Postgraduate Diploma in Cardiology

Postgraduate Diploma Cardiology


The Postgraduate Diploma Cardiology programme is designed specifically for clinicians to build on your existing knowledge, skills and experience and develop mastery in the clinical and service aspects of Cardiology.

  1. The Rila Institute of Health Sciences administers the programme, which is validated by the University of Plymouth
  2. This means that when you successfully complete all parts of the programme, you will receive the University of Plymouth qualification of a Postgraduate Diploma in Cardiology, and may if you wish, attend the graduation ceremony.
  3. You will enrol as a student of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences and will be registered with the University.

Should you not complete the full programme, then you will be provided with a transcript recording the individual elements of the programme successfully completed.

General information – Postgraduate Diploma Cardiology: 

  1. Rila Institute of Health Sciences has developed a Postgraduate Diploma in Cardiology to be offered to students from UK and overseas.
  2. The programme has been designed specifically for physicians either already employed or wishing to work in cardiology.
  3. The course runs over approximately a year for the Postgraduate Diploma. For exact course dates and locations please check the website.
  4. The course integrates several components of learning. Understanding of these core topics is assessed through a series of online Higher Order Thinking Questions.
  5. The reading topics i.e. resource learning material, which are specifically commissioned by Rila Institute of Health Sciences, cover the essential elements in developing core knowledge and skills in Cardiology.
  6. Workshop/lectures are held at the start of the course in the international regional centre, but usually in the UK. This is structured to include lectures and a one day workshop relevant to developing a sound basis for Cardiology.
  7. Workshops/lectures will also be held during the course.
  8. Situational Judgement Tests and Learning will provide experience in core domains for a clinician e.g. Professionalism, Patient Focus, Effective communication, Working under pressure, Working within a Team
  9. Assessment is partly by continuous assessment of the reading topics and mini-tests, both carried out online. There will also be a final examination held in the international regional centre or UK.

Structure of the Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. There are 3 modules comprising the Postgraduate Diploma level award.
  2. In each period of 5-7 days, a particular topic (detailed in the programme calendar) is studied by way of a specially written article. Each topic is assessed by way of Higher Order Thinking Questions, for which there is a deadline date. A number of timed mini-exams are conducted online, and the student is strongly recommended to participate in this activity.
  3. Workshop/lecture, held in the international regional centre at the start of each programme. This will provide tutorials, lectures and practical demonstrations.
  4. You will also have an opportunity to meet other doctors on the course and medical staff from the UK and overseas.
  5. There are usually workshops and interactive webinars during the course, depending on your programme of study and a final examination held at the international centre or in the UK.

Course Syllabus:

Postgraduate Diploma comprises Modules 1, 2 and 3

Module 1: Core generic knowledge & skills

  • Determinants of health
  • Lifestyle factors in health
  • Identification of risk factors
  • Nutrition and health
  • Breaking bad news.

Module 2: Advances in Cardiology

Topics include:

  • Cardiovascular epidemiology, lifestyle measures (CVD prevention), cardiovascular physiology and anatomy, chest pain assessment, diagnostics (ECG, ECHO, Stress ECHO, Carotid ultrasound, nuclear and CT imaging), acute coronary syndrome, coronary angiography, cardiac surgery and rehabilitation, heart failure, stable angina, cardiovascular prevention (drug therapies), hypertension, diabetes & CVD (Cardiodiabetes), valvular heart disease, endocarditis/cardiomyopathies/pericardial disease, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, temporary/permanent pacing, electrophysiology, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and cardiac disease and pregnancy.


Module 3: Clinical Practice in Cardiology

Clinical skills related to the following procedures. These are presented as a series of specially selected key video clips to enable you to understand the procedure and the steps required. Assessment of clinical skill competency is not within the remit of this award. You are strongly recommended to access hands-on clinical sessions with a local clinical specialist to further enhance your skills outside of the programme.

  • Assess the character, rate and rhythm of the arterial pulse
  • Measurement of blood pressure and potential pitfalls.
  • Assess the jugular venous pulse
  • Describe the site/character of the apical pulse
  • How to detect heaves, thrills and bruits
  • Cardiac murmurs and their characteristics
  • How to perform an ECG
  • ECG interpretation and cardiac rhythm analysis
  • ECHO report interpretation
  • 24 hour ECG report interpretation
  • 24 hour blood pressure report interpretation
  • Exercise ECG treadmill report interpretation
  • Myoview and Stress ECHO report interpretation
  • Coronary artery angiography report interpretation
  • The role of CT calcium scoring and CT angiography
  • Interpretation of cardiac risk factors results and risk modelling
  • Clinical detection of cardiac failure and differentiation between right and left heart failure.
  • Physical signs of cardiac tamponade


Minimum Requirements for the web learning aspects: 

  1. A specific area of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences website is dedicated to the Postgraduate Diploma in Cardiology.
  2. You will be issued with a user name and password.
  3. You MUST have computer access to the internet and it will be your responsibility to ensure that this is the case.
  4. The website will provide facilities such as Forums, a Bulletin Board, online Chat Room etc.
  5. You will be provided with information on how to use the web site.

Admission criteria:

Participants admitted to this programme will need to meet the following criteria:

Provide a satisfactory reference from a senior health care practitioner or line manager with knowledge of your work and experience, and who is able to support your suitability to participate in the programme.

Plus, fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be in possession of an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) or
  • an equivalent medical degree from a World Health Organization recognised institution.

Note that if the medical degree or other qualification was not taught in the English language a score of 5.5, in all elements, in the British Council IELTS test, or equivalent (e.g. Test of English as a Foreign Language) will usually be required

Award of the Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. You are strongly recommended to complete the formative assessments related to each topic and the mini exams. Try and attain at least 50% marks.
  2. The final examination, to be held in the central location, is mandatory for all students.
  3. The final examination MUST be passed, for Diploma (Modules 1, 2 and 3) to be awarded.
  4. The final examination consists of a paper-based format of Higher Order Thinking Assessments (Single Best Option, Extended Matching Questions, and Clinical Quiz).
  5. The examiners are consultants and an external examiner(s) are appointed by University of Plymouth.


The Diploma is accredited/validated as follows:

  1. Validated by the University of Plymouth – awarding institution

Organisations involved

  1. University of Plymouth with whom the candidates are registered and who control the quality assurance and the award of the final diploma.
  2. The UK and overseas-based specialists in Cardiology, provide the content, curriculum and clinical guidance, and host the final examination.
  3. Rila Institute of Health Sciences, London, which is a collaborative organisation of the University, provides all administrative and logistical support to the course.

Programme handbook and Extenuating circumstances
Full details of the PG Diploma and the process for extenuating circumstances and withdrawal can be found in the Programme Handbook.

If you have any questions, then upon request, our enrolment advisor will contact you with help and/or assistance with your application.

Apply Now