Postgraduate Certificate Palliative Care (Distance Learning)

The online Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care is designed to develop your knowledge, skills and confidence to care for patients who have life limiting illnesses and their families.

The course is designed for a variety of registered adult healthcare professionals within primary and secondary care. It will contribute to and enhance your abilities to lead and drive clinically-effective care with patients with advanced disease.

You will develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the issues within palliative care, examining the key legal, clinical, ethical and social issues, and how these translate into practice.

This distance learning course, which combines excellent resources and support from course leaders, allows you to combine both study and professional commitments. You have the option to study one module or a combination all three modules over one to five years.

We also offer a short online course in paediatric palliative care.

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 5 Years September Glyntaff A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 5 Years September Glyntaff A

Nature and Scope of Palliative Care: Specific issues pertinent to the delivery of effective palliative care - 20 credits
This will explore issues pertaining to palliative care via case studies and a narrative approach. These can include euthanasia, the right to die, and the use of advanced directives while considering the issue of capacity and choice.
Module leader: Maria Parry

Therapeutic Management of Life Limiting Illness in Palliative Care: Assessment and management of complex symptoms - 20 credits
The assessment and management of complex symptoms including pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, depression, fatigue and agitation will be explored and appropriate interventions critically discussed. Consideration through the module will be given to psychosocial issues, such as, anxiety and depression within patients who have a life limiting illness and the communication strategies used in relation to managing difficult symptoms.
Module leader: Clare Churcher

End of Life Care: Role of the professional in the care of an individual at the end of life, including perspectives from the individual and family - 20 credits
You will critically explore the role of the professional in the care of an individual at the end of their life. It will include exploring the impact of death and dying from a holistic perspective on the individual and family. The themes of loss, grief and bereavement will be central within this module. Professional, legal and ethical issues related to death and dying will also be considered through the module.
Module leader: Clare Churcher


This flexible modular programme allows you to complete to your own schedule. Plus, you can transfer the credits gained towards the MSc in Professional Practice.

Each module will have a number of contact days. During these contact days, discussion and support with the modules can be provided in various means such as telephone, e-mail or face to face if location allows.

However, the teaching team are available for support outside these contact days should you require it. Discussion forums are encouraged to link in with your fellow students wherever in the world they may be.

You will learn through:

  • Self-directed distance learning
  • Online learning environment with discussion forums
  • Contact days with your lecturer
  • Independent learning


Assessment involves written assignments and achievement of clinical competencies. You will receive key learning materials and be supported throughout the course by the module team and your contact with other students.

  • Nature and Scope of Palliative Care
    Two 2,500 word essays
  • The Therapeutic Management of Life Limiting Illness
    Two 2,500 word essays
  • End of life care
    One 6,000 word essay


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

An Honours degree or equivalent. Applications from individuals with evidence of ongoing professional development will also be considered through the accreditation of prior learning (APL)/ accreditation of prior and experiential learning (APEL) mechanism.

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Part-time UK:  £1000 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University for this course.

Admissions statement 

The Postgraduate Certificate Palliative Care course will enable students to demonstrate clear evidence of ongoing professional development in line with national strategic plans.