School of Nursing and Midwifery

MSc Contemporary Healthcare (Advancing Practice)

Do you engage with a broad range of individuals with differing health and social care needs? This three-year, part time Advanced Practice in Healthcare masters programme is specifically designed for you if you are a health and social care practitioner, or an allied health professional. Whether you are already working in a senior position, or aspiring to advance your career, this programme will develop your knowledge, skills and confidence to enable you to become an expert in your field.

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This programme is part of the largest range of healthcare study options in the South West.

Key features

  • Engage with a programme specifically designed to develop your potential as an advanced expert practitioner. We are inspired and informed by real life – our programme is created by health academics in collaboration with the needs and opinions of those who really matter, our service providers.

  • Develop knowledge and skills in three specific areas: health assessment/ differential diagnosis/ clinical decision-making, leadership, and the adoption/ evaluation of evidence based practice.

  • Take part in an academic community working with other professionals, carers and users.

  • Seize the chance to experience a local provision of multi-professional education at an advanced level.

  • Advance your practical skills and increase knowledge on all modules by combining theory with an applied approach.

  • Experience independent and multi-professional working – you’ll have the opportunity to work innovatively and learn collaboratively with other students from differing professions, in keeping with the ethos of cross-sector partnerships in health and social service provision.

  • Balance work and caring commitments by studying part time over the programme for three years.

  • Take advantage of the flexibility our programme offers. You can take much of the programme by distance learning. Modules taught face-to-face are delivered in short, intensive blocks to enable you to complete them with minimum travel and time away from your other commitments.

  • Benefit from learning within supportive multi-professional and inter-agency environments. The programme is delivered by experts in a setting where innovative thinking regarding advanced healthcare development is put into practice.

  • Designed to meet the needs of the future workforce. You’ll meet the requirements laid out in the knowledge and skills framework providing opportunities for career advancement.
  • Complete the MSc and enhance your abilities to continue to further advanced study such as to MPhil/PhD level.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • Postgraduate certificate - to achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to earn 60 credits. You will study two core modules worth 20 credits each: advanced consulting and clinical skills and leadership, law and decision making in advancing practice, with one optional 20 credit module.

    Postgraduate diploma - to gain a postgraduate diploma, you will need to earn 120 credits. 100 of these will be made up from five core modules, each worth 20 credits (two from Year 1 and three from Year 2): advancing research knowledge in practice 1, advancing research knowledge in practice 2 and clinical decision making and disease management.

    Master of Science - for a full masters degree, you will need to earn a total of 180 credits. You will study the same core modules as the postgraduate diploma, with the extra 60 credits coming from a research project in a related area of study. 

    Please note: availability of modules may vary according to demand; module dates are therefore subject to change.

    Year 1

    One 20 credit optional module to be chosen.

    Core modules
    • MCH505 Advanced Consulting and Clinical Skills

      This module will enable practitioners in any setting to develop existing professional skills, to undertake a comprehensive health assessment following history taking, clinical examination, diagnosis and documentation and to develop treatment and management strategies. It is essential that the practitioner develops competence through clinical practice experience and utilises relevant theoretical models enabling decision making process.

    • MCH507 Leadership, Law and Decision Making in Advancing Practice

      This module gives the student the tools necessary to undertake critical decisions within their professional practice enabling them to reflect on themselves; their leadership style and their organisation. Introducing the legal principles that underpin professional health care practice in England and Wales and to allow the student to determine the legal boundaries of their practice

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • MCH501 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 1

      This module develops an understanding of research designs and methods, enables the critically appraisal of research and introduces the principles of data collection and analysis. A blended learning approach will be taken to delivery with Distance Learning option.

    • MCH502 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 2

      This module will develop the research knowledge and skills necessary for the development of the research proposal, focussing on the formulation of research questions in preparation for future enquiry. A blended learning approach will be taken to delivery with Distance Learning option.

    • MCH506 Clinical Decision Making and Disease Management

      Practitioners will develop existing professional skills with a specific focus on the comprehensive health assessment and the development of clinical reasoning and clinical decision making skills across a broad range of disease processes and conditions (acute and chronic) in adults and children

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • MCH504 Dissertation

      This module is the dissertation associated with the MSc Contemporary Healthcare programme and enables students to design and undertake a systematic review, or an approved research project, under supervision. Undertaking the dissertation provides students with the opportunity to apply their understanding and knowledge of research methodology and methods to a subject relevant to their programme award; and to theory, policy and/or practice

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 Contemporary Healthcare Advancing Practice 4701

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 should normally hold a first degree or equivalent qualification and hold first registration with a professional body such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the Health Professions Council

If you have overseas qualifications you can check their compatibility with the UK equivalent through the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), who provide an advisory service.

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme for which you are applying. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5. View detailed English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding


Home/EU (part time) International (part time)
£750 per 20 credits N/A

Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Information about loans and funding for postgraduate study.

How to apply

When to apply

Applications for this programme can usually be made throughout the year. Please check the closing date and apply as early as possible as our programmes are popular.

Apply for this programme

Applications should be made by using the relevant PDF or Word application form.

Postgraduate application form DOC – A ten page DOC application form for postgraduate students to print, fill in and mail to the University

Postgraduate application form PDF – A ten page PDF application form for postgraduate students to print, fill in and mail to the University

International student postgraduate application form DOC – Postgraduate taught programmes application form for international students

International student postgraduate application form PDF – Postgraduate taught programmes application form for international students

Printed application forms are also available and can be obtained from the Professional Development Unit. Please send your completed application form to the address or email listed below:

Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
Plymouth University
Drake Circus
Plymouth PL4 8AA


Tel: +44 1752 586951

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information, to take part in an interview (which in the case if you are an overseas student may be by telephone or video conference) or you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist website.

Support is also available if you an overseas students applying to the University from our International Office.

Looking to enrol for September 2017?

This programme will no longer be running after the end of the 2016/17 academic year. If you are looking to enrol for the 2017/18 academic year please visit our MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways webpage to find out more.

Find out more about our MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways

What skills will I gain?

Our modern and flexible teaching approach ensures you’ll leave the programme with the advanced skills and knowledge to make a real and profound impact on patient care.

Discover more about the skills you’ll develop

MSc Contemporary Healthcare modules

There are a number of core and optional modules associated with the MSc Contemporary Healthcare programme pathways, as well as three different exit awards.

Find out more about the modules

Career opportunities

Enhance your ability to gain employment in more senior roles as an advanced practitioner, within your chosen field of healthcare. You’ll meet the requirements laid out in the knowledge and skills framework, providing opportunities for career advancement.

Completing the MSc will also enhance your abilities to continue to further advanced study such as to MPhil/PhD level.

Institute of Health and Community (IHC)

The Institute of Health and Community is a multi-disciplinary institute with a vibrant research culture and a focus on innovation and enterprise.

Learn more about the IHC