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Palliative Care MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert

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We’ve been developing leaders in palliative care across the world for over two decades. Build on your existing knowledge and learn how to apply best practice with our faculty of experts and cutting-edge research.

At King’s we take an evidence-based approach to palliative care. Our expert tutors will help you develop the skills you need to evaluate evidence and improve care. Research is embedded into every module. At MSc level, you can conduct your own research to inform clinical practice and service development, and contribute to the evidence base. 

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download here.

Key benefits

  • The Cicely Saunders Institute was the world’s first purpose-built institute for palliative care, and is a WHO Collaborating Centre for palliative care and rehabilitation
  • We focus on research and evidence-based practice, drawing on the Cicely Saunders Institute’s world renowned expertise
  • Our programme is open to any professional working in palliative care or with people facing advanced illness
  • 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 2019.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 25-30 FT/ PT.

Course leaders

Dr Katherine Bristowe


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


We offer a range of qualifications in our palliative care programme, from standalone modules to an MSc. There are various core and optional modules available to suit your interests or learning needs.

Research and evidence are central to every module on this course. The Cicely Saunders Institute has an extensive programme of research, and you can get involved with these larger projects. We also support you to publish the findings of your research and contribute to the evidence base.

The course is flexible so you can register to study full time or part time. That means you can study at your own pace while continuing to work in a health or social care setting. We also offer the option to change your registration (for example from PG Diploma to MSc) as you progress through your studies and your learning needs evolve.



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


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.

Your course will include a mixture of taught sessions, such as lectures and seminars, and interactive sessions. At St Christopher’s Hospice you can interact with patients and their famililes, and take part in discussions and library sessions.

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 all of these modules. If you are a PG Cert student, you are required to take two of these modules.

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


Optional Modules

If you are an MSc student or a PG Dip student, you will choose two modules from the list of options below. If you are a PG Cert student, you will choose one.

For part-time students: with the exception of Research Methods and Statistics in Palliative Care, which you will take in your first year, you may choose which year you will take each module. If you are an MSc student, you must take your Research Study Project in your second year.

Part time MSc students should expect to study 90 credits a year and PG Dip students 60 credits a year.

We regularly review our modules to make sure our programmes are as up-to-date, innovative and relevant as possible. The modules we offer may therefore change. We suggest that you check the course finder for updates: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/index.aspx

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 of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required
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: 13th January 2020

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our application deadlines are 25th October 2019 for non-EU (Overseas) nationals and 2nd December 2019. 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/EU 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/EU 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. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31 March 2020, payment is due by 30 April 2020.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 August 2020, 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.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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