School of Health Professions

MSc Pre-Hospital Critical Care/Retrieval and Transfer

Are you a healthcare professional working in the pre-hospital arena, wishing to expand your knowledge, skills and clinical decision-making, within critical care? This unique pathway has been specifically developed to target the national need for specialist practice in pre-hospital critical care. It includes the educational development of pre-hospital care providers in independent patient stabilisation and subsequent primary, delayed primary and secondary retrieval and transfer.

Please note this course will not be recruiting for a September 2021 start.

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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.


Key features
  • Benefit from a programme which is highly practically orientated and outcome focused in both educational and assessment strategies. Our curriculum has been developed through an expert collaboration of Plymouth University healthcare professional academics in close association with Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) clinical specialists.
  • Complete the full-time programme in a year or balance your commitments over three years with our part-time study option.
  • Attend multiple unique workshops, practical skills sessions and simulation activities.
  • Develop Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) knowledge and cutting edge skills such as video laryngoscopy and ultrasound skills.
  • Engage in quality improvement, knowledge creation and dissemination of best practice through publication and presentation.
  • Use of blended learning as a mode of delivery incorporating study blocks and distance learning technologies.
  • Seize the opportunity to develop and apply advanced knowledge and skills to your area of clinical practice. Our teaching faculty includes consultants from a wide array of civilian and military acute care specialties (pre-hospital, emergency medicine, anaesthesia, intensive care) working alongside specialist critical care and air ambulance paramedics and expert educationalists.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from non-EU overseas students for this programme as it does not comply with the current Tier 4 visa requirements.

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

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 Pre Hospital Critical Care Retrieval and Transfer Pathway Specification 5690

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

Applications can be made throughout the year, however the pathway year starts in September. When applying for a taught postgraduate programme, please check for any submission deadlines with the Professional Development Unit team (contact details below).

In order to commence this programme pathway, you must meet the University’s entry requirements for study at postgraduate level. Applicants will need to be employed as a healthcare professional, be registered with a relevant professional body (HCPC; GMC; NMC) and have access to the pre-hospital practice environment. Candidates should normally have a first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2.2 or above or European first cycle equivalent.

If you don’t have a healthcare related degree but do have appropriate experience related to the programme, you may be eligible to apply, provided you can demonstrate a successful qualification at level 6 learning.

Each potential student will be assessed individually for their ability to study at this level and an interview will normally be required. Candidates will normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.

Applicants whose first language is not English, must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English of IELTS minimum of 7 in each part. If you need to improve your English language to get onto a degree course at Plymouth University, you can book a pre-sessional academic English course.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from non-EU overseas students for this programme as it does not comply with the current Student (formerly Tier 4) visa requirements.

Each candidate on the Pre-Hospital Critical Care / Retrieval and Transfer pathway must also ensure that they have an agreed mentor in place (that has appropriate qualifications within critical care) and access to a practice environment, where they can achieve their practice (passport checklist ADV731 and ADV734) competencies. Appropriate mentors will be assessed through submission of their curriculum vitae, outlining their relevant skills and experience in pre-hospital critical care. A telephone / video conference interview may also be used to affirm mentor suitability and relevant access to a practice environment where practical skills can be undertaken.

Before acceptance onto the programme, you must also provide a signed letter from their employer, in order to confirm the support for the mentor and the student. This should be on headed paper indicating their employing organisation. You must also complete a satisfactory verification of Disclosure and Barring Service status and Occupational Health assessment. At the point of entry on to the programme, you will be required to confirm that you have had a recent Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS, formerly CRB) at an enhanced level (within the last three years). This will be confirmed to the University by the employer and a copy provided for our records. 

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home To be confirmed To be confirmed
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
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. For more information about fees and funding please visit

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 full-time programme is also available as a part-time programme, which 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 only full-time programmes without a part time equivalent can be funded. 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 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

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

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.

For applicants with disabilities

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

**Please note that the PG Dip Surgical Care Practitioner programmes are not recruiting for a year 1 start in September 2021** 

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

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

  • ? Targets the national need for specialist practice in pre-hospital critical care
  • ? Educational development of healthcare professionals in independent retrieval and transfer
  • ? Collaboration with clinical specialists from the pre-hospital retrieval and transfer environment

Study with us

This pathway is a crucial qualification for pre-hospital care providers working or considering future employment within a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) or Air Ambulance Service. Our syllabus and materials have been developed to meet the needs of air ambulance paramedics as well as land based paramedics, junior doctors and other relevant health care professionals.

We can take students from a diversity of backgrounds, including: Air Ambulance Charities; NHS Ambulance Trusts; junior doctors with an interest in pre-hospital critical care; military medics / paramedics; paramedics from the private sector; and specialist nurses from an emergency department or intensive care background.

Collaboration with the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT)

“We are in no doubt that we have developed a model of paramedic education that will lead the way in clinical development for air ambulance services and create a nationally recognised centre of excellence in pre-hospital critical care. I must congratulate DAAT for the vision in identifying the need for this degree and the courage to fund it. It will help future proof the clinical work of air ambulance services everywhere.”

Amanda Denton, Postgraduate Programme Lead at the University’s School of Health Professions

Learn more about the collaboration

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; together we offer a wide range of specialist and generic pathways to meet the educational needs of all health and social care professionals.

Discover more about the pathways we offer

Teaching and learning

This programme is delivered at the Peninsula Allied Health Centre which provides excellent clinical skills facilities for simulation and practical skill acquisition.

We also facilitate simulation days to bring together your classroom learning and skills into carefully selected scenarios that challenge your clinical and ethical decision making and patient management abilities. These simulation events are hosted in realistic indoor and outdoor domains both in and away from the University campus.

All modules associated with this programme are delivered via a blended learning approach  – please visit the module webpages for further information on individual modules.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

Automatically awarded – no need to apply

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • A 20% discount on home tuition fees (10% for MSc Advanced Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology, MSc/PgDip Psychology and MSc Occupational Therapy).
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

If you have previously studied at the University of Plymouth or at one of our partner colleges, you may be entitled to our Alumnus discount to help towards the tuition fees of your Postgraduate Taught course. For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our alumnus discount policy.

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.

These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.

Find out how we can help you reach your potential.