Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Occupational Medicine MSc

View tabs | View full page

Course description

The programme is designed for all doctors working in occupational medicine, particularly those in specialist training posts who intend to prepare for their professional examinations with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM).

It also gives those who wish to pursue an additional academic qualification the chance to obtain an MSc in Occupational Medicine, awarded by the university. The programme adheres closely to the syllabus requirements of the FOM (London and Ireland); however it also aims to furnish an overview of the whole spectrum of medicine and hygiene within the sphere of work.

The third year of the MSc aims to impart a sound understanding of the theory, practice and methods required to carry out a valid piece of scientific research. The programme structure provides qualifications at the following levels:

  • CPD Diploma (PG Credit)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Occupational Medicine
  • Advanced Diploma in Occupational Medicine
  • MSc in Occupational Medicine

The programme comprises:

  • A blend of specially commissioned written materials in electronic format (PDF), together with interactive teaching material - all delivered via the University's Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard
  • In year 1 students are required to attend in Manchester for a 1-day seminar associated with Module 1 in month 3 and the same for Module 2 in month 5 for September starters and in month 6 for April starters and for one exam day in month 10
  • Students are allocated to tutorial groups for Modules 4 to 8, each supported by a specialist in occupational medicine. Tutorials are delivered via teleconference
  • In year 2, students are required to attend in Manchester for a 4-day practical course in month 5 and for one exam day in month 10
  • In year 3, students are required to attend a 3-day Research Methods course held at the University in month 1.
  • Students undertaking the CPD Diploma will follow the first 6 months of year 1; that is Modules 1-2 and the portfolio aspect of Module 3.  

Some components of the programme are held jointly with students studying the MSc in Occupational Hygiene.

Note: All taught course units will be assessed via examinations held at the university at intervals throughout the programme and the final year will be assessed via submission of a dissertation.


The CPD Diploma aims to:

  • Allow the holder to achieve a level of knowledge/competence appropriate to a generalist working in occupational health
  • Prepare students for the FOM Diploma in Occupational Medicine (DOccMed)

The Certificate aims to allow the holder to achieve a level of knowledge/competence appropriate to a generalist working in occupational health.

The Advanced Diploma aims to allow the holder to achieve a level of knowledge/competence exceeding that of a generalist working in occupational health, and provides a basis for the theoretical knowledge that is required by physicians undertaking specialist training in occupational medicine. The Masters programme aims to:

  • Provide information required by medical practitioners working in the field of occupational medicine, and to allow them to pursue an academic qualification in this subject
  • Allow students to access a range of specialist knowledge and resources within the discipline of occupational health
  • Attract students who will benefit from distance learning methodology, which allows them to apply the knowledge gained during their day-to-day work
  • Consider the evidence on which occupational health practice is based
  • Attract students who will benefit from studying in a research-enriched environment and (especially for students progressing to the third year of the MSc) offer the opportunity to undertake research-based activities relevant to occupational health

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by eight examination papers, one per course module. The first will be sat at seminar 1 (year 1, month 3) and the second at seminar 2 (year 1, month 5 for September starters and month 6 for April starters). The remaining year 1 assessments will be sat in month 10.*

For year 2, assessments will be held in month 5 and 10. The pass mark is 50% for the Module 1 and 2 examinations and 40% for Module 3 to 8 examinations at PG Cert and AdvDip level and 50% at MSc level. If students wish to proceed to the MSc they are also required to complete a third year and prepare a dissertation. For doctors in approved training posts, the dissertation may also be eligible for submission for the MFOM.

*Students on the CPD Diploma undertake examination assessment at seminar 1 (year 1, month 3) and the second at seminar 2 (year 1, month 5 for September starters and month 6 for April starters) only.

Course unit details


Module 1: Foundation for Postgraduate Practice

  • Occupational Health in Perspective
  • Introduction to Occupational Health Law
  • Introduction to Communication
  • Ethical Considerations in Practice
  • Introduction to Toxicology
  • Introduction to Occupational Hygiene
  • Introduction to Lighting
  • Introduction to Temperature and Work
  • Introduction to Noise and Vibration
  • Introduction to Hazardous Substances

Module 2: Fitness for Work

  • Recognising Occupational Disease
  • Introduction to Occupational Dermatology
  • Introduction to Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Introduction to the Respiratory System
  • Introduction to Infectious Diseases
  • Mental Ill Health and Stress at Work
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Health Assessment, Surveillance and Screening
  • Sickness Absence
  • Disability Assessment

Module 3: Health and Workability

  • Workplace and Clinical Assessment Skills: the Portfolio
  • Advanced Occupational Health Law
  • Health Promotion
  • Ageing and Employment
  • Ergonomics
  • Shift Work and Circadian Rhythms
  • Rehabilitation and Return to Work
  • Choosing a Research Topic and Literature Review
  • Developing the Research Question
  • Common Mental Health Problems and the Workplace

Module 4: Aspects of Good Professional Behaviour

  • Management
  • Professional Behaviour/Leadership and Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Clinical Governance
  • Quality and Audit
  • Standard Setting
  • Business Needs in the Provision of an Occupational Health Service


Module 5: Understanding Physical Agents
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Radiation
  • Compressed Air Work and Commercial Diving
  • Temperature and Work
  • Light and Vision
Module 6: Management of Occupationally Related Disease
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Occupational Dermatoses
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Occupational Cancers
  • Aviation Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medically Unexplained Symptoms
Module 7: Research Methods and Data Analysis
  • Epidemiology & Statistics
  • Life Long Learning/Teaching and Appraisal
  • Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)
  • Critical Appraisal
  • Social Research Methods
  • Information Technology
Module 8: Management of Workplace Hazards
  • Industry and Environment
  • Occupational Hygiene Practice
  • Food Hygiene
  • Prevention of Accidents
  • Principles of Toxicology
  • Occupational Health in a Global Market

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: