Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Clinical Management of Pain (Online Learning) MSc, PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Awards: MSc, PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time, Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding opportunities

The programme has enhanced my practice in a significant way. I've been able to secure more specialist jobs and I've also been able to offer patients much more advanced and evidence-based care.

Cecile Hosang MSc Clinical Management of Pain Graduate 2018
Cecile Hosang               MSc Clinical Management of Pain Graduate 2018


The Clinical Management of Pain programme aims to tackle the ‘real-world’ challenges faced by clinicians, with a strong focus and connection to patients and working in practice. It is a multidisciplinary programme that aims to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of clinicians working with people experiencing pain using up-to-date evidence in a modern teaching environment.

Our part-time, fully online programme offers you a wide range of educational opportunities. With a flexible and broad selection of options, from single courses through to Masters of Science degrees, we offer you a unique opportunity to have direct contact with international students, lecturers, tutors and experts in pain management from across the world, to widen your understanding of pain in a variety of clinical contexts.

Developed for working clinicians

Our programme is delivered entirely online with no requirement to attend the University of Edinburgh campus. It was designed specifically for online delivery and learning, and, our online platform allows working clinicians from a range of professions, backgrounds and countries, the opportunity to learn together whilst meeting their personal and professional commitments.

High quality teaching

The University of Edinburgh has a growing portfolio of established and highly regarded online distance learning postgraduate programmes, with thousands of students currently taking advantage of this mode of education. Expert clinicians and educationalists who hold postgraduate qualifications in teaching and learning as well as recognition as Fellows or Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) will teach and support your learning. Many of our core teaching staff have been recognised in national teaching awards and have received recognition by our students in the annual Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) teaching awards (with nominations for Best Support Staff, Best Tutor and Best Course).

Our programmes are affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy.

We embrace the role that technology can play to enhance teaching, learning and assessment, and the programme was designed with an online learner in mind. This allows for a curriculum design approach that caters to different ways of learning.

Learning online not only allows you to learn whilst you work, but you can also connect to a range of people from different places around the world and share rich and varied experiences. You will be supported as an active member of a vibrant online community where learning outcomes are facilitated by tasks and materials that foster active, relevant and collaborative learning, all supported by the purposeful use of digital media and online technology.

Watch our video to learn more about studying online.

Online learning brochure

Download and read our PDF brochure to find out more about our world-class online postgraduate portfolio.

Further information

A variety of platforms are used to deliver content and enable you to collaborate with other students and academic staff.

Our programme is structured around an academic year that consists of three, 12-week terms. You will be expected to complete each level of the programme within the academic year with the Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc awards given at the point of exit from the University.

If the completion of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters degree does not align to your current goals, you have the option of enrolling for Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) that would allow you to take a single course of study to enhance a particular element of your clinical practice.

Year One

In Year One, you will gain a solid, theoretical understanding of the biological, psychological and social concepts that drive, develop and maintain pain. Through the Year One compulsory courses, you will deepen your critical evaluation and analysis skills and develop your ability to link research to practice. You will also gain generic academic skills in academic writing, presentation giving and literature searching.

Year Two

Building on Year One courses, you will deepen your understanding and ability to critically analyse literature and reflect this in practice, build your inter and multidisciplinary working knowledge and further develop your transferrable academic skills. You will have some choice of courses, and you will be able to select courses that are of best value to your personal and professional development.

Year Three

In Year Three, several options are available including an independent project, a clinical audit or a quality assurance project. You may also have the option of taking further courses. This choice is based on your personal, professional and academic goals.

Teaching and assessment

During your time on the programme, you will have time to study independently and reflect on what you have learned and how you might apply your learning to your clinical practice. Each course in the programme consists of themed areas including a blend of:

  • short online lectures and podcasts
  • live lectures and guest speakers
  • practical case studies
  • directed readings
  • discussion board activities
  • group work

The interaction between students, clinicians and academics is promoted through facilitated discussion forums, which provide the opportunity for collaborative critical discourse and debate of current issues.

Assessments have been specifically designed to provide you with authentic learning opportunities and offer the ability to draw on your personal clinical experiences and expertise, regardless of where in the world you are located. Assessments and course tasks include, but are not limited to, written assignments, topic-focused short essays, and the creation of clinical resources.

Graduate Mandy More, explains:

There is the sense that what we are doing actually matters. Although the course is academic and wide-ranging, it is applicable at every stage.

Semester dates 2024-2025

These are key dates in the academic year, which vary slightly year to year. For your programme these are:

  • Welcome Week: 09 – 15 September 2024
  • Term 1: 16 September – 06 December 2024
  • Term 2: 6 January – 28 March 2025
  • Term 3: 14 April - 04 July 2025


For information on award options currently being offered, please see the links provided in the table below.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScClinical Management of Pain3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgCertClinical Management of Pain1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgDipClinical Management of Pain2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgProfDevClinical Management of PainUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25

Our aim is to equip graduates with:

  • comprehensive knowledge of the concepts, principles and practices which underpin quality pain management.
  • an ability to critically appraise the empirical evidence for the effectiveness of pain management strategies in a range of health settings.
  • the skills required to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines and apply these to your professional practice to meet the complex biopsychosocial needs of patients with pain.

By combining high-quality pedagogical learning design, exceptional student support and the clinical and academic excellence of the University of Edinburgh, you will acquire the expertise required to boost your career as a pain management practitioner.

I am coming to the end of my first year of the MSc and so far I have noticed an increase in my knowledge in clinical pain management. It is influencing my career development as I am managing patient cases more independently.

Lorena Warde, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pain Management

Our programme will enhance your understanding and clinical knowledge of pain management, improve your academic capabilities and provide opportunities to develop your career. There are many diverse prospects for employment depending on where you want to work, your previous experience and your interests. You will be well-placed to advance your clinical career within health services, pursue advanced academic study or work in industry.

You can be assured that your professional and career development will be enhanced in the following areas:

  • advanced clinical practice
  • clinical leadership
  • research
  • training and education

Expertise in online learning

Not only do we have expert clinical expertise and decades of teaching and learning experience, but we are pioneers in the field of digital education. Our programme was the first fully online programme offered by the University of Edinburgh. Since 2004, our programme has focussed on integrating current clinical research with high-level academic and professional input to enable health care professionals to directly impact clinical practice. Over the years, we have grown in scale and scope, but we continue to remain focused on our key aim of helping you to improving the lives of patients with pain.

By enrolling on one of our programmes, you will become part of the community of the University of Edinburgh and be able to take advantage of the University’s world-class reputation and history of academic excellence. You will have access to experienced teaching staff who have a wealth of clinical experience.

Created for working healthcare professionals

We would encourage you to apply for our programme if you are a healthcare graduate (for example medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, psychology, dentistry, osteopathy and occupational therapy) with at least three months of clinical experience working directly with patients with pain conditions.

Our suite of programmes will be of particular interest to you if you want to take advantage of unparalleled networking opportunities and peer learning, as well as embrace digital learning technologies and further your team working abilities.

While we are already aware that the University of Edinburgh is regularly listed as one of the top universities in the world, it is always extremely satisfying to hear directly from our graduates about their experiences on our programme.

Below you will find short videos from some of our graduates:

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a healthcare related subject such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacology, osteopathy, chiropractic and other allied healthcare professions involved in the management of pain.

You must currently be in a clinical role, working with patients who have been experiencing pain. This may involve a range of conditions, but pain will be a significant factor in their presentation and management planning. You must have been in the role for at least three months at the time of applying.

We will also consider your application if you have a professional qualification, such as RGN, with at least three years of clinical experience working with patients who have been experiencing pain*. (*Revised 19 March 2024 to clarify level of experience required.)

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:


Successful applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit before an unconditional offer can be made:

  • £250 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fee deposits can be paid here using the University's online payment facility, ePay:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScClinical Management of Pain3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgCertClinical Management of Pain1 YearPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipClinical Management of Pain2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgProfDevClinical Management of PainUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

(Revised 18 March 2024 to remove 'Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships' information) 

Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships

The University of Edinburgh is offering twenty Masters scholarships for eligible part-time distance learning Masters programmes offered by the University. Please read the eligibility criteria carefully before you apply.

The deadline for Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships is Monday 3 June 2024.

(Revised 14 May 2024 to add in Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships information)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Team - Clinical Management of Pain
  • Chancellor's Building
  • 49 Little France Crescent
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 23 August 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Team - Clinical Management of Pain
  • Chancellor's Building
  • 49 Little France Crescent
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB