School of Health Professions

MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Safeguarding Adults

Do you want to improve the delivery of a joined up approach to Safeguarding Adults? Developed in partnership with employers and stakeholders, this course blends practice experience across a range of professions with academic knowledge. Designed with an inter-professional approach to learning, this course will enhance your professional practice, helping you to develop integration in organisational and practice settings to protect those most vulnerable and at risk of abuse and neglect in society.

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Enhance your career in the healthcare professions

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

Key features

  • Study alongside an inter-professional range of health and social care practitioners and develop your understanding of other professional groups' perspectives on safeguarding adults.
  • Informed and contemporary - this course has been developed in consultation with local employers and specialist practitioners in safeguarding.
  • Develop and apply your critical reflection skills in risk and decision making and application of the law. 
  • Learn from a research active inter-disciplinary team with international, national and local profiles who will support you to develop your research.
  • Benefit from an assessment strategy which blends practice experience and knowledge.
  • Make use of blended learning, combining short study blocks and distance learning technologies.
  • Balance work and other commitments by studying part-time over three years.

*As this programme is designed for qualified practitioners there is no requirement of a clinical placement component. Neither the programme nor any of its pathways lead to eligibility to apply for registration with a regulatory body.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • For further information on the modules that make up this programme please visit MSc Advanced Professional Practice module information.

    Core modules
    • ADV702 Applying Evidence to Practice

      Focusing on the application of evidence based practice (EBP) to professional practice; you’ll learn how to use research to guide best practice. You will also identify a question relevant to your area of practice, review and critique the literature in this area, and plan and evaluate any necessary change to professional practice.

    • ADV756 Advanced Critical Reflection, Risk and Decision-Making

      Participants will be facilitated to utilise the potential of critical reflection as a tool to further their knowledge and skills in order to improve their understanding of the complexity of risk, practice and decision making processes. This course enables the raising of professional issues, procedures and standards to the level of (critical) reflection, practice wisdom and research.

    Optional modules
    • ADV752 Social Work Practice: Supported Study

      This module is specifically designed to enable Social Workers to develop their own professional practice by undertaking and reflecting on learning and experience gained through a period of supported independent study related to agreed learning objectives.

    • ADV755 Application of Law and Policy in Safeguarding Adults

      The module will critically examine the broad range of policy and legal frameworks that underpin practice in Safeguarding Adults. It will consider the application of legislation which supports professional practice. The Care Act 2014 and law pertaining to equality and human rights will provide a common foundation for this module.

  • Year 2
  • You will take two core 20 credit modules and choose one optional module

    Core modules
    • ADV715 Project Design for Research

      You’ll explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module you’ll formulate a research proposal. You’ll learn how to define and refine a research question, select and appraise methodology, address ethical considerations, and select and appraise data collection and analysis techniques.

    Optional modules
    • ADV754 Supporting Adult Learners in Professional Practice Settings (Social Workers)

      This module is concerned with: the ability to understand, critique and apply relevant knowledge, skills and values in demonstrating the ability to facilitate adult learning in professional practice settings; providing and managing a safe and stimulating learning environment for them which maximises their learning and development and in which the needs of members of the public are paramount.

    • ADV755 Application of Law and Policy in Safeguarding Adults

      The module will critically examine the broad range of policy and legal frameworks that underpin practice in Safeguarding Adults. It will consider the application of legislation which supports professional practice. The Care Act 2014 and law pertaining to equality and human rights will provide a common foundation for this module.

  • Final year
  • Dissertation:

    • ADV716 Research Dissertation (60 Credits)

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 in Safeguarding Adults Pathway Specification 5783

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’ll normally have a first degree (BSc (Hons) at 2:2 or above or European first cycle equivalent).

You may be a health or social care professional with a first degree or have related academic degrees. If you do not have a degree but have appropriate experience related to the programme or to any of the chosen pathways you may be eligible to apply.

You must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice - IELTS requirement is 6.5 average with a minimum of 5.5 in each category. If you need to improve your English language to get onto a degree programme at Plymouth University, you can book a pre-sessional academic English course.

You’ll be assessed individually for your ability to study at this level and therefore an interview may be necessary. You’ll normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.


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.

Successful completion of this pathway does not lead to eligibility to apply for registration with a UK-based regulatory body.

Fees, costs and funding


Home/EU (part time) International (part time)
£750 per 20 credits* NA


Home/EU (part time) International (part time)
£820 per 20 credits* NA 

*Please note that some of the optional modules for this programme are specialist modules and therefore may have different fees . Module fees can be found on the individual module webpages.  

Full time fees shown are per annum. 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.

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges if you are studying at PAHC, 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

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

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 Services website.

Why choose this pathway?

As a practicing professional, I want to ...

  • gain a comprehensive understanding of the pivotal knowledge and skills underpinning practice.
  • take responsibility, and be accountable, for my practice.
  • understand the inter-relationship between multi-agency working and safeguarding adults.
  • understand the legislative and policy frameworks which support practice in safeguarding adults.
  • apply my knowledge and skills to my area of practice and lead in its development.
  • develop my awareness of research, theory, biases and motivations to evaluate decision making and practice in complex multi-agency arenas.
  • critique and analyse evidence and recognise the potential and limitations of evidence based practice.

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

Automatic postgraduate bursaries for Plymouth graduates

A ten per cent alumni discretionary award is available in all faculties if you are:

  • a graduate of University of Plymouth
  • enrolled on a full-time or part-time taught postgraduate programme on which a postgraduate fee is charged and no student loan is available
  • self-funded
  • part funded/sponsored the discount will apply to the self-funded element of the tuition fee only.
Please note exceptions apply.
Find out more about the ten per cent discount for University graduates

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.