MSc Dementia Studies (Online)

Draw from our unrivalled expertise in dementia and expand your knowledge with our flexible online Masters degree in Dementia Studies.

Dementia Studies (Online)

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration MSc part-time: 36 months
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery online


With the number of people living with dementia across the world expected to double in the next 20 years, this innovative e-learning course has been developed to provide you with an in-depth, research-based knowledge of dementia and approaches to supporting people with dementia. It’s designed for professionals already working in the field and carers/volunteers who are supporting people with dementia. Our online course can be studied from anywhere in the world.  

This online postgraduate course is run by a team of academic experts whose research has helped to shape dementia care policy worldwide. You’ll learn about the latest theories, innovations and best practice in supporting people with dementia  – as well as gaining an overview of policy drivers and initiatives, and a grounding in academic and research skills. Our course also benefits from an advisory group of people with dementia, who support course development.

During your studies, you’ll become part of an international online community of fellow students and academics committed to improving dementia practice and the experience of people living with dementia. With a student and alumni group that to date encompasses students from Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, and from professions spanning health, care, architecture and law, you will engage with a diverse range of professionals who are committed to improving the experiences of people living with dementia across varied regional contexts.

The course encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary and critical learning. It’s dedicated to creating leaders of change in dementia practice.


Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The course has been developed to provide you with an in-depth, research-based knowledge of dementia. This includes theory, innovation and best practice, policy drivers and initiatives, and a grounding in academic and research skills. You will: 

  • develop an advanced understanding of multidisciplinary perspectives about dementia and approaches to supporting people with dementia;
  • address critical issues in dementia practice and service delivery;
  • encourage improved collaboration across areas of practice;
  • compare and contrast national and international research;
  • identify and debate current practice developments;
  • develop critical thinking to promote reflective practice;
  • develop knowledge and skills of social research processes.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

Our Dementia Studies (Online) course is delivered by expert staff from the Faculty of Social Sciences. Underpinning the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellence Framework 2021 – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, we ranked 3rd in Scotland and top 25 in the UK – with 100% of our research environment and 88% of our research deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

Our team of experts advise governments and academic institutions in the UK, Europe, China and Australia on dementia-related issues, and provide training and consultancy for the private, voluntary and statutory sectors.

The University of Stirling is home to the Dementia Services Development Centre – an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

You must be a professional currently working in a relevant field or a carer/volunteer with experience of supporting individuals with dementia.

Entry route via undergraduate modules

Our undergraduate modules on Dementia and the Environment (DEMU9C2) and Huntington’s disease: an enabling approach to supporting families (DEMU9D5) offer an entry route for applicants who do not meet the entry requirements to study this MSc Dementia Studies course. They also provide an introduction to online learning and the approach taken by the team here at Stirling.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 61 overall with 56 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Course details

Our Dementia Studies (Online) course features nine individual modules, and three possible qualifications – an MSc, Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert). This modular structure extends across all three years of the programme (there is no final year dissertation) and will develop your academic skills at postgraduate level, including research approaches and methods.

To earn your Masters, you’ll need to complete all nine modules, while you can attain a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) by completing six modules, or the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) by completing three modules.  We also offer selected modules on a standalone basis.

Each semester starts with an online introductory session. You will then join an online tutorial group of fellow students and teaching staff. Academic learning is subsequently undertaken through a combination of individual study and interactive online sessions with your tutorial group. Learning is designed to be flexible so that you can study when and where you choose.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


Our online learning allows you to interact and get support from your tutors, as well as providing access to the course materials and reading material. Flexibility is offered, recognising that some students work shifts or are in different time zones so teaching allows you to fit study around your work commitments. Special emphasis is placed on a collaborative and problem-solving approach to learning and on encouraging reflective practice.

How you'll learn online

All teaching uses text- and web-based distance-learning materials. A specially designed online learning platform is available for students to access course information and recorded lectures, take part in online discussions and contact the course tutors. A module workbook forms the basis of the student’s individual study and is built upon by wider reading. Each semester you’ll benefit from live online sessions with guest speakers and events including input from people living with dementia.

You’ll require access to a computer with an internet connection.


All modules are assessed through coursework such as essays, evaluation reports, research proposals and literature reviews.

Classroom hours

Each module on our Dementia Studies course consists of 200 hours study. 

Key staff

Dr Grant Gibson (Course Director) is a Lecturer in Dementia Studies and has been an academic researcher in the fields of dementia care and chronic illnesses in old age for over 12 years. Over this period he has worked on projects evaluating satisfaction with memory services among people with dementia and their carers, the design and implementation of assistive technology for people with dementia, and the provision of health and social care services for people with dementia and their carers in primary care. Grant also has experience of carrying out research with people with Parkinson's disease.

Dr Richard Ward is a Senior Lecturer in Dementia Studies. He is a registered social worker with a background in older people's services and has specialised in dementia care. As a researcher, Richard's work emphasises participatory approaches aimed at supporting people living with dementia to make a meaningful contribution to research. His current research interests lie particularly in the area of dementia, place and space.  

Professor Louise McCabe (Chief Examiner) has worked in the field of dementia studies in both practice and academia for over twenty years, starting her career as a care worker in residential homes for older people. Louise has been at the University since 2000 and has built a significant portfolio of ageing and dementia research with a focus on the potential of services to improve the lives of families with dementia including user-focused evaluations and cross-national studies of ageing and dementia care services in the UK, Europe and India.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023-24 fees


UK and Republic of Ireland students

International (including EU) students

Cost for each 20-credit module

£883 £1,333

Total cost for PGCert (3 modules)



Total cost for PGDip (6 modules)



Total cost for MSc (9 modules)

£7,500 £12,000
2024-25 fees


UK and Republic of Ireland students

International (including EU) students

Cost for each 20-credit module

£888 £1,400

Total cost for PGCert (3 modules)



Total cost for PGDip (6 modules)



Total cost for MSc (9 modules)

£8,000 £12,600

You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every module you enrol on.

Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course. If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

This fee is charged as a module fee. Details of the tuition fee policy relating to module fees can be found in our tuition fees policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

This course is for experienced professionals from all relevant disciplines and enables you to study while continuing to work in your existing post. Some of our graduates have moved to specialised posts, while others have secured a promotion, undertaken further research or become involved in training.

  • Advance your career prospects by growing your expertise in this specialist area of health and social care.
  • Fit your studies around your current job commitments.
  • Put everything you’re learning straight to work in a professional setting.

Testimonial quotes

The depth and breadth of the course has introduced me to the wider understanding of the complex debates, challenges as well as the innovative developments in the subject which in turn has enabled me to develop and improve our own dementia care and support services.

Geoffrey Cox, Managing Director, Southern Healthcare (Wessex) Ltd

Employability skills

Throughout your studies you’ll gain transferable skills that enable you to impart knowledge to colleagues and other students, transfer awareness and implement action in practice and provide training to family members and carers. The course enhances employability within the broad field of dementia care and equips you to move to more specialised and promoted posts within health and social care settings.

Companies we work with

Because everyone on the course is working within the dementia field, you’ll automatically find yourself engaging with a wide range of organisations across statutory, private and not-for-profit sectors in different countries within the UK, Europe and worldwide.

What our students said

Claudia Salgado
Claudia Salgado
MSc Dementia Studies
The Masters degree only helped me realise how much more there is to know and discover. Through technology, great professors and tutors, group discussions and challenging assignments, I was able to discover a whole new world of knowledge.
Read Claudia's story
Sally Yalley
Sally Yalley
MSc Dementia Studies
The MSc in Dementia attracts people from all over the world and many disciplines, which gave me the opportunity to appreciate a very diverse perspective on dementia care, and connect with professionals from different countries. The course content has put me in a better place to promote change in my work.
Read Sally's story
Graeme Hendry
Graeme Hendry
MSc Dementia Studies
The Dementia Studies course at Stirling – with its world-renowned reputation, great facilities and location – was perfect for me. It allowed me to keep my day job, while gaining the knowledge I required to be able to converse with other professionals involved in care for older people, and to gain a fuller understanding of what life is like for people living with dementia.
Read Graeme's story

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Postgraduate Diploma Dementia Studies

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