Postgraduate programmes

Postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Care

This course has been designed for doctors, nurses and paramedics who want to gain knowledge in emergency care. The primary purpose of the Postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Care is to equip healthcare professionals with theoretical clinical, research and management skills that enables the promotion of evidence-based emergency care across the continent. The course is designed to focus on the African emergency care contexts. The course is ideal for busy emergency care workers who, due to high patient loads and geographical distances, are unable to access traditional educational methods. Working online, you can access your coursework on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The course requires no travel and there are no face-to-face sessions, allowing you to work in a flexible study schedule whilst fulfilling personal and professional obligations. The course can serve as a bridge to the MPhil programme in Emergency Care.

Please note that the course provides clinical theory, but there is no practical clinical requirement – that is assumed from your prior experience and current workplace.

  • Mode of delivery: Online
  • NQF Level: Level 8
  • Number of Credits: 120 according to South African Qualifications Authority accreditation (SAQA)
  • Minimum Time for completion - Full Time: 1 year

Course objectives

  1. Develop an understanding of the role and components of emergency care in the African health care system
  2. Demonstrate an evidence-based approach in dealing with the management of common adult medical and surgical emergencies
  3. Understand the global context of childhood illness and injury, and best practice emergency care for children
  4. Grow research skills and knowledge, specifically the ability to appraise and evaluate literature, particularly to find and utilise contextually appropriate clinical resources 
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of contemporary management and African leadership practices
  6. Navigate an online learning process, encompassing the tools needed for this course, and for lifelong learning and collaboration

There are six courses in the diploma which you will undertake with the expert guidance of dedicated lecturers, providing contextually relevant information, and a collaborative online learning environment with interdisciplinary colleagues from around South Africa and the rest of the continent.

  • Introduction to Postgraduate Studies
  • Concepts in Emergency Care
  • Adult Emergency Medicine
  • Child health
  • Leadership and patient safety
  • Research literacy

Academic requirements

The PG Dip in Emergency Care is open to doctors, nurses and paramedics who hold a minimum of an NQF 7 degree

Candidates with extensive experience but do not hold an NQF 7 degree (e.g. CCA) may be considered as part of the RPL process of the Health Science Faculty. Applicants who wish to be considered on the basis Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will be required to submit a personal portfolio reflecting, amongst others, their experience in the field of emergency care, and any relevant work experience and past attendance of  relevant short courses or courses for which they may have obtained certificates or diplomas. Assessment to identify critical thinking skills in writing and reading may be conducted.

Applicants must be registered with the relevant South African professional body (such as the HPCSA or Nursing Council) or equivalent and should preferably be working in an emergency care environment

Applicants must be able to converse and write in Medical English

Applicants must pass a basic computer literacy examination provided by the Division upon shortlisting.

Technical requirements:

Since this course is hosted online you need to have access to a laptop or computer and reliable internet access.

Basic computer skills

  • You must be able to operate a computer, and possess basic web-browsing skills
  • You must be proficient with email and file management (access, create, edit, save, upload and download documents)
  • You must be able to use a word-processing program to create and edit documents


Follow this link to apply online

International (non-South African) students – please refer to the UCT IAPO (International Academic Programme Office) for further information about the process. For non-South African students, you will require clearance from IAPO before you will be allowed to register.

How much does it cost?

All information relating to fees, methods of payment and payment schedules is available in the UCT fees handbook.

Please note the additional administration fee payable by students who are non-South African citizens or permanent residents.

More information

Academic and programme queries: Dr Charmaine Cunningham (Programme convenor) | 

Application and registration queries: Taryn-Lee Safers (Postgraduate Office) |  |  +27 21 406 6028

Administrative queries after acceptance: Abigail Seconds (PG Dip Administrator) | |  +27 21 650 1828