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MSc in Medical Leadership

The MSc in Medical Leadership is being discontinued after consideration of the needs of the clinical workforce.

The RCP and Birkbeck, University of London have researched and are developing new and innovative short courses suited to modern clinical leaders and their main preoccupations. These will address topics such as organisational change and strategy and leading a diverse workforce and will be starting in Autumn 2021. To register your interest please email postgraduate@rcplondon.ac.uk

The MSc in Medical Leadership is designed specifically for doctors to help them deal with the modern-day pressures and situations they face as leaders in the medical world.

Programme overview

This postgraduate master's degree qualification (MSc) is a CPD accredited course, taught at RCP London, which can be completed in 3–5 years. This is a cumulative programme and early exit with a Certificate (after year one) or Diploma (after year two) is possible. There are 12 contact days in both the Certificate level and Diploma level of the course allowing like-minded professionals to network and learn from others’ experiences.

This programme has been designed in line with the medical leadership competency framework to provide a comprehensive coverage of leadership and management, focusing on the needs of senior clinicians, balancing academic rigour and workplace-based application in recognised healthcare environments.

The overall aim is to provide participants with a firm foundation to go on to attain senior levels of management within the field of health. Such as clinical directors, medical directors or chief executives.

The RCP has access to some of today’s most eminent leaders in healthcare who collaborate with the teaching staff to deliver real-life case studies and guest speaker sessions. These case studies are presented throughout the modules, by postgraduate deans, medical directors and hospital chief executives, putting the academic content into a clinical context.

In addition, guest speakers talk honestly about a current or recent issue in their roles, and promote discussion and awareness of the real problems in medical leadership. Allowing for insight into their personal career paths and leadership experiences.

Earlier this year, Professor Pat Tissington took questions regarding the course from prospective students. This video also looks at the course structure of the MSc in Medical Leadership.

Guest speakers

One of the hallmarks of this programme is its interactive sessions with some of today’s most eminent leaders in healthcare. Real-life case studies are presented throughout the modules, putting the academic content into a clinical context. This is an exclusive opportunity for students, and one which sets this master’s programme apart from others.

Entry requirements

The MSc in Medical Leadership is open to fully qualified medical doctors practising within any specialty, with a minimum of 1–2 years of higher specialist training (StR 3–4) or equivalent.

It is important that the application form includes details of the applicant's roles, responsibilities and interest in medical leadership.

International applicants

Individuals who are nationals of a country from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland will be required to obtain a short-term study visa when coming to the UK for study periods. Depending on your nationality you can apply for this visa either upon entry to the UK, or in advance at the British embassy / high commission in your country of residence.

To ensure that Birkbeck meets Home Office requirements, please note the following:

  1. Students are able to enter the UK via an eGate – students should NOT do this, but instead should request an entry stamp from an immigration officer. Students entering without a stamp may not be able to study.

For any questions about this, please see Birkbeck’s website, or contact the International Student Administration team at Birkbeck on +44 (0)20 3926 3100 or isa@bbk.ac.uk.

Fees 2019–20

Programme fees are paid to Birkbeck, who offer students flexible arrangements to make payments in instalments:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (first year of study) – £5,550
  • Postgraduate Diploma (second year of study) – £5,550
  • Masters (third year of study) – £5,550.

Fees are subject to confirmation and will be the same for UK and EU students.

How to apply

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Birkbeck, University of London and the Royal College of Physicians have agreed there will not be an intake for the 2020/21 academic year as we are recognising the unprecedented pressures for our prospective students. We are now further developing and adapting the programme to encapsulate recent developments and also move to a more blended mode of delivery. The MSc in Medical Leadership will be accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year and to register your interest please email postgraduate@rcplondon.ac.uk

The Diploma and Masters level of the programme for existing cohorts will continue in 2020/21. Doctors wishing to convert university credits for prior learning to enter at the Diploma level are still eligible for the 2020/21 academic entry. For further information please visit the Birkbeck page on http://www.bbk.ac.uk/linkinglondon/resources/apel-credit-resources/pub_May2010_A%20Users%20Guide%20to%20Credit%20for%20Prior%20Learning%20through%20APCL%20and%20APEL_MB-1.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any visa restrictions preventing students from taking this course?

Students outside the UK will require a 'Student Visitor Visa' to study on this course. For questions on visas, please contact the International Student Administration team at Birkbeck on +44 (0)20 7631 6295 / 6526 or isa@bbk.ac.uk.

How many contact days are required for the completion of the course?

In the first year (Certificate level) of the course there are a total of 12 compulsory contact days held at the Royal College of Physicians in London. These are made up of four 3-day modules. In the second year (Diploma level) of the course there are a total of 12 compulsory contact days held here at the Royal College of Physicians. These are made up of four 3-day modules. In the final year there are no compulsory contact days. Students will be assigned a personal tutor whilst completing their independent research project and are advised to meet three or four times throughout the year.

Am I able to defer my place on the course?

You are able to defer your place on the course at any point, but the course must be completed within five years of when the application is accepted.

Can I complete this course via distance learning alone?

No. The teaching days (12 each year) are compulsory. However, these teaching days are supported via an online learning platform (Moodle), where reading materials and student forms can be found.

What financial support is available?

There is no financial support available from either Birkbeck or the RCP for this course. Most students secure funding from their deanery to undertake the course. 

Am I expected to do any pre-reading prior to the module days?

Yes. Ahead of each module, a number of pre-readings will be distributed which are accessible via our online learning platform Moodle. These readings will provide a background to the upcoming module content and the lectures given will build upon this knowledge.

How is the course assessed?

Each module has a group work component and a 2,000-word individual assignment, worth 20% and 80% of the module marks respectively. The group work is assessed during the module. The individual assignment is submitted online four weeks after the teaching days and the results are distributed prior to the next module.

What is the realistic time commitment that is needed to complete the assignment? 

Each level of the programme carries 60 masters-level credits, which equate to 600 hours of study time. This includes attendance at face-to-face teaching days, self-directed study and research, and completion of assignments. This is an approximation only and the hours required may vary according to individuals’ prior experience of the subject. This is in line with all other masters-level programmes in the UK.

Am I able to receive CPD credits for the course?

Yes. The RCP CPD diary scheme allows you to claim one credit for every one hour of learning. Credits obtained from the MSc programme can be entered under the ‘self-certified’ tab in the CPD diary. Please be aware that a maximum of 12 credits will be counted as external per annum. The remaining MSc credits will be counted as personal. If you are registered with another CPD scheme, please contact your scheme coordinator to confirm how to apply for credits.

What academic and administrative support is available during the course?

Each module has a module tutor: a member of staff from Birkbeck who is responsible for the bulk of the teaching. The students are given the contact details for this tutor and should refer all subject-related queries to them. If you have any further questions, please contact the postgraduate programmes team at postgraduate@rcplondon.ac.uk.

What resources are available to students on this course?

All students will have full access to the Birkbeck library and the Jerwood Medical Education Resource Centre (MERC) at RCP. Specialist collections of books and journals are available as well as remote access to a wide range of electronic materials and databases.