University of Chester

Programme Specification
Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation PGDip
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Diploma

Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation

Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation

University of Chester

University of Chester

Main Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year full time, 3 years part-time

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

QAA-Health Care Subjects 


Recognised in relation to Associations' criteria for CPD towards advance certifications:

British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation;

The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Cardiac Rehabilitation

British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Clinical Sciences and Nutrition in Faculty of Life Sciences or Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Clinical Sciences

Monday 31st January 2011

  1. Provides opportunity for healthcare professionals to update their knowledge, understanding and skills and improve their capacity to contribute effectively to the promotion of evidence-based practice in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation.
  2. Meets the market demand for professional development opportunities and qualifications in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation for health professionals that will help hospitals and primary care service providers fulfil the national UK targets and aims.
  3. Provides postgraduate education and vocational opportunities for those aspiring to work in this rapidly developing and high profile field.
  4. Provides a framework for the development of collaborative inter-professional learning in the context of cardiovascular health, disease prevention and rehabilitation.
  5. Offers practitioners opportunity to develop professionally and academically their understanding of the theoretical principles and related practical applications which underpin cardiovascular health and rehabilitation services and programmes.

Throughout all modules

  • A range of academic subjects (medicine, physiology, exercise science, nutrition & dietetics, psychology etc) are considered in the context of a major health care issue.
  • Theoretical matters are related to professional practice throughout

  •  Throughout all modules

    • Modules that focus on policy and action with respect to cardiovascular health and rehabilitation provide opportunity to consider authentic examples in context.
    • A problem-based approach is adopted for a number of the modules and critical analysis is required throughout.
    • The programme is grounded in current research and offers the opportunity for individual in-depth consideration of a topic of contemporary importance.

  • Practical Skills 
    Modules XN7402, XN7403, XN7414 and other options from other MSc programmes in Nutrition and Exercise Science

    • Laboratory classes, clinical practice procedures and exercise physiology activities are included in certain modules.
    • Data collection and analysis is central to the programme.
    • Research methodologies will be explored to provide the basis for the development of a sound research project suitable for the construction of a Masters' level dissertation and possible publication.
    • Plus organised and structured learning volunteer/optional/non-credit clinical experience placements within local and regional cardiac rehabilitation programmes

    Transferable Professional Skills

    • Although not designed as a professional qualification the programme includes the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of professional skills of relevance to practice within the field of cardiovascular health and rehabilitation.

  • Throughout all modules

    • Application of Number
    • Information Literacy and Technology
    • Improving own learning and performance
    • Working with others
    • Problem solving

The PG Diploma involves the study of five core modules and 1 optional module.

Each module comprises 200-250 hours of total student study time which is split broadly as below:

  • 25-30 hrs intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions, laboratories and practical activities (delivered over three or four days)
  • 15hrs of practical activities or work experience and support tutorials
  • 160hrs of directed self-study
  • students prepare an assignment using the Module Resource Pack (printed and electronic), library and on-line learning resources, primary research journals and national and international professional guidelines, standards and scientific position statements. The specific assignment requirements are set out in the module descriptors but are each equivalent to a 4000 word written assignment.
    Each module is worth 20 Level 7 Academic Credits.

The course meets the requirements of FHEQ for students working at Level 7, notably:

  1. students will continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level and will have: 
  2. students will gain a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  3. the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment, professional development and/or academic practice and research
  4. the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  5. decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations
  6. the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development

PG Diploma students may study one optional modules from other complementary programmes offered by the Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition (MSc Exercise & Nutrition Science, MSc Weight Management) subject to the agreement of the programme leader. The list of relevant modules is as given as follows:

MSc Exercise & Nutrition Science (XN7501, XN7502, XN7506, XN7508, XN7509, XN7514, XN7515, XN7521, XN7522)
MSc Weight Management (XN7201, XXN7202, XN7203, XN7204, XN7205, XN7206, XN7207, XN7208, XN7212)

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
XN7401 7 CV Diseases, Risk Factors, Investigations and Treatments 20 Comp
XN7402 7 Cardiovascular Anatomy & Exercise Physiology 20 Comp
XN7403 7 Clinical Exercise Testing & Prescription 20 Comp
XN7404 7 Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health 20 Comp
XN7408 7 Public Health Policy, Programme Planning and Management 20 N/A
XN7409 7 Research Methods and Data Analysis 20 Comp
XN7412 7 Advanced Exercise Practice in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation 20 Optional
XN7413 7 Independent Study (Cardiovascular Rehabilitation) 20 Optional
XN7414 7 Physical Activity & Exercise Programming in the Management of Cardiovascular Disease 20 Optional
XN7416 7 Cardiovascular Psychology, Health Behaviour and Education 20 N/A

PG Dip - 120 credits at M Level (5 core modules plus 1 option module)

  • Students will normally have a first degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Students will be from a range of academic and professional health backgrounds including doctors, nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, sport, exercise and health or biological sciences etc.
  • An increasing number of students are newly qualified graduates with degrees in a related subject aiming to increase their employment potential

Across all modules

Although no formal benchmarks apply to studies in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation, those suggested by QAA for health care subjects are applied as follows:


A1 Professional autonomy and accountability

During practical sessions and if on voluntary placement:

  • Maintain the standards and requirements of the BACPR, ACPICR and BASES
  • Adhere to relevant codes of conduct of Skills for Health, Skills Active, BASES, Royal Colleges of Medicine and Nursing, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences 
  • Understand the legal and ethical responsibilities of professional practice in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation, the NHS and or of any other service provider

A2 Professional relationships

  • To be able to work effectively with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, exercise scientists and practitioners, and or those in related supervisor or management roles
  • To be able to with voluntary groups and patients such as heart patient support groups, or as a committee member of national bodies relation cardiovascular health and rehabilitation

A3 Personal and professional skills

  • Patient counselling and screening skills both subjective and objective linked with the 5 components of care; Lifestyle (Diet, Exercise, Smoking), Psychosocial (expect and recognise anxiety, depression, mood disorders), assess cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, lipids, anthropometrics, physical activity, exercise capacity)
  • Collect information on the above in a coherent manner upon which others can make decisions
  • Understand how the evidence underpins national guidelines for cardiovascular health and rehabilitation and the limitations of the evidence (quality, practicalities of translating into practice)
  • Be trained in emergency and resuscitation skills


A4 Profession and employer context

  • Understand how cardiac rehabilitation is funded in the UK and the link between national, regional and local organisations in primary, secondary and tertiary care

B1 Identification and assessment of health and social care needs

  • Practical implementation of a1-A3 in an organised and sensitive manner, with empathy and confidence taking a patient centred approach

B2 Formulation of plans and strategies for meeting health and social care needs

  • Respect and implement the BACPR goals of working towards developing patient self-management skills
  • Offer choice of style of rehabilitation that best suits the patient (clinic, community or home) and assess how much support is required by each of the professionals delivering the 5 BACPR core components of car

B3 Practice

  • Effectively implement the 7 practice/service standards of the BACPR

B4 Evaluation

  • Compare data between baseline assessment and discharge of the 5 BACPR core components to report to the patient in supporting their long-term goal setting needs
  • Aggregate all patients data so has to evaluate overall service outcomes and enter these into the National Audit and compare performance so as to develop service enhancement goals

Learning and Teaching Methods

  • The programme is delivered by a mix of: academics from the University of Chester and other UK universities; healthcare professionals from a range of disciplines; and other visiting lecturers with appropriate specialist knowledge and skills.
  • The programme is comprised of series of taught modules each delivered by a three to four day, 25-30 hour short course followed by a period of directed learning (often derived from the assignment) and the submission of a 4,000 word assignment, or its equivalent.
  • A diverse range of teaching and learning modes are utilised for this programme (lectures, seminars, group activities, case studies, student presentations, laboratory classes and practical activities). Independent learning following an intensive "taught" element is a key feature of the programme.
  • Throughout the programme students are encouraged to interact with the teaching teams through individual tutorials which may be face-to-face, by telephone or email. There is opportunity for formative comment on assignment drafts.
  • The formal modular programme is supported by a range of extra-modular workshops covering (for instance): e-learning and use of on-line resources (delivered by Learning Resources); high level information presentation skills; IT (including use of research software such as Nvivo); and specialist professional development activities.
  • Where appropriate, students are encouraged to take up placement opportunities / work experience with collaborating or individually arranged health-care units. The programme includes an appointed clinical education experience facilitator/advisor.
  • The above approach offers higher learning in a client-focused manner which suits the requirements of busy practitioners who wish to update their knowledge and practical and/or academic skills.

Assessment Strategy and Methods

  • Each module is assessed and must be passed at Level 7 and carries 20 credits.
  • Assessments are based around consideration of authentic problems and circumstances. Assessment tasks vary from module to module but include, for instance, preparation of reports, research posters, presentations, analysis of datasets.
  • Demonstration of critical thinking is essential to achieve level 7 requirements.
  • A minimum of 25% of assessed work is second marked in accordance with University policy. 
  • Where a student fails to achieve the required standard the assignment must be revised and resubmitted in accordance with the recommendations made by the examiners.

  • The University of Chester does not routinely collect data on the first post-graduation destinations for Masters programmes.
  • A significant proportion of students undertake their studies on a part-time basis whilst continuing in relevant full or part-time employment. . These categories of student are primarily studying for personal professional development.
  • Students who join the programme directly from their first degree utilise their Masters degree to gain admission to a wide range of professions and/or employment opportunities both in the UK and internationally.
  • The majority of graduates are able to make rapid transition into relevant employment on completion of their studies.
  • Each year a proportion of graduates continue their studies by taking additional degrees in related subjects whilst others progress to higher level research degrees (MPhil, PhD).

  • The programmes in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation (MSc, PgDip and PgCert) currently recruit world-wide and hence there is considerable diversity in national and ethnic origins.
  • Modules are designed to include debate and discussion of cardiovascular health and rehabilitation issues in different settings (both within the UK and elsewhere). International students are encouraged to contribute by adding their home experiences, including consideration of their research projects to reflect this.
  • Programmes recruit from a mix of health-related disciplines and the teaching team aim to promote the ethic of interprofessional education by valuing the contribution that each discipline contributes to effective cardiovascular health and rehabilitation as set out in the Standards and Core Components of the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.
  • Current students include a stimulating mix of ages; from young new graduates wishing to establish a career in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation through to individuals with many years of professional experience.

Student support:

All modules have resource packs of support materials to aid directed study.
Students are counselled on admission with regard to sensible module selection.
A personal academic tutor is allocated to each student
The Research Co-ordinator provides additional tutor support during the research phase of studies.

Volunteer work placements, shadowing and other professional development experiences are facilitated wherever possible.

If required, all students are provided with the opportunity to gain additional professional recognition in areas such as Immediate Life Support.

Only for module XN7412, where they have to have either attended the BACPR Exercise Course or hold the Exercise Instructor Qualification and in both cases, are working currently with clients/patients with CVD so as to be able to submit an individual client case study for the assessment

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