This part-time programme aims to equip students with the skills to become excellent family doctors.


The World Health Organisation has recognised the need for more family doctors as leaders of Primary Health Care teams in working towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, which is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We aim to bridge the gap in current provision of post graduate training world-wide by delivering an excellent programme which will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles, processes, and practices of Family Medicine. The online, part-time format provides accessibility to students from across the world and enables study alongside day to day work.

The University of Newcastle particularly well placed to deliver this programme, being the first University in the world to hold a Chair in General Practice/Family Medicine. The programme contributes to the University’s internationalisation strategy through its investment in building skills for improving health, with a particular focus on rural areas in low and middle income countries.

The overall goals of this Master of Family Medicine (MFM) are:

  •  To produce compassionate, competent and patient-centred family doctors, able to provide comprehensive and effective management of a wide range of health problems
  •  To create a community of Family Medicine practice that will contribute to the provision of Universal Health Coverage across the world.
  • To create future leaders who can advocate policy in local and national contexts.


Why study a Master of Family Medicine?

With a degree in family medicine, you can change the face of healthcare.

The discipline of Family Medicine is gaining prominence as a vehicle for promoting effective primary health care.

Why study with us?

Come and join us in an innovative programme to create Family Medicine practitioners across the globe. Working with the University of Newcastle in USA and our international partners you will gain a Master of Family Medicine.

As a Family Medicine practitioner, you will become the “specialist generalist” providing continuous, comprehensive and coordinated care to patients throughout their lives.

You will gain an understanding of the principles, processes and practices of Family Medicine and will develop as a reflective practitioner with an understanding of your role in working alongside the patient, family and community. You will also have an opportunity to hone many of your clinical skills in a structured manner.

You will become the expert able to contribute to national and local policy; taking forward a new way of providing healthcare that is equitable and that goes some way to meet the Sustainable Development Goals for the future.

We anticipate that this programme will attract medical graduates who have a vision for improving the way that healthcare is delivered for rural and poorer communities. It will be a valuable degree for doctors concerned to shape global health policy through the WHO agenda for more equitable and primary health led care.

Entry requirements

Find out if you are a suitable candidate for this programme, including qualifications you need and the time and computer requirements.



A medical degree (MBChB) or its international equivalent, is required. We may also consider applicants who are in a profession allied to medicine or who have relevant work experience in a clinical context. Candidates with a relevant background and alternative qualifications should contact us for further details.

English language requirements

You must be able to meet the minimum standards that are set out by the College and recommended by the University. You must provide evidence that you meet these criteria unless you are citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America.

If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you must provide evidence of your competence in written and spoken English.


Computer requirements

Internet access

You will need a computer with stable internet access and an up-to-date browser.

We make sure to provide materials that will be accessible regardless of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the speed of your modem.

Software required

You are expected to have your own software, such as Microsoft Office, for word processing tasks.

Programme structure

The programme will run over three academic years with taught courses of 140 credits, and a 40 credit project. 

This is a blended learning programme and whilst the majority of the teaching will be through online distance learning, there will be also be contact teaching periods where we provide face to face teaching.

Course Credits
Foundations of Family Medicine 20
Applied Principles of Family Medicine 20
Professionalism in Family Practice 20
Family Medicine Approach to Child and Maternal Health 20
Family Medicine Approach to NCDs 20
Family Medicine Approach to Complex Needs 20
Family Medicine Research Methods 20
Family Medicine Project 40

Online Learning

The online learning courses run for 10 weeks with a one week reading break. Three courses are taught in each academic year. There will be online activities such as discussion forums, blogs and group work that will augment the teaching. There will also be live and interactive online tutorials.



Details on the core courses available to you during this programme.

Year One Courses

Foundations of Family Medicine


This course establishes a common understanding of the unique features of Family Medicine, through the collaborative development of a community of learning.

The course will begin by exploring the history of Family Medicine and development of the core concepts of the specialty through examining key papers in the field. Students will be gradually introduced to basic consultation skills and evidence based medicine in relation to their clinical practice.

Finally, students will collectively examine global health challenges that can be addressed through strong Family Medicine and Primary Care.

Applied Principles of Family Medicine

This course will support practitioners to develop person-centred care pathways integrating principles of evidence based practice and effective consultations within Family Medicine.

This course will build on the introduction to evidence based medicine and consultations skills in Foundations of Family Medicine. Students will be taught advanced skills in both these areas with an emphasis on the application to clinical practice.

Professionalism in Family Practice


This course will enable students to consolidate the principles of Family Medicine in professional practice in order to become highly skilled reflective practitioners.

This course naturally builds upon the learning in Foundations of Family Medicine and Applied Principles of Family Medicine by introducing concepts of professionalism in Family Practice. The course will better enable the students to deal with complex clinical and professional scenarios.

This course will create Family Doctors who can take responsibility for their own personal and professional development as well as establishing and maintaining quality in their clinical practice.

Year Two Courses

Family Medicine Approach to Child and Maternal Health

The course teaches the clinical knowledge required for diagnosing, and managing relevant conditions with particular emphasis on resource poor primary care settings. It will go on to discuss how maternity and child health services can be effectively managed and monitored in a community setting. Students will be taught about basic services that can be delivered by the primary health care team and how to appropriately use secondary and tertiary care. Throughout the course activities there will also be an emphasis on the role of Family Medicine in leading to improvements in outcomes in maternal and child heath on an international level.

Family Medicine Approach to NCDs

This course will focus on non-communicable disease (NCD). These are conditions that are increasing in prevalence, particularly in low and middle income countries. There is now greater emphasis on the role of primary care (and Family Medicine as a component of this) in tackling increasing burden of NCD.

The course teaches the clinical knowledge required for diagnosing, and managing the following conditions with particular emphasis on resource poor primary care setting – hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic respiratory conditions and chronic neurological conditions. Students will be able to recognise and manage common problems as well as managing complex multi morbidity and polypharmacy. They will be taught when they need to access the wider resources available to them and when to appropriately refer to specialist care.


Family Medicine Approach to Complex Needs

The focus of this course will be on the role of Family Medicine in delivering healthcare to groups of patients with specific health care needs, including mental health, adolescent health, men’s health, care of the elderly and palliative care. These are areas that may at times be neglected, but where Family Doctors have been identified as having an important role.

The course teaches the clinical knowledge required for diagnosing and managing relevant conditions with particular emphasis on resource poor primary care setting. It will go on to discuss health services can be effectively managed to improve health outcomes in the chosen groups of patients. Students will be taught about how to evaluate such services as delivered by the primary health care team and how to appropriately use secondary and tertiary care. Discussions on the medic-legal and ethical aspects of care will be included.

Year Three Courses

In place of the traditional Masters dissertation we have split the final year of study in to a 10 week, 20 credit research methods course and a clinical research project. The idea is to better prepare and support our students, many of whom do not have any previous experience of research. The focus will be on imparting research skills that are useful in clinical practice, particularly in maintaining quality of care.

Family Medicine Research Methods

The research methods course will provide students with a grounding in basic research skills. This course will prepare students for the research project that will be carried out over the final months of the Masters degree.

Family Medicine Project

The project will provide the opportunity for students to apply the skills they have learned to carry out a piece of focused research which will impact clinical practice. This will normally involve carrying out a quality improvement project.


Assessment will be divided across the taught courses of the Masters programme along with a final written project.

Taught Courses

A range of assessments will be employed to reflect the diverse teaching methods employed. Peer and tutor review will form an integral part of assessment.

The Final Year of Study

In the final year of study, students will complete their Masters level study by undertaking a research methods course and research project. You will work with your primary supervisor to agree a project, which will be likely to involve a critical analysis of a primary healthcare topic and a related quality improvement activity. You will incorporate learning from earlier in the programme, including reflective analysis on the practice of family medicine in relation to the topic you have chosen.

The aims of the research methods course are to ensure that you develop a deeper understanding of research methodology and acquire an understanding of the application of evidence-based family medicine within an agreed clinical topic area. You will also gain experience of carrying out research, including:

* defining own research questions

* experience of managing own project

* exploring an area in depth

* experiencing the process of producing knowledge

* demonstrating the ability to carry out independent research