PDIP Oncoplastic Breast Surgery (Part Time)

"It was a perfect way to get the theoretical knowledge to complement the practical aspects of my training."

In their words

Dr Sarah Tang

Key facts

(REF 2014)

The number of breast cancer cases in the UK is increasing. Norwich Medical School, with support from the Royal College of Surgeons (England), Association of Breast Surgery (ABS), British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), developed this unique course for surgeons looking to progress in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery.  Following its inception in 2011, UEA’s innovative approach won a gold e-learning award, stimulating development of new super-specialist courses that adopt the same educational formula; the latest of which are offered internationally.

Designed to mesh with the working lives of clinical practitioners, six modules cover benign breast disease, malignant breast disease, oncoplastic breast conservation, oncoplastic breast reconstruction, integrated research, and leadership and management. The focus is on consultant-level critical thinking and decision-making for surgeons as they gain on-the-job experience.


As a Specialist Postgraduate Diploma student at Norwich Medical School, you’ll take part in fully-online discussions centred around realistic cases within our dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – a thriving online community of specialists from all over the world.

The course is based around six advanced modules, covering all areas of oncoplastic breast surgery and a host of relevant transferrable skills. Each topic will bring with it new expertise and insights, which will prove directly applicable to your own clinical practice. As such, each tutor-mediated forum discussion will take on a life of its own, fueled by the growth of shared reading, personal experience and tutor guidance.

The course is designed to complement your day-to-day clinical practice, so each session is delivered asynchronously, meaning that you won’t need to log-on at set times. Your online learning will be supported by formative assessments of your surgical knowledge, critical thinking and decision-making., And you will participate in module training days and workshops (either face-to-face or virtual) with our expert tutors, which are also recorded for student revision purposes on the VLE.

The course is designed for surgeons with demonstrable experience in core breast oncology. We accept breast or plastic surgery trainees from level ST5 level or above, from the UK and overseas.

Demonstrate competency in core oncoplastic breast surgery procedures, and if you have successfully completed the requirements for a PGDiploma, then you would be able to apply to proceed onto the final year to obtain a Master’s degree. If you are unable to fully demonstrate operative competency, you will not move onto the final year and can complete your study with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma. In these cases, you will still benefit fully from the theoretical and decision-making skills that each of our students can gain on the course.

Course Structure

Our initial two-year course is comprised of six, 16-week duration online modules, providing advanced learning in the following specialist areas:

  • Benign breast disease
  • Malignant breast disease
  • Research and service evaluation
  • Oncoplastic breast conservation
  • Oncoplastic breast reconstruction
  • Management and service improvement

Each module is delivered in two-week topics, with learning outcomes mapped to the UK ISCP breast surgery curriculum, which all UK surgeons are expected to work to. We designate time for background reading and revision, and you will be required to undertake approximately 10 hours of independent study each week, including:

  • Reading core texts and the latest clinical papers
  • Discussing an online clinical case with your peers to draw out learning opportunities and evidence-based practice
  • Completing formative assessments to aid your learning, including multiple choice questions and script concordance tests
  • Constructing a personal management plan for the clinical case to demonstrate your understanding of the topic

Each online module is supported by a real-time (face-to-face or online) study event. These could include lectures, practical workshops and small group discussions, tailored to the module’s content. In addition to providing valuable learning opportunities, these events give you the chance to meet your tutors and to network with peers and educators. Both the online and face-to-face events will be video-recorded and made available online.

Following adequate online participation and successful completion of a summative assessment of each 16-week module, you will be awarded 20 credits.

Acquire 60 credits at the end of your first year and, if you decide to leave, you’ll finish the course with a Postgraduate Certificate. 120 credits over two years of successful study will earn you a Postgraduate Diploma, should you decide to leave then. However if you demonstrate the required operative skills and choose to progress to complete your third year with its dissertation module, you’ll earn 180 credits and a Master of Surgery degree.

Teaching and Learning


The majority of our teaching takes place online and includes the use of validated postgraduate clinical methods, including advanced case-based discussions and formative script concordance testing.

Our tutors are all experienced senior clinicians working both in the UK and internationally, maximising your exposure to global discussions and comparisons of best practice.

The module workshops provide skills-based training in core oncoplastic breast conservation and breast reconstruction techniques, including planning and mark-up, in addition to technical procedures.

Independent study

PG Diploma students should bear in mind that any student intending to progress on to the Masters qualification, will need to have recorded evidence of operative proficiency in core oncoplastic procedures by their workplace-based assessments and assessed in their second year of study, prior to progression to the final year as this is stipulated by the Masters qualification.  Students intending to qualify with a PG Diploma do not need to show this evidence.


Each clinical module includes a written assessment, which – together with sufficient online participation in the formative tasks – is worth 20 credits. Currently, exam papers are sat in the September of each academic year, with re-sit attempts in January the following year. From 2019 we plan to introduce reflective essay-style assessments for each module, which will be submitted and marked online, and which can also be utilised as evidence towards your professional portfolio...

Your research and management modules will involve the online submission of a piece of written work, marked according to the UEA postgraduate senate scale.

You will also undertake an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE exam) in your second year of study, which will be held in the UK in September. The exam will utilise several short stations, 15 to 20 minutes in duration, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge in various aspects of planning and decision-making in topics related to oncoplastic breast surgery.

There is also an accompanying log-book evaluation for those students wishing to proceed to the final year of study, which looks at competency in the core oncoplastic surgical procedures required to achieve the final MS award.

After the course

Our course is set at the level required of a first year UK consultant in oncoplastic breast surgery. You will be applying the knowledge and skills you acquire on the course assisting your working cases as your learning progresses.

Past graduates of the course have cited a swift progression to more senior positions. They’ve also reported additional benefits, such as confidence in multidisciplinary teams and improved communication with peers, senior colleagues and patients.

Career destinations

The course develops critical thinking and decision-making skills, which are the key skills for consultants in specialist medicine.

Course related costs

You will be responsible for covering your costs of travel and accommodation for any study days and examinations. Adequate notice of dates will be provided so you can arrange study leave from your clinical post.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module covers Benign Breast Disease and Mastalgia, Family History and Imaging, Congenital and Acquired Breast Anomalies, Nipple Discharge and Breast Infection, Screening and QA Process, Patient Declining Treatment / B3 Lesions and the Lymphatic System




This module covers Screening and DCIS, Management of the Axilla, Postmenopausal and Premenopausal Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer in High Risk Patients, Locally Advanced Breast Cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer








Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject MBBS or overseas equivalent
  • Degree Classification Pass, merit or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements ST 5 or above, Associate Specialist (2 years in breast surgery), GMC registered and MRCS or equivalent.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English or those whose degree was not taught in English. To ensure such students benefit fully from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. We also will require a certain standard to be achieved on the written element of the test. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 7.0 in all component)
  • PTE: 65 (minimum 65 in all components)

All scores must be less than two years old.


The next intake starts in January 2020. There is no September intake to this course.


Fees and Funding

Fees for the full course running from Jan 2020 will be:


£1500 for the dissertation

For illustration purposes, the total cost should a student wishing to complete a masters is therefore 6 x £1000 taught modules + £1500 dissertation = £7500

Part-time students can pay per module studied. However, module fees may be subject to an annual increase.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515