DIPLOMA IN MUSCULOSKELETAL MEDICINE

Important Dates

Applications Open: 1st March 2024

Applications Close: 9th April 2024

Exam Sitting: 7th May 2024

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.

Why sit the diploma in MSK Medicine?

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

Exam Documents

Exam Revision Course

PCRMM run a revision course in preparation for the MSK Medicine Diploma Exam. You can find more information around the course on PCRMM’s website

~ Please note, FSEM work in partnership PCRMM to align the revision course to the Diploma, however cannot take any responsibility for final 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.

“As a doctor just starting out in my career, I chose to do the exam for personal interest and I would recommend it for any Foundation Doctor, as well as all other Healthcare Professionals with an interest in MSK Medicine”

Mairi, FY1

“As a doctor just starting out in my career, I chose to do the exam for personal interest and I would recommend it for any Foundation Doctor, as well as all other Healthcare Professionals with an interest in MSK Medicine”

Mairi, FY1

Exam Overview

This Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine (DipMSK) examination is intended to assess knowledge and clinical application of musculoskeletal medicine, especially for primary care practitioners working in community care. The exam is an assessment of knowledge and clinical problem-solving and is relevant to current UK practice in primary care. It does not however act as a pitch side or stand-alone qualification to allow you to practice as a clinician or Allied Health Professional in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM), as MSK is only one part of a very wide curriculum.

The examination consists of one written paper of Multiple Choice Questions consisting of single best answer (SBA) questions. The paper contains 180 questions and is 180 mins in duration, and a 15-minute comfort break will be provided after 90 minutes.

The examination will be conducted in English and will be based around UK clinical practice and national guidelines.

The pass mark for the examination is pre-set using modern standard setting methods. To achieve a pass, candidates must meet or exceed the pass mark set for the paper.

The DipMSK examination will be held online; all candidates will sit the examination on the same date and at the same time, and examination timings are stated in the UK time zone.

A University Diploma is a taught course, with sometimes both formative (continuous assessment) and a final summative assessment process. There is however no agreed set standard across the different University Diploma exams.

Faculty and College Diplomas (and indeed other membership exams) are formal assessments (of both knowledge and clinical application of that knowledge) at an agreed standard. They are usually recognised by the GMC etc as the standard required by clinicians to work and operate in that environment. Other organisations may run revision courses to prepare for the exams but the Faculty main effort is on examination and not teaching.

The following candidates will be eligible to sit this examination:

  • Doctors with a primary medical qualification suitable for registration with the General Medical Council or Irish Medical Council, and who comply with all other requirements of the regulations.
  • Physiotherapists with registration of the Health & Care Professions Council.
  • Advance Nurse Practitioners (or equivalent), registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council with experience in primary care.
  • Allied Health Professionals registered with the Health & Care Professions Council.
  • International healthcare professionals registered with their relevant international organisation.
  • Other candidates are considered on an individual basis at the discretion of the Faculty upon submission of supplementary information (e.g. letter from their employer, notary of certificate of registration).

Candidates for the examination are strongly advised to have the following:

  • an active interest in Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • experience in managing MSK presentations in primary and community care

Candidates who have queries regarding their eligibility are advised to contact exams@fsem.ac.uk for further guidance before submitting their application to the Faculty.

Candidates are permitted a maximum of six attempts at the DipMSK. A continuous record of exam attempts is kept in line with GMC recommendations; if prior attempts with previous providers were made these will contribute towards your attempts.

The DipMSK Examination will normally be held once each year, unless otherwise stated. The dates of the examinations and the fees payable for admission to the examination are set out online on the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK’s website.

Application for entry to the examination must:

  • be made on the appropriate (electronic) application form on the Faculty website;
  • be accompanied by all required supporting information (e.g. photographic ID);
  • be accompanied by the specific examination fee payment, which must be received in full by the Faculty before a candidate is entered for the examination;
  • reach the examinations Department of the Faculty by the date specified online

Candidates who are unable to demonstrate fulfilment of the eligibility criteria may receive a refund of the fee paid (less an administrative fee of 20%).

Applications received after the closing date may not be processed. The Faculty reserves the right to review admission to the examination on an individual basis in exceptional circumstances.

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.

The exam is an invigilated live examination that is held on a specific date and at a specific time; it is therefore not possible to allow single candidates to sit the exam on alternative dates or at alternative times. We recommend to note the date early, and remind all candidates to be aware of time differences between time zones. 

Candidates will be notified by the Faculty when examinations results are available no later than six weeks after sitting the examination. Results will be uploaded to our website and certificates are posted to successful candidates. A resit diet is not offered in case of a failed examination.

Candidates will receive their overall marks for the examination.

Any candidate who wishes to withdraw an application for admission to an examination must submit a request to the Faculty via email by contacting exams@fsem.ac.uk. A refund of the fee paid may be made (less an administrative fee of 20%), provided that notice of an intention to withdraw is received by the Examinations Department before the closing date by which applications are due, as shown on the Faculty’s website. Refunds are not normally made to any candidate who withdraws after the closing date.

Any candidate who wishes to withdraw an application for admission to the examination on medical grounds and request a refund must submit a request to the Faculty via email by contacting exams@fsem.ac.uk, accompanied by a medical certificate. An application for consideration of a refund on compassionate grounds should be supported appropriate evidence. Each such withdrawal application, including supporting evidence, must be submitted to the Examinations Department who will review the application on an individual basis.

A deferral may be permitted to candidates supplying an appropriate medical report, which satisfies the Faculty indicating:

  • the candidate has any pregnancy related problems or illness and/or;
  • the candidate’s confinement is due shortly before or around the date of the examination and/or;
  • the candidate has sufficient discomfort for them to consider that it will have a detrimental effect on their performance.

In such circumstances, should any such candidate be unable to sit for the examination, a deferral will be permitted. If an examination is deferred, the examination fee paid by the candidate will be transferred to the next scheduled examination diet. The candidate is permitted to sit the deferred examination when payment of the annual increase in examination fee is received by the Faculty.

Any candidate who does not inform the Examinations Department of the Faculty of their pregnancy and is consequently unable to sit for that examination will not normally be allowed to defer this examination without submission of another full examination fee.

Any candidate who has a condition that they believe could affect their performance in an examination may be entitled to reasonable adjustments to the conduct of the exam in mitigation of their condition. It is the responsibility of the candidate to notify the Examinations Department when they submit their application if they are seeking special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be supported by written evidence in the form of an original medical documentation. An educational psychologist’s report is required for requests relating to dyslexia.

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.

The diploma costs £290.

Successful examination candidates may apply for Diplomate Membership to the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK. They will be eligible for Diplomate Membership and will be entitled to use the post-nominals DFSEM(UK) – only upon membership ratification. Full details on how to apply can be found on the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK’s website.

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.

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.

The diploma is run annually

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

All Diplomas

Diploma in Exercise Medicine

Diploma in Team Care