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MSc Clinical Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Medicine

Year of entry: 2020


Degree awarded
24 months PT (day-release basis) / PGCert 12m PT
Entry requirements

You must be either;

  1. medically qualified with a relevant undergraduate medical degree, and have at least two to three years of general internal medical experience post-internship or;
  2. an allied health professional working at a Band 6 or above, and have a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine (eg specialist nurse, physiotherapists, podiatry, occupational therapists).

Although previous rheumatology experience is desirable, it is not essential.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
20 places
How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PGCert N Y N N

Course overview

  • Gain the specialist knowledge, understanding and skills you need to practice rheumatology.
  • Cover topics including epidemiology, aetiology and pathogenesis, and the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal disease.
  • Study at a university ranked 8th in the UK and among the top 50 in the world for Medicine (QS World University Rankings 2020).
  • Become able to contribute to the development of rheumatology services at both a regional and national level.

Open days

Attending an open day is a great way to find out what studying at Manchester is like. Find out about our upcoming open days .

You can also watch webinar recordings from our recent virtual open week, including subject-specific sessions and webinars about general topics such as teaching and funding. Visit the postgraduate taught virtual open week website for a list of sessions.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2020, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,200
    International students (per annum): with NHS contract £4,200, no NHS contract £9,600 per annum

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Additional expenses

The University permits applicants with comparable previous experience to submit an application for consideration of Accreditation Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L). The maximum AP(E)L is 15 credits to a PGCert, 45 credits to a PGDip and 60 credits to an MSc.

If your AP(E)L application is successful, the University charges £30 for every 15 credits of AP(E)L. The overall tuition fee is adjusted and then the administrative charge is applied.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Alumni Bursary

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health offers an alumni bursary of £1,000 towards tuition fees for successful applicants who are recent University of Manchester graduates commencing one of our postgraduate taught master's programmes in 2020.

The bursary is available to students or alumni who:

  • graduated in 2019 or are graduating in 2020;
  • hold a First or Second class honours degree;
  • have home or overseas fee status;
  • are applying for full or part-time study;
  • are self-funded and not in receipt of any other funding support.

The bursary will be applied as a fee reduction automatically for those students and alumni who meet the alumni bursary criteria so there is no application process.

Other bursaries

Bursaries are also available to rheumatology Specialty Training trainees or allied health professionals. Please contact us for more information.

Contact details

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Contact name
Postgraduate Admissions Team
+44 (0)161 306 5439
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

You must be either;

  1. medically qualified with a relevant undergraduate medical degree, and have at least two to three years of general internal medical experience post-internship or;
  2. an allied health professional working at a Band 6 or above, and have a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine (eg specialist nurse, physiotherapists, podiatry, occupational therapists).

Although previous rheumatology experience is desirable, it is not essential.

English language

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through a secure and approved testing system.

We ask for English language proof if you are from non-majority English speaking countries (a list of majority English speaking countries, as defined by the UK Home Office, can be found here ).

Specifically, we require a minimum of:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with 6.0 or above in each component
  • TOEFL: 90 internet-based with 20 or above in each component

See further information about requirements for your country .

We may also accept evidence of a confirmed place on a University Pre-sessional English language course , if your current IELTS scores are:

  • Minimum 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component plus enrolment and attendance on the 6-week pre-sessional course (PS6)
  • Minimum 6.0 overall with 5.5 in writing and 5.0 in the remaining components or 5.5 overall with 5.5 in each component plus enrolment and attendance on the 10-week pre-sessional course (PS10)

Please note, we must approve this before you apply for the English course.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

As this course is only offered part time, we can only accept international applicants who will be able to support their own visas. Student visas cannot be issued for part-time courses.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full

Advice to applicants

Your application form must have the following documents.

  • Two academic references on letter headed paper or sent from work emails. Professional references can be provided in instances where you have been out of university for more than three years. We do not contact referees directly.
  • Official degree certificates (with translations if not in English).
  • Official university transcripts (with translations if not in English).
  • A personal statement - this should be a page in length and include:
    • why you want to undertake this course;
    • any relevant past experience and what you can bring to the course;
    • how this course fits into your future career plans;
    • any other relevant information.
  • Full CV including voluntary experience.
  • A scanned copy of your passport if you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
  • If English is not your first language, we require proof of your English language ability. If you have already taken an English language qualification, please include your certificate with your application. We may be willing to consider your application without this document, but if we choose to make you an offer, the conditions will include IELTS (or equivalent qualification).

In addition to the application form and enclosures, all applicants should also include one page of A4 outlining your previous general medical and rheumatological experience, reasons for wishing to undertake the MSc and what you hope to have achieved by the end of it.

Supporting documents can be uploaded with the online application form, or if this is not possible, sent directly to . We are unable to consider your application if you have not provided all of the necessary documents listed above.

You must include your University ID number on any correspondence and do not send any documents before you have submitted your application.

How your application is considered

On receipt of all required supporting documentation your application will be reviewed by the relevant Course Director. Applicants are considered on an academic and relevant professional experience basis, based on all information provided.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

Unless you already have a visa (either Tier 2, 4 or 5) that entitles you to be in the UK and study with us, you will not be able to take up any offer.

Disclosure and Barring Service check

For clinical placements, a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) check will be required for UK residents. Overseas students are required to provide a Police/Government Office Certificate of Good Conduct. This is usually completed once students have arrived at the University.

Please contact for further guidance.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Our MSc Clinical Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine course is designed for doctors/allied health professionals who are pursuing a career in rheumatology or a related subject.You will cover topics including:

  • aetiology and pathogenesis;
  • epidemiology;
  • diagnosis and management of the different forms of musculoskeletal disease;
  • the structure and function of joints and supporting tissues in health and when diseased.

You will also gain an understanding of the principles of clinical research methods, including:

  • clinical trials;
  • developing measurement tools;
  • designing and conducting observational studies;
  • reading scientific papers critically.

In addition, you will build the knowledge and skills you need to carry out and write up a piece of supervised research.


This course aims to:

  • develop your knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to the clinical practice of rheumatology;
  • enable you to contribute to rheumatology service development regionally and nationally;
  • provide experience in undertaking and analysing research;
  • emphasise the importance of research as a basis for evidence-based practice;
  • help you to gain skills required for scientific and clinical presentations.

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, seminars and demonstrations.

Find out more about postgraduate teaching and learning at Manchester.

Coursework and assessment

Each unit is separately assessed by a written examination and, where appropriate, by a clinical examination. In addition, as part of the preparation for the research project, a research skills teaching day is run each year. Students who complete the units and dissertation to a satisfactory standard will qualify for the MSc. 

Course unit details

MSc Course Units  

The MSc course consists of six taught course units. Each course unit runs for six weeks, with the formal teaching elements of lectures, seminars and demonstrations concentrated on Thursdays.

Two course units are run in the first semester of each academic session and are examined in January, and one course unit is run in the second semester of each academic session and is examined in March.

Each course unit is separately assessed by a written examination and we hold one Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) at the end of March for all three modules where appropriate.

PGCert Course Units

The PGCert course consists of the following four taught course units:
  • Basic Science
  • Connective Tissue Disease and Vasculitides
  • Epidemiology
  • Research Skills

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Skills (33RH) BIOL60501 15 Mandatory
Connective Tissue Disorders & Vasculitis (33RH) BIOL60511 15 Mandatory
Clinical Skills BIOL60521 15 Mandatory
Epidemiology of Rheumatism (33RH) BIOL61222 15 Mandatory
Peripheral Joint Problems BIOL61231 15 Mandatory
Spine & Bone BIOL61252 15 Mandatory
Basic Science BIOL63211 15 Mandatory


Teaching will take place at various locations around Manchester, including:
  • University Hospital of South Manchester
  • Manchester Royal Infirmary
  • Salford Royal Foundation Trust
  • The Stopford Building, The University of Manchester
The University also offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .


Career opportunities

Some of our graduates have continued their studies and gone on to complete a PhD at The University of Manchester.

There is a wide variety of possible areas of research from the broad spectrum of musculoskeletal disease. The majority of clinical trainees use their knowledge to augment their clinical training and, as the curriculum aligns with the rheumatology core curriculum, this MSc provides the tools required to pass the Specialty Certificate Examination in Rheumatology .

The MSc qualification can also be a useful tool for international students to carry back to their home country.