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Palliative Care MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert

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Our Palliative Care programme will give you the skills to critically appraise research and evidence on palliative care, conduct high quality research, improve clinical practice and develop services across the world. You will have world-class teaching at one of the strongest centres of palliative care research in the world and the only purpose-built institute for palliative care.


Key benefits

  • Our course has a national and international reputation which attracts students from all over the world
  • Strongly focused on evidence and an understanding how to conduct research in palliative care and related areas
  • Course based at the Cicely Saunders Institute, a WHO Collaborating Centre for palliative care and rehabilitation that is at the heart of national and international research and academic-clinical collaborations
  • Our teaching staff are academics, practitioners, policy makers and global leaders in palliative care
  • Our MSc is delivered with St Christopher’s Hospice, which provides skilled and compassionate palliative care of the highest quality.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT or two years PT, January to December. Next entry January 2021.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 25-30 FT/ PT.

Course leaders

Dr Clare Ellis-Smith


Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care



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Course detail


  • Delivered by King’s Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care and St Christopher’s Hospice the course will give you the skills you need to evaluate research and evidence in issues of palliative care to inform your clinical practice and your service development.
  • Our primary aim is to improve your ability, competence and confidence to care for patients with advanced disease, and for their families. This requires you to be able to critically evaluate evidence of the effectiveness, appropriateness and acceptability of existing interventions and services, both medical and psychosocial.
  • This course is multi-disciplinary and multi- professional. You will learn alongside palliative care professionals from across the world and from all disciplines at the Cicely Saunders Institute. We have students from a wide range of disciplines and professions including doctors, chaplains, nurses, social workers and physiotherapists.
  • You will develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the many clinical, social, psychosocial, and ethical issues which surround palliative care, and how to assess and deal with them.

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment. 




Course purpose

This course incorporates leading research and innovative and evidence-based practice. It is delivered by the Cicely Saunders Institute in partnership with St Christopher’s Hospice.

Our programme is open to any professional working in palliative care or with people facing advanced illness. Palliative care is a multidisciplinary speciality involving doctors, nurses, and allied health and social care professionals. We believe our students learn best in a classroom reflecting that range of professions.

Our aim is to develop your competence and confidence in caring for patients with advanced disease, while supporting people close to them. Within your practice, you need to be able to critically evaluate the evidence behind different palliative care treatments. This is why there is such a strong focus on research and evidence-based practice in our programmes.

Please note: The course runs from January to December.

Further literature

For further information about our postgraduate opportunities, please visit our Faculty Postgraduate Study handbook here.

Course format and assessment


From January 2021, the blended MSc, Diploma and Certificate programme in Palliative Care will combine online educational resources and opportunities for interaction online with classroom teaching. This means that you will have the option of classroom teaching, or accessing our teaching remotely to ensure that you can fully engage in your studies, no matter what the circumstances or where you are in the world.

You’ll be taught by academics and professionals at the cutting-edge of palliative care research and practice. We work closely with St Christopher’s Hospice to deliver the modules and we bring in experts from around the world to teach on different subjects. We want you to receive the most current thinking on all aspects of palliative care.

We have deliberately designed the course to fit around your commitments at home and at work. Each of our modules is delivered in two week blocks throughout the year, with time for self-directed learning in between. 


Study time

15-credit module

150 face-to-face taught or self-directed learning hours.

30-credit module

300 face-to-face taught or self-directed learning hours.

Research Study Project (MSc students only)

600 hours of self-directed learning.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work


You will be assessed using a combination of coursework and exams across the different modules. If you are an MSc student, you will be required to write a 15,000-word research study project.

The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.



Year 1

Required Modules

If you are an MSc student, you will take a total of 180 credits.

If you are a PG Dip student, you will take a total of 120 credits.

If you are a PG Cert student, you will take a total of 60 credits.

If you are an MSc student or a PG Dip student, you are required to take 4 out of the 5 modules. If you are a PG Cert student, you are required to take two of these modules.  All students are required to take the Research methods and statistics in palliative care module.

  • Research Methods and Statistics in Palliative Care (30 credits) (This is compulsory and must be taken first)
  • Assessment and Management of Symptoms in Advanced Disease (30 credits)
  • Service Management and Policy in Palliative Care (30 credits)
  • Applying Psychosocial, Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Issues to Palliative and End of Life Care (30 credits)
  • Applying Epidemiology in Palliative Care (30 credits)

If you are an MSc student you are required to take:

  • Research Study Project (60 credits)


Optional Modules
There are no optional modules.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Palliative Care Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1 A degree in medicine, nursing or dentistry or a 2:1 degree in life sciences or social sciences. You must also have experience of working in palliative care or an associated area, eg clinical or social care research.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

We interview candidates, usually with two members of the department, to discuss your palliative care experience, reasons for wanting to join the programme, and your research interests.  We are happy to interview overseas applicants via telephone or Skype.

Please note: The programme runs from January to December.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application

Application closing date

Start date: 11th January 2021

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our application deadlines are 23rd October 2020 for non-EU (Overseas) nationals and 23rd November 2020 for UK/EU nationals. The programme will remain open if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

Please note you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline and places are filled before the final deadlines above and we are unable to process more offers.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: MSc - £9,990 per year (2020/21); PG Dip - £6,660 per year (2020/21); PG Cert - £3,330 per year (2020/21)
  • Full time overseas fees: MSc - £22,350 per year (2020/21); PG Dip - £14,900 per year (2020/21); PG Cert - £7,450 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time Home fees: MSc - £4,995 per year (2020/21); PG Dip - £3,330 per year (2020/21); PG Cert - £1,665 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time overseas fees: MSc £11,175 per year (2020/21); PG Dip - £7,450 per year (2020/21); PG Cert - £3,725 per year (2020/21)

Students starting their programme in 2020/21 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2021/22.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

For January entry

•             If you receive an offer before September, payment is due by 30th September.

•             If you receive an offer between 1st September and 30th September, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.

•             If you receive an offer between 1st to 31st October, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.

•             If you receive an offer between 1st November and 30th November, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

•             If you receive an offer in December, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer


If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.


Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for:

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions
  • Library fees and fines
  • Personal photocopies
  • Printing course handouts
  • Society membership fees
  • Stationery
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Many of our graduates have gone on to become leaders in their field, to make significant contributions to patient and family care and to influence palliative care policy locally, nationally and internationally. Many have used this course to progress their careers from specialist training registrars in palliative medicine to challenging and exciting consultant posts in hospital, hospice and community settings, and a growing number of clinical nurse specialists are now nurse consultants. Increasing numbers go on to conduct PhDs in palliative care related areas and the course has given to some exciting opportunities to conduct high quality research which has successfully been disseminated at scientific meetings or high quality, peer-reviewed journals.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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