Diploma In The Philosophy Of Medicine

COVID-19 Update

From Tuesday 17 March 2020, all examinations and assessments that are due to take place between March and August 2020 will be postponed. Our aim is to ensure that medical staff and health care workers are available to help health services cope with COVID-19. A second aim is to minimise any risk, however small, of transmitting the virus to other groups. Our priority is to look after our members, staff and associates, so they can focus on protecting patients.

We are contacting candidates to advise them of the arrangements that are being made to re-schedule the examinations and assessments. However, no examinations and assessments will take place before September 2020. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but trust you understand the reasons for this.

If you wish to apply for the DPMSA, we suggest that you adhere to the existing deadlines for all non-examination work, including submission of application forms and submit everything via email to examoffice@apothecaries.org.  A new exam date will be published in due course; however, you are able to apply now.


Established 1978
The examination is designed as a postgraduate qualification primarily for members of the healthcare professions although it is open to a number of other graduates and certain undergraduates. The Diploma was revised extensively in 1993.

The Diploma is intended to indicate familiarity with contemporary philosophy of medicine and in particular with the philosophical aspects of problems within the theory and practice of medicine and healthcare; and with selected aspects of the history of philosophy related to those problems.

Candidates for the examination must have participated in the Society's Faculty's Course in the Ethics and Philosophy of Healthcare. The aim of the course is to introduce participants to some aspects of philosophy relevant to healthcare; to give an opportunity to reflect on practice; to consider critically some concepts and arguments used in discussion of healthcare and some of its dilemmas; to articulate and to defend points of view of their own, while taking counter-arguments into account and bearing in mind the grounds and limits of argument.

Examination documentation

Guide to the Diploma in the Philosophy of Medicine - (incorporating the Regulations and Syllabus)

Administrative Guidancefor Candidates (including the examination timetable, fees and the various deadlines)

Policy for Candidates seeking Special Examination Arrangements

Application forms -

First time entry to the exam (SSC and non-SSC candidates): Form A 

Re-entry: Form R

Request for special examination arrangements: Form Q

Examination Review and Appeal Procedure

The Society's Review and Appeal Procedure gives information about feedback, review and appeal. Candidates who seek a review or appeal should note that there is a fee payable, the amount of which is given the the relevant Guide to the Diploma, including the Regulations and Syllabus.

Examination Review and Appeal Procedure

Sample Questions

List of Examiners

The Sydney Selwyn Lecture

The Sydney Selwyn lecture which formally was a prize is in memory of Professor Sydney Selwyn (1934-1996), a medical microbiologist and bacteriologist, bone marrow transplant pioneer, and world-class expert in the history and development of medicine. The lecture is presented by the best candidate in the Diploma in the Philosophy of Medicine examination.

Pass Lists