Postgraduate study

Family Medicine (Online Distance Learning)

Awards: MFM

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding available

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) calls family doctors "our rising stars of the future". This reflects WHO’s renewed commitment to build family medicine as a specialty across all regions. Strengthening family medicine has been recognized as a key component of achieving Universal Health Coverage as part of the Sustainable Development Goals to which every country committed at the last United Nations General Assembly. This degree aims to build on this momentum for strengthening primary care by developing competent family physicians who are empowered to become leaders and advocates for the future of the profession.

The University of Edinburgh provides high quality postgraduate medical education in through an online distance learning format. Students are from a variety of countries across the world, each bringing their unique experiences to create a vibrant global learning community. The programme will give doctors the essential medical knowledge and management skills for the common presenting health issues and explore management within the context of the principles, processes, and practices of family medicine. The programme will equip students with the skills to become expert family physicians whose approach will provide continuous, coordinated, comprehensive and cost effective care build around an understanding of the patient in the context of the family and the community.

The degree is awarded by the University of Edinburgh and is taught in partnership with the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Experienced members of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) are also involved in delivering teaching and supervising students.

This blended distance learning programme is delivered via the Moodle platform with the support of our partner institution CMC Vellore, India. Students have access to comprehensive learning materials as well as the University of Edinburgh’s library resources. Online tutorials are delivered regularly by experts in the field.

There are seven compulsory courses and a dissertation. Courses cover:

  • Family Medicine 1: Introduction to Family Medicine
  • Family Medicine 2: Non-communicable disease
  • Family Medicine 3: Child and Maternal Health
  • Family Medicine 4: Special groups of patients (including mental health, geriatrics and palliative care)
  • Principles and Practice 1: Professionalism and Roles and Responsibilities of the Family Physician
  • Principles and Practice 2: Communication/consultation skills, Health Informatics, Ethics, Leadership and Quality Improvement.
  • Evidence Based Medicine

The dissertation provides the opportunity for the student to undertake an extended piece of scholarship in an area of personal interest and is undertaken in the last few months of the programme.

The online teaching is complemented by a two week period of face-to-face teaching each year. This builds on the online content and provides practical clinical training. This teaching is currently delivered in four sites across the world: India, Nigeria, Uganda and Egypt. Attendance provides the unique opportunity to travel and view the practice of Family Medicine in other countries whilst meeting and learning from fellow students.

In addition there is the opportunity to participate in a 30 days clinical internship following completion of the Masters qualification. This is an optional activity aimed at providing additional clinical experience to those who have completed the course.

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
MFMFamily Medicine2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

The programme is aimed to provide doctors with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become effective Family Physicians. It is relevant to doctors of all backgrounds and experience from early career doctors to those established in other specialities.

The programme provides a high quality Masters level qualification in Family Medicine and builds on the skills already gained by the student in their post graduate clinical training. It is not a recognised vocational training course and cannot be used for direct entry to clinical practice as a Family Physician.

A medical degree (MBChB or equivalent). The programme is particularly well suited to those working in low or middle income countries with a commitment to continued working in rural poorly resourced areas.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Centre for Population Health Sciences
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
10 September 2018 31 August 2018

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit a reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Centre for Population Health Sciences
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG