University of Chester

Programme Specification
Professional Studies MSc
2016 - 2017

Master of Science

Professional Studies

Professional Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester sites as determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, States of Jersey Health and Social Services.

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

Minimum of 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)

6 Years

Biannual - February - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

There are a range of students on the programme from all health care professions e.g. Nurses, Radiographers, Occupational Therapists, Physicians' Assistants and Physiotherapists etc.  QAA subject benchmark statements relating to Healthcare Professions can be found at

Faculty of Health and Social Care Postgraduate Module Assessment Board

Sunday 1st June 2014

The overarching aim of this programme is

  • To offer a coherent programme of study directly relevant to the work environment of individuals working in health and social care.

and also

  • To offer practitioners choices of postgraduate studies in order that they can build a programme relevant to their own and their employers' needs.
  • To facilitate practitioners to utilise higher level critical, analytical and reflective skills within academic and practice environments.
  • To enable practitioners to be cognisant of the holistic nature of health and social care, and to gain comprehensive higher level knowledge, expertise and the individual qualities necessary to work as autonomous, competent practitioners within unpredictable professional environments.
  • To enable practitioners to innovate and apply contributions to the evidence base of practice, and communicate conclusions clearly.
  • To continue to develop the practitioners' skills in collaborative practice and the partnership delivery of care, and to consider the impact of their professional role within the organisation and wider context.

  • Systems approaches and the importance of collaboration and participation to advanced practice (NM7012 and options modules)
  • Key concepts, principles, theories and policies in their area of practice (NM7069)
  • Uniqueness of their own advanced practice and the diversity of other inter-disciplinary roles, and how this can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities (NM7012 and option modules)
  • Evidence-based approach to the on-going development of their role and the dissemination of information (NM7069, NM7059, NM7038)
  • Application of the research process and relevance to their own scholarship (NM7069, NM7059)
  • Professional, legal and ethical issues (NM7069, NM7059, NM7038).

  • Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought and the ability to think logically and critically (All modules)
  • Access, analyse and process information applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship (All modules)
  • Work autonomously when exercising assessment and diagnostic skills to formulate effective interventions (All modules)
  • Utilise higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both the practitioner and service user/carer perspectives (All modules)
  • Demonstrate independent learning ability when working as a reflexive and autonomous practitioner (All modules)
  • Demonstrate originality when exercising innovative and creative thinking strategies (All modules)

  • Exercise innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies (All modules)
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities (All modules)
  • Demonstrate innovation in the application of evidence-based practice  NM7069, NM7059, NM7038)
  • Demonstrate leadership within collaborative, inter-disciplinary working practices and partnerships (NM7012)

  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments (All modules)
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels (All modules)
  • Be competent in the use of IT (All modules)
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively, and lead a team (All modules)
  • Demonstrate higher literacy and numeracy skills (All modules)
  • Apply an evidence-based approach and critical appraisal skills to the on-going development of the practitioner and the dissemination of information (All modules)

Practitioners in health and social care are working in an ever changing environment, and have a diverse range of demands made upon them in order to meet both employers' requirements and their own educational needs. This means that practitioners are often required to take a mix of postgraduate certificates or stand-alone modules that do not fit easily into existing Master's programmes. This programme is intended to provide flexibility within the choice of modules for practitioners, so that they can use their credits to gain an award.

The programme has three core modules. These are:

  • NM7069 Research
  • NM7012 Leadership Development and Change
  • NM7059 Dissertation OR NM7038 Work Based Learning Project (Dissertation).

The other 80 credits are normally made up of four 20 credit modules chosen from the range offered by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, but if practitioners have completed modules elsewhere that are congruent with the programme, these will be considered for AP(E)L. Practitioners may also complete one module of 20 credits at another Faculty within the University of Chester, providing the module is relevant to the programme and to the practitioner\'s professional development. (This should normally be agreed with the programme leader prior to commencing the module). The following list of option modules are suggestions, but others may be agreed with the programme leader.

If the combination of modules selected would entitle the student to an alternative award within the Faculty of Health and Social Care, then the alternative award will be conferred.

The programme is linked to a higher education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7012 7 Leadership Development and Change 20 Comp
NM7013 7 Operating Theatre First Assistant 20 Optional
NM7016 7 Professional Education (Theory and Practice) 20 Optional
NM7036 7 Learning and Assessment in Professional Education 20 Optional
NM7037 7 Curriculum Design and Development 20 Optional
NM7038 7 Work Based Learning Project (Dissertation) 60 Comp
NM7059 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
NM7069 7 Research 20 Comp
NM7072 7 Assessment and Evaluation of Learning 20 Optional
NM7081 7 Engaging with Masters study 20 Optional
NM7084 7 Independent Study 20 Optional
NM7100 7 Enhancing Quality in Cancer Care 20 Optional
NM7101 7 Improving the Experiences of People Living with and Beyond Cancer 20 Optional
NM7102 7 Advanced Communication Skills in Cancer and Palliative Care 20 Optional
NM7192 7 Accrediting experience within Practice Development Research Partnerships (PDRPs) 20 Optional
NM7194 7 Clinical Supervision 20 Optional
NM7202 7 Clinical Examination Skills 20 Optional
NM7218 7 Case Management of People with Long Term Conditions 20 Optional

Barred combination: Students accessing this programme may NOT take the module Health and Well Being in Context as an option module
Postgraduate Certificate - 60 credits
Postgraduate Diploma - 120 credits
MSc Professional Studies - 180 credits

The programme is primarily designed for practitioners who are working in health and social care. All prospective candidates must formally apply for a place on the programme; an application form and academic interview underpin the recruitment process. This forms the basis on which the suitability of candidates will be decided.

Applicants will normally hold a first degree. There is a requirement for this degree to be in a health or social care related subject. The classification of the first degree will normally be a 2:1 or above.

For international students, there is an entry requirement of IELTs 7

Applicants without a first degree will normally be required to demonstrate extensive experience in a closely related area of health and social care, together with evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level.  They will be strongly recommended to start Master's level work with the module NM7081 Engaging with Master's Study.

In line with University regulations, APEL is available up to a maximum of 120 level 7 credit for the full Master’s programme.

Location within the National Qualifications Framework: The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as identified by the Quality Assurance Agency (2008) for Higher Education is designed to provide and promote academic standards via benchmarking and specifications. This Master's programme is aligned with the framework for Higher Education Qualification descriptors at Master's level, and the award will be given to students who have demonstrated:

  1. A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  2. A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  3. Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  4. Conceptual understanding that enables the student:
  • To  evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
  • To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  1. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  2. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
  3. Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level and will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

This programme complies with the credits per module and final award as recommended in the Framework with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at level M and the amount of student effort required. The level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester. 26. On successful completion of the programme students will have achieved the following outcomes.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 7 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used to meet the programme learning outcomes. Emphasis, however, will be placed on small group work, discussion, poster and seminar presentations, work-based learning,  problem-based learning, project work, case discussions, action-learning sets and experiential learning activities.

Self-directed, Inter-professional learning and peer-learning will be encouraged throughout and, consistent with the philosophy of the programme, peer- and self-assessment will be used in the formative assessment process to complement lecturer assessment. Student support and direction will be provided by interactive discussion and individual feedback, which at level 7 will promote the development of the critical thinking skills required to analyse practice issues.

A range of independent and work based learning modules fit into this programme.  These are designed to enable and encourage autonomous learning, and independent study.

Students will be experience a variety of assessment methods designed to ensure that the content, outcomes and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner. Examples include reflective analysis, seminar presentations, report writing, case scenarios and policy writing. Knowledge and understanding will be tested through written assignments, a seminar presentation, and individual case scenarios. Intellectual skills will be assessed normally through course work, and students will asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through written assignments, presentations, individual case scenarios and reflective accounts. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national standards.

The programme clearly offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and it is the assessment criteria based upon Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics:

Assessment Element Postgraduate Criteria:

Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.

Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.

Theory/practice link
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.

Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.

Problem solving
Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.

Evaluating evidence and argument
Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements
Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.

Excellent communication skills which can reach a wider audience. The above criteria that demonstrate the notion of a postgraduate are fundamental to the role of the senior practitioner in health and social care. It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the programme will utilise these criteria to become leaders and innovators.

This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and ensure the diverse needs of our students are provided for. No student will be disadvantaged on the basis of age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.

  • The programme takes an inter-professional stance, increasingly being aimed at a range of Health and Social Care professionals.
  • Support for students with specific learning needs is available via Learning Support Services.
  • A flexible approach to delivery is sought, with consultations with students informing the timetabling whenever possible.

Students undertaking the programme will receive support and guidance through a number of service and support mechanisms both within the Faculty and the wider University:

  1. Academic support and assessment guidance from the module leader.
  2. Support throughout from the programme leader.
  3. The Student Guidance and Support department, available to all University of Chester students.
  4. The programme handbook, available on the intranet.
  5. Module handbooks that give more specific details of each module than contained in the module descriptor e.g. specific breakdown of content including sessions and an updated illustrative reading list to ensure that recommended reading remains relevant and current.
  6. Module descriptors, timetables and associated learning materials, e.g. learning packs, accessible via Sharepoint (the University intranet).
  7. Guidance on APL/AP(E)L available through the AP(E)L team.

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