School of Nursing, Midwifery & Physiotherapy
MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced
The MSc in Advanced Nursing can be taken over 12 months full-time or 24-48 months part-time,
commencing in late September. The Postgraduate Diploma can be taken over 9–12 months full-time
and 18-48 months part-time.
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, Nottingham Education Centre.
The degree of Master of Science in Advanced Nursing, and its associated Postgraduate Diploma in
Advanced Nursing, have been designed to meet the needs of individual students and their
workplaces. The course aims to develop nurses who can practice at advanced level and offers a
programme of study derived from full professional practice.
The course is designed to attract a rich mix of home and international students from a variety of
nursing backgrounds. The programme has been designed in partnership with health service
colleagues to ensure the course is grounded in the realities of contemporary nursing practice.
Undertaking this course will benefit nurses from any area of health care who wish to improve and
advance practice in their field.
Because students are expected to have already attained the level of ‘specialist’ in their chosen field,
the MSc in Advanced Nursing does not take a competency-based approach to the assessment of
nursing practice. Students are expected to take responsibility for advancing their own scope of
practice, and for documenting their progress in their Practice Portfolio. Ample opportunity is
provided for formal and informal reflection with other course participants, tutors and clinical
supervisors. Course participants value being part of a cohort of enthusiastic nurses from a variety of
professional and geographical contexts.
The aim of the programme is to enable students to:
• explore and evaluate the status of (and potential for) advanced nursing in national and
• consolidate and extend theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the delivery of nursing care;
• achieve mastery in the critical analysis of research, policy and scholarship relevant to advancing
• prepare for leadership roles in health care practice, education and research;
• engage in a research project aimed at advancing nursing within the student’s specialist field.
The Advanced Nursing programme has been developed from the former MSc in Advanced Nursing
Practice, which ran for ten years. A recent survey of graduates shows that the majority have
progressed in their careers following graduation. A number of UK graduates are working as nurse
consultants, a role to which many applicants aspire. The course equips graduates with the ability to
see the ‘wider picture’ across their organisations as well as developing advanced skills in research,
clinical leadership and expert practice. Our students tend to work in a range of senior nursing roles,
for example: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, practice development nurse and lecturer-
The course follows a modular structure. Students undertaking the MSc complete 180 credits, and
students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma complete 120 credits, not including the dissertation
Module title Credits
Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing 20
Advancing Nursing Practice I 20
Advancing Nursing Practice II 20
Applied Biological Sciences or Student Choice 20
Evidence for Health and Social Care 20
Professional Development for Clinical Leadership 10
Plus one of the following Project Modules:
Project Proposal 10
Principles and Process of Comprehensive Systematic Review 10
Evaluating Interventions, Services and Policy 10
Dissertation Project 60
The potential for ‘student choice’ in place of Module 3 (Applied Biological Sciences) allows course
participants the option of selecting one alternative 20 credit module from the School of Nursing’s
portfolio of over one hundred specialist, post-registration Level 3 and Level 4 modules. The student
must demonstrate that the chosen module is directly relevant to the project plan developed in the
Advanced Nursing Practice I module. This option will appeal particularly to international students
who wish to attain knowledge within their field of specialist practice.
Part-time students will be expected to attend classes on one day a week, usually in line with the
Tuesdays, Semester One
Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing, Evidence for Health and Social Care
Thursday, Semester Two
Applied Biological Sciences, Project Module, Dissertation
Thursday, Semester Three
Advancing Nursing Practice I, Professional Development for Clinical Leadership
Thursday, Semester Four
Advancing Nursing Practice I, Dissertation
Full-time students attend classes on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, with additional time spent
undertaking practice visits and developing project work.
Pre-Course Induction Programme
for international students – an introduction to the University, information on specific resources
and health organisation in the UK and an orientation to nursing practice.
for all students – introduction to study skills, library and IT facilities.
Evidence for Health and Social Care
This module will commence with a critical review of the forms of evidence that underpin professional
practice in health and social care. The ideology of evidence-based practice will be analysed and its
impact on practice evaluated, including an examination of the barriers to using evidence in practice.
The module will then move on to examine the following areas:
the principles of critical and systematic literature review;
issues in the application of clinical guidelines and protocols;
techniques for evaluating services and policies;
the process of generating evidence through empirical research;
qualitative and quantitative research paradigms and methods.
Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing
This module will introduce the philosophy of science and concepts central to nursing. Theory and
knowledge development in nursing will be examined. The impact of nursing as an intervention will
be explored, with attention to the development of nursing sensitive outcomes. Reading and in depth
discussion will be principal activities in the module. Student presentation and guest lectures will
supplement the learning activities and offer exposure to new ideas.
Advancing Nursing Practice I
This module will consolidate students’ understanding of the historical and contemporary context for
advanced nursing, both nationally and internationally. Students will begin the process of extending
their own scope of practice by selecting and researching a project for development in their own
clinical area. This process will include critically reflecting on the nursing relevance and clinical
effectiveness of the proposed project, an assessment of learning needs, and planning a realistic
programme to meet these needs (to be implemented in Advanced Nursing Practice II). Frameworks
for learning new practice skills will be evaluated and students will maintain a portfolio documenting
learning from theory, research and practice.
Advancing Nursing Practice II
In this module, students will implement and evaluate the training programme planned in Advancing
Nursing Practice I. Students will work with colleagues and clients to master a new element of
practice relevant to their clinical field, supported by course workshops and opportunities to reflect on
practice. The module will explore how to initiate, manage and evaluate change taking into account
national and international trends. Students may plan for an elective away from their normal place of
work in order to learn new skill(s) from appropriate experts.
Applied Biological Sciences
This module will enable students to expand their knowledge of the biological sciences in a specific
area appropriate to their interests and clinical practice. Knowledge of recent developments in
selected, general areas of the biological sciences will be enhanced through a series of key lectures.
The lectures will be delivered by subject experts and are likely to cover current debates in pain
research, neurophysiology, molecular biology, genetics, pharmacology, vascular biology and
advances in imaging/scanning techniques. In discussion with the module tutors, students will
identify an area of the biological sciences relevant to nursing practice for in-depth study. Students
will also learn how to construct a poster presentation as part of the assessment process, including
tutorial support in the use of IT software such as PowerPoint.
Evaluating Interventions, Services and Policy in Health and Social Care
This module will introduce students to the main approaches and methods available for the
evaluation of health and social care policy and practice. The module will prepare students to assess
the effectiveness of the interventions they implement, the programmes and services they deliver
and the policies they plan or seek to enact using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Students will be taught frameworks to support their decision-making concerning the appropriate
criteria by which to measure effectiveness in different situations. Students will be able to distinguish
between interventions, services and policies that aim for the achievement of goals, and outcomes
and interventions that are goal free. Students will therefore be equipped to evaluate structures,
processes and outcomes and - more importantly - be able to identify where best to evaluate
structures, processes or outcomes. The module will prepare students to identify and demonstrate
the benefit of interventions to individual users, organisations or whole populations.
Principles and Process of Comprehensive Systematic Review
This module will promote an understanding of the process of conducting a comprehensive
systematic review of evidence in order to inform the conduct of health care practice. The module
will enable students to:
critically discuss the role of systematic review within the context of evidence translation,
transfer, utilisation and generation and the evidence based health care movement;
explore the use of systematic reviews to explore issues relating to the appropriateness,
meaningfulness, feasibility, effectiveness and costs of health care interventions;
frame an appropriate review question and develop a review protocol relevant to their own area
develop approaches to design an appropriate search strategy;
critically explore the processes of assessment of methodological quality, data extraction and
data synthesis for a range of health related research;
critically discuss the available frameworks for the systematic review of quantitative and
qualitative research and the process of meta analysis and meta synthesis;
critically discuss the use of a range of evidence, including narrative opinion and text in the
process of systematic review.
This module is designed to assist students to prepare a research proposal for an empirical research
project. The module will guide students through the following aspects of the research process:
identifying a suitable topic for an empirical investigation;
formulating a realistic research question;
identifying and critically reviewing relevant literature;
selecting an appropriate research method and evaluating its strengths and limitations;
analysing the ethical implications of the proposed research;
understanding the role and function of NHS research governance committees;
developing a feasible research proposal.
Professional Development for Clinical Leadership
This module will enable students to critically reflect on their own leadership development in relation
to developments in their role and working environment. Students will begin by reflecting on
leadership and theories of leadership. They will subsequently consider leadership within
organisations, teams and team-working and managing change. Students will be encouraged to
formulate a personal development plan in the context of a reflective portfolio and to use this to plan,
monitor and evaluate their development and learning over the course of the module.
Dissertation (MSc students only)
This module requires students to work on a project designed to advance nursing within their
specialist area. There are three options for the dissertation project, supported by the previously
completed ‘project module’:
Modified systematic review
Audit or service evaluation
Most learning will take place independently with the support of an academic supervisor,
supplemented by group tutorials on topics chosen by students. Students will receive a minimum of
six one hour supervision sessions over the course of a year of study. The MSc programme is
completed through submission of a dissertation of 12-15,000 words.
Module handbooks will be produced for each module containing the timetable, assessment
details and a reading list.
Each module is assessed independently, with assignment submission dates spread throughout the
year. The modules are designed to complement each other and to build sequentially upon earlier
course content. All assignments require students to integrate theoretical and research-based
knowledge with critical reflection upon nursing practice.
Funding and scholarships
Most UK students are funded through their employers and NHS training monies. Previous students
have also been successful in obtaining scholarships from national funding bodies. Information
regarding funding opportunities can be found on the following web sites:
International students can apply for scholarships as advertised through the University’s International
Office. See the web page for details:
All applicants must be qualified nurses. UK participants must be registered with the Nursing and
Midwifery Council (NMC), and will usually have at least two years professional nursing experience,
including one year in their chosen area of specialist practice. Applications from international students
are most welcome and will be assessed on an individual basis.
International students must meet the University's minimum English language requirements:
- IELTS 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in each element)
- TOEFL IBT: 87 with no less than 21 in listening, 22 in reading, 23 in speaking and 21 in writing
Applicants will usually hold a first degree. However, it is possible to access the course on a part-time
basis without a degree if the applicant can demonstrate ‘equivalence’ in their professional and
How to apply
Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Applications can be submitted in the post or made
Further information and enquiries
PG Taught Courses Administrator
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy
The University of Nottingham
Queen’s Medical Centre
Tel: +44 (0)115 823 0887