Dentistry University of Portsmouth

Conscious Sedation for Dentistry PgCert

Learn how to administer safe and effective conscious sedation for dentistry on this part-time PgCert course.

Key information

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If you are an experienced dentist looking to expand your clinical expertise, a qualification in conscious sedation should be top of your list.

On this 1-year part-time course, you'll gain the practical and theoretical knowledge you need to carry out conscious sedation in your practice, which is a highly sought-after dental skill.

You'll learn practical skills at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy – a training provider accredited by the Sedation Training Accreditation Committee (STAC) – and at the clinical facilities of our partner provider, Solent NHS Trust Special Care Dental Services. Both training centres feature the latest specialist equipment to help you explore dental sedation techniques safely under expert supervision.

When you complete the course, you'll be able to offer conscious sedation as an alternative route to treatment for your dental patients, progress to a career in special care dentistry, or pursue further study in this specialised field.

Please note that as part of the application process you will need to provide your NHS performer number, GDC registration, personal statement and also attend an informal interview.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

Qualifications or experience

  • Bachelor degree dentistry. Successful applicants must hold full registration with the General Dental Council and have appropriate professional indemnity in place.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Selection process
  • The post is subject to an enhanced DBS check and occupational health clearance.
  • All applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • £5,600 (may be subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.


If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.



Core modules

All modules in this year are core.

It focuses on enhancing your ability to apply knowledge of anatomical structures, physiological responses, and pharmacological techniques to plan and provide conscious sedation. Emphasis is placed on evidence-based drug selection and patient management, promoting independent thinking and the development of clinical reasoning and decision-making skills. You'll have the opportunity to engage with the latest research on managing dental anxiety, critically analysing the use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.

This module also addresses the medico-legal implications of providing conscious sedation and highlights the importance of teamwork in ensuring its safe delivery. You'll explore principles of consent, capacity, confidentiality, and other legal issues related to the practice of basic conscious sedation techniques. By adopting a blended learning approach, combining online modules on a secure platform with on-site block learning experiences, this module provides a comprehensive educational experience.

Furthermore, this module enables you to critically reflect on the importance of patient assessment and gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced treatment planning approaches necessary for utilising conscious sedation in dentistry. You'll examine the clinical skills involved in practicing conscious sedation, with a focus on synthesising new and existing knowledge based on the current evidence base and recommendations from the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee for Sedation in Dentistry (IACSD).
The assessment for this module consists of a 60-minute single best answer exam and a Structured Reflective Clinical Case Study set exercise, both of which must be completed successfully to pass the module.

It explores techniques involved in the practice of conscious sedation and enables you to practice supervised conscious sedation in a placement setting, applying the principles of safe sedation practice. Emphasis is placed on the current evidence-based treatment techniques and procedures, that practitioners can apply to their clinical practice, as well as preparing you for future developments. The module enables you to think independently, analytically and creatively, and engage imaginatively to consider and apply various treatment options during supervised clinical experience.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.


Teaching on this course includes:

  • supervised clinical practice
  • clinical skills teaching
  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • online tutorials

All teachers and clinical supervisors on the course have a postgraduate qualification in conscious sedation, as well as extensive clinical and teaching experience.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a web connection.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • short note questions
  • single best answer (SBA) papers
  • observation of procedural skills
  • records of experience
  • reflective logs
  • set exercises

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff profiles

Dr David Craig, Course Leader

As a consultant, Senior Lecturer and Head of Special Care Dentistry at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Craig is a visiting Professor at the University of Portsmouth. He has over 30 years’ experience teaching dentists, doctors and nurses to use conscious sedation techniques at King's College London and Guy’s Hospital. 

He's designed and implemented both undergraduate and postgraduate (Certificate, Diploma, MSc) programmes in conscious sedation and been an external assessor/examiner at 4 UK dental schools. Dr Craig was also National Course Director at the Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesia in Dentistry (SAAD) from 2001 – 2010.

Caroline Frölander

Caroline is a Clinical Director and Specialist in Special Care Dentistry, responsible for Clinical and Strategic Leadership of a Special Care Dental Service covering Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. 

She is experienced in delivering hands on training in conscious sedation for all members of the dental team. Her areas of interest include improving access to conscious sedation in primary care for people with dental anxiety and treatment for people with disabilities who are unable to have routine dental care.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Learn how to provide safe and effective conscious sedation across many dental settings, including primary care, secondary care, and special care services
  • Explore the practical and theoretical sides of a range of conscious sedation techniques
  • Experience a mix of supervised clinical practice sessions, distance learning and face-to-face learning
  • Be taught by expert clinical supervisors and guest lecturers with postgraduate qualifications in conscious sedation
  • Use specialist sedation equipment at our STAC-accredited Dental Academy and Solent NHS Trust Special Care Dental Services
  • Gain valuable skills applicable to many healthcare settings, including airway assessment and management, IV cannulation, patient monitoring, and recognition of complications

How you'll spend your time

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 10–15 hours a week studying for your PgCert, including scheduled and independent study time.

Most timetabled teaching will take place at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy during the day, on a Friday or Saturday.

Clinical placements will take place at one of Solent NHS Trust's facilities from Monday to Friday. Guest lectures may be scheduled outside normal teaching hours.

Term times

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks:

  • September/October to December/January – teaching block 1
  • January/February to May – teaching block 2

Career development

Many patients are anxious or even phobic about receiving dental treatment. 

Conscious sedation techniques, such as inhalation or intravenous therapies, enable these patients to get the treatment they need safely, with confidence and without the need for general anaesthesia.

Despite this, there are relatively few dentists qualified to carry out conscious sedation, making this a valuable skill to add to your clinical expertise. 

Once you graduate, you'll be able to expand your practice to patients needing extra reassurance before treatment, or to pursue a career in special care dentistry. 

You could also go on to further study at Master's, DClinDent or PhD level.

Supporting you

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.


Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Ready to apply?

Start your application by following the links below. Please note that as part of the application process you will need to provide your NHS performer number, GDC registration, personal statement and also attend an informal interview. 

Start this course in September 2024

Part-time study September 2024 start (1 year)

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.