By late 1974 it had become clear that neither of the two universities in New South Wales would be interested in sponsoring a diploma as they had just divested themselves of such things and were only going to issue degrees. So SPUMS took the brave step of issuing it's own diploma of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. This was the first non-naval certification of diving medical competence and for many years the only post-graduate qualification. The foundation diplomats included; Jimmy How of the Republic of Singapore Navy, as well as Geoff Bayliss, Carl Edmonds, Rex Gray, Chris Lowry, Bob Thomas and Ian Unsworth, for the Society has been international since its inception.
Other overseas Foundation Diplomats were Drs' Kee Peng Leong, Tai Lung Ho, Made Subrata, Harijonto Mahdi, Hartono and Gene Chan. Originally the requirements for the diploma by examination were the two RANSUM courses and the PHH course and a treatise suitable for publication. All the foundation diplomats had at least two years experience in diving.