University of Chester

Programme Specification
Eating Disorders MA
2014 - 2015

Master of Arts

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

University of Chester

University of Chester

Riverside or Warrington Campus.

Postgraduate (Taught)

Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

2 years

6 Years

Annual - September

B990

Yes

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (2004)

QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (2008)

Health Professions Council's Standards of Education and Training (2009)

University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Postgraduate Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st May 2012

The programme aims to provide students with the opportunity to advance and develop their knowledge and skills with regard to eating disorders and the interventions required to support individuals experiencing an eating disorder.

The content of the programme will be focused on a range of conditions in the field of eating disorders in order to support students to apply knowledge and skills in their working environment.

It aims to specifically:

  • Provide students with knowledge and understanding of a range of conditions in the field of eating disorders.
  • Provide students with knowledge and critical understanding of a range of intervention practices in the specialist area of eating disorders.
  • Enable students to critically understand and appraise practice-based approaches, giving consideration to their applicability to the range and complexity of client presentations and the practice settings.
  • Prepare practitioners to critically reflect on the needs of clients, service users and support groups, and afford them the opportunity to critique needs which are unmet in current services.
  • Facilitate the development of effective and innovative critical thinkers through exposure to and understanding of clients experiencing eating disorders and their carers.
  • Enable students to integrate theory and practice, drawing on existing evidence to support, including critiquing research methods, approaches and paradigms, and contribute to the advancement of the evidence base for eating disorder interventions.
  • Ensure students are aware of ethically based practices in accordance with professional and regulatory standards.


Knowledge and Understanding
Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to construct and deconstruct key concepts, principles, theories and interventions in eating disorders.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of approaches and interventions in eating disorders, justifying the choice and issues around application in practice.
  • Critically appraise their own role within the care setting.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the effective dissemination of information pertaining to working in the field of eating disorders.


Thinking or Cognitive Skills

Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the impact of social, political, cultural and economic factors in relation to contemporary health care.
  • Demonstrate originality, creativity and innovation in their approach to service user care.
  • Utilise high level analytical skills when evaluating practice interventions from both professional and service user perspectives.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work reflectively and autonomously.
  • Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Access, analyse and process information applicable to their own advanced scholarship.


Practical Skills
Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to establish therapeutic relationships with service users and carers.
  • Communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals and groups across a range of care settings.
  • Utilise presentation skills in relation to the discussion of service user problems with peers.
  • Effectively engage and participate in reflective practice and tutorial group sessions.


Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving


Students will be able to:
  • Communicate effectively with a wide range of people using different media.
  • Demonstrate effective written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate effective presentation skills.
  • Show competence in accessing, retrieving and analysing data from a number of learning resources.
  • Show competency in applying numeracy skills.
  • Exercise self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively, and demonstrate leadership in the development of therapeutic interventions in the field of eating disorders.
  • Be creative and innovative in their responses to problems.
  • Apply an evidence-based approach and critical appraisal skills to the ongoing development of interventions in eating disorders.


Transferable Professional Skills
Students will be able to:
  • Exercise initiative and innovation in relation to service user and carer support.
  • Make effective use of reflective practice and tutorial sessions.
  • Apply researched and evidence-based practice, disseminating same to colleagues.
  • Demonstrate good presentation skills.
  • Work collaboratively across a range of service user groups and inter-professional colleagues.
  • Manage time, prioritise workloads, and take responsibility for own learning and development.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively.
  • Be competent in the use of information technology.
  • Demonstrate higher level literacy and creativity skills.
  • Work across a variety of settings in education, health and social environments.
  • Enhance leadership roles where relevant in relation to the development of eating disorder interventions.

The programme provides students with the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in eating disorder interventions. In order to enable students to apply their learning to lead advancements in practice, the curriculum has been designed to produce the characteristics expected of masters degree graduates as specified in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (QAA, 2008).

The programme design follows the QAA's (2010) masters degree characteristics, with its modular framework which meets the criteria for specialist/advanced studies. It furthermore incorporates progression through postgraduate certificate and diploma, and demonstrates integration and synthesis across the programme.

The programme is offered on a part time basis and will run over three trimesters. There are seven modules for the full masters programme: 6 x 20 credit modules and 1 x 60 credit module. These comprise four modules focusing on specific eating disorder conditions and interventions, two modules which focus on different psychotherapeutic interventions, and the dissertation module. There is also the option of taking an independent study module in place of one of the taught modules for those students wishing to explore an area of eating disorders not covered in the programme.

Students who wish to exit with a postgraduate certificate must successfully complete three modules: the core module NM7221 and two of the six optional modules. This will provide them with 60 credits at level 7. The exit award will be a Postgraduate Certificate in Eating Disorders.

Students who wish to exit with a postgraduate diploma must successfully complete six modules: the core module NM7221 and five of the six optional modules. This will provide them with 120 credits at level 7 and the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Eating Disorders.

Students who wish to exit with a masters degree must complete the requirements for the postgraduate diploma and thereafter successfully complete the dissertation module, giving the student 180 credits at level 7 and a MA in Eating Disorders.

All modules have been designed and structured to meet level 7 descriptors set out in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (2008). The programme also takes account of the FHEQ's accreditation system and has included mechanisms to award credit for appropriate prior learning. 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7084 7 Independent Study 20 Optional
NM7221 7 Overview of Eating Disorders 20 Comp
NM7222 7 Anorexia nervosa - early stages to severe and enduring experiences 20 Optional
NM7223 7 Bulimia nervosa - Early stages to severe and enduring experiences 20 Optional
NM7224 7 Morbid obesity - Early stages to severe and enduring experiences 20 Optional
NM7225 7 The application of third wave CBT and existential interventions in eating disorders 20 Optional
NM7226 7 The application of creative and family interventions in eating disorders 20 Optional
NM7227 7 Dissertation - MA Eating Disorders 60 N/A

The award of postgraduate certificate will be achieved on attaining 60 credits at level 7.
The award of postgraduate diploma will be achieved on attaining 120 credits at level 7.
The award of masters degree will be achieved on attaining 180 credits at level 7.

Students wishing to undertake the programme must:

  • Have a core professional or statutory qualification.
  • Have academic qualifications to degree level, or be able to demonstrate their ability to study at level 7.
  • Have support of line manager (as appropriate). 
  • Have access to an environment actively engaging with clients experiencing eating disorders (e.g. community care, support groups, third sector, independent sector, educational student support and the NHS).  

All students require CRB clearance and this will normally be carried out by the university.

Applicants will only be accepted on to the programme following an interview.

The programme is benchmarked against the following frameworks: The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (2004), the Health Professions Council's Standards of Education and Training (2009), and the Quality Assurance Agency's Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England (2008).

Out of the six core skills identified by the NHS as essential to the delivery of quality service provision, the programme aims to develop the participants' abilities in the following;

  • Communication: developing and maintaining communication with people with difficult/complex matters in difficult/complex settings and situations (levels 3 and 4).
  • Service improvement: dependent on the role and responsibilities of the student, the programme aims to develop skills in both changes to one's own practices (levels 2/3) and wider service development (levels 3/4).
  • Quality: dependent on the role and responsibilities of the student, the programme aims to develop improvement in the quality of one's own practice (levels 1/2) and the enhancement of service quality (levels 3/4).
  • Personal and people development: the programme aims to develop both the individual's personal practice and also to enhance the development of others (from levels 1 to 4).
  • Equality and diversity: there is a high emphasis within the programme on the needs of the service user, carers and support groups which will facilitate the promotion and maintenance of equality and diversity (levels 2/3).
  • Health and safety: the programme is focused on the nature of the complex clinical conditions, co-morbidity plus chronicity and severity experienced in eating disorders. Therefore participants will be supported to develop their knowledge and skills in their own practice and the enhancement of service provision to safeguard and maintain patient safety (levels 2 to 4).

Level HE7 (Level 7/Masters M Level)

Students will be able to undertake studies at this credit level and be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at professional or the level of role and responsibility.
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and develop new skills to a high level.

Practitioners who successfully achieve the exit award will have the qualities and skills necessary for their existing and future employment including:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

It is expected that the programme will attract a range of professions, and the Health Professions Council guidance for curriculum and professional standards has been adopted. The programme conforms to the following:

  • The curriculum is relevant to contemporary practice.
  • The integration of theory and practice is central.
  • The subject area is taught by staff with relevant experience and knowledge.
  • The delivery of the programme supports and develops autonomous and reflective thinking, and encourages evidence-based practice.
  • The range of learning and teaching approaches reflects and supports the subject and the ethos of the curriculum.
  • The use of interprofessional learning (IPL) to share professional skills and knowledge.

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. Each module will utilise a mix of teaching methods which will take into account the subject matter, size of the student cohort, participants' experience and skills, and resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will involve interactive lectures, practice-based activities, case scenario presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, portfolio development, problem-based learning, and peer and self-directed learning.

The programme will utilise cohort sub-groups, called ‘tutorial groups', which will be led by an allocated academic from the programme team. The tutorial groups will undertake shared work outside the module block sessions via the use of the university VLE. Under the guidance of the tutorial lead (academic supervisor), the tutorial group members will provide peer support and discussions related to areas selected by the tutorial group members themselves. The role of the tutorial lead will be to facilitate the group discussion. Students will join their tutorial group at the commencement of the programme and remain within that group until their exit point. Tutorial leads will normally be expected to adopt the role of dissertation supervisor.

There will be an emphasis on experiential learning, simulation exercises and case scenarios from practice where students will critically reflect on their experiences and receive the views of others in the context of academic supervision, group discussion, tutorial support, peer review and supervised simulation exercises. Reflection will be utilised to facilitate the application of theory to the practice setting.

To facilitate the transfer of theoretical knowledge to applied practice, the programme will utilise both group and individual academic supervision as learning strategies.

Methods of teaching and learning, and the emphasis on application in eating disorders (including issues relevant to race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and gender), will facilitate the student to become an increasingly autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the programme aims and objectives. Students will be required to actively identify and negotiate specific module learning outcomes pertinent to their area of practice and discuss these within their tutorial groups led by the academic supervisor (tutorial lead).

The programme will use the university VLE to enhance learning and teaching experiences. Electronic sourcing of materials will be utilised both as supplementary self-directed learning and in enhancing taught content. The programme team will encourage the use of e-portfolio developments and reflective online tools with a focus on practice interventions and case studies as learning methods. The use of online technology and different learning media will provide flexibility for the programme, which is required as the majority of participants will be in employment, and the focus of learning and developing new skills is on case scenarios and practice interventions. The electronic technology will also be utilised to maintain the tutorial groups through discussion boards and e-sessions outside attended module sessions.

Inter-professional issues will be addressed within the programme by utilising lecturers and expert professionals from a variety of backgrounds, and by the use of case scenarios and simulation scenarios which place emphasis on the input from different professional and support services.



Students will be exposed to a variety of assessment methods designed to ensure that the content, outcome and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner. Summative assessment examples include assignments, case scenario presentation, research critique, and critique/evaluations of care interventions.

Formative assessments will be achieved through the utilisation of scenario and simulation exercises and feedback, case discussions, group work, problem-based learning, skills practice, interprofessional case-focus discussions, and tutorial feedback.

Overview of eating disorders (NM7221)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: an assignment critically analysing care interventions and their outcomes, and a self-assessment of the student's beliefs and values when working with service users and carers.

Anorexia nervosa - Early stages to severe and enduring experiences (NM7222)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a case scenario exploring interventions in practice and a reflective analysis.

Bulimia nervosa - Early stages to severe and enduring experiences (NM7223)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: an assignment critically analysing interventions in practice and a reflective analysis.

Morbid obesity - Early stages to severe and enduring experiences (NM7224)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: an assignment critically exploring interventions and a critical evaluation of the efficacy of support groups.

The application of third wave CBT and existential interventions in eating disorders (NM7225) 

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a seminar presentation reviewing a psychotherapeutic approach and a reflective analysis of their own approaches to treatment.

The application of creative and family interventions in eating disorders (NM7226)

  • Summative assessment is in two parts: a seminar presentation demonstrating analysis of creative approaches in eating disorders, and a reflective evaluation of the student's own thinking and feelings towards family interventions.

Dissertation - MA Eating Disorders (NM7227) 

  • Summative assessment taking the form of an extended case scenario which will demonstrate a critical approach to the application of interventions in eating disorders and the support requirements of service users and carers.

The MA in Eating Disorders offers participants opportunities to be at the forefront of contemporary practice, and to offer leadership and direction in this field. The characteristics of a postgraduate can be demonstrated by the successful completion of the assessments, which are based upon the QAA and the University of Chester's criteria for this level of study:

  • Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows as ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
  • Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current/new insights, much of which are at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
  • Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.
  • Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
  • Excellent communication skills which can reach a wide audience.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel