School of Nursing and Midwifery

BSc (Hons) Critical Care

There is an increasing pressure to provide critical care services that requires appropriately qualified clinicians to deliver the right care, in the right place at the right time. Our BSc (Hons) Critical Care programme enables NMC/HCPC registered healthcare professionals to develop their practice caring for people who require critical and intensive care.

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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.


Nursing students to receive £5,000 payment a year

The government is issuing nursing and midwifery students on courses from 2020 a payment of at least £5,000 a year, which they will not have to pay back. A further £3,000 of funding a year is available for eligible students. 

Find out more about the bursary

Key features

  • Advance your practice in critical and intensive care through a programme designed around the person who requires the health intervention and not the place where this is delivered. 
  • Gain the practice experience required to facilitate development on a programme particularly suitable for clinicians practicing in intensive care, high dependency units, emergency and pre-hospital care and acute care settings.
  • A modular design and part-time study option enables you to enhance your ability to care for critically ill adults in a variety of settings over up to five years in response to service need and professional circumstances.
  • Participate in and lead quality improvement.
  • Develop specialist and transferable competences within an e-portfolio.
  • Learn with and from other healthcare professionals and medical students.
  • Have the opportunity to AP(E)L to a maximum of 60 credits (must be subject related).

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • The course comprises of four 20 credit core modules and 40 credits in optional modules within the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences.

    It may be possible to accredit any previous formal certificated learning and informal non-certificated learning, including e-learning as part of the degree pathway by Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning. Please see the AP(E)L section of our website for further details.

    Please note that if you apply to AP(E)L up to the maximum of 60 credits you will need to achieve the core modules through either A P(E)L or taught and the rest from a combination of optional modules from CPD offer to be eligible for the award of BSc (Hons) Critical Care.

    Optional modules

    Any other module, partnership module, mentorship or learning achieved via professional development modules from Plymouth University or with another HEI in the relevant subject of critical care – if you are unsure on whether a module you have passed is relevant, please contact the Programme Lead.

    Core modules

    • Understanding Evidence to Inform Clinical Decision Making (HEAD360P)

      The module is designed to extend students' knowledge around evidence-informed decision making. This will be achieved through students identifying and evaluating a body of research-based evidence relevant to clinical practice.

    • Urgent, Emergency and Critical Care: Leadership and Innovation (UEC607)

      This module will enhance the students' confidence and competence to lead and manage quality improvement and innovation in urgent, emergency and critical care.

    • Evidencing Professional Development in Urgent, Emergency and Critical Care via (e)-Portfolio (UEC608)

      This module will enable the student to develop their professional practice in the provision of urgent, emergency and critical care. Evidence supporting the students' development will be collated in an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio).

    • Developing Professional Practice in Critical Care (UEC609)

      This module will enable the student to develop their professional practice with regard to history taking, clinical examination, diagnostics, decision making and clinical management planning in critical care.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Hons Critical Care Programme Specification Final 5864

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

To be eligible for the course you must be:

  • on a professional register (i.e. NMC, HCPC) and:
  • working in practice in an area that reflects the continuum of provision for critical care to achieve the programme learning outcomes and:
  • in possession of previous study at level 5 (Diploma of Higher Education) or a foundation degree.

You will be considered and advised individually (where required) by the programme team and Professional Development Unit. Please contact the PDU or programme lead if you have any queries regarding your situation.

Extended entry requirements

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.

The fee for this programme is dependant on the modules undertaken. Please see the relevant module webpages for further information.

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

**COVID 19**

We are currently unable to access post on the main campus. Please send applications ONLY via email.

To apply for this programme please complete the application form and return via email to:


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 University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website.

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


Find out more about the modules that make up this course:

Core modules

HEAD360 - Understanding evidence to inform clinical decision making

UEC608 - Evidencing professional development in urgent, emergency and critical care via (e)-portfolio

UEC607 - Urgent, emergency and critical care: leadership and innovation

UEC609 - Developing professional practice in critical care

Optional modules

Any other module, partnership module, mentorship or learning achieved via professional development modules from Plymouth University or with another HEI in the relevant subject of Critical Care – if you are unsure on whether a module you have passed is relevant, please contact the Programme Lead. 


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If you have previously obtained a health related honours degree at 2:2 or above, you are eligible to access the course via the graduate certificate/diploma route:

Graduate Certificate: Critical Care (60 credits at degree level)

Graduate Diploma: Critical Care (120 credits at degree level)

Students seeking to achieve either qualification will be required to achieve the core modules UEC607, UEC608 and UEC609 (certificate) and UEC607, UEC608, UEC609, HEAD360 (diploma)

Applications will be considered individually by the programme team and the PDU.

Opportunities for postgraduate study in critical care

Study our MSc Advanced Critical Care Practitioner and develop the knowledge and skills to undertake a comprehensive clinical assessment of a patient’s condition and initiate and manage their clinical treatment plan.

Or specialise in surgical care with our MSc Surgical Care Practitioner, which is accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons and will equip you with the practical skills to assist with complex surgical procedures, manage patients intra-operatively and be responsible for pre-operative and post-operative outpatient clinics.

You can contact the Professional Development Unit with any queries

Prospective student enquiries

+44 1752 586951

Current student enquiries

Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.

8.30–17.00 (Friday 16.30)