Postgraduate Diploma Cosmetic and Aesthetic Medicine (Online Delivery)

The online Postgraduate Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine, run in partnership with Diploma MSc, is aimed at doctors, dentists and nurses who require a postgraduate qualification to support their professional learning and clinical development to become an aesthetic practitioner.

Increased regulatory requirements for those performing aesthetic procedures, both from Health Education England and regulatory authorities such as the GDC, GMC and NMC, mean that a formal postgraduate qualification is now an essential element of a healthcare practitioner's journey to become an aesthetic practitioner. Taught completely online, the Postgraduate Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine has been developed with the express purpose of promoting and enhancing the professional knowledge underpinning practice in cosmetic medicine. Graduates have the option to progress to the Masters in Cosmetic Medicine.


Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 1 Year March Online 8
Part-time 1 Year September Online 8
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 1 Year March Online 8
Part-time 1 Year September Online 8

Module 1 - Anatomy, Physiology and Professional Issues Overview
Aim of the module:

The aim of the module is to address the life sciences underpinning cosmetic medicine and the professional and ethical issues that arise in practice.
Synopsis of module content:

●      Anatomy of the face – the skin, muscles, fat pads, blood vessels, nerves and bones within the face.
●      Physiology and physiological changes relating to these structures.
●      Facial structure functions and their relation to ageing.
●      Facial assessments and treatment plans.
●      Ethics for treating patients for financial gain (treatment dependent).
This module includes mandatory formative assessment activities, to support students learning and development prior to summative assessment tasks.

On completion of this module, students will be able to:
Critically apply in-depth anatomical and physiological knowledge of the face to the selection of appropriate cosmetic medical treatments.
Critically analyse the professional and ethical issues surrounding aesthetic medicine.

Module 2 - Toxin Treatments
Aim of the module:

Address botulism as a disease and the pharmacology of botulinum toxins and treatments.
Synopsis of module content:

●      Botulinum and botulism history.
●      Botulinum toxin pharmaceutical history and licenses.
●      Clostridia as bacteria.
●      Indications for use, common complications and their treatment.
●      Patient selection, injection techniques, indications, safety, adverse effects and combination treatments.

On completion of this module the student should be able to:
Critically apply the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of botulinum use in cosmetic and medical treatment.
Critically appraise the use of botulinum toxin in aesthetic treatments.

Module 3 - Dermal Fillers
Aim of the module:

Teach candidates about facial fillers, volume loss, facial fat pads and how treatment of a volume depleted face can have an impact on the aging face.
Synopsis of module content:

●      Anatomy of facial fat pads and physiological effects of ageing.
●      Dermal fillers
●      Hyaluronic Acids (HA), different manufacturers, cross linking (BDDE), length of fibre, duration of effect, fibroblasts (HA production, hyaluronidase).
●      Indications for Has, complications associated with the administration of Has and the treatment of complications
●      Avoiding complications.
●      Managing patient expectations.
●      Non HA fillers – permanent/temporary, synthetic/autologous.
●      Dermal fillers for specific regions – lips, hands.

On completion of this module the student should be able to:
Critically analyse the evidence base for the augmentation of facial fat pads with dermal fillers.
Critically evaluate the use of dermal fillers in aesthetic treatments.

Module 4 - Skin Treatments in Cosmetic Medicine
Aim of the module:

Understand skin in terms of: Embryology, structure and function.
To understand the effects of aging/sun/cigarette smoking upon the skin, and how treatments such as lasers and dermal peels can alter the skin elements.
Synopsis of module content:

●      Normal skin anatomy and physiology – layers of epidermis, layers of dermis, functions of epidermal layers/elements, function of dermis cells/non cellular elements.
●      How the skin changes with ageing and environmental damage in all aspects and layers.
●      Different types of Fitzpatrick skin types, the effect of ultraviolet light on the skin, sun tanning, sun protection, sun damage on the skin, skin ablative treatments, skin non ablative treatments, lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments.
●      IPL Treatments – what are they, how do they work what are the different parameters that can be used in laser treatments, dermal peels, and skin repair and emerging treatments.

On completion of this module the student should be able to:
Critically appraise the processes affecting damage to the skin.
Critically evaluate a variety of skin treatments.

Module 5 - Hair Disorders
Aim of the module:

The aims of the module are to understand hair growth and hair loss and relate that to medical treatments for hair removal and hair replacement.
Synopsis of module content:

●      Normal hair growth cycles.
●      Hair colour and variations.
●      Hair follicle anatomy, physiology and pathology, and how is this related to hair follicle pharmacological treatment.
●      What medical conditions are related to unwanted hair – polycystic ovary syndrome, folliculitis barbae, hormonal conditions, etc.
●      Hair aesthetics – hair removal with laser and IPL systems, specifically excluding mechanical hair removal (shaving, plucking, de-epilation, waxing, electrolysis, etc.)
●      How does laser hair removal produce a reduction in hair growth, which lasers can be used, what is the difference between each type of laser, what is the difference between laser hair removal and IPL hair removal.
●      Difference between hair reduction using “pain free” hair removal systems and using more traditional methods that have greater pain associated with them.
●      What is hair loss – how does it manifest itself, what are the different types of male hair loss patterns, and how can they be treated. What are the non-surgical methods of treatment (light therapy, hair stimulation non-surgical therapy) and what evidence is there to suggest their efficacy.
●      What drug treatments are available for hair loss, how do they work, how effective are they, what are their side effects, what are their pharmacological properties.
●      What surgical methods are available for hair loss.

On completion of this module the student should be able to demonstrate:
Critically apply knowledge of normal hair growth, hair follicle anatomy, physiology on a variety of hair pathologies.
Evaluate and appropriately recommend treatments used in hair removal.
Evaluate and appropriately recommend non-surgical methods used for the treatment of hair stimulation.

Module 6 - Other Aesthetic Approaches
Aim of the module:

The module aims to develop an understanding of the hormonal mechanisms underlying ageing and other effective anti-ageing strategies.
Synopsis of module content:

●      The physiology of aging including hormonal changes in testosterone, growth hormone and the menopause.
●      Menopause, andropause and somatopause.
●      Hormonal replacement as anti-ageing therapy.
●      Vitamins and anti-ageing.
●      The role of nutrition in anti-ageing.
●      Role of exercise as an anti-ageing strategy.
●      Exercise for the ageing person.
●      Platelet-rich plasma infusions and their effect in aesthetics and ageing.
●      Injection lipolysis, derma-rollers and micro needling.
●      Ultrasonic therapies and radiofrequency.

On completion of this module the student should be able to:

Critically apply the scientific evidence base to appraise the interaction between the ageing process and the endocrine system.
Critically evaluate investigations and treatments available for age-related hormonal deficiencies.
Critically appraise a range of anti-ageing strategies.


Delivered over one year, the online part time distance learning Postgraduate Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine has been designed to promote and enhance working professionals knowledge underpinning practice in cosmetic medicine. It consists of six modules (120 credits) each of six weeks’ duration, worth 20 credits each.

The Cosmetic Medicine course is wholly online and can be accessed by any student with a computer and access to the internet. Students are put in virtual tutor groups of 10-15 and they use a discussion forum to interact with the tutor and rest of the group. The format of the six modules follow the same pattern and module structure. During a module, students will use the course website several times a week to follow discussion threads, make their own contributions and interact with the tutor and fellow students. There is no didactic teaching, instead, students are asked questions and prompted to go and search the literature, read it critically and respond on the course website.


Each of the six modules has the same assessment format:

  • Academic Forum - 40%
  • Reflective Journal - 10%
  • Group/individual activity - 20%
  • Case based examination - 30%


As part of your studies you will have access to over 13,000 full-text journal articles, news articles and conference proceedings.


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.

 Health professionals working within a clinical setting, both UK and overseas, with a related Healthcare Science degree (including international qualifications) are eligible to apply for the PG Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine course.

Applicants will be expected to meet the below criteria:

·         Relevant degree.
·         Registered healthcare professional (e.g. doctor, dentist, nurse with independent prescriber status).
·         Completion of a recognised training course in aesthetic use of Botulinum toxins and fillers. Recognition of prior learning may be taken into consideration.
·         Evidence of having undertaken at least 10 cosmetic procedures in Botulinum toxins and fillers in the last 12 months.
·         Current indemnification for cosmetic procedures.

Applicants should submit copies of the following with their application:

·         Course certificates (including Independent prescriber certification where appropriate)
·         One written reference.
·         Indemnity insurance certificate.
·         Evidence of completing a minimum of 10 cosmetic procedures in Botulinum toxins and fillers (e.g. aesthetic portfolio).

Applications will be judged on the individual specifics of background and qualifications including ability to work at Postgraduate level (applicants may be asked to submit a piece of work for assessment to confirm that they are able to work comfortably at Postgraduate level and demonstrate requisite clinical/professional knowledge).

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.

This course is run in partnership with Diploma MSc. Please refer to their website for fee information.

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

This course is run in partnership with Diploma MSC who have over 10 years` experience in delivering award-winning, online, Postgraduate Diploma, MSc and MBA distance education courses.

Click here to apply to study this course via Diploma MSC.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine prepares graduates for a leadership role in the field. These roles are evolving with increasing demand from specialists for a postgraduate qualification to help support their professional learning and clinical development.