Mountain Medicine MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Mountain Medicine MSc/PGDip/PGCert

School of Medicine


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    The Postgraduate Diploma course can be completed in a 12 month period but the majority of candidates choose to complete the course over 2 or 3 years. Extension to MSc will usually take a further 12 months.

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, None

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    September/October 2021

  • Award Type:


  • Status:

    Subject to approval

Why study this programme?

Our MSc Mountain Medicine course is designed to give registered healthcare practitioners interested in expedition, travel, remote, rescue and high-altitude medicine the theoretical and practical knowledge to manage the specific illnesses and diseases that may occur in these environments. 

The programme combines practical skills and theory, both in medicine and mountaineering, to equip you with the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to operate successfully in mountain environments. Difficult terrain, high altitudes and harsh weather can quickly lead to life-threatening situations and present unique challenges when it comes to locating and treating casualties and saving lives.

The faculty include some of the most eminent figures in high altitude medicine, top mountain guides and others at the forefront of mountain rescue.

The Postgraduate Diploma course takes place as four week-long modules, two of which are based at the Welsh National Outdoor Centre at Plas y Brenin, one at Fort William in Scotland’s West Coast, and culminates with a week in Arolla in the Swiss Alps.

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Entry Requirements

Health Care Professionals registered with a national professional regulatory body (Physicians, Paramedics, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Physicians Associates).  Students in the final part of their professional training can start the course but must be registered prior to completion of the course / exit award.

You will normally have a British honours degree (2:2 class or above) or equivalent, in a relevant subject from an approved institution of higher education. Non-standard applicants are welcomed. Sufficient competency in English language (IELTS Level 6.5 or equivalent) is required.

Programme at a Glance

  • Module 1: MB4417 - High Altitude & Mountain Emergency Medicine. 
  • Module 2: MB4415 - Mountain Emergency Medicine in Winter Mountain Environments. 

  • Module 3: MB4114 - Travel Medicine & Mountain Medicine. 
  • Module 4: MB4416 - Mountain Emergency Medicine in Alpine Environments.

Further Information

Learning and Assessment

You’ll be taught by an experienced team of academic staff, clinicians, qualified mountain guides, leaders and managers. We’ll aim to give you the theoretical and practical knowledge to manage the specific illnesses and diseases that may occur in the mountain environment.

Through this programme, you can expect to gain an understanding of the physiological changes associated with exercise and with living at altitude; an appreciation of the mountain environment; and the environmental factors that may lead to illness or injury.

You’ll develop your knowledge of aspects of travel medicine that are important to mountain travel; gain proficiency in the practical skills of survival and mountain rescue; and undertake training in the management of altitude-related disease and the specific problems of managing illnesses and injuries that occur during a journey to the mountain environment.

This flexible blended learning programme combines an online virtual learning environment with face-to-face teaching, creating a unique and challenging programme that combines mountaineering and medicine. It provides a range of interesting learning opportunities, encompassing theoretical knowledge and practical mountain skills.

You’ll be able to access the online component of the course at your own pace. It includes reading and collaboration with tutors and other students via the online discussion forum. Face-to-face teaching is delivered in blocks, so weekly attendance on campus is not required.

You’ll be assessed using various methods. These are likely to include case study presentations, case-based demonstrations, practical demonstrations and written assessments.

In order to achieve the full MSc qualification, you’ll be required to complete either a dissertation or professional project.

The course starts in September with individual and collaborative tasks set in our virtual learning environment (VLE).

The course takes place over 4 x 1 week long blocks in December, March, May and September, 2 of these are based in the Welsh National Outdoor Centre, Plas y Brenin in North Wales, 1 is based in Fort William in West Scotland and 1 is based in Arolla, Switzerland.  Delivery is a combination of practical sessions in small groups, much of which is on the mountainside, accompanied by lectures from subject experts and small group tutorials.  This is supported by content delivered online in the course virtual learning environment that includes discussion forums, quizzes and pre-module reading.

For the Postgraduate Diploma, there are four modules of face-to-face learning lasting one week each that take place in December, March, May and September.  These are also supported by learning in the VLE. Study can be completed within 12-months, but many students choose to fit these modules around their work over a two or three year period.

Completing the MSc takes an additional 12 months once the Postgraduate Diploma has been achieved.

Overview and Opportunities

  • Develop your medical and mountaineering skills in this unique, practical course.
  • You’ll be taught by people who work as expedition and travel medics in a wide range of wilderness and high-altitude areas.

  • Study in real life conditions on the mountainside with a qualified mountain guide and clinical tutor right beside you.
  • Learn and gain experience working at altitude during our module based in the Swiss Alps.

Further Information

You have the option of exiting with a Postgraduate Diploma in Mountain Medicine or continuing the course to gain the full MSc Mountain Medicine.

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma you will be awarded the International Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) from the UIAA/ICAR/ISMM – a widely respected and internationally recognised qualification.

If you would like to find out more about this course, please contact our team:

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400



Please note that this course is subject to review/validation which may result in changes to the course structure. Any changes as a result of the review/validation will be immediately included and highlighted in the course documentation and all students holding current offers will be provided with a comprehensive list of those changes. If you are not satisfied with the changes, you will be offered the opportunity to withdraw from the programme and, if required, reasonable support to transfer to another provider.

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: TBC

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Industry Links

This programme has been developed through working closely with the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) Faculty of Pre-hospital Care, the UIAA, ICAR and ISMM to ensure that it meets requirements of organisations seeking medics to work on expeditions to mountain environments across the world.

Professional Accreditation

This programme is accredited by the Union Internationale Des Associations D’Alpinisme (UIAA), International Commission of Alpine Rescue (ICAR) and International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM).

Please see our list of holders of the UK UIAA/ICAR/ISMM.

Future Careers

Where will your Diploma in Mountain Medicine take you? Past alumni and holders of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine have gone on to work as expedition and travel medics in a wide range of wilderness and high-altitude areas and many also provide services giving general medical advice on travel to these areas.