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Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (PGDipHealSc) endorsed in Pain and Pain Management


A Postgraduate Diploma comprising 120 points focussing on pain and pain management. This qualification is designed to present an understanding of the importance of pain to the individual and to society, and how best to optimise its management. It provides candidates with the necessary skills to better understand and manage pain problems that pertain to their particular discipline within health care.

Allied health and medical professionals involved in the care, rehabilitation and management of people experiencing pain problems, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, podiatrists, chiropractors, and osteopaths would find this qualification to be of particular interest.

Our courses are endorsed by the International Association for the Study of Pain.


The Postgraduate Diploma may be completed in 2 years of part-time study. Candidates have 4 years to complete the requirements of the qualification.

Those candidates who first complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in Pain and Pain Management are able to apply for an exemption of 60 points in the Postgraduate Diploma thus completing it with four 15 point papers.


Candidates for the PGDipHealSc (Pain and Pain Management) must

  1. be a graduate or possess an appropriate health professional qualification requiring at least three years' full-time tertiary study
  2. have experience of or be currently working in the relevant field of health care

Structure of the PGDipHealSc (Pain and Pain Management)
Note: Distance taught

i Compulsory papers (75 points)
  • MSME 704 Introduction to Pain (15 points)
  • MSME 708 Introduction to Pain Management (15 points)
  • PAIN 701 Neurobiology of Pain (15 points)
  • PAIN 702 Biomedical Pain Management (15 points)
  • PAIN 703 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Pain (15 points)
ii Further approved papers (45 points)
Some recommended papers are:
  • MSME 702 Musculoskeletal Tissues (15 points)
  • MSME 703 Musculoskeletal Disorders (15 points)
  • MSME 705 Regional Disorders – Spine (15 points)
  • MSME 706 Regional Disorders – Limbs (15 points)
  • MSME 710 Recreational and Sports Injuries (15 points)
  • MSME 711 Pain Assessment (15 points)
  • REHB 701 Rehabilitation principles (30 points)
  • PHTY 542 Sports Physiotherapy (30 points)
  • SPME 711 Exercise Prescription (30 points)
Note: Students hoping to advance to the Master’s programme by thesis are advised to include research methods papers to the value of 30 points in their Diploma programme.
Examples include:
  • PUBH 723 Survey Methods - taught on campus Christchurch (15 points) and
    PUBH 724 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods - taught on campus Christchurch (15 points)
  • PUBH 711 Principles of Epidemiology (15 points) and
    PUBH 725 Applied Biostatistics 1 - Fundamentals (15 points)
  • NURS 415 Nursing Research Methods (30 points)
  • PSME 406 Research Methods : Mental Health (30 points)
    Taught via on-campus blocks in Christchurch via the Department of Psychological Medicine
  • PHCY 506 Research Methods - distance taught via Dunedin School of Pharmacy (30 points)
  • HASC 417 Health Sciences Research Methods - distance taught via Wellington (30 points)
  • AVME 785 Research Methods - entirely distance taught via Wellington (online and audio conferences) (30 points)

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Further information

Administrator Client Services
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 364 0469