School of Nursing and Midwifery

MSc Contemporary Healthcare (Midwifery)

Midwives increasingly need to provide care for both critically ill and vulnerable women and their families. These women may have complex care needs and this programme equips you with the ability to provide critical care in a changing maternity environment within a multidisciplinary team. As a qualified midwife, you’ll study a contemporary and dynamic programme providing you with enhanced skills, knowledge and insight to take into professional practice.

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

Key features

  • Learn from research-active staff at the forefront of their subject knowledge. 
  • Focus on specialist modules in high dependency care in midwifery, including pathophysiology and its impact on childbirth, advancing care for women with complex needs, and supporting vulnerable women during pregnancy birth and the post-birth period. You'll also study advanced clinical skills for practice with clinical decision making, escalation of care and clinical governance.
  • Design and carry out research that will enhance and develop women-centered care and provision for her and her family.
  • Ensure that your professional practice is supported by developing a critical, analytical and creative approach.
  • Learn to operate in increasingly complex and unpredictable situations and show initiative in decision making while accessing appropriate support.
  • Equip yourself with problem-solving and active learning skills through interacting with other students, as well as demonstrating critical reflection.
  • Balance work and further education with our programme by studying part time.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • This programme is designed to develop and enhance your skills and knowledge as a midwife to an advanced level. Core modules are shared and are multi-professional across the contemporary healthcare programmes. 

    Postgraduate certificate - to achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to earn 60 credits. You will study two core modules worth 20 credits each: high dependency care in midwifery and pathophysiology and its impact on childbirth, 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 advancing care: vulnerable women in childbirth.

    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 an area of study related to midwifery. 

    Modules are taught sequentially within this part-time programme, starting with pathophysiology and its impact on childbirth and high dependency care in midwifery. In your second year you'll study advancing research knowledge in practice 1, advancing care: vulnerable young women and childbirth and advancing research knowledge in practice 2.

    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
    • MCH509 High Dependency Care in Midwifery

      This module will provide the student with detailed and advanced knowledge of providing high dependency/critical care for the childbearing woman. It will enable a comprehensive examination of the management of care and the decision making that underpins such care. The multidisciplinary aspects of care will be emphasised.

    • MCH510 Pathophysiology and its Impact on Childbirth

      This module will provide advanced knowledge of the pathophysiology that underpins the care of the sick woman during childbirth. It will contextualise understanding of body systems and enable practitioners to be proactive in initiating and delivering care when these do not function normally. The student's knowledge, understanding and significance of laboratory examinations will be advanced to enhance complex care of the childbearing woman

  • 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.

  • 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 Midwifery 4705

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 must be a practicing midwife and meet the University’s requirement for study at postgraduate level. You will normally have a first degree in midwifery, BSc (Hons) at 2.1 or above and be currently in practice.

Those without a degree but with appropriate practice experience will be able to apply. You must be working in midwifery clinical practice to enhance and consolidate the theoretical learning.

Applicants where English is not the first language must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice i.e. IELTS minimum of 7 in each part.

You will be assessed for your ability to study at masters level and therefore an interview may be necessary.

Candidates without a first degree at 2.1 or above will normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.

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 contemporary and flexible teaching approach ensures you leave with the advanced skills and knowledge to make a real and profound impact on care for women with complex pregnancies, births and in the post-birth period.

Discover some of the things you'll be able to do

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