Interdisciplinary Pain Management


Advance your leadership in pain management

Be part of the next cohort starting September 2025!

Transforming pain management

It’s not just about the skills you learn. In the Interdisciplinary Pain Management program it’s about how these skills change your practice.

The Interdisciplinary Pain Management (IPM) field in the Advanced Health Care Practice master's program is the only master's-level degree program for pain management in Canada. The innovative structure of our program blends the critical academic competencies expected of graduate students, with real-world practical skills and expertise to enhance their clinical, policy, or advocacy approaches to pain management. These are accomplished through demonstration of critical thinking, empathic practice, reflexivity, interprofessional collaboration, and pain-focused competencies. Pain-focused policy-makers, advocates, researchers, educators, and health care professionals from a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to) medicine, physiotherapy, pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, chiropractic, massage therapy, and dentistry will work collaboratively to benefit from the program.

The program’s competency-based education approach means success in the program is determined by how you apply the knowledge you learn and how you integrate this into your pain-focused work.


Learn Creative Clinical Reasoning

Pain is a subjective experience. This means there’s no one right technique or treatment plan for every patient. The IPM program teaches you to challenge traditional ways of thinking and being in practice, research, education, or policy. You’ll be encouraged to seek creative solutions and supported in developing advanced reasoning and critical thinking skills. These skills are essential for understanding and treating diverse experiences of pain, and for addressing the wicked problem of pain in Canada.

Program Features

  • Receive one-on-one support and guidance from experienced mentors
  • Demonstrate your competence through your professional accomplishments and authentic learning experiences
  • Learn from experts to apply decision-making skills for developing comprehensive and individualized pain management plans or pathways for patients
  • Design and carry out a personally-relevant pain-related capstone project and present those results to a group of peers

Interested in learning more about this program?

Complete the form below to get started.

Advance your profession and initiate change around you.

Transform all aspects of your practice and develop the specialized skills to become an advanced clinician in just one year of full-time study. Learn from a combination of self-directed online materials, and support from renowned clinical mentors and pain management experts. Become a leader, problem-solver and advanced health care practitioner.

Graduates from the Interprofessional Pain Management program are confident, advanced clinicians who thoughtfully engage in evidence-informed practice, and effectively reflect on and draw from their experience and knowledge to inform care.

Move beyond the four walls of the classroom

In this online program, students work remotely with an experienced mentor to demonstrate individualized learning competencies within their own work environments. Throughout the program, students will engage in a blend of interactive online courses delivered by experienced faculty while also demonstrating real-world competencies about pain. Through coursework, mentorship, day-to-day practice, and their capstone project, students are encouraged to continuously reflect on their learning and knowledge application.

Be the future of pain management

As part of an emerging field, pain management experts are imperative in educating clinicians, the public, and other stakeholders on the importance of evidence-informed pain-management practice, and integrating that knowledge across healthcare environments.

Additionally, in a health landscape that is facing pain-management challenges like the current chronic pain or opioid crises, advanced health care practitioners can engage in public health education and knowledge sharing, empower patients and advocate on their behalf. Graduates of the Interdisciplinary Pain Management program are prepared to face these challenges through learning activities that promote the development of their leadership, communication and public education skills.

Working with practice-based and experienced mentors provides students with the opportunity to observe how their mentor approaches their roles as a leader and educator, and recognize how these can be integrated into their own practice and their own future opportunities to become mentors.

Program course opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to enroll in 4 full-term courses (Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Pain Management, Advanced Topics in Interdisciplinary Pain Management, Critical Appraisal of Health Research, Advanced Professional Practice), a full-year mentored pain-related Capstone Project course, and 3 additional elective half-credits selectable from those listed here. The courses are all structured around online delivery, mostly synchronous with some asynchronous (own-time) content, and are spread out over the year to permit students to continue in their daily employment while participating in the program. Note that students can expect to dedicate on average 10-15 hours per week to program requirements over the course of the year.

Opt-in to Credentialling with the Canadian Academy of Pain Management (CAPM)

Through a partnership with Canada’s only formally-recognized pain-focused clinical credential for medical and non-medical healthcare professionals, for a small additional fee students may elect to substitute one of the 3 elective half-credits to instead participate in the CAPM online learning modules and sit the credentialling exam to become a Diplomate of CAPM. The learning opportunity is administered entirely through CAPM and is open only to students who are (or are eligible to become) regulated health professionals.

Gain perspectives from a variety of professions

The IPM program is interdisciplinary by nature, bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds. Students learn content together, and explore how to apply it in different ways within their own practice. Throughout the program, students learn with, from, and about each other and share how pain management actualizes within their own profession and those of their colleagues.

Students also develop connections with the various experts that consult with the class, the leading pain management researchers at Western University and their clinical mentors. The result is a graduating cohort of students with competencies in advanced health care that are connected by their shared expertise, and able to leverage their interdisciplinary network to promote collaboration across professions. Some of the experts students will have the opportunity to interact with within the virtual classroom include:

  • Siobhan Schabrun, PhD (Gray Centre for Mobility and Aging, Parkwood Hospital, and School of Physical Therapy, Western University)
  • Eldon Loh, MD, FRCP(C) (Schulich School of Medicine, Western University)
  • Kateryna Metersky PhD RN (Toronto Metropolitan University)
  • Rick Csiernik, MSW, PhD (School of Social Work, King’s College, Western University)
  • Heather Getty PhD CPsych (Dept. of Psychology, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, London)
  • Qutaiba Tawfic MD FRCP(c) (Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University)
  • Zoe Leyland PhD (Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University)
  • Jennifer Irwin, PhD (School of Health Studies, Western University)

Lead. Mentor. Advocate.

Our students leave the program knowledgeable about up-to-date best practices in pain management, and with the confidence to continue to integrate innovative approaches and research into their own practice as well as other professional activities. Students learn to foster effective communication and collaboration in interprofessional settings, and advocate on behalf of their clients. Graduates from this program will have the preparation to take on leadership roles in policy development, research, academia and beyond.

See the Bigger Clinical Picture

Graduates from the IPM program obtain a comprehensive understanding of holistic patient-centered care. You’ll learn to leverage evidence-informed clinical skills together with advanced clinical reasoning to assess and manage patients with complex care needs. This competency-based program encourages you to develop strong self-reflection skills to assess potential biases and ethical considerations and evaluate their impact on client care.

Program Structure and Course Offerings

The IPM program is built upon a hybrid course- and competency-based educational framework where learners are focused on the development of core competencies until they have accrued enough evidence to demonstrate adequate mastery across 5 key competencies of pain management. Evidence of mastery is accrued through direct observation, simulations, reflections, and other ways of showing that the learner has mastered the competency in a real-world setting.

Five-Key Competencies

Through successful completion of this program, students will have demonstrated mastery of five key competencies:

  1. Interprofessional Collaboration
  2. Self-Awareness and Reflexivity
  3. Critical Reasoning and Creative Problem-Solving
  4. Empathic Practice and Reasoning
  5. Pain Expertise

Clinical Mentorship

A key component to this program is the mentorship requirement. Students will engage frequently with noted pain expert and advocate Dr. David Walton (Western University, School of Physical Therapy and Dept. of Psychiatry) throughout the program, and will also be paired with an additional mentor with whom they will work to develop their capstone project. The capstone mentor need not necessarily be an expert in pain management, but should be seen as a trusted and respected leader with whom the learner can engage for up to 100 hours over the course of the program. The nature of this engagement may look different for different learners dependent on context and geographic accessibility. Examples of capstone projects and mentorship include (but are not limited to): research projects (e.g., systematic review, case studies), development and implementation of new care pathways, new or revised policies and documents, conference or meeting coordination, advocacy efforts or public education materials, or other such products as long as the focus is related to pain. While students are responsible for securing their own mentors, they will get support on this from program administration.

Learning and Demonstrating Capacity

This program recognizes that learning can occur in far more contexts than the classroom. This program includes a mix of graduate-level course-based learning opportunities, real-world demonstration of acquired knowledge, and creation of new knowledge through the capstone projects. Dependent on the nature of the student’s contexts and interests, these may include evidence of scholarly engagement, community leadership, clinical mentorship, program implementation and evaluation, or otherwise ways of demonstrating key competencies. Success in the program will therefore require success in course-based performance, evidence of adequate mastery of the 5 core competencies, and completion and presentation of the capstone project. These need not all be mutually exclusive, in that some core competencies may be demonstrable through coursework or capstone projects, but importantly all students will complete the program having evidence of adequate mastery across each. The intention is that learning and leadership not stop there, and that armed with this new knowledge and respect for interprofessional pain management, graduates will continue to evolve into leaders in their respective fields. Opportunities to subsequently serve as mentors for future students come up regularly, creating a self-perpetuating and growing roster of opportunities for continued growth and program engagement.

Program Timeline

The IPM program is structured such that the majority of students will complete within a 12-month period running from September to the following August.

Admission and Applying/Tuition and Fees

All applicants must meet the following general requirements, in addition to the specific requirements outlined below.

  • A minimum bachelor's degree from a recognized university and at least a (B) standing (or equivalent) over the final two years of the program
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Two references
    • Academic (if attended university within the last five years) and professional
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency, including both written and oral communication
    • See below for more information
  • Be either a licensed and regulated healthcare professional from a discipline related to pain management, or hold a professional role aligned with leadership in pain management. The latter can include: pain advocate, pain-related policy maker, funder/insurer, pain-related researcher or trainee, pain-related educator, or other related professional interest related to pain. Please note that a professional alignment with a pain-related role must be demonstrated as part of the admissions process.

Information about mentorship requirements, including pre-placement requirements, will be provided to students once they are admitted to the program and prior to the beginning of classes.

Supplemental Application Materials

In addition to completing the online application, applicants are required to submit the field-specific supplemental materials outlined below. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all supplemental application materials are uploaded as part of their online application.

Applicants to the Pain Management program are required to submit the following supplemental requirements as part of the application:

  • CV/Resume
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Proof of current registration to practice (if a healthcare professional) or proof of employment or routine professional alignment with an entity related to pain management.
  • A statement describing the provisions in place to allow time for the requirements of the program
    • e.g. agreement from employer for some degree of protected time, some indication that work can be conducted in parallel with degree requirements
  • A personal statement answering the question: "Why have you chosen to apply to this Interprofessional Pain Management program?"

English Language Proficiency

  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS is recommended)
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based), 105 (internet-based), 260 (computer-based) or an IELTS score of 7.5 is required
  • Students who, after admission, show an inadequate command of spoken or written English must improve their proficiency to the satisfaction of the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Students may be asked to withdraw from the program if their command of English interferes with their ability to provide quality professional services
  • Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • The English language proficiency requirements outlined above do not apply to students from Quebec

Applying to the Program

Apply Now

Have questions about applying?


To apply to the Interprofessional Pain Management program, students should:

  • Visit the  online application website
  • Follow the instructions on that page to access the application
  • Select "Advanced Health Care Practice" from the program options in the application and select the appropriate field

Application Deadline

  • Applications will open November 1 and close June 1
  • Applications may be accepted after that date if space is available
  • Offers of admission are sent out beginning in late April and continue until the program is filled

Tuition and Fees

The annual domestic tuition fee for this program is approximately $14,000 CAD including ancillary fees (plus $2,100 mentor fee i.e. $700 CAD/term***) which is payable over three terms (September, January and May).

The annual international tuition fee for this program is approximately $37,000 CAD including ancillary fees (plus $2,100 mentor fee i.e. $700 CAD/term***) which is payable over three terms (September, January and May).

These fees are subject to change and are set by Western University. Instructions for students paying tuition from a Canadian bank are available from the Office of the Registrar.

***Please note all fees including mentorship fees and course fees are currently under review and are subject to change and adjustment***

OSAP Eligible

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

The calculator was designed for you to get a better estimate of what it will cost to attend one of Western's graduate programs for one year.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Admission & Application

I have not been in school for a while, what if I can’t acquire two academic references?

Students who have not been in school for more than five years may use a person who is not affiliated with a university (non-academic) reference for one of their letters.

What happens if I apply on time, but my references or transcript aren't available until after applications close?

  • Applications will not be considered by the admission committee until they are complete
  • Starting May 1, the limited spots that are available in the program will be filled by students who have provided complete applications
  • Students are strongly encouraged to have applications complete at least two weeks prior to the deadline (May 1) to allow sufficient time for other requirements (transcripts, reference letters) to be delivered

Have you received a complete application from me?

Students may contact the AHCP Program Assistant ( at any time to check on the status of an application.

When can I expect to hear whether I have been accepted into the program?

The admission committee will review completed application files beginning mid-March each year. This committee makes recommendations for admission to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), which reviews required documents to confirm all requirements. Provided all requirements have been met, SGPS will send out a letter of offer of admission by email to the applicant directly. This typically occurs in late May.

About Eligibility

Am I eligible to apply if I don’t have two years of clinical experience?

Students can still apply but the admission committee does consider the amount of clinical experience as a criteria for selecting successful applicants.

What constitutes advanced computer skills?

The Advanced Health Care Practice program is a course-based graduate program with many of the required courses delivered using online learning tools. Courses are comprised of several modules each of which include resources (readings, lecture notes, etc.), and learning activities (structured discussions, scheduled teleconferences, assignments, or quizzes). An orientation on how to access and use many of the online learning tools will be provided during the first residency period.

About Fees

Are there any additional fees outside of tuition for the school year?

All AHCP students pay the same graduate fees. Those students involved in the mentorship program, are levied a fee in addition to graduate fees.

Other FAQs

If English is not my first language, what do I need to do?

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency; the TOEFL or an IELTS is recommended. A minimum TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based), 105 (internet-based), 260 (computer-based) or an IELTS score of 7.5 is required.

Students who, after admission, show an inadequate command of spoken or written English must improve their proficiency to the satisfaction of the School of Physical Therapy.

Students may be asked to withdraw from the program if their command of English interferes with their ability to provide quality professional services.

Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

How do I provide proof of Malpractice Insurance?

Please bring a copy of your Malpractice Insurance with you on the first day of orientation.

Can I access computer resources after class hours?

Students have access to Elborn College and the computer labs at all times during residency periods.

How much time should I expect to devote to the program?

Students must be registered as full-time graduate students in the AHCP program. Students are encouraged to continue to work clinically (part-time) during the program in order to be able to incorporate new knowledge and skills into their clinical practice.

Students can expect to devote at least 20 – 30 hours/week to program related activities (i.e. studying, reading, assignments etc).

Can I enroll in courses to complete requirements for competencies?

Yes, students have the option to enroll in relevant courses to gain the required learning competencies. Students can choose from a number of graduate-level online courses in the Faculty of Health Sciences, pending consultation and approval from the AHCP program assistant.