The main aims of the program are:

  • To provide students with detailed information on the scientific underpinning of the use and abuse of drugs in sport
  • To promote knowledge and understanding of current best practice in relevant areas of sports medicine
  • To make students aware of the practical issues involved in testing of athletes under anti-doping regulations
  • To encourage students to follow best practice in the use of dietary supplements

The Program is aimed primarily at those who currently work with or aspire to work with individual athletes and with teams at Olympic or national level and who administer, prescribe or advise on drugs and supplements or who require a more in-depth knowledge of anti-doping and drugs in sport. Students enrolling for this program will normally be in possession of a degree in Medicine, Pharmacy or an allied health subject from a recognised University, with professional registration where appropriate. 

The language of instruction will be English, and students whose native language is not English, or whose first degree was not undertaken in English, should provide evidence of competence in English, eg TOEFL at 500 or above, IELTS at 6 or above, GCSE or equivalent in English language.

The IOC Certificate in Drugs in Sport is awarded by the International Olympic Committee (, as part of the program of activities of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission. The Certificate program is awarded under the Academic oversight of an international Academic Advisory Board. The members of this Advisory Board advise on the academic standards of the IOC Certificate program, including suitability of applicants, quality assurance of course content, and the moderation of student assessment. More details about the Advisory Board Members can be found on the “Advisory Board” webpage of the IOC Certificate website 

The Medical and Scientific Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recognised the important role that sports medicine; in all its forms, plays in protecting the health and wellbeing of athletes. As part of its commitment to supporting the health and performance of athletes and to the continuing professional development of those who care for them, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission offers a postgraduate-level program in Drugs in Sport. The Certificate program will train and equip healthcare professionals and those working in the anti-doping field to advise and support athletes to make the best choices regarding effective clinical drug options while ensuring compliance with the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), sports federations, and national anti-doping agencies. It will also empower them to become educators and supporters to athletes and other athlete support personnel on anti-doping and clean sport matters, including the safe and informed selection of medications and supplements.

Students will be invited to attend optional zoom meetings. Sessions will give students the opportunity to discuss issues arising from the lectures, reading material or other sources with the Program Directors and/or members of the Academic Advisory Board. The sessions will be twice for each cohort and will focus primarily on questions arising from the most recent module or on a specific topic that the AAB member is an expert in. We always offer two dates/times for each session, and recordings of the sessions will be made available for those who are unable to attend. The zoom sessions also give students the opportunity to get to know their fellow students better and build a network of contacts.

Completing the Certificate program will add to your skills and qualifications and below are some examples of the areas you may be eligible to work in. No single qualification can guarantee working in one of these areas.

Within clinical practice:  

o Providing an evidence-based professional service to competitive athletes on issues relating to the safe, effective and permissible use of drugs in sport. 

o Advising other individuals who participate in sport and exercise on the safe use of medicines and supplements. 


 Working with sports and anti-doping organisations:  

o Developing relations with local and national sports clubs and associations to provide expert advice on anti-doping policies and procedures.  

o Becoming an educational advisor for National Anti-Doping Organisations 

o Working with athletes through their national or International Sports Federation on anti-doping policies and procedures 


Volunteering at Major Sporting Events:  

o Providing expert services as a volunteer or with the organising committee at major events such as Olympic and Paralympic Games

o Working as a healthcare professional in the Athlete Village Polyclinic

o Working with the anti-doping team in areas such as education or TUE management

The Certificate program is offered by Distance Learning on a part-time basis, running for a period of six months. Delivery of the program involves a variety of teaching methods, including lectures in electronic format, web-based materials, a program of guided reading, and an on-line discussion forum. The workload for the Certificate program has a nominal teaching and learning load of 400 hours, spread over the six months of study. However, the time it takes to go through the e-lectures, to read the set literature, and to prepare assignments etc will vary greatly between individuals. It is obvious that some people can achieve a satisfactory performance with a considerably smaller investment of time, but others may need to – or may choose to – invest more. There are some key dates by which assignments must be submitted throughout the program, but students have considerable flexibility as to how they choose to distribute the workload over the duration of the program.

The program comprises 5 modules, listed below:

  1. Introduction to the use and misuse of drugs in sport
  2. WADA, the Code and International Standards
  3. Sports pharmacology and clinical use of medications in athletes
  4. Protecting the health of the athlete and maintaining clean sport
  5. Healthcare providers at major sporting events


Assessment consists of:  

  1. Logs of Module Learning which are submitted for each module. The Logs are designed to allow students to reflect on how their learning throughout the course has influenced their day-to-day practice. The complete set of Logs of Module Learning is assessed at the end of the program.
  2. An online written examination to be completed at the end of the program. This examination will include both Multiple Choice and essay-type questions. 


 Each component of assessment will contribute equally to the final mark for the program.

Lectures in the form of computer-based presentations by leading international experts consist of a PowerPoint presentation with associated video and audio track. Lecture material is supplemented by a program of directed study, including review papers, original research publications, textbooks and athlete-oriented guidebooks. Additional materials are posted on the program website.

The Olympic Solidarity program provides financial support to some students on the program. Funds are channelled through National Olympic Committees, so enquiries should be addressed to your NOC in the first instance, making them aware that support may be sought from Olympic Solidarity.

Faculty for the IOC Certificate program include research scientists, University teachers and athlete support personnel. All are recognised as world leaders in their fields and all have extensive practical experience. Faculty are selected not only for their expertise but also for their ability to present information in a clear and accessible way.

All resources needed for completion of the program are provided without further financial commitment. This includes not only the online lectures but also a portfolio of reading material that includes full online access to the British Journal of Sports Medicine and online access to core textbooks. 

Attendance in person at the Graduation Ceremony in Lausanne is optional. The Ceremony will include a welcome from the IOC, presentation of Certificates, followed by lunch and a tour of the Olympic Museum.  Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Certificates will be posted to those who choose to graduate in absentia.

Yes, fees can be paid in 1,2 or 4 instalments. 

Alumni from around the globe