Postgraduate programmes

Master of Medicine in Emergency Medicine

Programme convenor: Dr Waseela Khan 

The EM specialist programme is committed to training local and international registrars, with a focus on, but not limited to, training specialists throughout the African region. Successful students will be awarded two qualifications on completion of the programme requirements:  MMed Emergency Medicine and FCEM(SA).

Students enrolled in the MMed programme participate in a four year clinical and academic curriculum.  Protected academic contact sessions with Emergency Medicine faculty include lectures, demonstrations, journal club, simulations, and M&M meetings.  All professionals with an interest in emergency medicine are welcome to attend, with the understanding that the teaching will be focused on the educational needs of the training registrars.  The sessions are CPD accredited.

1. Aims of the programme

  • To equip the trainee, at the completion of four years of study, with the theoretical knowledge, practical ability and interpersonal skills for full time or independent specialist Emergency Medicine practice.
  • To enable the trainee to develop the attitudes and abilities necessary to become an independent learner and to accept the responsibility for lifelong continuing professional development.
  • To equip the trainee to plan, conduct, interpret and publish independent research in the field of Emergency Medicine.

2. Expected Outcomes of the Programme

The student should possess a broad knowledge of:

  • Current state-of-the-art developments in medicine in general.
  • Ethical principles as applicable to Emergency Medicine and the practice of medicine in general.
  • An interdisciplinary approach to patient evaluation and care.
  • Epidemiological and statistical principles and their application in analysing scientific data.
  • Humanitarian and socio-economic issues governing the overall practice of Emergency Medicine and medicine in general.

The student should have the ability to:

  • Identify and solve problems in such a way that it will be clear that decisions are reached by way of critical and creative thinking.
  • To perform his/her work and interact with patients and fellow workers in a way that demonstrates the exemplary application of professional values.
  • Ability to effectively cooperate with other people as a member of a health team.
  • To organise and manage himself/herself and his/her activities in a responsible and efficient manner.
  • Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information, and to extrapolate beyond given data to new, broader issues.
  • To communicate effectively, orally or in writing, using statistics, audio-visual aids and other information technology as appropriate.

3. Course requirements

The selection of specialist registrars follows formal criteria laid down by the University, and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. The selection committee is chaired by the programme convenor.

Interested applicants should have at least one year of clinical experience in an emergency centre. In date certification in Advanced Life Support Courses (ACLS; ATLS; APLS / PALS) is a requirement. Possession of the College of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) FCEM Part 1 exam is a requirement to entry into the program.

Refer to the CMSA Emergency Medicine regulations in regard to the Primary and Fellowship examination regulations. These regulations, including the curriculum, are available from the CMSA:

4. Recognised training preceding registration

Applicants who have undergone training that is directly relevant to Emergency Medicine may be credited with this time on the rotation. Individuals in this position will need to apply directly to the HPCSA for accreditation of this time.

5. Course description

The philosophy of the division with respect to training is both informal and enabling; there are no rigid rules for the conduct of day-to-day activities – an ethical, mature and responsible approach on the part of the trainee, as an independent medical practitioner, is assumed as a given. Furthermore, teaching staff and faculty, while always available for advice or direct assistance, expect initiative and inquiry, rather than the burden of didactic teaching. An integral part of training is to be a trainer; teaching of interns and undergraduate students is part of the course of service delivery.  Providing optimal patient care is a fundamental responsibility.

The core recommended clinical text is:


The Division also recommends the following text for the CEM primary exams

  • Anatomy: Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Keith L Moore, Arthur F Dalley (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)
  • Pathology: Applied Basic Science for Basic Surgical Training, Andrew T Raftery (Churchill Livingstone)
  • Physiology: Review of Medical Physiology, William F Ganong (McGraw-Hill)
  • Pharmacology: Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Tom E Peck, Sue Hill (Cambridge University Press)
  • South African Medicines Formulary, Colleen J Gibbon (Health and Medical Publishing Group)

Candidates are advised to acquaint themselves particularly with those aspects that relate to the practice of emergency medicine, and to use the most recent edition available

The course mandates successful completion of three components:

Part one: FCEM(SA) Part I examination

The traditional logbook is replaced by the College of Emergency Medicine’s C.R.I.T.I.C.A.L. (Certified Record of In-service Training Including Continuous Assessment and Learning) performance portfolio. This is available from the College website. Clinical evaluation is done by the clinical supervisors, who are required to complete a clinical evaluation form at the end of each rotation. An example of a four year rotation is as follows: your actual rotation is likely to vary from this, depending upon requirements and availability:

  • 3/12 Pre-hospital medicine
  • 6/12 Medical Emergencies, adult (includes acute Psychiatry)
  • 3/12 Medical emergencies, paediatric
  • 3/12 Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
  • 3/12 Anaesthetics
  • 6/12 Intensive Care (Paediatric and adult)
  • 9/12 Trauma (includes Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, ENT)
  • 15/12 Emergency Centre. Medical emergencies and Emergency Centre time will include Cardiology and Infectious diseases

There are several additional courses available which candidates can complete in this time.  Please refer to for the most up-to-date information.

Part two: The FCEM(SA) Part II examination
This serves as the common exit examination for both qualifications.

Part three: the Dissertation:

Students must complete the dissertation prior to being permitted entry to write the Part two examination.  The outcome expected is of at least one publishable article. Length: 20000 words (60 credits).  Research methodology training should consist of one of the following three options. These must be completed prior to submitting the dissertation for examination:

  1. UCT MPhil's research methodology module (see below)
  2. The Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics online course from Coursera
  3. The UCT Clinical Research Centre MMed Research Training Workshop
  4. A notable exception is planned qualitative research which is not covered in these research methodology courses.  The Qualitative Research Methods online course from Coursera is recommended in place of the three research courses listed above

How do I enrol for the UCT MPhil research methodology module?

The research methodology module (CRM 1), can be enrolled for in a number of ways:

  1. If you are a registered UCT student, you can formally register for the module by adding the course code CHM6005F to your registration at the start of the year
  2. If you wish to register as an occasional student (thus completing the module before attempting registration in the MMed), you should apply online.  Follow all the prompts to work your way through: postgraduate non-degree Health Science –> Surgery –> Emergency Medicine.  Use MZ002CHM02 as the plan code. Following the application and acceptance, registration for the module will take place at the end January.  You have to first apply, be accepted and register in order to be recognised on the module.
  3. The alternative is that you simply let us know that you wish to register for CRM 1 and complete coursework and exams as if you were registered. You would satisfy the divisional requirements, but your results would not be on a formal university transcript (and therefore could not be used for credits and exemption for any other degree in the future).