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Graduate Certificate in Chronic Pain Management (online learning)

Chronic pain management is a major and growing challenge for patients, healthcare professionals and the global healthcare system. This certificate is an ongoing collaboration between the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain to provide healthcare professionals with the most recent and relevant approaches and technologies for the care and management of chronic pain.

An interdisciplinary approach is represented by the participants as well as by the educators of the certificate. By teaching evidence-based clinical practice with an interdisciplinary perspective, this graduate certificate will provide the professional with advanced knowledge and expertise in this challenging area of healthcare. This certificate is offered in French and in English.

Who should apply?

This post-professional training program was designed for busy healthcare professionals, leaving them the freedom to better manage their work-life balance. The program is appropriate for professionals from medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacology, physical therapy, psychology and related disciplines.                                                                                                                   

Our students

Professional Distribution
Global Distribution


Physiotherapist, Emmanuelle Gadbois, shares her experience.


Pharmacist, Moheb Maalawy shares his experience.


Nurse Clinician, Francesca Mileto shares her experience.

The Core Courses (12 credits)

The complexity of chronic pain management requires that each core course is interdisciplinary by design. Through the use of tutors and students from a variety of backgrounds who interact via online forums and chatrooms, the post-professional student will have the opportunity to compare experiences, and work with others to solve real clinical problems. Courses are offered in French and in English. Click the title for details of each course.

The ideal trajectory for students is to start in the Fall of each year. Students may start in the Winter however if this path is chosen, some review of foundational concepts prior to this first week of classes will be required.

POTH663-Pain Assessment in Clinical Practice

This course will assist learners in developing approaches to the global assessment of patients with pain (acute and chronic) and to guide diagnostic, care and treatment. This will include conventional health assessment techniques (interview and physical examination), pain measurement tools, psychological assessment, specific techniques (e.g. examination of lumbar spine, functional assessments), and the role and value of diagnostic studies.

Lecturers: Ms. Lesley Norris, MSc, PT; Dr. Maria Dritsa, PhD Psychology; Dr. Celine Gelinas, RN, PhD; Dr. Sara Saunders, PhD, OT; Dr. Mark Ware, MD, MRCP (UK)

POTH664-Neuroscience and Behavioral Perspectives of Pain

This course is designed to review the basic neuroscience of pain and the interrelationship between psychological, physiological and environmental processes in pain perception. Neuro-anatomical, physiological, pharmacological, and biochemical mechanisms involved in nociception are presented. The contributions of psychological factors such as mood and cognition, as well as environmental factors are examined as contributors to the pain experience. Conceptual paradigms are introduced that allow integration of the biomedical and psychosocial factors to understand the pain experience. These lead to an understanding of how psychological and environmental factors can modify or maintain pain perception and behavior and how these might be modified to manage the pain experience.

Lecturers: Ms. Lesley Norris, MSc, PT; Dr. Robert Dykes, PhD, Physiology; Dr. Matthew Hunt PT, PhD; Dr. Sara Saunders OT, PhD; Dr. Timothy Wideman PT, PhD

POTH665-Interdisciplinary Management of Chronic Pain

This course will explore the different approaches to treating chronic pain, current available evidence on their efficacy, side-effects, ethics, and their costs to the individual and the  healthcare system. Management through pharmacology, procedural interventions, psychological approaches, functional rehabilitation, and different alternative therapies will be reviewed. 

Lecturers: Ms. Kimberly Smalridge PT; Dr. Sara Saunders OT, PhD; Ms. Ms. Lesley Norris Singer PT, MSc; Dr. Maria Dritsa, PhD Psychology; Dr. Mark Ware, MD, MRCP (UK); Dr. Jordi Perez MD, PhD, FIPP; Dr. André Bussières DC, MSc, PhD, FCCS; Dr. Celine Gelinas, RN, PhD; Melissa Richard-Lalonde N, PhD(c) 

POTH666-Common Clinical Pain Syndromes

This course explores specific pain conditions, their incidence, prevalence, and their underlying mechanism.  Clinical presentations of these conditions will be discussed as well as some general management strategies.

Lecturers: Ms. Kimberley Smalridge, PT; Krista Brecht RN, BScN, MScN(A); Dr. A.Minerbi,MD, PhD,; Dr. Terrence Coderre, MSc,PhD,; Ms. Janet Holly PT, MSc; Dr. André Bussières DC, MSc, PhD, FCCS' ; Dr. Richard Preuss PT, PhD,; Dr. Jordi Perez MD, PhD, FIPP; Ms. Erin Cox BMR PT, FCAMPT, CCTT, MCPA; Ms. Lesley Norris SInger PT, MSc; Dr. Susan Tupper, BScPT, PhD; Michael Sangster, BScPT, MBA; Valérie Calva, OT; Interdisciplinary Pediatric Chronic Pain Program, Montreal Children's Hospital; Dr. Maria Dritsa, PhD Psychology;  Dr.

Kathryn J. Gill, PhD



The Elective Course ( 3 credits)

The elective provides you with a unique opportunity to build upon and compliment the course content in a personalized way by pursuing a topic area of interest. This could be done by transferring learning to a practical clinical setting, exploring a topic of interest in more detail, or taking an additional, graduate university level course, from McGill or elsewhere, to enhance your understanding of chronic pain management.

*POTH603-Directed Practicum: This is a tutorial with directed practical experience in a clinical setting related to the student's clinical specialization, including curriculum development, and emphasizing current thought in rehabilitation. See previous years examples here.

*POTH618-Topics in Rehabilitation: This is a directed reading course on a topic in rehabilitation science. The student will acquire extensive knowledge in the topic of interest and understand the strengths and limitations of the current body of work in the area. See previous years examples here.

*Another 500-level or higher course (online or not) approved by the Graduate Certificate Program Chair

*Another 3 credit graduate level course (online or not) from a different university, as approved by the Graduate certificate Program Chair.

How long will the program take to complete?

As most students are working clinicians, it is recommended to take one course per term. The four core courses can be taken in the fall and winter semesters, the elective course can be taken during the fall, winter, or summer semester. With this recommended plan, the program will take 2 – 2.5 years to complete.

For those who are interested in completing the program earlier, we do offer a fast track option where certain courses can be taken as two per semester, thus completing the program in 1 - 1.5 years. 

Have more questions? Please see Frequently Asked Questions in menu. 


The curriculum committee includes eminent scientists, physicians, clinicians and scholars and is co-chaired by our two academic leads:

  • Dr. Timothy Wideman, PhD, PT, Assistant Professor, Chercheur régulier, C.R.I.R. (Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en Réadaptation) du Montréal métropolitain
  • Dr. Jordi Perez, MD, PhD, FIPP , anesthesiologist and specialist in pain management
    • Dr. Maria Dritsa, PhD, Psychology
    • Dr. Robert Dykes, PhD, Physiology
    • Dr. Celine Gelinas, RN, PhD
    • Ms. Lesley Norris, MSc, PT
    • Dr. Sara Saunders, PhD, OT
    • Ms. Kimberley Smalridge, PT
    • Dr. Mark Ware, MD, MRCP (UK) 
  • Our current contributors to the courses are clinicians specialized in chronic pain management and experts from the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain. View listing of contributors under each course above. 
  • Dr. Isabelle Gélinas, PhD, OT: Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Programs, Chercheur régulier, C.R.I.R. (Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en Réadaptation) du Montréal
  • Monica Slanik, BSc(Bio), BSc(OT), Academic Associate, program management and business development

Professional Benefits

  • Enhance your knowledge base in the most recent neuroscientific and behavioural perspectives of chronic pain
  • Acquire advanced practice skills in the evaluation and assessment of chronic pain conditions
  • Learn and apply evidence-based multi-modality treatments for diverse client populations
  • Appreciate roles and responsibilities of interdisciplinary team members
  • Develop a network of professionals and leaders in the field of chronic pain management
  • Acquire graduate certificate degree credentials from the top-ranked university in Canada


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Apply this program to your continuing professional development. Details for various professions, including CME’s, can be found here.

The completed certificate program courses qualify towards credentialing for the Canadian Academy of Pain Management (CAPM). For more information, please visit


Additional Information

Please visit the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain for latest information and research at McGill University and the distinguished history and international role McGill has in pain research and treatment advances.

Required Technology

You will need a personal computer with Internet access and a web browser. A high speed Internet connection is recommended. The technology behind this course enables the rapid transmission of content to a basic computer system.

Tuition Fees

For fee information and details, click here.

*Please note that international students may opt out of paying the International Health Insurance.


To register:

 *For admissions requirements and details, click here

 *To start application process, click here  


Contact us

For more information on the certificate: application procedures, deadlines, fees and required technology, our Student Affairs Coordinator will be pleased to assist you at 514-398-4400 ext 0432 or [at]

Click here to sign up for regular curriculum, research and other updates. 

Please note: McGill University reserves the right to make changes to the certificate, content and services as it deems necessary.

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