clinical Academic Group offers all aspects of treatments for heart conditions across South West London and Surrey. As well as sports cardiology, it runs a specialised service for treatment of the full spectrum of cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, heart rhythm disorders, heart failure and inherited cardiac diseases including diseases of the thoracic aorta. These include weekly specialist clinics, one-stop heart failure clinics, direct rapid access to high quality echocardiography, MRI, BP and ECG monitoring and cardiac rehabilitation services. 

We also have a range of specialist health and academic facilities to support your learning, listed below.

Library and learning technology

Our modern health sciences library offers a wide range of books, e-books, academic journals and other resources to support you. You will also have access to online resources, such as the Canvas virtual learning environment

and our Hunter discovery service to help you find the information you need. The library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and comprises silent, quiet and group learning areas, as well as four group discussion rooms. 

IT facilities

We have five computer suites housing 260 workstations. Three of these suites are accessible 24 hours a day. It’s easy to find a free space with our handy real-time computer locator. We also have 75 self-service laptops available. Free Wi-Fi covers the whole campus, including all accommodation. You can use these resources to access your course materials, discussion boards and feedback through Canvas.

Student support

Whether you are an existing healthcare professional, returning to education after a break or joining us after graduating from an undergraduate degree, we want to ensure your experience is positive from the outset. At St George’s, you’ll be welcomed by a multicultural student and staff body of different ages, ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds, all with one thing in common – an interest in healthcare, science and medicine.

Students frequently tell us they greatly appreciate the diversity of our student and staff body, as well as the patients who access healthcare services in the borough of Tooting. The University attracts a substantial number – over two-thirds – of ‘mature’ students, aged 21 or over when they start; many have family and caring responsibilities.

We offer a full range of academic support and student services across all institutes, departments and faculties, some of which are listed below. We take pride in offering a transformative educational experience underpinned by cooperation and collaboration between staff and students.

If you require reasonable adjustments or disability services you can find information on our disability information for students pages. For any further information please contact the disability adviser.  

Academic support

You’ll have access to your lecturers and module leads usually by arrangement via email.

On arrival, you will be allocated a personal tutor – someone with whom you can have regular contact, who you ask questions and discuss problems with, both academic and personal. The main purpose of a personal tutor is to monitor your progress, pick up and help you resolve any problems, whether academic or welfare related. Even if they don’t have the answer they will point you in the right direction towards the best people to deal with specific problems.

Induction programme

The main goal of induction is to make sure that you are set up for your studies and start to feel part of the University and our community. As well as course-specific activities, we run an online ‘Get Started’ module which provides lots of information about social and enrichment activities, student safety, wellbeing and learning support, including study skills, a library induction and guidance about our careers and employability services. Additional information is provided for international students.

Student Life Centre

Our Student Centre team can help you with every aspect of student life: finances, accommodation, exams and assessment, academic procedures, admissions, international queries, disability and wellbeing, even finding your way around – whatever it takes to make you feel at home. Each course has a designated contact within the student centre to link to and your personal tutor can signpost you to relevant support, including a confidential counselling service.

Careers service

Our careers service works to support current students and recent graduates to find and maintain the career of their dreams. We work with careers tutors from each course area to ensure that careers activities specific to your programmes and future profession come to you.

How to apply

Before beginning your application please check the entry criteria of the course you wish to study to ensure you meet the required standards.

Applications must be submitted through our online application system, which you can access below. 

Complete a personal statement form

  • Download and complete the Personal statement form (Word).
  • Move on to Step 1, and upload the completed Personal Statement Form as part of your application.

Access our online application system

1. Select the relevant application link and create an account:

2. Once you have created your account, you will then be able to complete an application form and upload any relevant documents. You will need to complete the Personal Statement Form above and upload it to the personal statement section of your application. You can save a partly completed form and return to it later. Please make sure you complete all sections, and that the information you provide is accurate.

3. Add to your address book to ensure you do not miss any important emails from us.

4. When you have checked that your application is complete and accurate, click ‘submit’.

You can track your application through your online account.

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Guidance for completing your references

When completing your application, you will be asked to provide contact details of two referees. Please ensure these details are accurate. As soon as you have submitted your application, your referees will be contacted by the university asking them to upload a reference to your online application.

One must be a recent academic reference. The other should be either a second academic reference or a professional/employer reference. They should cover your suitability for the course and your academic ability.

Your referees should know you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. We do not accept references from family, friends, partners, ex-partners or yourself.

We will send reminder emails to your referees but it is your responsibility to ensure that contact details are correct and referees are available to submit a reference. References should be uploaded within two weeks of making your application.

Fees and funding

In this tab you will find the financial information for this course of study, including details of financial support.

Tuition fees

2024 UK (home)

  • Full-time MSc: £15,250
  • Part-time MSc (2 years): £8,150 per annum
  • Full-time PgDip: £10,240
  • Part-time PgDip (2 years): £5,500 per annum
  • Part-time PgCert (1 year): £5,800

2024 International (including EU)

  • Full-time MSc: £25,200
  • Part-time MSc (2 years): £13,400 per annum
  • Full-time PgDip: £16,800
  • Part-time PgDip (2 years): £9,700 per annum
  • Part-time PgCert (1 year): £10,000

We do not expect students to incur any extra costs over and above those that we have advertised on the course page. To get the most from your studies, you will need your personal computer or laptop and an internet connection in your home. Find out more about technology requirements.

Funding your study

We have a range of funding opportunities available for students. You may be eligible for the following.

Apply now


One year full-time, two years part-time

Application Deadline

30 June

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