Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine


Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine

Applications open: February 2024 (date to be announced)

Applications close: 9th

 April 2024

Exam Sitting: 7th May 2024



The Faculty runs the Musculoskeletal Medicine Diploma annually in Spring. If you would like to sign up to receive information on when the applications open, you can register your interest below.

You can also register your interest in our two brand new Diplomas in Team Care and Exercise Medicine (coming 2024)!

The Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine sets the standard for MSK knowledge across the entire breadth of community care.

This Diploma examination will support evidencing competency as a GP, GP Working in Extended Roles as well as allied health professionals working towards advanced practice roles (including extended scope physiotherapists and advanced nurse practitioners) in a range of community settings.

Passing the examination also qualifies candidates to apply for Diplomate Membership of the Faculty. This provides access to a range of benefits and offers a voice in the future of the specialty and the ability to contribute to the development of sport, exercise, and musculoskeletal medicine.

The examination and associated qualification recognises excellence in MSK care and provides a benchmark of quality for both service commissioners and patients. The examination is administered by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine is offered online, allowing candidates to sit remotely. The first sitting took place in 2021, with more than 200 healthcare professionals from across a wide range of professional groups taking part.

Approximately 18.8m people in the UK are living with a musculoskeletal problem with one in five people in England attending their GP seeking help for such a condition. The Diploma has been developed to support the multi-professional workforce that is evolving to meet the growing need for optimal care of musculoskeletal conditions by demonstrating applied knowledge in this important field.

The Faculty is dedicated to promoting a more active nation and ensuring that MSK and rheumatological conditions and pain symptoms are not a barrier to living an active life at any age or ability level.

The diploma represents many years’ work from multiple people. We would particularly like to thank Dr Anna-Louise McKinnon, Dr Richard Collins, Dr Louise Warburton and Dr Chris Tomlinson, and many others from both the Faculty and the Primary Care Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine Society (PCRMM).

Exam Regulations |Syllabus | Candidate Protocol


Who can sign up for the diploma?
Any doctor, Allied Health Professional or equivalent working in MSK care – including GPs, GP Working in Extended Roles, Advance Nurse Practitioners as well as AHPs working towards advanced practice roles (including first contact practitioner and advanced practitioners in primary care) in a range of community settings. This exam is also suitable for physician associates practising in primary care.

Is there a course?
The diploma is an examination only, designed to allow doctors and AHPs to evidence their competency in MSK care. Learning for the examination is self-directed. It can be expected that existing university and other (e.g. Versus Arthritis) courses, along with knowledge of current reputable guidelines when mapped to the diploma syllabus can all equip clinicians with the knowledge required to pass the diploma.

Where can I take the exam?
The examination is delivered remotely, so it can be taken from anywhere in the world. You do not need to travel to a test centre.

How much does it cost, and how do I pay?
The diploma costs £290. Payment can be made via the booking link by visa or Mastercard. To discuss alternative payment options, please contact the exam administrators at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh at sem.exams@rcsed.ac.uk.

What post-nominals are awarded upon successful completion of the Diploma and joining the Faculty?
Those who subsequently become Diplomate Members of the Faculty will be entitled to use the form DFSEM(UK)

What resources are there to help me prepare?
PCRMM run a revision course for the exam, which can be booked here (please note FSEM takes no responsibility for content provided by external organisations). It is recommended that those sitting the exam consider their own learning needs when mapped to the syllabus and seek out additional resources as needed. The Red Whale MSK and Chronic Pain Handbook is recommended as a good revision and reference text.

How does the diploma fit with the FCP/AP pathway developed by HEE?
The diploma is designed as an entry level applied knowledge test for multiple specialties wishing to work in community MSK settings. While it does not, in isolation, provide evidence of achieving competencies in the curriculum it can contribute to a portfolio of evidence for any individual aiming to work in an advanced role.

How often will the diploma run?
The diploma will run annually.

Can undergraduate students take the Diploma?
As the diploma is a postgraduate qualification, undergraduate students are not eligible to sit the examination.