School of Nursing and Midwifery

MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner)

Are you a registered healthcare professional looking to develop your clinical career into the world of Advanced Practice? If so, this course is for you!

Clinically and academically focussed, this pathway is designed to prepare and support Nurses, Midwives, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Operating Department Practitioners and any HCPC/NMC registered practitioner, to develop their knowledge and skills to be able to perform and deliver high quality Advanced Level practice in all clinical settings.

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First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.#firstchoiceforhealth
Key features
  • Gain the knowledge and skills to work in any sector of the health service (e.g. pre-hospital, primary care and secondary care settings).
  • Develop your skills and knowledge in relation to assessment, clinical reasoning and formulation of appropriate differential diagnosis, diagnostic decision making and initiation or delivery of appropriate, timely care evidence-based care.
  •  Embed independent and supplementary prescribing into your masters degree (subject to profession). 
  • Undertake assessments linked to your own practice to ensure that your learning needs are met within your specific practice area.
  • Opportunities to study in an inter-professional setting with inter-professional core and optional modules delivered by an academic team with extensive experience as well as a close relationship with clinicians contributing to teaching.
  • Research informed teaching is embedded throughout the curriculum and you will be given the chance to design and undertake your own research to enhance and develop patient care and/or service provision.
  • Be equipped to take on lead roles in management, clinical practice and/or education
  • Part time programme offering flexible delivery and exit points to support a learner centred approach.
This programme is also available as an Apprenticeship MSc Advanced Clinical Practice. For further information on the apprenticeship route and details of how your employer can apply for you please visit our apprenticeship webpage
Please note that when you enrol on this programme, you always enrol to study the master degree but we offer three exit awards: PgCert, PgDip and MSc.
Course details
  • Year 1

  • Postgraduate Certificate
    To achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to obtain 60 credits by completing the three core modules below.
    Core modules
    APP701Advancing Practice in Context20 Credits
    APP710Advanced Assessment for Clinical Practice20 Credits
    APP758 Advanced concepts in research: methodology and methods20 Credits
  • Year 2

  • Postgraduate Diploma
    To achieve a postgraduate diploma, you will have first completed the PgCert and need to obtain an additional 60 credits (to give 120 credits in total). This must include the core module and two optional modules of your choice.
    Core module
    APP711Managing Clinical Complexity20 Credits
    Optional modules
    Optional modules can be two 20 credit modules or one 40 credit.
    Optional modules can be chosen from the Masters level modules A-Z list.Please contact the Professional Development Unit Admissions Team to discuss your options.
  • Final year

  • MSc
    To achieve a full master degree, you will have first completed the PgDip and need to obtain an additional 60 credits (to give 180 credits in total). This must include the core module and an optional module of your choice.
    Core module
    SPP702Substantive Professional Project40 Credits
    Optional module
    Optional module 20 Credits
    Optional modules can be chosen from the Masters level modules A-Z list. Please contact the Professional Development Unit Admissions Team to discuss your options.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner) pathway specification_6131

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements
You will normally have a first degree (BSc (Hons) at 2:2 or above or European first cycle equivalent plus a professional qualification in health or social care) plus a minimum of three years post-registration experience.You will be assessed individually for your ability to study at this level and therefore an interview may be necessary.
If you do not have a first degree at 2:2 or above (or the European first equivalent) but have appropriate practice-related experience relevant to the programme you may still be eligible to apply. In these cases, you would also be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.
The clinical supervisor/mentor must be a doctor at a registrar or above level OR an Advanced Clinical Practitioner with a PgDip or above in Advanced Clinical Practice and working in the clinical environment.
Applicants whose first language is not English must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice - IELTS of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each category.

Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential are accepted and will be assessed following University regulations and faculty procedures.
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS):

This programme is equivalent to 90 ECTS credits (second cycle) with 30 ECTS credits at postgraduate certificate, 60 credits at postgraduate diploma and 90 credits at masters degree. Each 20 credit module has the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits and assumes a notional student effort of between 200-300 hours. We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Fees, costs and funding

Student 2022-23 2023-24
Home NA NA
International NA NA
Part time (Home) £1,000 per 20 credit module £1,100 per 20 credit module

Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.
Additional costs
Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact
If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.
In order to cater for the needs of the NHS workforce, this programme is flexible in nature and allows up to five years for students to complete the full MSc. For this reason, students on the programme are unable to claim support via the Student Loans Company Postgraduate Loan. The SLC stipulates that part time programmes (which do not have a full time equivalent) must be offered for no longer than three years. If you think that you will have trouble funding your place on the programme, we would recommend a discussion with your employer to see whether any financial support can be granted.
How to apply
Applying for this programme
Please visit our admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.
Please return your completed forms to:
Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA
What happens after I apply?
After your application is received by the PDU Admissions team, it will be processed and sent to the Programme Lead for a decision to be made on your suitability to study. You may be asked to provide additional information or to take part in an interview (for overseas students this may be by telephone or video conference). Once this decision has been made, you will be sent an email either confirming your place on the programme, or rejecting your application and giving the reasons for this decision (you may request further feedback in order to improve your chances of selection at a later date).
Please note that you will be enrolled on the full MSc programme. You may choose to exit with the qualification of PgCert upon completion of an appropriate 60 credits, or a PgDip upon completion of an appropriate 120 credits. More information is contained within the programme specification.
Applying for this programme
Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.
Please return your completed forms to:
Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Our written testimonial

We feel honoured and privileged to be delivering this programme here in the South West of England. The programme sits in the Faculty of Health, under the School of Nursing and Midwifery therefore bringing a richness of collaboration across disciplines.

We are a group of lecturers still practicing clinically from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including qualified ACP’s, General Practitioners and a nurse consultant. We also bring in visiting lecturers who are specialists in their field enabling us to offer a high calibre of knowledge, expertise, and broad perspectives unique to Plymouth, through which we aim to guide you on your journey to gaining your MSc.

Our aim is focused on building and enhancing existing knowledge and skills and take these into the realms of Advanced Practice. Defined by HEE (2017), an Advanced Level of practice allows you to eventually work autonomously and see undifferentiated patients independently by honing and developing your clinical examination skills underpinned by sound clinical reasoning and complex decision-making skills.

We have developed the content of this programme to be appropriate and relevant to a multitude of clinical environments, disciplines, and settings and as such has a generalist foundation. We embrace the opportunities for collaborative learning from a variety of disciplines such as nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, midwives, operating department practitioners, occupational therapists, mental health nurses, learning disability nurses and many more, which ensures the course remains adaptable at its’ core.

The course is well established and has been in existence for over 10 years. In its current form, we have experience of delivering it since 2017 and in 2018, it was accredited to the RCN. We continuously seek the opinions of our stakeholders across the South West to ensure the course is ‘fit-for-purpose’ across primary and secondary care and able to cover all sub-specialities from acute care through to long-term and palliative care.

We are an energetic and proactive yet reflexive team and use student and stakeholder feedback to influence changes to shape and allow our course to evolve therefore ensuring it remains contemporaneous.

We deliver the course through a blended learning approach using range of teaching methods and the team are educated and affiliated to the Higher Education Academy and the Association of Advanced Practice Educators (UK) (AAPEUK) which again, allows us to benchmark to national standards and ensures a high-quality course is delivered by design. We also have a superb university support network to assist students on their learning journey.

Creating a rounded, highly trained, generalist ACP able to work in any clinical setting is our aim and as you read through these pages, you will see how we do this, ensuring we meet all elements of Advanced Practice so that you can be proud that you can call yourself an Advanced Clinical Practitioner trained at Plymouth.

The Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner) Team

"We are a group of lecturers still practicing clinically from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including qualified ACP’s, General Practitioners and a nurse consultant."

<p>APP CP team</p>

The Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner) Team

Career opportunities

This pathway of study is the first step to facilitate your career in Advanced Practice. As you proceed through the course, you will be in a role that supports your development and training, using the ‘title’ of trainee ACP. You’ll be able to apply for Band 7 and Band 8a roles; and work as an advanced clinical practitioner with an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded autonomous scope of practice in your field of work.
On completion of our MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner), you’ll be able to assess, diagnose, treat and manage patients who present with undifferentiated and undiagnosed conditions, across all sectors of healthcare (i.e. hospital, pre-hospital, primary care and secondary care settings). A majority of registered (NMC and HCPC) clinicians can also become non-medical independent prescribers (i.e. nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, physio’s, optometrists and many more) as directed by the disciplines own Codes of Conduct.
Career prospects after taking this programme include advanced practice roles such as consultant roles, advanced specialist practice roles, education (i.e. clinical academic practitioner), research and audit. 
You can work in a wide range of settings including: general practices, secondary care (all specialities), walk-in centres, minor injury units, out of hours services, urgent care centres and rapid response services, Emergency Departments, intermediate care teams, generalist and specialist acute services, critical care and intensive treatment units, elderly care facilities, prison services, refugee / asylum seekers and homeless projects, and outreach initiatives and innovative community-based services and many more. 

Encompassing the essential four strands of advanced practice alongside interpersonal skills and insight are essential in ensuring that advanced practice is a sustainable development in the future workforce planning and longevity of the NHS.

<p>Getty doctor</p>

Matthew's story...

Matthew Hibbert – Advanced Practitioner
An advanced practitioner's role in a Forensic Mental Health Service.

MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways

Both the School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing and Midwifery offer the MSc Advanced Professional Practice programme.

Upcoming events

We have numerous recruitment and information events throughout the year. 
Follow the links below for more information and to book your place. 


Supporting statement

This programme is accredited by the Centre of Advancing Practice.

Health Education England’s Centre for Advancing Practice has been established to standardise post-registration education by accrediting advanced practice courses that achieve the standards outlined in the multi-professional Advanced Practice Framework.

Practitioners who have completed accredited education programmes will be eligible to be listed on the Centre’s Advanced Practice Directory.

Visit HEE website for more information.