Postgraduate Diploma In Occupational Health (DOH): Occupational Medicine

Diploma In Occupational Health (DOH)

The diploma is for medical doctors in possession of a MBChB, MBBCh or equivalent

The School of Public Health, in association with the National Institute for Occupational Health, offers a Diploma in Occupational Health (DOH) over two years part-time.

Who qualifies for the DOH?

The diploma is for medical doctors in possession of a MBChB, MBBCh or equivalent qualification acceptable to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for registration as an independent medical practitioner. The incumbent should be someone who works or intends to work in occupational health in the public or private sector. Students who complete the programme will have the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work as occupational medicine practitioners.

Course Structure

The PG DOH is offered on a part-time block-release basis over two years. It consists of eight courses of one week each, and includes experiential learning in between courses. Occupational hygiene and toxicology, occupational medicine, and occupational health are the strengths of the PG DOH, with a focus on attainment of practical skills. The generic content is as follows:

Occupational Medicine

  • Respiratory, ENT, skin, neurological and psychosocial conditions
  • Musculo-skeletal, reproductive, renal, hepatic and haemopoietic systems
  • Chest radiology, audiometry, lung function, allergy and neuro-behavioural testing
  • Disability assessment, rehabilitation, and commonly occurring occupational diseases in South Africa
  • The aetiology, diagnosis, prevention, screening, reporting and further management of these conditions

Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology

  • Risk assessment
  • Hazardous exposures
  • Principles of toxicology
  • Principles of occupational hygiene
  • Measurement and control technologies
  • Exposure standards
  • Ergonomic hazards and principles of control
  • Psychosocial hazards and conditions

Occupational Health

  • Industrial relations applied to health and safety
  • Health and safety legislation, policy and programmes (e.g. HIV/AIDS at work)
  • Worker participation
  • Environmental policy and impacts
  • Occupational health services, including design and management of workplace health services
  • Medical surveillance and biological monitoring
  • Ethical issues relating to industrial relations and the role of the occupational health service provider
  • Compensation issues


This course covers basic principles of epidemiology, including study design, measures of occurrence, measures of effect, bias and validity issues, confounding, effect measure modification, causality, and critical appraisal of the literature. These are applied to exposure assessment, health assessment, and occupational health services issues as a guide to designing studies. Measurement of the burden of disease is also included.

Additional Components

Much of the programme is participant-driven, requiring studying of selected reading material before each block. Self-learning and self-study are important aspects of all courses.

Inter-block assignments include:

  • Identification and description of a workplace of your choice
  • Conducting a health risk assessment
  • Identification of a relevant risk, and literature search
  • Management of specific occupational diseases

Due guidance and support will be provided by the course coordinators.

During each course, the students will visit a work place (mine, foundry, etc.) to gain practical experience and familiarise themselves with processes in various industries. This experiential learning will comprise a practical (hands-on) systematic approach to managing an occupational health issue and an opportunity to interact with management and workers in a variety of workplaces.

Examinations will be held at the end of each year of study.

Please note that attendance at every course is a requirement for award of the PG DOH.

CPD points will be given on completion of the PG DOH.


The postgraduate office handles applications, i.e. issuing of application forms and liaising with applicants about progress thereof. You may also apply online, using following the link:

Visit the website for more info here.

Required Documents

  • Written motivation, indicating why you have selected the PG DOH
  • Letters from two referees
  • Degree certificates and academic transcripts
  • SAQA letter (international students)
  • Current Curriculum Vitae


Each student is required to contact the postgraduate office on 011 717 2108 with regard to registration after being accepted into the PG DOH programme.

The Postgraduate Office
Tel: +27(0)11 717-2076
Fax: +27(0) 11 717-2119