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Current students

On this page you can find further information about your Diploma course. If you have any queries which are not addressed here, please contact us as

How can I check my progress through the Diploma programme?

You can see which components of your Diploma you have completed by logging into My Society and clicking on the ‘Course participation’ tab. If you think any of the information is incorrect, please let us know.

What should I do if I can no longer continue with the Diploma?

If your employment or personal circumstances change and you feel that you will not be able to continue with your Diploma studies, please contact the office as soon as possible. We hope to support all students completing the programme, and will discuss any adjustments that can be made to assist you.

In certain circumstances, such as in case of redundancy, illness or parental leave, you will be able to pause your Diploma studies. The length of the paused period will be agreed between you and the British Pharmacological Society office. At the end of the pause, you will be expected to continue your studies and complete within the five year timeframe for the course.

How many workshops do I need to attend?

Diploma students must attend six British Pharmacological Society workshops and submit reflective accounts for each of these. Full information can be found on the Workshops page.

What does the dissertation component involve?

Diploma students must complete a 6,000–7,000 word (excluding references) dissertation as part of their studies. It is recommended that this is started at the beginning of the second year on the programme, after completion of one or more workshops. Students will have six months to complete the dissertation.

When you are ready to begin your dissertation, please select a supervisor and title from our list of dissertation titles and inform us via You will then be put in touch with your chosen supervisor and will have the opportunity to discuss, and if necessary modify, your dissertation title. Once a title has been agreed, you will have six months to complete it; a deadline will be agreed between yourself, your supervisor and the British Pharmacological Society office. Your supervisor will support you through the planning and writing of your dissertation, and should help you to create a timeline for the project.
If you would like to choose a topic not listed, you should find a supervisor who is willing to support you and contact the office. New dissertation titles will require approval by the Diploma Sub-committee.

Dissertations will be marked based on the following criteria:

  • Balanced and critical evaluation of published research.
  • Quality and grammatical consistency of the writing.
  • The depth and breadth of your literature research
  • The strength and coherence of your arguments.
  • Evidence of originality in what you write; for example, you could suggest further studies, or generate a new theoretical model hypothesis for the problem you address.
  • Structure and logic of the dissertation.

If your dissertation is not deemed to be satisfactory, opportunities to resubmit will be at the discretion of the supervisor.

Where do I present my oral and poster communications?

Diploma students must present one poster and one oral communication at British Pharmacological Society meetings over the course of their studies. Abstracts should be submitted in the usual way, but please contact us at when you receive your confirmation of acceptance. You should include the abstract itself, meeting name, session title and communication number. Where possible, you will be assigned a Society member as a mentor to offer you support in the preparation and delivery of your presentation.


The Society recognises the requirement for confidentiality in certain circumstances and does not wish to jeopardise this, however the Diploma Sub-committee feels strongly that the ability to present complex scientific data to their peers is essential to the development of a Diploma student. The Sub-committee also feels that attendance and presentation at conferences offers students an important networking opportunity, and consolidates their membership of the Society and the pharmacological scientific community. It is therefore a requirement of the Diploma programme that all students present at a British Pharmacological Society conference.

However, the requirements for Diploma students are not as stringent as for other attendees at Society conferences. In particular, there is no requirement to present novel findings; the Sub-committee would be happy to accept data on standard compounds used during the validation of an assay, or more detailed comparator data from published knockout mice. Similar approaches have proved successful with industrial partners in the past and have been an appropriate compromise.

If you have any queries which are not addressed here, please contact us as