Postgraduate Diploma

in Rural Medicine

The programme is intended to provide doctors wishing to work in rural district hospitals in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa with the necessary knowledge, skills and approaches for practice in these contexts. After completing the course, you will have the clinical skills to manage a range of patients at a rural district hospital with limited specialist support, be able to work with the local healthcare team and maintain effective healthcare delivery systems, understand appropriate public health interventions and participate in community-oriented primary healthcare and use reflective practice to enable continuous development as a rural health practitioner. 

This Postgraduate Diploma is presented by the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, based on the Stellenbosch University Worcester campus. You must spend an initial period of at least six months in a regional hospital and then at least one year in a rural district hospital.

The programme is offered in hybrid mode, for flexible learning and aims to support the development of clinical skills for rural generalists through collaboration with local mentors in the student’s context.

The diploma may also

  • contribute to an increase in access to quality clinical care for rural and underserved communities on the African continent, including those affected by humanitarian crises.
  • transform the student experience through networked and collaborative teaching and learning.
  • challenge participants with real case studies throughout the programme to stimulate critical thinking and promote evidence-based decision-making.
  • enable medical doctors to work autonomously in remote rural environments, by focussing on both clinical and systemic problem solving in resource limited scenarios

The postgraduate diploma is structured over an 18- month period and is valued at 120 credits.

It consists of 4 modules

  • Module 1: Clinical Skills for District Hospitals
  • Module 2: Major Infectious Disease Challenges
  • Module 3: Delivering Healthcare in Rural Communities
  • Module 4: Clinical Governance in District Health Services

The programme has one contact session per year. The major clinical module, Clinical Skills for District Hospitals, focuses on high-risk areas (the emergency centre, the labour ward, and the operating theatre). To fulfil the clinical requirements the module is presented as an intensive, structured twelve-month programme at a regional or rural district hospital where there is appropriate supervision by experienced practitioners who qualify to be accredited with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Stellenbosch University.

Following demonstration of competence in the skills required in this module, you must spend a minimum of one year in rural district hospitals, where the other three modules will be offered as blended learning which will include e-learning, guided self-study, assignments, logbook entries, self-reflection tasks and formal seminars, with practical application and work-integrated learning in a rural context.

Photograph by Lindsay Michelle Meyer, Stellenbosch University

Estimated Study costs

Application fee (if applicable) R 100.00
Selection fee (if applicable) R 0.00
Student card R 80.00
* Sundry fee 7091001 RURAL MEDICINE (G101S) R 330.00
* Tuition fee (14174775) Clin skills for district hosp R 18,272.00
* Tuition fee (14175775) Major infect disease challeng R 4,984.00
* Tuition fee (14178775) Clin gov district health serv R 8,306.00
* Tuition fee (14179775) Deliv health care rur comm R 8,306.00
* Total Study Fees only R 40,198.00
Total R 40,378.00
Minimum amount payable on/prior to registration R 11,759.00

Apply now for 2023


Programme Leader
Ms Amanda A Msindwana
023 346 7802

Programme Administrator
Ms Lindsay-Michelle Meyer
021 938 9873

Admission and selection criteria

Applicants must provide the following for review:

    • Proof of MBChB or equivalent medical degree with at least two years’ post-qualification practical experience. Community Service doctors are eligible for the programme.
    • An up-to-date CV
    • A personal motivation letter
    • Confirmation of adequate clinical exposure in own workplace to support the practical component of this programme.

Closing Date: 30 November for National and International Applicants

View our “How to Apply” guide

Strengthen your confidence & capability as a rural doctor

Presented by Stellenbosch University

Photos by Karin Schermbrucker property of Stellenbosch University and