Postgraduate and short courses in pain management

Advance your skills in managing a diverse range of pain problems

Our courses are taught by a multidisciplinary team of pain experts to enable health professionals from around the world to expand their understanding of pain, its assessment and management.

Studying pain management at the University of Sydney

Postgraduate coursework

Our premier international degree program in pain management provides comprehensive and advanced education on the basic and applied sciences, concepts, and approaches underpinning our current understanding of pain, its assessment and management.

Suitable for graduates in medicine, dentistry, psychology, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology, pharmacy and other relevant health disciplines, these courses are offered online and are normally completed part-time.

Got a question - read answers to our frequently asked questions.

More information about each of our degree programs and links to apply are available below:

Our degree program has been endorsed by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

The degree program is multidisciplinary, which means it is open to medical practitioners, dentists, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists, chiropractors, and other health professionals who have an interest and involvement in the field of pain management.

This pathway is suitable for dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and other health practitioners interested in pursuing a career in orofacial pain, as well as clinicians already working in the field wishing to consolidate their understanding in this area.

The structure and content of the pathway in orofacial pain is influenced by guidelines from The Australian and New Zealand Academy of Orofacial Pain and The American Academy of Orofacial Pain.

Applications for this pathway are accepted in Semester 1 of each year only.

The degree program offers nineteen units of study to select from. The four core units (PAIN5001, PAIN5002, PAIN5003 and PAIN5004 - that comprise the Graduate Certificate), will equip you with a firm foundation in the key concepts and principles underlying the mechanisms and management of pain.

For those enrolled in the Graduate Diploma and Master's level degrees, the large range of elective choices provides an opportunity to study specific areas of interest in more depth.

Sydney Professional Certificates are carefully curated postgraduate courses comprising of just two units of study. Perfect for busy practitioners and senior healthcare professionals wanting to undertake study in specialised areas without committing to a more extensive postgraduate degree. PMRI offers professional certificates in:

You can also choose to enrol in individual pain management units of study. Non-award units can be credited towards a future degree at the university (within two years of completion) or as part of another degree (with the permission of your Faculty and University).

Whether you are a student or practicing professional, individual units of study are an extremely useful option for developing skills in a specific area without needing to enrol in a full course of study.

Learn more | Enrol as a non-award student

What options are there to study Pain Management?

The program is offered at graduate certificate, graduate diploma and master's degree level. More information about admission requirements, unit of study topics and fees are available here:

You can also choose to complete single units of study for professional development by enrolling as a non-award student. This will allow you to count the credit obtained from the successful completion of a unit of study towards one of our degrees, as long as it is claimed within two years of completing the unit of study.

How will this help my career?

Many past students have stated that the degree increased their enjoyment and satisfaction at work by increasing their understanding and confidence for both clinical work and teaching.

Our program may be recognised for continuing education and professional development credits by professional associations. Please contact your professional association for more information.

A postgraduate qualification is also often very helpful in gaining promotion and applying for jobs. It should be noted that it is an academic qualification and without recognised clinical training it is not a means to obtaining specialist recognition. It is however, an ideal step in preparing to undertake specialist training in Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine, Critical Care, General Practice, Rheumatology and other medical fields managing patients in pain.

What units of study are offered?

You can read descriptions of our units of study and their assessment requirements here.

What is the difference between a Masters of Medicine and a Masters of Science in Medicine?

A Masters of Medicine (Pain Management) is open to applicants who hold a medical qualification. The Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management) is open to applicants who hold a non-medical health field qualification. The two master's degrees offer the same course of study.

When are the application closing dates?

Application closing dates for domestic students:

  • Semester 1: 31 January of the commencing year
  • Semester 2: 15 July of the commencing year

Application closing dates for international students:

  • Semester 1: 15 January of the commencing year
  • Semester 2: 25 June of the commencing year

What happens once I have applied?

The University Admissions Office will send you formal notification of the result of your application via email. Your application is assessed by both the Admissions Office and Faculty.

If successful, the University will send you an ‘unconditional’ or ‘conditional’ offer via email. An ‘unconditional’ offer means that your application is complete and you can now accept your offer online. If you receive a ‘conditional offer’ you will need to provide further information to meet the conditions stated on your offer.

Do I have to attend classes?

No, there are no face-to-face classes. The program is completed entirely online using the University's learning management system Canvas.

How much study time is needed?

This varies from person to person. During the semester, most people doing two units of study need to devote 20 hours per week to complete the reading, online activities and assessment tasks.

Alternatively, you can choose to study at what is called "slow progression" which means completing just one unit per semester (see below).

Can I study just one unit per semester?

Yes, you can study one unit per semester. This is particularly suitable for people who are also working full-time and/or with significant time commitments.

You can choose to change back to part-time study mode (two units per semester) in subsequent semesters. After you have accepted a letter of offer of enrolment, you would just enrol in one unit in your upcoming semester.

What are the fees for your degree programs?

Indicative fee information for domestic and international students are listed on the individual course pages.

What are my payment options?

You can choose to pay up-front or eligible Australian students can defer payment using the government's FEE-HELP program. More information is available here.

Postgraduate research

Postgraduate research students make an integral contribution to the research outcomes of the Kolling Institute of Medical Research.

Students with an interest in pain research are encouraged to enrol in a postgraduate research degree through the University of Sydney.

To learn more about research opportunities in the Faculty of Medicine and Health visit our postgraduate research page.

Webinars and short courses

Perfect for healthcare professionals working in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, allied health or public health, we are pleased to offer excellent opportunities for professional development and education in pain management.

We run face-to-face workshops, online webinar skills training and specialist symposia, as well as an exciting program of free talks featuring Australian and international pain experts as part of our Visiting Scholars' Program.

Clinical training

The Michael J Cousins Pain Management & Research Centre is the only centre in Australia to be approved for three specialist training positions for the Diploma of Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. Specialists can also train for the Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).

The department also provides post-graduate supervision, in pain management, for clinical psychology trainees, physiotherapy and nursing trainees and dentists.

Associate Professor Paul Wrigley

Senior Staff Specialist Pain Medicine
Supervisor of Training