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The Diploma in Human Pharmacology


The next DHP exams will be held on Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October 2024.

Candidates enrolled on the Programme will be contacted once the application period opens in early 2024.

The Diploma in Human Pharmacology programme is intended for medical doctors training to take on the responsibilities of a principal investigator (PI) for human pharmacology studies of investigational medicinal products (IMPs), in particular those involving the first administration to humans.


The Diploma in Human Pharmacology (DHP) is a 2-year training programme and qualification. The DHP programme is intended for medical doctors training to take on the responsibilities of a principal investigator (PI) for human pharmacology studies of investigational medicinal products (IMPs), in particular those involving the first administration to humans.  Such studies include those conducted in healthy and patient volunteers, in which the primary end-points are tolerability, pharmacokinetics and evidence of drug effects on biomarkers of efficacy and safety. The training in practical aspects of working as a PI is underpinned by a knowledge of the scientific basis of drug action.

The DHP programme includes supervised, structured workplace training with production of a portfolio of completed work, reflective learning and evidence of appropriate clinical and investigator skills. In addition trainees are required to attend three courses, two of which are run by King’s College, London, and to pass the DHP exams which are administered by FPM.

DHP is recognised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as the most appropriate qualification for accreditation of PIs in the pharmaceutical industry and is taken into account in the MHRA accreditation of study units.  DHP is aimed at doctors working in contract research organisations and also NHS doctors working in various specialities such as oncology, rheumatology, experimental medicine and clinical pharmacology, who are involved in early clinical trials of investigational medicines.

Programme structure and curriculum

Supervised workplace training

  • A minimum period of two years’ supervised, structured training in the workplace with evidence of attainment of defined learning objectives provided by a portfolio of completed work with reflective learning and quality assured assessments of appropriate clinical and investigator skills.
  • Supervision of trainees is performed by an Educational Supervisors with extensive experience of Phase I studies, accredited by the FPM. Assessments of trainee competence with attainment of learning objectives are performed by the Educational Supervisor.
  • The trainee is required to maintain a training record, with documented evidence of attainment of the specified learning objectives, defined in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours.
  • The trainee is required to produce a portfolio of work completed in the workplace over a minimum of two years. The portfolio should provide a comprehensive overview of work performed by the trainee with evidence of reflective learning about each study in which they have been involved.  It should be reviewed and validated by the Educational Supervisor at least three times each year.  At the end of the training period, the portfolio will be reviewed by members of the DHP Advisory Group.

Maintaining clinical skills

Acquisition and maintenance of up-to-date clinical skills including satisfactory completion of an Advanced Life Support or equivalent course.


  • Attendance at two five-day courses run at King’s College, London with satisfactory completion of post-course tests and assignments. These cover exploratory drug development including ‘first-in-human’ studies and drug development pharmacology at an advanced level.
  • Attendance at a one-day course on prevention and management of adverse events in Phase I studies (Managing Medical Emergencies in Human Pharmacology Studies).
  • Any other courses deemed necessary depending on the individual trainee’s needs.


The DHP exam is administered by FPM and comprises three written papers: a multiple-choice question paper focusing on scientific knowledge, and two papers, one multiple-choice and the other short answers, about medical and scientific responsibilities of the investigator.

Further information on the course programme is included in the DHP Candidate Guide


Information on eligibility is included in the.DHP Candidate Guide (pdf)


The fee for enrolling on the DHP programme is £2500 which covers administration of the programme and the examination. Fees for the teaching and materials associated with the DHP courses are charged separately by the provider, King’s College London. The fee does not include travel or accommodation expenses. A reduction of Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training (PMST) fees are available for those also enrolled in the DHP.

Programme registration

Programme registrations are currently not accepted but you can submit an expression of interest by emailing exams@fpm.org.uk.

Exam registration (for enrolled candidates only)

All FPM exams are held online with remote invigilation. For more information go to COVID-19 and examinations.

Diploma in Human Pharmacology

DHP Paper 1 (MCQ) – 13:30 – 23 October 2024

DHP Paper 2 (MCQ) – 13:30 – 24 October 2024

DHP Paper 3 (SAQ) – 13:30 – 25 October 2024

All times are as for the UK so GMT (BST).


Withdrawal Policy:

A candidate who withdraws from the exam must do so via email.

Candidates who withdraw after the published registration deadline will be subject to a £75 (per paper) administrative fee.