<%'option explicit%> <%response.buffer=true%> UWCM - Department of Dermatology


The course leading to the Diploma in Practical Dermatology is designed specifically for general practitioners who wish to gain expertise in the practical management of patients with skin disease. This is a highly interactive online programme designed to equip the general practitioner with a sound knowledge of skin disease as it presents in practice The programme has been completely revamped and now delivers high level dermatological teaching covering all subject areas of interest to those in General Practice. 30 weekly modules have been written by leading UK dermatologists and provide up to date clinical information with treatment and referral; guidelines for the common skin conditions seen in practice. The course is delivered via our website www.ukdermatology.co.uk allowing regular, rapid and efficient communication between colleagues, tutors and course administrators, reducing the isolation commonly associated with distance learning.

Through dedicated online tutorial support, discussion forums and on-line assessments, course participants become members of an enthusiastic and supportive online community of doctors with an interest in Dermatology. This environment allows collaboration, both academic and clinical, which extends beyond the life of the programme.

Decisions as to the correct management of patients with skin disease can provide baffling problems in general practice. The Diploma in Practical Dermatology course provides a detailed structured programme of learning. The course is divided into three main semesters and commences each year in September, with the final examinations being held in Cardiff during the following July.

How Relevant is the Course to Clinical General Practise?

Most of the educational process is problem orientated and is specifically designed to be of direct day to day relevance to general practice. The major aim of the course is to equip the general practitioner with a sound understanding of skin disease as it presents in practice and sufficient knowledge to competently and correctly manage the vast majority of problems relating to the skin. Practical general practice dermatology is taught and not hospital based dermatology.

Course Structure

The dates for the 2004 - 2005 programme are as follows:

Module 1: September - December 2004.

Module 2: January - April 2005.

Module 3: April - July 2005.

There are several different integrated aspects to the course structure:

Each Week:

  1. The educational material is made available online and is supported by current or relevant articles and an audio CD, which are posted each semester.
  2. You are given study aims are provided and objectives to help meet specified learning outcomes.
  3. Online Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) on that week's subject.

For each of the three semesters the in-course assessment consists of:

  1. Two pieces of written work. This may be a scenario, practice guideline, patient handout or an essay question of approx. 1000 words.
  2. One synchronised online tutorial with a dermatologist. You will be informed of the discussion point one week before the meeting.
  3. One case history uploaded. You are asked to select three patients from your own practice to be studied in detail and written up as case histories, one in each semester.
  4. Regular participation on forum boards.
  5. One group assignment (Med-e-Conference).

During the course:

  • There are two intensive study meetings held in Cardiff for UK based students. Provisional dates are October 2004 and February 2005.
  • There is an intensive study meeting held in Hong Kong for international students. Provisional date is during November 2004.
  • There is a final examination which is held in Cardiff.

Who is Involved in Running the Course?

The course is organised and controlled by the Department of Dermatology at the University of Wales College of Medicine. Professor A Y Finlay (Head of Department), Sister Helen Pugsley (non-Clinical Lecturer) and Dr Maria Gonzalez (Senior Clinical Lecturer) carry responsibility for academic aspects and for the daily organisation of the Diploma course. The Dermatology Courses Administration team includes two Postgraduate Course Co-ordinators, Julie Williams and Claire Hall. There is a direct telephone, fax number and E-mail address to the Dermatology Postgraduate Centre for use by doctors taking the course to ensure good communication with the department. However most of the communication will be via the website.

There is a Diploma in Practical Dermatology Faculty, members of which give advice concerning the course. The Board consists of dermatologists and general practitioners from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. A team of tutors and examiners based in the UK provide expertise in assessing and providing feedback concerning the regular assessed work.

Computer Requirements

We have an area of our website (www.ukdermatology.co.uk) completely dedicated to the DPD Course. It is a course requirement that you have access to a computer which is connected to the internet. Although not essential it maybe a good idea to invest in a broad band connection, those who are lucky enough to have it will notice there are less technology problems and breaks in communication when using the site. At the start of the course you will be issued with a user name and password which will allow you to access the secure area, available exclusively to course administrators and course participants. All course material and regular correspondence related to the programme will be sent via the website. In addition you will complete your assessments, submit your written assignments and are able to track the location of your written work and regularly check your marks using your own personal homepage. During the course you will be asked to upload case histories from your practice and you will be encouraged to participate and comment on other case histories on the site.

Another important reason for using the website is to participate in discussion forums created by yourself and fellow students on topics of academic or general interest. You will also be able to communicate with other course members in online chat rooms. Prior to you starting the course you will be sent detailed information on how to use the site.

All communications will be sent via the internet. If you are not yet using the internet regularly, this is your big chance to join the online community!

How Much Work is Involved on the Course?

The Diploma in Practical Dermatology is only awarded by the University of Wales College of Medicine to doctors who have demonstrated regular detailed study throughout the course and who reach a high standard of knowledge, understanding and practical clinical expertise. A commitment to regular daily study at home is required. An estimated 10 hours of study weekly during each semester is considered to be the minimum necessary.


Each week on this 30 week course, a different aspect of dermatology is studied. The study aims, course materials and articles for reading are focussed each week on that subject. Weekly modules covered include:

  • Atopic Eczema
  • Cryosurgery & Aesthetic Dermatology
  • The Elderly
  • Flexural Rashes
  • The Infant Skin
  • Leg Ulcers
  • Pigmentary Disorders
  • Bullous Disorders
  • Psoriasis
  • Sex and the Skin
  • Skin Surgery
  • Systemic Disease and the Skin
  • Urticaria
  • Assessment of Dermatological Skin
  • AIDS
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Drug Eruptions
  • Facial Rashes
  • Hair Problems
  • Nail Problems
  • Insects and the Skin
  • The Pregnant Patient
  • The School Child and Adult Infections
  • Skin Cancer - Pigmented Lesions and Melanoma
  • Skin Cancer - Non-Melanoma
  • Sun and the Skin - Photodermatoses
  • Topical Therapy
  • Tropical Skin Disease
  • The Dark Skinned Patient

What Happens at the Study Weekends?

The Study Meetings provide a forum for tutorials, group work, clinical discussions and lectures. It also provides an opportunity for discussion of study and course administrative matters and a chance to get to know other doctors taking the course and the staff in Cardiff.

What are the Case Histories?

You are asked to select three patients, one per semester, from your own clinical practice, who have problems related to their skin. These patients are written up in a specific format with headings. Full advice on this is given and information on how to upload the case. The mark for the case history contributes to the total Diploma marks.

What are the Examinations?

All students who reach a satisfactory level in the continual assessment are eligible to take the examinations at the end of the course. The examinations must be passed separately for the Diploma to be awarded. The exam is held in the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, usually in July. It consists of an hour long structured clinical photograph examination and an OSCE style examination with short case clinical cases and practical clinical questions. There will be a total of six stations and the exam will take thirty minutes. The examiners, who include general practitioners and dermatologists, consist of the academic and consultant dermatology staff of the University of Wales College of Medicine Dermatology Department and external examiners. You will be examined by 6 different examiners, reducing the possibility of bias in the process.

Who is Eligible to Take the Diploma?

The course is open to all doctors who are currently working as general practitioners or clinical assistants in dermatology. Course participants must see dermatology patients in their work place or be able to show how they will follow up patients, in order to complete the case histories. However, no previous specific experience or training in dermatology is necessary. Good English language skills are essential and it is a course requirement that you have access to a computer which is connected to the internet. Applicants must be able to travel to Cardiff for the final examination.

What has Happened in Previous Diploma in Practical Dermatology Courses?

The first annual course started in April 1989. During the academic year 2001-2002, a total of 157 doctors started the course. 90% of the doctors completed the course and, of these, 91% were successful in being awarded the Diploma in Practical Dermatology. There has previously been two intakes to the course - in April for students from the UK and September for students mainly from the Asia Pacific region. Since September 2003 the course is now run as a combined international course with just one intake each September.

Why is the Diploma in Practical Dermatology Being Organised in Cardiff?

The Department of Dermatology in Cardiff has an international reputation for teaching and research in dermatology. The teaching department, research laboratories and inpatient and outpatient treatment areas are all combined in the large and modern campus of the University Hospital of Wales and the University of Wales College of Medicine. A major aim in our teaching programmes is to encourage critical thinking as we hope to equip our students not only with practical and factual knowledge, but also to provide a basic framework approach to dermatological problems; encouraging attitudes and abilities which we hope will be of lasting value to our students in dealing with future advances in therapy and management strategy. The Department of Dermatology hold postgraduate dermatology teaching sessions providing a focal point of contact for local general practitioners and the dermatology staff. There is also a well established and successful full time Diploma in Dermatological Sciences course integrated with an MSc course which provides detailed training for overseas dermatology specialists.

The Department of Dermatology is internationally recognised as a major British research centre for dermatology. In the last twenty years hundreds of research articles have been published from the department as well as many books. Members of the department regularly speak at scientific meetings in many parts of the world. There is a large group of full time dermatology research workers in the dermatology research laboratories. Major advances in dermatology have been pioneered in Cardiff including techniques for measuring skin function, methods for modelling abnormalities of the skin, methods for measuring disability resulting from skin disease, research into the genetic basis of skin disease, research into the causes of skin cancer and studies on the treatment of diseases such as psoriasis and the ichthyoses. The clinical dermatology service is the main University dermatology referral centre for Wales and serves a large population. A team of six dermatologists and six dermatologists in training manage busy outpatient clinics, a specialist dermatology ward and a dermatology outpatient treatment centre. A very active dermatology surgery service is based in the dedicated dermatology outpatient operating theatre.

What is the University of Wales College of Medicine?

The University of Wales was founded in 1893 and its Chancellor is now the Prince of Wales. The University consists of a total of five institutions, one of which is the University of Wales College of Medicine, the only medical college in Wales. The college shares with the 900 bed University Hospital of Wales, a purpose built 0. 4 square kilometre site in Heath Park about three kilometres north of the city centre. This medical teaching centre embraces the bold concept of completely integrated research, teaching and patient care facilities and is one of the largest medical teaching complexes in Europe with the whole range of medical, dental and paramedical specialities being represented on the campus.

What is the Status of the Diploma?

The Diploma in Practical Dermatology is an academic diploma, not a clinical training qualification. It is not recognised by any national medical council and we are not planning to seek recognition as the purpose of the Diploma in Practical Dermatology is to increase the expertise of general practitioners in dermatology, not to provide a qualification to become a dermatologist. If doctors wish to undertake a course of study leading to a qualification which is recognised by some medical councils, we would suggest that these doctors apply for the Diploma in Dermatological Sciences course, also organised by the Department of Dermatology at the University of Wales College of Medicine. The Diploma in Dermatological Sciences is a full time one academic year course of study held in Cardiff and the Diploma in Dermatological Sciences is, for example, recognised by the Hong Kong Medical Council.

Does The Course Have CME Accreditation?

The Diploma in Practical Dermatology is currently accredited in the UK with 204 hours for PGEA purposes; by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Quality Assurance and Continuing Education Program with Total CPD Points: 25 (Group 2) per semester for the Diploma and 34 (Group 2) for Study Meeting; and by the Hong Kong College of General Practitioners Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee with Category 6.5 : 50 credit points on completion of the course.

What are the Fees for the Diploma in Practical Dermatology Course?

The fee for each semester of the course commencing in September 2004 will be 850 : the total course fee is therefore 2550. There are no additional registration fees for the Study Meeting, or the final examination, or for postage. Once a doctor is accepted on the course, the first semester fee (one third of the total fees) is then payable immediately to confirm acceptance of the place on the course. The full fee for each subsequent semester must be paid before the start of each semester.

Is the Course Effective?

Doctors who have gained the Diploma in Practical Dermatology will undoubtedly have more confidence and knowledge in the management of their patients with skin problems. Patients choosing a practice may find it reassuring that their doctor has some additional expertise in this area. Doctors who have taken the course have found that they are already viewed by their colleagues as having special knowledge of general practice dermatology.

When are Applicants Selected?

There are a limited number of places on this course. We receive more applications than there are places available, so applicants are not guaranteed a place on the next course. Early application is strongly encouraged. The selection committee meets regularly to consider applications and offer places. HOW TO APPLY FOR THE COURSE

If you wish to be considered for entry on to the Diploma in Practical Dermatology course, please complete the application form by one of the methods outlined in the "How to Apply" section of the site.

Miss Sonia van Lierop
Dermatology Course Co-ordinator (DPD UK)
Department of Dermatology (BOX 27)
University of Wales College of Medicine
Heath Park
Cardiff. CF14 4XN
Wales, U.K.

Tel: 029 2074 2885 (International +44 29 2074 2247)

Fax: 029 2074 4312 (International +44 29 2074 4312)


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