Including key dates, time commitments, funding and learner support information.


The Digital Health Leadership Programme (DHLP) is a flagship NHS Digital Academy programme. Established in 2017 following a Secretary of State commitment on the back of the Wachter Review, it aims to address the need to develop and invest in the capability and capacity of digital change leaders. The DHLP is delivered by Imperial College London and partners and is now entering its 7th cohort, with learners due to start their journey from September 2024. Around 600 change leaders have completed or are completing the programme to date.

What is the Digital Health Leadership Programme?

The programme is a 12-month fully accredited Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Digital Health Leadership and is funded centrally. It is delivered through 8 modules via a mixed delivery model including self-learning with group virtual and group face-to-face sessions. Participants who successfully complete the PGDip have the option to extend their learning journey by completing a master’s degree (subject to participants securing their own funding, this master’s option isn’t funded centrally). 

We are recruiting 101 change leaders from across the health and care workforce in England to participate in Cohort 7.

The programme is aimed at:

  • people who hold a leadership role (accountability and responsibility) for digital and/or digital workforce in their organisation
  • people who’s ability, intelligence, personality and background mean they are willing and able to learn and apply the stuff we’ll teach them
  • people who have a strong drive to do the right thing through applying their learning and making an impact

Key dates

Application window open - 21 March to 25 April 2024
  • Submit your application form.
  • Your sponsor should submit the senior organisational sponsor form. 
Assessing applications - Week commencing 29 April and week commencing 6 May 2024
  • The NHS Digital Academy will assess your application.
  • Our shortlisting pool will consist predominantly of previous programme alumni, given that individuals who have been/are going through the programme are strongly placed to help identify suitable future candidates. 
Outcomes communicated - by the end of May 2024
  • You will be notified if you have been successful or unsuccessful in your application.
    • If successful, you will start your enrolment and onboarding process with Imperial College London. Learning will begin in September 2024.
    • If you are placed on the reserve list, you will be notified before the start of Cohort 7 if a place has become available for you.
From notification to September 2024

If you are successful, you must submit your Imperial College London application. This will be reviewed by the College’s admissions team. You will need supporting documentation to successfully obtain a place.

Start the Digital Health Leadership Programme - September 2024

Teaching for Cohort 7 of the Digital Health Leadership Programme will start from 5 September 2024.

Teaching dates

Teaching for Cohort 7 of the Digital Health Leadership Programme will commence from 5 September 2024. The deadline for the final assessment is the end of August 2025. In-person leadership forums will take place on the below dates and locations.

  • 26 and 27 September 2024 in York.
  • 15 April 2025 in London.
  • 26 June 2025 in Birmingham.

The end of Cohort 7 celebration will take place in Spring 2026. The date will be confirmed in due course.

You will be expected to commit to all of these dates and participate fully in the learning sessions alongside your peers.

If, during the programme, you take an extended period of leave which impacts your ability to maintain engagement and complete the programme, Imperial College London may recommend an Interruption of Studies. For further details regarding the Interruption of Studies process, please contact the Imperial College London team at [email protected].

Time commitments

We estimate that around 10 to 15 hours of study time/work is required outside of work, per week. The programme contents specify about 25 to 30 hours of learning in total. This includes the time spent applying your learning to your work within working hours.

Your overall workload consists of weekly online learning sessions and independent learning on the virtual learning environment and through work-based learning. While your actual time spent working through content may vary according to the modules you study, the following gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the programme. At Imperial College London, each European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credit taken equates to an expected total study time of 25 hours. Therefore, the expected total study time is 187.5 hours per 7.5 ECTS module, for a total of 1500 for the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and 2250 for the Master of Science (MSc).

We expect that you will spend 15% to 20% of the time engaging with online content, while the remainder will be comprised of independent and group study, completion of assignments, and up to 50% of your time directly applying your learning into practice through multiple improvement projects in your own organisation.


Places are funded through the NHS England's NHS Digital Academy. Funding also covers overnight stays for multi-day leadership forums, as arranged by Imperial College London. Significant central funding support will be provided per learner and we hope this is reflected in your commitment to the programme, and in the benefits realised through personal development. 

You will need to pay for travel and related subsistence expenses (for example, meals while travelling), as well as any additional accommodation either side of a leadership forum. You will need to consult your organisation's policy regarding this.

Support available from Imperial College London (ICL)

You will benefit from the support offered from Imperial College London throughout the programme.

Teaching Fellows

A team of Teaching Fellows support you throughout your academic journey. They will supervise work, provide advice on study skills, and assess work and progress. 

Personal tutors

Personal tutors support you in personal, pastoral and general academic development. You will have regular contact and establish a supportive and professional relationship. Personal Tutors maintain an overview of their tutees' academic progress, development and wellbeing. 

The Disability Advisory Service (DAS)

This service commits to providing you with the best support possible.

Understanding that each person's disability or impairment can affect them in different ways, the DAS team has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources to support learners who are disabled, have specific learning difficulties or have other short or long-term conditions.

You are encouraged to engage with the DAS team for screening if they feel they may have an undiagnosed difficulty and register for support. The team will then be able to provide the most relevant student focused resources and reasonable adjustments. 

If you have a disability or health condition, and feel you need support or reasonable adjustments throughout the application process, please contact us at [email protected].

Peer support groups

Alongside your fellow learners, you will form peer support groups as part of the programme. These are invaluable for boosting morale, networking and building communities of practice. These have had long-lasting positive impacts on alumni. 

Other support

Imperial College London also have information and communications technology (ICT) support, Student Wellbeing teams and staff to help you navigate the various procedures. 

Page last reviewed: 21 March 2024
Next review due: 21 March 2025