University of Chester

Programme Specification
Advanced Practice - Mental Health Pathway MSc
2016 - 2017

Master of Science

Advanced Practice - Mental Health Pathway

Advanced Practice - Mental Health Pathway

University of Chester

University of Chester

Sites as determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Professional/ Specialist/ Community/ Advanced Practice (Nursing & Midwifery)


Classroom / Laboratory,

2 years

6 Years

Biannual - February - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

  • Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards
  • Healthcare Professional Council

Postgraduate Module Assessment Board

Monday 2nd June 2014

The programme aims to:

  • Facilitate the development of a range of multi-professional Advanced Practitioners, who will be fit for practice, fit for purpose and fit for award.
  • Offer a dynamic and quality postgraduate educational experience relevant to Advanced Practitioners, which includes a research element.
  • Facilitate postgraduates to utilise higher level critical, analytical and reflective skills within academic and practice environments.
  • Enable students to be cognisant of the holistic nature of advanced practice, and to gain comprehensive higher level knowledge, expertise and the individual qualities necessary to work as autonomous, competent practitioners within unpredictable professional environments.
  • Enable postgraduates to be innovative and enterprising, and to apply contributions to the evidence base of practice, communicating conclusions clearly.
  • Continue to develop the students’ 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.
  • Develop originality and sound judgement in leadership and facilitation skills, which will enable postgraduates to implement best practice in service delivery.
  • Fulfil the dynamic nature of healthcare, and enable practitioners to influence the strategic planning and delivery of government agendas.

Successful students will be able to;

  • Apply key concepts principles, theories, policies and intervention strategies in students’ area of practice related to developments in cognitive and behavioral approaches (NM7025, NM7026, NM7027).
  • Recognize the uniqueness of students’ own professional practice knowledge and understanding of the role of the practitioner within the context of the wider health agenda (NM7025, NM7026).
  • Demonstrate evidence-based approaches to the ongoing development of the students practice and professional role, and the dissemination of information (NM7025).
  • Apply and facilitate the research process and relevance to students’ own scholarship (NM7025).
  • Demonstrate the ability to respond appropriately in challenging and unpredictable situations (NM7025, NM7027).
  • Develop personal practice in light of forefront developments within the fields (NM7025, NM7026, NM7027).

Successful students will be able to;

  • Deal with complex issues and problems as they arise and make informed judgements (NM7025, NM7026, NM7027).
  • Demonstrate the ability to think logically and critically in the interpretation of a broad variety of mental health problems to develop a suitable management plan (NM7025, NM7026).
  • Using problem-solving skills; identify and reflect on areas of practice, which need development (NM7027)
  • Develop original and creative responses to problems and help develop strategies to promote health and well-being in individuals with common mental health problems (NM7025, NM7027).
  • Critically explore contemporary policy and practice developments, which influence care delivery (NM7026).
  • Develop original and creative responses to problems based on a critical understanding of the needs of diverse groups and help develop strategies to promote health and well-being in diverse groups with common mental health issues (NM7207).
  • Assisting policy development in light of new research and/or/evidence (NM7025).

Successful students will be able to;

  • Exercise autonomy and initiative at a professional level; identifying strategies to ensure safe and effective person centered care (NM7025, NM7026).
  • Ethically and effectively, practice in ways that show awareness of own and others' roles and responsibilities (NM7025, NM7027).
  • Facilitate effective multidisciplinary/multi agency team working within the mental health workplace setting (NM7025, NM7026, NM7027).
  • Influence others by using professional skills to effect change when necessary (NM7025).
  • Act as an advocate by utilizing innovation and compassion to focus on putting the patients central to their own health care choices (NM7025, NM7027).
  • Critically formulate suitable management plans for a variety of common mental health problems based on a holistic assessment process (NM7025). 

Successful students will be able to;

  • Use effective communication skills to communicate a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge and expertise using appropriate methods (NM7025).
  • Critically evaluate a range of data to improve health (NM7025).
  • Utilize the cognitive and behavioural models within a therapeutic relationship as a basis for effective practice (NM7025, NM7026).
  • Utilize the therapeutic relationship as a basis for effective practice
  • Demonstrate the ability to use a range of ICT applications required for practice (NM7025).
  • Demonstrate higher-level literacy and numeracy skills (NM7025).
  • Undertake critical reflection and development of personal and professional practice (NM7025).

This programme is part time, leading to a Master of Science degree in Advanced Practice. Health Education North West has led the strategic planning of Advanced Practice programmes throughout the Merseyside and Cheshire zone, and has identified the need to develop a tripartite collaborative approach which is multi-professional. The programme is offered on a modular basis, and is designed to meet the criteria set by professional organisations and the Quality Assurance Agency subject benchmarks. The programme is divided between theoretical study and practice.

The programme contains six taught modules (20 credits per module). Students may exit with a postgraduate certificate following completion of three modules, a postgraduate diploma with the completion of 120 credits within the chosen pathway, and have an option to achieve a further 60 credits through a dissertation to complete the Master's degree. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, using their stated credit level descriptors as a reference point.

All students will complete the following compulsory modules to exit with a Master of Science in Advanced Practice:

  • Research (20 credits).
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

  All students also need to complete three of the four compulsory modules available from this specialist pathway:

  • Advanced Community Practice (20 credits).
  • Cognitive Behavioural Interventions (20 credits).
  • Contemporary Issues in Acute Mental Health In-Patient Care (20 credits).
  • Observing Diversity in Mental Health (20 credits).

All students will also need to complete two further (20 credit) option modules chosen from the Faculty of Health and Social Care's academic suite of Master's level modules. Examples of these are included in Section 24b.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7012 7 Leadership Development and Change 20 Optional
NM7045 7 Non Medical Prescribing in Context 20 Optional
NM7046 7 Therapeutic Aspects of Prescribing 20 Optional
NM7059 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
NM7069 7 Research 20 Comp
NM7203 7 Inter-professional practice 20 Optional
NM7204 7 Advanced Community Practice 20 Comp
NM7205 7 Cognitive Behavioural Interventions 20 Comp
NM7206 7 Contemporary Issues in Acute Mental Health Inpatient Care 20 Comp
NM7207 7 Observing Diversity in Mental Health 20 Comp

60 credits at level 7 will achieve a Postgraduate Certificate.
120 credits at level 7 will achieve a Postgraduate Diploma (with a named pathway).
Completion of the 60 credit dissertation module, plus the above, will achieve a Master of Science award in Advanced Practice.

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%.

The admission criteria for student entry to the MSc Advanced Practice programme will normally be:

  • Registration on the appropriate part of a professional register for their chosen pathway.
  • Normally a minimum of 2 years* post registration experience.
  • Successful completion of a degree in nursing or a health-related field, or equivalent.
  • Support from the employer. 

* Candidates who do not possess the full two years of experience in the specialist area may exceptionally be admitted to the programme using the following criteria, both of which must be met:

  • Support from sponsoring organisation/employer.
  • Evidence of practice in a closely related area of specialism.

Non-standard applicants may seek further advice from the Programme Leader regarding entry criteria.

The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as identified by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2008), Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards of Proficiency (2010) and the Healthcare Professions Council Standards of Proficency. The programme enables practitioners to work at the higher levels outlined in the NHS Knowledge & Skills Framework Guidance (2010).

Methods of learning and teaching emphasise student-centred techniques. This facilitates students to become increasingly autonomous learners, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes. Learning in Practice as part of the assessment process involves the students in developing learning plans – this will require them to actively identify and negotiate specific learning outcomes pertinent to their area of clinical practice, within the parameters of the module learning outcomes. In all methods of learning and teaching, student engagement is considered, reflecting the emphasis on this throughout the UK Quality Code to assure and enhance academic quality.

Inter-professional learning is a key feature within the programme. Visiting lecturers and professional experts facilitate this process, and ensure that examples and scenarios are drawn from the range of clinical and practice areas.

Within the programme there are a range of assessment strategies that reflect the individual module content. For example, in NM7204 Advanced Community Practice, the student has to undertake an evaluation of the functioning of their workplace. Similarly, in NM7206 Contemporary Issues in Acute Mental Health, the student has to write a case study exploring the therapeutic techniques used in their workplace. The focus is on recognising that the students will be expected to lead change in the workplace, therefore the assessments are aimed at facilitating this process.

Formative feedback will be available in accordance with Faculty policy.

It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the programme will become leaders and innovators in their chosen pathway. They will possess the skills and knowledge which is essential for the assurance of standards within their area of practice.

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

  • Tutorial group support throughout the programme.
  • Academic support and assessment guidance from the module leader.
  • Support throughout from the programme leader and team.
  • Support from the university's Student Support and Guidance Department.
  • The programme handbook, available on the university intranet.
  • The module handbook (providing more details than programme handbooks including specific details in relation to updated content, timetable and reading list).
  • Module descriptors, timetables and other associated learning materials such as e-tutorials, e-discussions and electronic access to library resources.
  • APL/AP(E)L guidance available from the AP(E)L team.
  • Induction programme.
  • Where relevant, support from the university's International Office.

No student will be disadvantaged on the basis of age, sexual orientation, disability, faith or race.

Diversity is valued and will be demonstrated by:

  • Valuing people.
  • Recognising them for their skills, experience and talents.
  • Treating everyone fairly irrespective of race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and gender.
  • Including in module content consideration of race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief and gender in the context of eating disorders.

The course is designed to include intergration of theory and practice to emphasise the practical aspect of the programme and reinforce the notion of Advanced Practice. The Faculty has adopted a collaborative approach to the admission of students to the MSc Advanced Practice programme. As most students are required to have the full support of their sponsoring organisation/employer to undertake the programme, close liaison between academic and service staff is essential. For the proposed two year Health Education North West commissioned students, each organisation/employer identifies and interviews candidates in conjunction with staff from the Faculty of Health and Social Care, using the criteria for entry to the programme.

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