Postgraduate Diploma Cosmetic 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.


2021/22 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 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through 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. 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 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.


 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 2021 - July 2022 Fees

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

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.

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.