University of Chester

Programme Specification
Advanced Practice - Clinical Practice Pathway MSc
2014 - 2015

Master of Science

Advanced Practice - Clinical Practice Pathway

Advanced Practice - Clinical Practice 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 - January - 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

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Postgraduate Assessment Board

Sunday 1st January 2006

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.

Knowledge and Understanding

The learning outcomes for each module clearly show the requirements for all students undertaking the programme, with regard to the range of module content and the expected level of achievement commensurate with standard benchmarks (Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards 2010, QAA Benchmark Statements 2008). The teaching, learning and assessment strategies for the programme are designed to facilitate the student to gain knowledge and develop a sound understanding of all theoretical components and, importantly, apply the theory base to practice.
Progression of the students' knowledge and understanding is thus demonstrated through the learning outcomes, the variety of assessment strategies, the development of Learning in Practice and the level 7 assessment marking criteria.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The programme is designed to foster the development of the students' intellectual/cognitive skills. The close alignment of the teaching, learning and assessment methods will further enhance their analytical and reflective skills. All students are encouraged to further develop problem-solving skills through problem-based learning.
Students on the programme are encouraged to challenge current thinking and practice. Seminars and group work will provide forums for students to articulate thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and develop skills in constructing intellectual concepts for debate. The use of learning in practice will further encourage the critical and reflective skills of students, and learning outcomes demonstrate the development of these skills to achieve level 7 criteria.
Practical Skills

The programme contains a strong practical element and students are therefore required to develop advanced practical skills to the required professional standard. The underpinning theoretical and attitudinal base is placed appropriately in the module delivery so that clear links are made between theory and practice.

Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of number
  • Information literacy and technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Effective communication skills will be inherent in all the modules and will be assessed in the specialist modules, both in the practice area and throughout the assessment strategy. This will be specifically demonstrated in presentations and seminars.
Application of number:
Students accessing the programme will be working at a level that requires them to be numerate. Examples in clinical practice are clinical measurements, audit and statistical analysis and workload activities. These skills will be built upon throughout the programme, particularly in the research-based modules. Information technology:
The students' IT skills, gained from current clinical practice, should be such as to enable them to access the University intranet, bibliographical databases and the internet for academic and clinical studies, use the library effectively, and perform literature searches and reviews. Their existing skills will be enhanced in the library induction and information skill session at the beginning of the programme, which will be specific to the University resources. The facilities of the wider University will also be open to the student. Study skills sessions are held at the beginning of each academic year and the services of Student Support and Guidance will be available at other times. Students’ IT skills will normally be evidenced in the production of word-processed assignments.
Improving own learning and performance:
The entire programme is designed to facilitate the students in their development on both a personal and professional level. This will be evidenced via the assessment strategy which is aligned to the requirements outlined in the UK Quality Code. Working with others:
The students' ability to work with others will be demonstrated in both the classroom and clinical areas.
Problem solving:
This area will be developed in all modules and will be demonstrated through the reflective analysis of practice, particularly in the specialist practice modules, where the practitioners will be expected to discuss the effect of enhancing and developing practice in their clinical area. The programme ensures that students are facilitated in their development of key skills, including those required for research.

Transferable Professional Skills

The programme fosters many transferable skills. These may be considered under the heading of Key Skills.

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 (60 credits) within a specialist pathway, a postgraduate diploma with the completion of six modules (120 credits) within the chosen pathway, and have an option to achieve a further 60 credits through a dissertation module 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).
  • Advanced Practice in Context (20 credits).
  • Dissertation (60 credits).
  • Diagnostics and Health Assessment (20 credits).
  • Clinical Examination Skills (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.


Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme:

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

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
NM7201 7 Diagnostics and Health Assessment 20 Comp
NM7202 7 Clinical Examination Skills 20 Comp
NM7203 7 Inter-professional practice 20 Optional

60 credits at level 7 willachieve 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.

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 NM7202 Clinical Examination Skills, the student has to undertake an Objective Structured Clinical Examination. Similarly, in NM7017 Advanced Practice in Context, the student has to critically analyse the impact of competency frameworks that have implications for their autonomous practice. 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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