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Dementia Studies (distance learning)

PG Certificate
Duration: 1 year
Attendance mode: Part-time
Award: PG Certificate
Suitable for international students
Start date: View attendance dates
Faculty of Health Studies
Apply Download course booklet


The PG Certificate in Dementia Studies is a one year part-time distance learning programme designed to further enhance your understanding and application of evidence guiding care for people with dementia and their families.

You will learn how to apply the principles of person-centred dementia care in practice.

This course is intended for UK and international students who are;

  • Health and social care professionals who want to gain a specific qualification in dementia
  • Volunteers who have contact with people with dementia

Why Bradford?

The University of Bradford has been providing accredited programmes in Dementia Studies since 2001, and has a long history of cutting-edge research related to person-centred dementia care and innovative methodologies for researching and developing practice in health and social care for people with dementia.

All teaching on the programme is research-informed and delivered by an academic team who are actively involved in relevant fields of dementia research.  Members of the course team have completed research projects and studies using film, music, photography, narrative, conversation analysis and other participatory methods to enhance understanding of the experience of dementia.

Our flexible approach allows you to combine study with work and home life. Our online courses are designed to be directly applicable to the workplace and to help you develop your own and your colleagues' practice.

We use a variety of virtual learning environments so that students can interact with the course tutors and fellow students. For each module you are provided with a module study guide produced by the course team. It contains exercises, activities and links to audio and visual materials. To enhance the learning experience you are asked to contribute to on-line discussion groups and take part in real time tutorials.


Entry requirements

You should have at least one of the following:

  • A first degree with a classification of 2.2 or above in a relevant subject area.
  • Evidence of previous successful study at postgraduate level, i.e. a pass mark of 40% in at least 20 credits at FHEQ Level 7.
  • Evidence of previous successful study at FHEQ Level 6, i.e. a mark of at least 48% in at least 20 credits at Level 6.
  • Evidence of previous study at FHEQ Level 5 (i.e. DipHE, Foundation Degree, NVQ), plus a minimum of at least two years' experience working in a dementia care or dementia service field prior to application. Evidence of advanced standing will be on the basis of a portfolio, for which you will need to achieve a mark of at least 60% at FHEQ Level 6.

You should have a work role or voluntary placement which regularly brings you into contact with people who have dementia for at least 2 hours a week during the academic year (September to June).

You must also have access to a computer with internet connection and be prepared to spend on average 15 hours a week on your studies.

English language requirements:

Students for whom English is not a first language must either have studied previously at Bachelor's degree level or above in English, or have IELTS 6.5 with no sub-tests less than 5.5 or equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

Understanding the Experiences of People with Dementia

Year 1, Semester 1

The aims of this module are to provide you with a critical understanding of biomedical, psychological and sociological models of dementia, and of the impact of a range of factors on the experience of dementia. You will develop a critical appreciation of the overall experience of living with dementia.

People with Dementia and their Families: Communication and Inclusion

Year 1, Semester 2

Assessed by means of a case study assignment, the module aims to enable you to: critique theories underpinning participation and user involvement, in relation to people with dementia and facilitate the participation of people with dementia and their families in plans and decisions that affect them.

Arts and activities in Dementia Care

Year 1, Semester 2

This module is designed to enable students with an interest in arts practice, organising activities, and/or psychosocial interventions to develop, implement and evaluate arts projects or other individually meaningful activities for people with dementia, on a one-to-one or group basis. On completion you will be able to critically appraise a range of evidence to support the development of a specific arts project or activity group for one or more people with dementia.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a qualification in Dementia Studies?

A Dementia Studies award may be a good career development move for you if you are already working in the dementia field and wish to specialise in this area of practice. Expectations are increasing about the quality of care people with dementia should receive. This means that there will be many opportunities for you to progress in your career having studied successfully at this advanced level. Many of our students receive promotions or are successful in applying for new posts. The postgraduate programmes in Dementia Studies do not, however, lead to a professional qualification or registration.

Do I have the right academic qualifications?

You should have evidence of at least one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree (eg BA or BSc) with a classification of 2.2 or above. The subject of your Bachelor’s degree is less important than evidence of your ability to study at this level.
  • Transcript of previous successful study at final year Bachelor’s level (Level 6), ie average mark of 58% or above in 20 credits, or 48% or above in 40 credits or more.
  • Previous Master’s/postgraduate study (Level 7) with a pass mark in at least 20 credits.

If you have not previously studied at Level 6 or 7 at all, we recommend you apply for the BSc (Hons) Dementia Studies in the first instance. It may not be necessary for you to study the whole two-year BSc programme before you move on to postgraduate study, depending on your progress. Please contact the programme leader if you are unsure which level to apply at.

What if I am still studying?

If you are still enrolled on another undergraduate or postgraduate course when you apply and do not yet have your final grades, we may be able to make you a conditional offer based on marks to date or predicted grades. It is important to be aware that this offer will only be confirmed if your final marks meet our entry criteria.

Do I need to be working with people who have dementia?

It is vital that you meet the practice requirement of having regular, direct, ongoing contact with people with dementia.  This may be in the context of paid employment or a voluntary placement, and needs to be for a minimum of two hours a week for the duration of your studies. It is important to be aware that by direct contact we mean sustained, one-to-one interaction with people who have dementia, not merely being in an environment where dementia care or services are provided. You will not be able to complete the coursework assignments without this kind of personal contact with people who have dementia, and it must already be in place when you apply for the course.

How will you decide whether to offer me a place?

There is no interview process. The decision will be made on the basis of your application form, which can be completed online. It is important that you complete the application as fully as possible, ensuring that you use the full word count for the personal statement which asks about your previous experience and reasons for wanting to study on the programme. We will use your personal statement to make a decision about your writing ability as well as your motivation to study. The form may be returned to you by the Admissions team without being passed to the programme leader if it is not completed in sufficient detail. We may contact you by email or phone to discuss aspects of your application.

Do I need to come to the University in order to study?

This depends on the pathway you choose. For all programmes, induction and enrolment are completed online. If you apply for any of the Postgraduate Certificate programmes or the generic MSc Dementia Studies, there is no attendance at the University.

If you enrol on the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Dementia Studies pathway in Training in Dementia Care you will need to attend the University for two days in each of years one and two for assessment of teaching practice. This takes place in the second half of each academic year.

Can I choose which dementia-related subjects I study?

All students, regardless of pathway, study the same compulsory module in the first half of year 1 (called semester 1), Understanding the experiences of people with dementia. In semester 1 of year 2 all students take the compulsory module Practice development and organisational change.

If you enrol on the generic Dementia Studies programme you will have a choice of option modules in the second half of each year. Option modules currently include: Evidence-based dementia practice, People with Dementia and their families and Arts and Activities in dementia care.

If you enrol on the specialist pathway in Training all modules will be compulsory, including the core modules Dementia training: skills and approaches (semester 2, year 1) and Evidence-based dementia training (semester 2, year 2).

If you take the one-year specialist Postgraduate Certificate in Arts and Activities, you will complete the module Arts and activities in dementia care in semester 2.

If you complete the full three-year Master's programme, you will undertake a dissertation in the final year under individual supervision from a member of the course team. This involves evaluating a service or aspect of a service relevant to your own work role or area of professional interest. You can therefore choose the subject area you wish to pursue.

How long will it take me to get an award?

The course is part-time, but still involves a time commitment of at least 15 hours a week during the academic year (September to June). A Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Care can be completed in one academic year, a Postgraduate Diploma in two years, and the full MSc Dementia Studies takes three years to complete.

Can I study at my own pace?

The course is designed to be as flexible as possible. For example, you can start by completing a single 30-credit module between September and February as a ‘taster’, if you wish to do, so before deciding whether to continue in the following academic year.

It is not possible to spread the study period for any module over a whole academic year. Extensions of time for submitting assignments are, however, available if there is evidence that you need more time, eg own or family illness, bereavement, personal problems or change of employment.

If you need to take a break from study for similar reasons which are ongoing for a longer period, this can be arranged. You may not, however, take more than five years in total to complete any award in Dementia Studies.

How will the fees for my programme of study be paid?

Applicants in the area covered by the Yorkshire and Humber Local Education and Training Board (LETB) are eligible to apply for a funded place if their application is supported by their employer and they are either employed by the NHS, or work in an environment that is within the LETB area and provides NHS-commissioned services. Funded places are awarded on a first-come first-served basis each year, so it is important to get your application in early.

If you are employer-funded, your employer will be invoiced once at the beginning of each academic year for the full fee for that year. If you are self-funding you will normally be invoiced in three instalments over the year. You may be able to arrange to pay in more instalments by request.

If you are not eligible for LETB or employer funding, you may be interested in a Career Development Loan. This is a low-cost loan which does not have to be paid back until you have completed your studies. You can find more details here

If you are considering applying for a Career Development Loan, it is important to bear in mind that it will only be available for a maximum of two years’ study. This means that if you intend to complete the full three-year MSc Dementia Studies programme you would need to apply in the first instance for the two-year Postgraduate Diploma course funded by a career Development Loan, and then re-apply for the final year MSc stage using a different source of funding. The fee for the final year of study is lower than for years one and two, making it easier to self-fund or gain employer funding.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees

See the Fees and Financial Support website for 2018/19 module fees.

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

Funding for eligible staff within the region will be reviewed by Health Education England (HEE) in the coming months for the 2017/18 academic year. We advise all applicants to apply as normal for 2017/18 courses and further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of applications for this course. If you are having problems with your application, please contact 01274 236593.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.