School of Nursing and Midwifery

PgDip Advanced Critical Care Practitioner

Advance your knowledge and clinical skills, positioning yourself to deliver a high quality, patient-led service. This postgraduate level programme will allow you to improve your critical care practice in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and quality. Through the contemporary focus of the course and collaboration with industry stakeholders you’ll access opportunities to advance your career.

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

  • Open to a range of healthcare practitioners registered either with the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the Health and Care Professions Council, and who have the appropriate qualifications and experience in acute critical care. 
  • A contemporary and dynamic programme responsive to the changing healthcare environment.
  • Shape your studies around your existing expertise with our student-centred approach.
  • Join a programme developed through a dynamic collaborative working relationship between the University, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and other local NHS trusts, providing opportunities for networking and career development.
  • Equip yourself with the skills to be responsive to the ever-changing nature of the healthcare environment. This contemporary and dynamic programme means you can position yourself at the leading edge of critical care practice.
  • Update and enhance your skill set thanks to the research-informed teaching embedded throughout our curriculum.
  • Benefit from the extensive professional experience of our team, hailing from a diverse range of health and social care environments.
  • Accredited by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM).

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • Develop your clinical skills, knowledge and competence as a trainee under the supervision of your consultant intensivist, through our integrated approach to teaching. You’ll study modules that combine both theoretical and clinical components, equipping you with the tools you need to excel as an advanced critical care practitioner. In your first year you’ll study 'core skills for advanced critical care practitioners 1', a module which combines eight weeks of taught theory and 27 weeks of associated clinical practice. You’ll build on this existing knowledge in your second year and in addition, explore the topic of non-medical prescribing.You have the option to complete the core modules ACCP701 and ACCP702 via distance learning – please contact the Professional Development Unit for further information.
    On completion of PgDip, you have the option to enrol onto the MSc Advanced Critical Care Practitioner programme.

    Core modules

    • Core Skills for Advanced Critical Care Practitioners 1 (ACCP701Z)

      This module aims to equip the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner trainees with the core skills in clinical history taking, examination and applied anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of critical illness. The ACCP will develop advanced clinical decision making skills in the critical care setting to facilitate a high degree of autonomous practice.

    • Advanced Concepts in Research: Methodology and Methods (APP758)

      The aim of this module is to enable students to build on their undergraduate research knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of research methodologies and research methods. The module will also prepare students for their chosen form of final programme module. The module is designed to be delivered face-to-face, blended learning and/or via distance learning approaches.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Core Skills for Advanced Critical Care Practitioners 2 (ACCP702Z)

      This module extends the knowledge, skills and competencies learned in Core Skills for Advanced Critical Care Practitioners 1. New concepts of specialist intensive care and dealing with complex patients with multiple pathologies will be acquired. The ACCP will develop higher level decision making and diagnostic skills, to enable independent autonomous practice.

    • Independent and Supplementary Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP703)

      This module will enable health care professionals to apply theoretical, analytical and clinical principles of prescribing within their field of 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:

PgDip Advanced Critical Care Practitioner programme specification_5390

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. Individuals without a degree but with appropriate practice-related experience relevant to the programme may be eligible to apply and will normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.
Applicants for this course will need:
  • evidence of employment as an Advanced Critical Care Practitioner Trainee from their home trust
  • a named consultant intensivist who will be the clinical supervisor
  • a current live registration with either the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Part 1 or 2) or The Health and Care Professions Council
  • three years post-qualifying experience in intensive care
  • a satisfactory enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) check
  • a satisfactory Occupational Health Clearance.
If English is not your first language, you will also need to provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice i.e. IELTS of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each part.We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-24 2024-25
Home £6,300 £6,600
International NA NA
This programme is not suitable for part time students.
Please note that this programme is not open to applicants who would require a Tier 4/Student visa, but rather only to applicants who are working within the NHS under a Tier 2/Working visa. 

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges, 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.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • For 2024/2025 entry, a 20% discount on tuition fees for international students (International alumni who have applied to the University through an agent are not eligible to receive the discount)

Postgraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one. 
You may also receive:
  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
To be eligible you must:
This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

How to apply

Applying for this programmeApplications need to be completed via the PG apply online form.
Any questions please contact:
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, 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 Additional support for students with an impairment, health condition or disability webpage.

Career opportunities

You’ll be able to apply for Band 8a roles, and work in stage 1, 2 and 3 intensive care units (ICUs) as an autonomous practitioner who is able to assess, diagnose and manage critically ill patients and prescribe independently.
On completion of the programme, you'll be able to apply for voluntary registration and associate membership of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.