MSc Extreme Medicine
Full time 1 year
Part time 2-3 years
|Location||Exeter (St Luke‘s)|
Distance learning through short residential courses
With the increased awareness of global burdens such as humanitarian crises and sudden onset disasters, more than ever there is a need to be delivering healthcare in highly complex and demanding situations.
This unique programme is delivered in partnership between the University of Exeter Medical School and World Extreme Medicine, the world's leading provider of specialist training courses for medics taking their skills into challenging environments.
This is medicine at its best, crossing geographical and professional boundaries.
You will learn the practical skills, knowledge and understanding needed to perform at the highest possible level in the field of extreme medicine. You can also choose to undertake a specialism in Cold Environments, Hot Environments or Humanitarian Relief.
You will learn with and from your peers.
Distance learning through residential courses
Face-to-face learning on each module is structured around a short residential course supported by online distance learning. The residentials include locations in the UK as well as environment-specific modules in various locations around the world, and are dependent on the modules you choose.
The residentials are designed to provide the challenge of learning in an unfamiliar environment and relying on the collaboration and support of the other participants.
This means that you are not required to live in Exeter when undertaking this Masters.
External agency links
On top of our residential modules, we have established some fantastic links with external agencies that our students can exploit whilst they are on the programme. These include:
• Fellowship Principles of Space & Aviation Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) - students enrolled undertaking year 2 or 3 of this programme are eligible to apply for this unique opportunity. Places are competitive and will require a month’s residency in Houston, Texas.
• We have a number of exchange places with the European Space Agency and their Physician Training Course in Cologne open to those enrolled on our MSc.
Who this programme is suitable for:
• Medical scientists
• Allied healthcare professionals
• Military medics
• Intercalating medical students*
*The full-time course is suitable for some intercalating medical students. Applicants need to have completed a minimum of 3 years of their undergraduate medical degree programme and able to evidence previous relevant experience of travelling or working in remote or hostile environments.
You will be working or looking to work in situations of rapid change and uncertainty and you will be looking to demonstrate capabilities that extend beyond clinical competence into areas such as leadership, communications, teamwork, resilience, humanitarian relief, planning and logistics.
The programme's foundations are rooted in the core values of collaboration, challenge, community, impact and rigour, embedded firmly within the University’s mission to make the exceptional happen, by challenging traditional thinking and defying conventional boundaries.
Throughout this programme you will critically examine the challenges of providing safe and effective healthcare in a range of challenging environments. Key to this learning to recognise and evaluate the unique ethical, professional and legal challenges of delivering medical care in these environments.
You will undertake a number of residential courses to help you develop these skills, as well as giving you the opportunity to learn with and from your peers.
The Masters is available as full time (1 year) or part time (2-3 years) options. You must complete the same compulsory modules in the full time and part time variants.
There is no requirement to be living in the South West with easy access to Exeter on a regular basis. Modules take part throughout the UK, Europe and further afield.
Although the timing of the modules do not overlap the full time course is very intensive and careful planning of module sequence with time windows for preparation and submission of assignments is critically important from the outset.
You are able to specialise in Cold Environments, Hot Environment or Humanitarian Relief. This specialism will be reflected in your award title provided you have taken the appropriate and completed an independent research project in the relevant field. See the Specialisms tab for more information.
Modules and delivery
To qualify for the PG Certificate you must complete 60 credits consisting of the compulsory module (Core Concepts in Extreme Medicine) and a further two optional modules of 15 credits.
To qualify for the PG Diploma you must complete 120 credits consisting of the two compulsory modules (Core Concepts in Extreme Medicine and Human Factors) and a further five optional modules of 15 credits.
To qualify for the Masters you must complete 180 credits consisting of the two compulsory modules (Core Concepts in Extreme Medicine and Human Factors), five optional modules of 15 credits, and complete the Independent Research Project.
|HPDM100||Core Concepts in Extreme Medicine||30|
|HPDM102||Human Factors – Situational Awareness||15|
|HPDM087||Research Project (Compulsory for MSc)||60|
|HPDM071||Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Practical||15|
|HPDM073||Special Environment – Mountain||15|
|HPDM072||Special Environment – Jungle||15|
|HPDM074||Special Environment – Polar||15|
|HPDM077||Special Environment – Winter Alpine||15|
|HPDM086b||Special Environment – Desert||15|
|HPDM101||Pre-hospital Trauma, Assessment and Treatment||15|
|HPDM085||Special Environment – Ocean||15|
|HPDM075||Medicine at the Final Frontier||15|
|HPDM070||Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Theory||15|
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
You are able to specialise in particular areas of Extreme Medicine. This specialism will be reflected in your award title provided you have taken the appropriate modules specified below, and completed an independent research project in the relevant field.
Depending on the specific modules taken, students may receive one of the following named awards:
• MSc in Extreme Medicine (Cold Environment)
• MSc in Extreme Medicine (Hot Environment)
• MSc in Extreme Medicine (Humanitarian Relief)
Your eligibility for the particular award will be confirmed by the final Assessment Progression and Awarding Committee (APAC) on the basis of the modules that have been completed. In order to graduate with a particular named award in parentheses, you will need to notify the programme support team accordingly. Otherwise the award name will be MSc in Extreme Medicine.
The award comprises compulsory programme modules, 30 credits of the cold environment specialist modules, a research project in the relevant field, plus optional modules for the remainder of the programme credits
|HPDM074||Special Environment – Polar||
|HPDM077||Special Environment – Winter Alpine Medicine||
|HPDM073||Special Environment – Mountain||
The award comprises compulsory programme modules, 30 credits of the hot environment specialist modules, a research project in the relevant field, plus optional modules for the remainder of the programme credits
|HPDM086||Special Environment – Desert||
|HPDM072||Special Environment – Jungle||
The award comprises compulsory programme modules, 30 credits of the humanitarian relief specialist modules, a research project in the relevant field, plus optional modules for the remainder of the programme credits
|HPDM070||Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Theory||
|HPDM071||Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Practical||
Learning and teaching
The programme is delivered part time through a blend of delivery methods. The taught components of the core modules are short duration (2-4 day) intensive residential courses supported by online learning.
Each module is based on its own residential course.
There is no requirement to be living in the South West with easy access to Exeter on a regular basis.
Teaching and learning methods
All material is designed for Masters level and will involve distance learning with keynote lectures, case studies, seminars and group discussion in addition to the residential programme.
In the second year and third years of the programme there is considerable scope within modules for you to direct your learning towards fields of particular interest, especially when undertaking the MSc through your choice of dissertation project and in your guided independent study.
Taught modules will be assessed through literature reviews, essays, and written reports. There is a strong focus on working collaboratively and learning from each other in small teams. An integral part of the programme is the residential postings to UK and international locations which additionally contextualise your learning.
Advice and support
Each student is allocated a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. The Programme Lead is also available to help with further guidance and advice.
Extreme Medicine is an emerging specialty. Graduates of the programme will enhance their medical skills to practice in challenging and remote environments. They will acquire field based knowledge and skills to demonstrate their strategic understanding of expedition operations, to potential employers and to the wider deployment team.
Potential roles may include:
- Disaster response, working with NGO’s or government contracts
- Medical cover for security operations
- Expedition and wilderness medicine
- Working with media organisations
- Remote research or logistics
Normally a 2:2 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Relevant clinical or professional experience may be required.
Individuals who don't meet the normal entry criteria but have relevant professional experience will also be welcomed on to this MSc programme. Qualifications and experience will be assessed on application and there will be opportunities for APL (Assessment of Prior Learning).
The full-time course is suitable for some intercalating medical students. Applicants need to have completed a minimum of 3 years of their undergraduate medical degree programme and able to evidence previous relevant experience of travelling or working in remote or hostile environments.
Requirements for international students
If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.
International students are normally subject to visa regulations which prevent part-time study. It is recommended that international students apply for the level of the final award you intend to complete i.e. PGCert, PGDip or Masters, due to the associated cost and requirements for a Tier 4 student Visa.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6
Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.
Pearson Test of English (Academic)
58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.
Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency
Overall score 176. No less than 169 in any section.
Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.
Fees and funding
Tuition fees per year 2020/21
For 2020/21, fees will be charged pro rata for UK/EU students. Fees are subject to an annual increment each academic year.
The annual fee for Year 1 and 2 of the programme for 2020 entry is:
- UK/EU: £20,600 Full time (2 yr Part time £10,300pa)
- International: £20,600 Full time (2 yr Part time £10,300pa)
3 year part time fees are £8,800pa for year 1 and 2 and £3,000 for year 3
Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.
UK government postgraduate loan scheme
Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
Please note: Masters degrees taken over three years part time are not currently eligible for this loan
Other programme scholarships
We have a range of scholarships available for postgraduate scholarships every year including NHS bursaries. For full details search the funding directory
Second year optional modules
In Year Two a number of Special Environments optional modules have a supplementary cost in addition to the annual tuition fee.
- Polar £1,250
- Jungle £500
- Mountain £1,500
- Desert £250
Travel to the course venue
This may be the location of the course in the UK or an agreed meeting place, for an overseas course.
World Extreme Medicine provide information and a point of contact in the joining instructions each student receives when registering for the course.
British residents - As with any time spent away from home, we suggest that student check their contents and/or personal insurance to confirm whether their belongings will be covered for any incident which may occur away from their home address.
International residents - International students will need to ensure that they have adequate insurance to cover their personal belongings and check with their home country to confirm their access to medical attention whilst in the UK.
Overseas courses (not applicable to the PgCert):
British and international residents – All will require adequate travel insurance which covers them for medical expenses and personal belongings and allows for trekking at altitude/winter activities (as appropriate, depending on the course attending) and lists helicopter evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Students may prefer to source their own insurance but if required, we can direct them to a good quality insurance provider we work with.
Kit and protective clothing
A kit list which will be supplied to students for each residential, but as a list of essential items, the following items are suggested:
Outdoor clothing – notably a waterproof jacket (£50-300) and trousers (£30-100), hat (£10), gloves (£10-40), warm walking socks (£5-15 per pair) plus clothes allowing freedom of movement
Sturdy walking boots (£50-200)
Warm fleece or top (£20-70)
40L Day pack (£15-100)
Water bottle (£1-10)
Head torch (£10-60)
Roll mat (£15-70)
2 – 3 Season sleeping bag (£35-200)
Camping utensils - mug, bowl and spoon and a stove (£10-20)
These are basic items which any medic wanting to work in challenging environments will use again and again but you may choose to acquire additional kit or gadgets. Item price ranges extend from basic adequate kit to high end regular use kit.
The University considers the level of scholarships and bursaries on an annual basis. Scholarships and bursaries are not guaranteed on an annual basis.
Global Excellence Scholarship
We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.
This is a unique programme and is likely to be different to any other MSc programme you may have looked at in terms of content and delivery. Please use the 'Ask a Question' box on the right if you would like to know about specific aspects of the course. For example, our most common enquiry has been about entry requirements. This programme is intended for doctors, postgraduate nurses and postgraduate paramedics, however if you are a post graduate in another allied medical profession, you may still be eligible for this course, so please feel free to contact us to discuss your application.
You may also wish to contact Extreme Medicine directly regarding any aspect of the residentials or discuss whether the course is suitable for you. They can be contacted directly through their website at www.expedition-medicine.com
Telephone: +44 (0)1392 725500
Web: Enquire online
If you would prefer a dissertation-based Masters rather than a taught and thesis Masters then this is available as the MSc by research: