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Division of Community Health​

​​The BScMedScHons (Underwater Medicine) degree programme

Module 3: Advanced Underwater Medicine

Brief description:

  • Third of four modules in the underwater medicine degree programme
  • Theoretical training provided via the internet - web-based guidance through the text book and other downloadable documents.
  • No scheduled contact time, although some lectures during module 2 would actually pertain to module 3
  • No practical training

Training outcomes:

The exit outcome for this module is advanced knowledge of the physics, physiology and medicine related to diving. 

We explore the limits of our current knowledge in this field of study, in order to take the candidate's knowledge "to the next level".  Complicated medical issues regarding the underwater environment are addressed and the cutting-edge research issues are put on the table.  The candidate completing this module will have a deep and thorough knowledge in the field of Underwater Medicine and can act as a consultant.  This module also prepares the candidate for module 4, which is the research module.

In short:  The student will get a sense of "this is what we know and this is what we don't know...".

Theoretical training:

Texbook: "Bennett and Elliott's Physiology and Medicine of Diving" - ​​5th edition - Edited by Alf O. Brubakk and Tom S. Neuman.

ISBN: 0-7020-2571-2

This book is available for purchase from many online dealers, e.g. Best Publishing or Amazon South African students may order this book from DAN Southern Africa and delivery takes about two working days (if in stock).

The textbook is addressed in detail and training is from an academic perspective.  Additional material is available for download for this module.

The students are guided through the textbook by means of prescribed readings of certain chapters in the textbook and additional downloads where certain themes are not covered adequately in the textbook.  This can be done at any time and place the student prefers, as well as at a pace that is comfortable.  You can test your knowledge by completing online self-tests (with specific guidance in the case of incorrect answers) and after a theme is mastered, you can write the summative assessment for that specific theme (each summative assessment ranges between 5 minutes and 20 minutes).


Practical training:

This module does not have any practical training elements.

Entry requirements:

Each prospective candidate must:

  • have the MBChB degree or any other equivalent degree that enables him or her to register as a medical practitioner.
  • be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, or an equivalent international professional body that registers medical practitioners (e.g. GMC in the UK)
  • have completed his/ her internship year(s).
  • have successfully completed the Basic Underwater Medicine and Operational Underwater Medicine modules, or equivalent training courses that provide recognition of prior learning.
  • have access to the internet or the ability to gain access
  • be able to browse the internet training site

The following are NOT requirements:

Being a diver (recreational or commercial)

Being diving medically fit.


Observers on this module will only be allowed subject to a referral letter, CV presentation (including publications) and an interview.


The examination of this module is done in various stages.  The first stage is done via internet (summative assessments).  The last part of the examination of this module is done at the end of the year examination.  This is a theoretical examination testing the in-depth knowledge of the contents of this module.


Students who successfully complete the module, will receive:

  • Certificate of competency from the Stellenbosch University
  • CPD/ CME Certificates from the Stellenbosch University

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):

RPL is provided to any candidate who had previously done a course or training programme in diving medicine.  The Stellenbosch University has specific policies and procedures relating to RPL of a student.  Contact the programme coordinator for more information. 

Persons who have successfully completed a previous diving medicine course usually ask for RPL for such training to gain entry into this module.

Contact details:

For more information, please contact Dr. W.A.J. (Jack) Meintjes, the programme coordinator:

Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Community Health
PO Box 241
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 938-9272