School of Nursing and Midwifery

BSc (Hons) Professional Development in Nursing

Created with input from colleagues working in the health sector and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the BSc (Hons) Professional Development in Nursing will build on your current experience and skills and enable you to earn a degree part time over up to five years. You will also gain the confidence and expertise to enhance your professional nursing practice and move your career forward.

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Key features
  • Focus on professional issues and development in your own field of practice on a programme that acknowledges the diversity in the work settings of registered nurses and provides educational opportunities for adult, child, learning disability and mental health nurses.
  • Undertake a programme developed alongside contemporary concerns about nursing which focuses on compassion, fundamental care skills and recognition of the standards of care and practice to ensure patients receive the highest level of care.
  • Examine your own practice area, reflect on your own practice and have the chance to discuss and network with your peers, helping you to build professional networks and support whilst undertaking further study.
  • Build your own self-esteem, motivation for learning and clinical decision making skills and have the chance to improve your professional practice through critical analysis.
  • Underpin your interventions with the best available evidence, contemporary knowledge and high-level clinical decision-making skills.
  • Develop confidence, competence and emotional resilience to consistently exercise personal responsibility and professional accountability for decision making and the provision of high-quality safe care.
  • Flexibly designed programme aimed to allow you to complete your studies in as little as a year or with the option to ‘step on and step off’ over a five-year period in response to service need and professional circumstances.
Course details
  • Year 1

  • This programme offers the awards of BSc /BSc (Hons), Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma.
    BSc– to achieve a BSc you will need to earn 80 credits by undertaking four 20 credit modules – three core and one optional.
    BSc (Hons) – to achieve a BSc (Hons) you will need to earn 120 credits by undertaking five modules – four 20 credit modules (one of which is optional) and one core 40 credit module.
    Students who have previously obtained a health related degree at 2:2 or above are eligible to access the programme via the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma route – please see panel below for further details.
    The module 'HEAD361 - Independent study' is only a core module for students who wish to achieve the BSc (Hons) Professional Development in Nursing award.
    For further information on the modules that make up this programme please visit the BSc (Hons)/ BSc Professional Development modules.
    Examples of optional modules (not exhaustive)
    HEAD355 – Leadership and innovation
    HEAD365 – Contemporary issues in health and social care
    HEAD367 – Integrated advancing practice
    HEAD373 – Integrated community and primary care in context

    Core modules

    • Independent Study (HEAD361)

      This module extends knowledge of primary and secondary research and develops critical appraisal skills. Students construct an integrative literature review of a practice focused research topic.

    • Clinical Decision Making in Healthcare Practice (HEAD362)

      This module draws on knowledge, skills and experiences gained through work as a registered healthcare professional and further develops clinical reasoning ability.

    • Ethical and Legal Issues in Healthcare Practice (HEAD363)

      This module builds on existing knowledge of legal and ethical frameworks. Students explore and debate ethical and legal concepts, issues and theories relating to health and social care.

    • Understanding Evidence to Inform Clinical Decision Making (HEAD360)

      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.

    Optional modules

    • Study Skills and Professional Values (HEAD370)

      This module enables the student returning to study to develop further academic skills while examining values, accountability and responsibility relating to their professional practice.

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) Professional Development in Nursing pathway specification 2022–23 6173

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 BSc or BSc (Hons) programme you will need to be either a registered health and social care professional or a health and social care worker in possession of previous study at level 5 (foundation degree /diploma of higher education).
If you wish to undertake the graduate certificate and graduate diploma award pathways you must already hold an honours degree at 2:2 or above in a health or health related subject.
If you wish to undertake any clinical skills modules as part of your programme you will need to be working in an environment where you can meet the learning outcomes.
Applicants whose first language is not English must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice – minimum overall International English Language Testing System (IELTS) of 6.5 average with a minimum 5.5 in each category.
Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential are accepted and will be assessed following University regulations and faculty procedures.
Extended entry requirements
Fees, costs and funding
The fee for this programme is dependent on the modules undertaken. Please see the relevant module web pages 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
To apply for this programme please complete the application form and return via email to:
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 Officeif you are an overseas student applying to the University.
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Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma

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

Graduate Certificate Professional Development in Nursing - 60 credits at degree level

Graduate Diploma Professional Development in Nursing - 120 credits at degree level 

Students seeking to achieve either qualification will be required to achieve the specified number of credits by choosing from a range of pathway specific modules.

Please contact the Professional Development Unit for further information.

Postgraduate students

Opportunities for postgraduate study in nursing

Be at the forefront of changes to the traditional ways of working and become a Clinical Practitioner (CP) with our MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner).

You’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to assess, diagnose, treat and manage patients who present with undifferentiated and undiagnosed conditions, across all sectors of healthcare.

Certain clinicians can also exit as a non-medical prescriber, i.e. nurses, pharmacists and optometrists can become independent and/or supplementary prescribers, whilst radiographers, physiotherapists and podiatrists can become supplementary prescribers.


Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Practitioner)