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PGCert, PGDip and MSc in

Palliative Care

Implementing Best Practice

Learn how to make a difference by developing, delivering and evaluating care that facilitates best practice in palliative care and care for people living with long-term and life-limiting conditions.

Course length 1 year full-time, 1 to 5 years part-time 12 weeks CPD module
Start date September 2024
Location Online programme
Watch the video about the MSc in Palliative Care: Implementing Best Practice



Book a one-to-one appointment with the Programme Director

We're delighted to be able to offer a number of online one-to-one appointments with the Directors of our PGCert, PGDip and MSc in Palliative Care: Implementing Best Practice. If you have any questions about the programme, or would like to discuss your circumstances, please book an appointment with Dr Mark Pearson, Programme Director. 

About the programme

Life expectancy is increasing worldwide, with people living for longer and often with multiple chronic conditions. Palliative care, including rehabilitation and ‘living well’, is increasingly needed in people’s homes and other community settings, as well as in hospices and hospitals.

Delivering evidence-based, cost-effective palliative care in partnership with communities requires health and social care professionals, policymakers and researchers who can lead change and use robust evidence to inform their work. These professionals must be able to design, conduct, and critically appraise research about what should be done, how it is done, and to what effect. There is an urgent need for professionals in this field to drive positive change in palliative care.

Our MSc in Palliative Care: Implementing Best Practice programme is designed to address this significant gap. It will enable and empower you, whether you are a health and social care professional, policymaker or researcher, to progress your development, delivery and evaluation of care that facilitates best practice in palliative care and long-term conditions.

This programme is delivered 100% online, allowing you to access our world-renowned, research-led teaching from anywhere in the world. Designed specifically for an online audience, we use a range of interactive activities to support learning, including discussion forums, webinars and online lectures.

Key benefits

  • Develop the research and personal skills, attributes, and confidence to apply your learning to implement evidence-based palliative care whether your focus is hospital, hospice, or community, regional, national or international
  • Delivered by some of the world’s leading palliative care experts, who have helped shape clinical guidelines and government policy
  • Qualification progression routes: PGCert, PGDip and MSc
  • Build your global network of palliative care professionals and connect with like-minded peers
  • Study mode is 100% online – you can study anywhere
  • Flexible study options – full-time or part-time
  • Most modules are also available as standalone CPD courses

Who is this programme for?

The programme is open to professionals working anywhere in the world who work in palliative care or the care of people living with long-term conditions and who have a drive to leverage change in services in the field.

We are seeking ambitious, creative future researchers, clinical academics, policy makers and leaders who have a desire to change lives through influencing service provision in palliative care.

Palliative care is multidisciplinary, and we welcome students from a range of specialities including medical clinicians and GPs, health and social care professionals, policymakers, researchers, and decision makers at local, regional and national level.


Professor Jonathan Koffman

Professor Jonathan Koffman,
Programme Director

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Mark Pearson

Dr Mark Pearson,
Programme Director

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What will you learn?

You will learn how to develop, deliver and evaluate care that facilitates best practice in palliative care and the care of people living with long-term conditions.

Specifically, you will learn how to:

  • Conduct a research project in your own work setting or country
  • Engage critically and knowledgeably about how factors such as gender, ethnicity and disability impact on palliative care research and implementation
  • Critically appraise the strengths and limitations of different forms of evidence
  • Design and conduct palliative care research that makes a positive impact relevant to patients, carers, workforce and policymakers
  • Design processes for, and confidently engage with, patients and the public throughout the research development, delivery and dissemination process
  • Present and critically reflect on evidence using structured, coherent arguments appropriate to the material, medium, and audience
  • Use implementation research to enable palliative care research to be successfully operationalised through working with key stakeholders (clinicians, managers, policy makers, and patients)

Your learning journey will be integrated by key threads in each module: equity, patient and public involvement, implementation science, and critical appraisal. This integrated and holistic approach will enable you to develop the research and personal skills, attributes, and confidence to apply your learning to the challenges of implementing evidence-based palliative care in your own settings, regions, and/or countries.

We offer additional master classes, training and dissemination events for students and graduates, to encourage you to integrate and develop your skill set beyond the remit of the programme and enhance your professional credibility and confidence in research.

For students undertaking the MSc, we will support you to further your early research career. We will offer guidance to students who wish to publish their research in high-impact peer-reviewed scientific journals, contribute to Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact case studies, achieve conference success, and/or progress to PhD study.

Qualification routes

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

The PGCert provides you with the theoretical and practical grounding of contemporary issues in palliative care and long-term conditions.

The PGCert introduces you to global challenges faced by palliative care, the principles of implementation science in contributing to overcoming these challenges, and the practical skills in critically appraising evidence and conducting palliative care research when evaluating complex interventions relevant to palliative care and long-term conditions.

Credits: 60
Study length: Typically completed part-time in one year (or can be studied over two years)

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

The PGDip enhances your knowledge and skills acquired in the PGCert modules with more specialist learning in research methods and the application of implementation science to address current and future challenges in palliative care and long-term conditions, that you can continue to build on in your own academic studies or career.

Credits: 120
Study length: Typically completed part-time in two years (or can studied over four years)

Masters (MSc)

The MSc will consolidate and build on learning from the modules undertaken as part of the PGCert and PGDip to develop your knowledge, skills, and confidence to undertake and deliver a high-quality research project relevant to the development and evaluation of best practice in palliative care and long-term conditions.

Credits: 180
Study length: Typically completed full-time in one year or part-time in three years (or can be studied over five years)

Course content


Teaching and assessment

How is the programme taught?

The programme is delivered 100% online using our Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

This online delivery will enable you to study flexibly, although students should endeavour to take part in the online group discussion sessions held weekly for approximately one hour between 10am and 1pm (GMT).

We deliver our teaching and learning online through:

  • Lectures
  • Small group seminars (tutor-led and student-led)
  • Q&A seminars with tutors and external experts
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Feedback and support from tutors and other students, particularly through discussion boards that build on questions identified in lectures and which are related to students' professional practice
  • Self-directed learning
  • Formative and summative feedback


The modules are assessed using a range of approaches, please see each module for details.

Formative assessments include group presentations, written briefs, and poster presentations.

Summative assessments include essays, poster presentations, protocols, oral presentations, and exams. Students studying for the Masters will also undertake a 15,000 word dissertation.


Career prospects

By enrolling in this course, you are opening doors to a future filled with remarkable opportunities and rewarding accomplishments.

Graduates from this programme will develop the knowledge and skills to develop or further their careers in the following roles, including those who wish to combine them with a clinical academic path:

  • Consultant in Palliative Medicine, guiding patients and their families through the most challenging times with compassion and expertise
  • Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, leading a team of dedicated professionals to provide unparalleled support and comfort to those in need
  • Physiotherapy Consultant, using your advanced knowledge to improve the wellbeing and quality of life for patients facing difficult circumstances
  • Chief Executive of a Hospice, overseeing an organisation that delivers exceptional care to countless individuals during their most vulnerable moments

Furthermore, for those who seek to deepen their understanding and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field, pursuing a PhD is a natural progression. By embarking on this academic journey, you can position yourself on a career track that allows you to shape and influence the very methods that researchers employ, making substantial contributions to the field of palliative care.

If you have a passion for healthcare, a drive to excel, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact, this course will empower you to unlock a future filled with endless possibilities.

This opportunity allows you to embark on a journey that will not only shape your career but also transform the lives of those you serve.


Entry requirements

Applicants must have previous training in a health or social care profession (e.g. graduates of medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or social work or other allied health and social care professions), in a science applied to human or organisational behaviour (e.g. graduates of psychology or sociology) or have equivalent professional experience.

Applicants must have a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

All applications will be subject to successful completion of an online interview.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must have one of the following:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components
  • LangCert B2 Communicator High Pass (minimum score 33/50)
  • WASSCE: C5

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK (Home) and International (including EU) fees

The fee per stage is £4,240 (stage 1 - Certificate; stage 2 - Diploma; and stage 3 - Masters).

Individual modules are also available as CPD at a cost of £2,100 per 20 credit module.

Fees listed are for 2024 entry; fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation as fees are reviewed on an annual basis and may change.


We are pleased to offer a Palliative Care Excellence Scholarship of up to £4240, offered as a tuition fee reduction, to a UK applicant joining our PGCert, PGDip or MSc in Palliative Care Implementing Best Practice in 2024 who meets our eligibility criteria.

Find out more about the Palliative Care Excellence Scholarship.


How to apply

Applications are made online via the University of York website:

Apply for the Certificate (PGCert)

Apply for the Diploma (PGDip)

Apply for the Masters (MSc)

Applications for individual modules will be open soon.

The closing date for applications is 31 July 2024.