Advanced Practice (Clinical) MSc

Postgraduate (Up to 5 years part-time)

Chelmsford, Peterborough (Guild House), Cambridge

January, September

Teaching times

Part-time. Timetables may vary depending on optional module choice

Please note: this course is open to UK applicants only, as the availability of work placements in the UK health service is limited.

Apply online

Apply directly to ARU


Take a journey through the four pillars of advanced practice, with our Masters degree at ARU. Through the exploration of clinical practice, education, research and leadership, you’ll learn how to apply these to a higher level of contemporary and autonomous clinical practice in your speciality.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description


Our course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to work at a higher level of clinical practice within the regional locality.
Upon successful completion of our course, you'll have the opportunity to remain in clinical practice within your chosen speciality whether it's acute, emergency, critical or primary care. You'll also have the potential to take your career in alternative directions such as healthcare leadership, research or education.
Accreditation with the RCN also makes our course attractive to employers. It provides effective governance to assure that you have their fitness to practice as this higher level verified as purposeful, planned and supported by measurable and safe education. Such accreditation will empower employers to plan service redesign whilst developing new advanced clinical roles in a meaningful and targeted manner.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Advanced Skills in Clinical Assessment
    Advance your theoretical knowledge and practical skills to develop and integrate your existing experience with the concept of autonomous decision making and practice and ideas of health care in the 21st Century. Research has indicated that nurses and allied health professionals, with the appropriate education, support and development can deliver services in practice traditionally delivered by a doctor. In order to provide a service that meets the needs of patients, it is crucial that professionals have the advanced skills and knowledge required in delivering a service and leading and developing practice. To facilitate the development of these clinical skills, to receive patients with undiagnosed health needs and offer treatment or referral, the programme includes supervised practice by medical staff and/or by experienced, advanced practitioners. You’ll assess, manage and discharge/refer to a specialist team, patients, including children, with a range of undiagnosed minor and long term illnesses/diseases. Whilst many of the clinical skills of assessment and diagnosis are common to the assessment of both injuries and minor illness, the diagnostic processes will be very different. Minor illness is any condition which is self-limiting and does not prevent the patient from carrying out their normal functions for more than a short period of time. Clinical skills will therefore concentrate on an understanding of systems and patho-physiology.
  • Advanced Non-Medical Prescribing
    This module will prepare more experienced nurses, midwives, specialist community public health nurses and pharmacists to prescribe safely and cost effectively as independent and supplementary prescribers. In order to take this module, you must have been registered with the NMC for 12 months, and have knowledge and experience in the area in which you intend to prescribe. Alongside the holistic assessment skills module, this educational programme will provide the practitioner with key skills to deliver community agendas, providing care close to home. Supervision and assessment from a designated GP or Nurse Practitioner is essential within this module in order to meet the 78 hours clinical practice requirement. It also aims to prepare allied health professionals to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively as supplementary prescribers and provide an opportunity for interprofessional students to debate, analyse and synthesise key issues within safe prescribing practice and its contribution to health care.
  • Advanced Practice in Context
    Through undertaking this module, you will be able to navigate and articulate your transition towards advanced practice. We use work-based learning (WBL), which provides a stimulating and challenging approach through integrating your learning and personal/ professional development. This module is distinctive, because it will centre on the application of learning in the work-place, and evidence-based assessment of practice and achievement. You will be asked to relate your studies to your individual role as a practitioner. This module prepares you by developing ways of learning and new ways of working for your future career as an advanced practitioner. In particular the module will support critical exploration and debate of advanced practice, along with an analysis of the evidence base underpinning this advanced level of practice.
  • Research Methodology
    With the increased emphasis on research in contemporary healthcare, it’s essential that you are familiar with research methodology. The ability to critically analyse and synthesise research is a necessary skill for all students, to be able to apply research in all areas of specialist interest in the delivery of effective patient care. You’ll revisit existing knowledge of the research process and we’ll assist you in further developing skills of critical analysis and synthesis. You’ll also have the opportunity to critically appraise the ethical dimensions of research studies that seek to develop, improve and advance healthcare services.
  • Major Project
    The Major Project is central to the Masters award and enables you to demonstrate your ability to synthesise learning from previous modules. You will use this learning as the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This is the opportunity for you to demonstrate the ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to your chosen topic and a critical understanding of research methods and their relationship to knowledge. You will also be in a position to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice and to expand existing knowledge to contribute to the development of best practice.

Optional modules (subject to availability)

  • Adult Acute Care
    This module explores all aspects of adult acute care and the support required for family or carers. It builds on the concept of Quality Critical Care (2005), recognising that individuals have the right to specialist care, regardless of location or speciality. Patient safety is an absolute priority and lessons learnt from the NPSA reports (2007, 2008) and the initiative of 'Reducing Harm from Deterioration' (Patient Safety First 2008) is incorporated as an outcome measure. Maintaining adequate tissue perfusion and oxygenation is essential for life. Compromise from any cause will lead to organ dysfunction, failure or even death. Through skilled assessment and interventions, practitioners can be proactive in detecting and supporting the highly dependent and acutely ill patient. This module provides the practitioner with the knowledge necessary to care for the highly dependent and acutely ill patient and maps directly against National Institute for health & Clinical Excellence Clinical Guideline 50, Acutely ill Patients in Hospital (2007). It is also guided by the Department of Health (2009) competencies for the acutely ill adult. In this post Francis (2013) era, the focus on patient experience and the NHS Constitution (2012) are embedded in the module. National reports such as 'Time to Intervene' (National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome & Death 2012) and 'Time to Act' (Parliamentary Ombudsmen 2013) continue to record failings in the provision of acute health care provision. This module helps to address how these failings may be remedied from the perspective of the practitioners and of the organisation. Opportunities to simulate practice and identify the human factors that influence patient safety together with increasing situational awareness will assist in this goal. Learning and teaching strategies include lectures, skills workshops, and a scenario based workshops. Opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills within your specialist practice will be facilitated.
  • Advanced Management of Acute Stroke and Rehabilitation
    This module is open to healthcare professionals who are working with patients who have experienced a stroke. According to Public Health England stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the UK. There are around 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year. They estimate that one in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Deaths related to stroke have declined by 49% in the past 15 years. This has been accredited to a combination of better prevention, earlier treatment and more advanced treatment (PHE 2018). We’ll equip you with the knowledge, skills and ability to recognise stroke symptoms and to plan immediate and ongoing interventions and care. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the stroke pathways from onset to rehabilitation and social reintegration. In addition, you’ll enhance your knowledge of neurology, anatomy and physiology of the brain, types of stroke and correspondent treatment, hyper acute interventions and the evidence for new and novel practice. Therapeutic interventions will be examined in relation to the management of physical symptoms and provision of best practice. Explore the function of the multi-professional team, including specialist roles and accountability in practice. Equip yourself with strategies that promote awareness of high quality care, which in-turn will influence patient safety, satisfaction and outcome. You’ll be encouraged to explore underpinning theory related to all of the above issues. In addition, you’ll review your own practice and critically reflect on how patient satisfaction, compassionate care and team leadership and performance can be improved.
  • Advanced Management of Minor Injuries
    On this module, you will gain advanced decision making skills, theoretical knowledge and advanced practical skills to work autonomously in caring for patients who present with a minor injury. Minor injuries cover all of the common injuries, for both adults and children. You'll learn from examples of history taking, examination, radiology, treatment and advice for each condition.
  • Advanced Management of Persons with Diabetes across the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Settings
    This module is aimed at all practitioners, especially those with an interest in the management of adults and children with diabetes. It will help you enhance your existing knowledge and skills for delivering evidence-based diabetes care and exercise your higher levels of judgment, discretion and decision making. Key aspects of diabetes care will be explored including the epidemiology, pathophysiology, novel biomarkers and diagnosis criteria of diabetes; main types of diabetes and short-term and long-term complications. You will analyse key standards required to improve diabetes care either in a primary or secondary care setting.
  • Emergency Care
    Injury or illness may occur suddenly or may arise as a consequence of an underlying condition. It may have life threatening implications. The purpose of this module is to consider and explore the common illnesses and injuries of clients attending the emergency department. The accepted initial and subsequent management of these illnesses and injuries are critically evaluated. The use of effective teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration are related to current key policies in the practice situation. This module is a theory/practice module in which the student will learn both in the classroom and in the practice area. Learning and teaching methods in the classroom will include a variety of methods such as lectures, seminars, group work, simulation, etc. Learning and teaching in clinical practice will be under the supervision of an experienced practitioner within your own clinical area. The module is assessed from both a theory and practice perspective.
  • Advanced Principles of Respiratory and Thoracic Care
    Approximately 1 in 5 people in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with lung disease. Lung disease is responsible for nearly 700,000 hospital admissions and over 6 million bed-days in the UK each year. (British Lung Foundation, 2015). These figures highlight the huge health and economic burden of respiratory illness, confirming what respiratory specialists have been aware of for some time, that diseases of the lungs are a growing and a real issue that cannot be ignored. Diseases and illness affecting the respiratory system are often complex thus requiring varied prevention, management and treatment interventions, involving patients, carers and multidisciplinary team members. To meet the challenges and demands of caring for the respiratory and/or thoracic patient across the acute and chronic spectrum, nurses need to be equipped with an advanced knowledge base and specialist skills to deliver high quality evidence based care. This module’s aims are to support the theoretical learning and thus application of this advancing knowledge and skill set within the respiratory and thoracic field. This module is primarily intended for registered healthcare professionals working in areas such as respiratory wards, thoracic surgery and critical care areas. This level 7 theory practice module provides the student with opportunities to learn both in the classroom and in the practice area. Learning and teaching strategies include lectures, group discussion, online learning resources and skills. The module will be assessed theoretically by a fine graded poster presentation and a practice competency document. The practice assessment will be undertaken by an experienced clinical mentor who will need to be identified in conjunction with the clinical manager and module leader prior to commencing the module.
  • Specialist Mental Health Care
    Develop specialist knowledge on certain mental health skills, interventions and an understanding of the therapeutic milieu. You’ll begin to understand and comprehend various specialised aspects of the ‘craft of caring’ for people with a serious mental illness. You’ll have the opportunity to explore more specific aspects of professional care and it will give you the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of more complex individualised care, helping to improve the quality of care the patient receives. Explore the specialisms of forensics, older people, learning disabilities, carers, child and adolescence mental health care needs, as well as specialist services in community and inpatient. Alongside this you’ll be encouraged to consider an international perspective.
  • Minor Illness Assessment and Management
    This module will provide health care professionals with an approach to the assessment and management of patients with minor illnesses that is symptom-based and patient safety-focused. The first part of the module looks at the importance of performing a systematic clinical assessment and learning the patterns of illness and red flags for the serious conditions that may present with the symptoms of minor illness. The limitations of clinical assessment in early illness and the dynamic nature of illness are also discussed, along with the principles and practices of safety-netting. The assessment of babies, children and older patients is discussed, along with telephone consulting. Specific clinical examination skills that relate to minor illness will also be taught. In the second part of the module, the common symptoms that patients present with will be covered, each time taking a symptom-based, patient safety-focused approach to the assessment and management of these patients.
  • Cardiac Care
    Coronary heart disease remains the predominant cause of death in the United Kingdom. About 300,000 people sustain myocardial infarction every year (UK) and more than 110,000 die from Coronary Heart Disease in England every year. In addition Coronary Heart Disease has a major impact on the lives of the patients and their relatives and on the economy of the United Kingdom. Preventing Coronary Heart Disease and reducing its mortality rate remains a major aim of the NHS and the Government. This module provides the opportunity to explore and develop the knowledge and skills required to meet the diverse acute and chronic needs of cardiac patients, their families/or carers. It will focus on the assessment, monitoring, medical and surgical management of cardiac disorders. This module is suitable for graduate nurses working in areas such as coronary care units, cardiac (medical and surgical) wards, investigational units and critical care areas. In order to receive care that is effective and of high quality the patient with a cardiac disorder is dependent upon practitioners being skilled in arrhythmia recognition and 12 lead ECG analysis. There is a strong emphasis on the development of this skill and the knowledge of how to interpret and respond to potential and actual deterioration in the patient's condition. This will involve focusing on the haemodynamic effects of cardiac arrhythmias, their clinical presentations, and the various strategies of the management for cardiac arrhythmias to enhance cardiac output. This module is a theory/practice module in which the student will learn both in the classroom and in the practice area. Learning and teaching methods in the classroom will include a variety of methods such as lectures, seminars, group work, etc. Learning and teaching in clinical practice will be under the supervision of an experienced practitioner and qualified mentor within the students own clinical area. The module is assessed from both a theory and practice perspective. The theory is assessed through a Viva. The students' practice is assessed through achievement of clinical competencies at expert level (stage 5).
  • Pain Management
    This module will consider the nature of pain, and will focus on the physical, social and psychological theories and issues that underpin the management. The module will introduce key concepts and issues to develop the student’s awareness, knowledge and skills to promote up to date pain management. The role of the individual healthcare practitioner in the management of pain will be explored however there will be emphasis on interprofessional team work. The focus of the module is upon contemporary theory and the main approaches to pain assessment and management including; the medical approach, behaviour change approach, educational approach, client-centred approach. The module will empower students to develop the necessary communication skills. The students will be given the opportunity to use their own experiential understanding within their own local context which will include the choice of speciality in assignment topics. On completion of this module the knowledge and skills acquired are transferable to a number of areas enabling the development of skills, which will promote care of patients with both acute and chronic pain experiences.
  • Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice (for ACP trainees)
    The module will enable students to develop their knowledge in the field of pathophysiology, their skills in the application of this knowledge in clinical reasoning and the planning of management strategies. It will provide students with core knowledge of basic medical sciences in the fields of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology/histology, microbiology and genetics and clinical medicine. This module advances the knowledge and skills of the Advanced Practitioner students in relation to pathophysiology and clinical reasoning in order to suit their evolving practice role. It will provide students with an in-depth level of knowledge across the life span, complemented by the student’s clinical experiences. Students will be taught using a variety of methods including seminar, lecture and enquiry based learning in order to support the identification of core clinical conditions (DoH 2006). This module contributes to meeting the course learning outcomes: B01 - Consolidate and develop theoretical knowledge to underpin advanced clinical assessment/management skills relevant to the individuals scope of advanced nursing practice; B02 - Engage with work-based learning; B06 - Use clinical judgement in managing complex and unpredictable care events within the context of the interprofessional team.
  • Palliative and end of life Care - Management of Symptoms in Advanced Disease
    Understand the various causes and management of symptoms and learn how to communicate sensitively about end of life concerns. In order to meet the needs of dying patients, you need to understand the various causes and management of symptoms and also learn how to communicate sensitively about end of life concerns. This enables module enables you to provide high-quality, holistic end of life care, and to know when specialist input is required.
  • Wound Management
    To use ever changing wound healing technologies correctly and cost effectively, you need to be able to make informed decisions about products and care strategies. This module will give you the necessary knowledge to manage wounds on a day to day basis in both primary and secondary care settings. You will explore current wound care issues and develop a sound knowledge of aetiology, physiology & care and management of the individual with tissue viability needs.

Please note that you will choose one of the above optional modules. Modules are subject to change.

Please note this course will be subject to major changes for January 2021, which may mean some modules currently advertised will change and others may not be available.


From traditional case study essays to an oral examination, we use a variety of assessment strategies with our course to get the most of your learning. You'll also have the exciting opportunity to be assessed through a work-based portfolio, which will demonstrate your transition from first level registrant to that of advanced practitioner.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Peterborough (Guild House)
Guild House

Guild House is our small, friendly campus in the historic city of Peterborough.

Explore our Guild House campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2021/22 (part-time, total cost)


UK students starting 2021/22 (per 30 credit module)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Important fee notes

If you require NHS funding, please speak to your manager before applying.

Funding for postgraduate students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university.

RCN Foundation bursary schemes

For more information about scholarships, bursaries, and learning and development opportunities available for nurses, visit RCN's Bursary Schemes page.

Entry requirements

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Teaching options

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our students can choose to study face to face on campus or online only. They're also able to change their mode of delivery on given dates in each trimester.

For on-campus teaching, we offer at least four hours face-to-face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full-time courses, supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours varies course by course, and you can contact us for further information. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however we remain committed to delivering face-to-face teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment.

In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic, we may need to move some courses online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.

View the impact of the current restrictions.

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

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