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Advanced Clinical Practice MSc

De Montfort University
3-6 years
Part time
Master's degree
Advanced Clinical Practice MSc

About this program

Advanced Clinical Practice MSc

One of the major changes envisaged in the Five Year view and further developed in the 10 year Plan was the changing roles of Nurses, Midwives and Allied health professionals, essentially taking on roles that previously were the domain of medical staff. This has of course been happening for many years but numbers have increased significantly over recent times and with it a burgeoning desire to see standards set and the role clearly defined.

There is unfortunately still no clear definition of what ‘advanced practice’ is and therefore the education and roles that the practitioner might be required to perform or undertake is also open to question. There is however clear support from all parties involved (across the UK) that the educational provision should be at Masters level; and ideally a full MSc. The Department of Health (DoH) and HEE have published curriculum guidelines pertaining to the content of ACP courses in an attempt to introduce some standardisation. The full MSc enhances the practitioner’s ability to appraise research, think critically, and prepares them to develop further beyond simply the role of an expert clinician.

Our MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme is designed to match the DoH and HEE guidelines, and future proof graduates in regards to possible credentialing or voluntary registration schemes in the future. This programme has also taken into account the needs of local stakeholders and the views of past and current students. We seek to develop:

“Registered practitioners with an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded autonomous scope of practice, the characteristics of which are shaped by the context in which the individual practices. Demonstrable at Masters level and meets the education, training and CPD requirements for Advanced Clinical Practice” (HEEM, 2014)

The advanced practitioner is characterised by high levels of skill, competence and autonomous decision making, at a perhaps higher level than the specialist, though of course a practitioner may well specialise at an advanced level. A more simplistic explanation might be that the specialist operates at a high level in their specialism, but returns to novice when outside it; the advanced practitioner operates at a higher level in their speciality, but can also bring advanced practice to other areas as well. The department of Health (2010) suggested that it was a level of practice, rather than specific role.

Nationally, due to the extremely varied nature of ACP roles, it has proved impossible to define a set list of ‘competencies’, beyond very broad strictures such as the ability to physically examine a patient. There is however broad agreement

on some aspects that should be common to all. Those have been identified as the ‘four pillars’ of advanced practice:

  • Clinical
  • Education
  • Research
  • Leadership

The MSc ACP at De Montfort University draws these together and produces an able graduate who is highly employable. This course will not make you competent – no course will – but it will give you the educational grounding in order to develop competence and in turn become expert, with a strong clinical focus.

The curriculum has been designed with expert advice from clinicians, academics and local strategic partners to address both the academic and clinical demands of the role. Regular meetings are held between faculty and clinical staff to ensure good exchange of information. Student opinion and feedback is also incorporated.

Admission requirements

Standard entry requirements:

  1. Holds a professional qualification as a health care practitioner and is currently registered with the relevant health care professional body.
  2. Is able to supply two references, one giving emphasis to academic and clinical ability.
  3. Has an honours degree (2:2 or above) awarded by a British University or other equivalent approved degree awarding college/body.

Minimum entry requirements:

In exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to a student who:

  1. Holds a professional qualification as a health care practitioner and is currently registered with the relevant health care professional body.
  2. Is able to supply two references, giving emphasis to academic and clinical ability.
  3. Demonstrates expertise through publication, change management and/or leadership as well as successful study at third level or above through Professional Portfolio.

Some organisations may wish to impose other criteria / restrictions upon students. For example, UHL interview staff members who they wish to develop as ACP and as a result of this process either selects or rejects them for the programme. The prospective student must still satisfy DMU entry requirements. These processes fall outside of the DMU admissions process and are not subject to DMU control. The students are then seconded by the employing organisation to enable them to undertake the course.

English language requirements:

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning (CELL), is available both before and during the course.

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Program content

Year one

Advanced Consultation and physical examination skills

This is the physical examination / history-taking module and will enable the student to critically appraise the underlying principles of consultation and physical examination. It is assessed with an assignment and OSCE’s. Runs in Semester 1. Allied issues such as requesting investigations, inter-professional team working, patient referral mechanisms and professional accountability in an advanced role are also addressed. It is aimed at those health care practitioners who will be professionally supported in this active interventionist role. It is relevant to Registered Paramedics, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals working within a variety of primary and secondary care settings.

If you do not work in an environment where you will have the opportunity to see / examine all systems, then you will need to be able to take time to access such an environment.

Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Clinical Practice

The module will enable the student to make informed judgements, problem solve and identify complex health needs and issues specific to an advanced clinical role. It covers pathophysiology, diagnostic reasoning and the application of specialist knowledge (e.g. rheumatology, haematology, hepatology) to general ACP practice. It runs in Semester 2 and is assessed with a portfolio and case study.

Independent Study – Advanced Practice

This Semester 1 module allows you to develop and explore in depth an area of developing and/or developed health and professional practice. In negotiation with your manager or module leader, an area of new or continuing developed study will be identified.

Building on prior achievements concerning your knowledge and experience you will take forward an area of developing health and professional practice using the framework of independent contracted learning

This is an independent study module and you will be required to negotiate individual tutorials with the relevant supervisor/s to discuss the learning outcomes of the module. The content for this module will be influenced by your choice of topic to study. You will be required to critically examine a topic independently.

It is anticipated that the module will provide the opportunity to critically examine an issue which is relevant to your current practice. Critical analysis of professional practice is also encouraged using a national and international perspective.

Year two:

Research methods for health professionals

Taken in Semester 1 of year 2, this module introduces the student to research methodologies and is critical for developing understanding building towards the service improvement plan and the prescribing course.


Applied Prescribing (NMC & HCPC Registrants)

Pharmacology for prescribers (NMC & HCPC Registrants)


Practice certificate in independent prescribing (GPhC Registrants)

If the student is from a profession that is legislatively able to prescribe, then they MUST undertake the non-medical prescribing course as part of this programme. Please see the non-medical prescribing course web page for further information. This is a 45 credit course.

If the student is not legislatively able to prescribe currently (e.g. ODP) then they must make up the 45 credits from the wider DMU M level portfolio, using modules with a clinical / advanced practice focus.

Year three

Service Improvement Project

All students must complete the Service improvement project, a 12.000 word piece of work which focuses on the education and leadership aspects of advanced practice. This replaces a traditional dissertation. This module runs over two semesters, (1 and 2)

It is possible to exit the course without doing the dissertation (if the other modules are completed) and gain the award of PG Dip in Advanced clinical practice. A PG cert is also available if a student completes a physical examination module and a research module, but please note; this is NOT a PG cert Advanced Clinical Practice.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.

Program delivery

Teaching is a mix of lectures, tutorials, practical sessions and self-directed learning. As this is a Masters level programme, it is expected that you will take responsibility for devising your own learning plan, and accessing support where you require it.


Please check the website for more information about tuition fees

Career paths

On completion of this course, students will fulfil the academic requirements in order to practice as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner. This anticipates possible future NMC regulation, and complies with standards across all the different nations of the UK.

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About this institute

De Montfort University

De Montfort University (DMU) in England welcome hundreds of European students every year for one of our 300 courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level. We have approx. 25,000 students studying in our 4 faculties; Business & Law; Health &...

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Why study at De Montfort University

  • Ranked 20th for Graduate Prospects (The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
  • In the top 10% of institutions overall recognised by the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings 2020
  • TEF Gold Award in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework – the only government-endorsed measure of teaching quality in higher education.
  • Campus of the Future - DMU has invested £136m in transforming its campus, creating new green space in Leicester and using renewable energy technology. Four of the largest campus buildings generate renewable energy via more than 1,110 solar panels, and a wood biomass boiler cuts out the need to burn fossil fuels.
  • 2030 Climate Action - More than 100 students and staff have taken part in carbon literacy training to understand how choices like transport, clothes, overseas travel and food impact the planet. DMU and the University of Leicester have teamed up with Leicester City Council to deliver the training in city schools. DMU has halved its carbon dioxide emissions since 2005.

Contact info

De Montfort University

The Gateway
LE1 9BH Leicester
United Kingdom

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