Clinical Nursing MSc

Postgraduate (Up to 5 years part-time)

Chelmsford, Cambridge

January, September

Teaching times

Trimesters 1, 2 & 3: Timetable varies depending on module options chosen

Apply online

Apply directly to ARU


Our part-time Masters degree is ideal if you're a registered nurse and want to develop your career. It explores the challenges facing nursing and care providers today, while incorporating new technologies, ideas and approaches to healthcare.

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

Full description


If you're interested in joining this course, you'll already be employed in a local healthcare trust. You will gain the knowledge and skills required to confront the challenges of healthcare, and shape the future of your practice within your regional locality.  Gaining a Masters degree will give you the potential to take your career in alternative directions such as healthcare leadership, research and education.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Applied Leadership & Management
    This module provides an innovative exploration of leadership and management in healthcare, and examines their impact on organisations including wider considerations in the external environment. This module will enable students to assess and analyse the roles that leaders and managers play in a range of organizational contexts; and to apply the principles and techniques of leadership and management in a range of contexts.
  • 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.
  • Research Methodology
    With the increased emphasis on research in contemporary healthcare, it’s essential that people who wish to undertake higher educational courses are conversant with research methodology and the application of theory informing evidence-based practice to their field of interest. The ability to critically analyse and synthesise research is a necessary skill for all who undertake higher education, in order to be able to apply research in all areas of specialist interest in the delivery of effective patient care. This module will revisit existing knowledge of the research process and 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Cardiac Illness: Advanced Assessment and Management
    With the development of nurse-led services and pathways in cardiac care it is increasingly becoming necessary for nurses to enhance their knowledge and skills with regards to assessing the person with a cardiac condition in order to propose and initiate appropriate interventions or referral. Nurses are now taking on roles in which they are consenting patients for cardiac interventions, interpreting tests such as bloods and ECHO’s, leading clinics and making decisions to aid diagnosis, treatment and discharge. This module is suitable for nurses working in acute settings such as chest pain specialist nurses, heart failure, cardiac rehabilitation and senior ward nurses and community care. The purpose of this module is to consolidate the knowledge, skills and attitudes already gained in order to demonstrate competence with the aim of developing skills for the mastery of assessment and management of patients with cardiac dysfunction and illness. This module will also explore new ways of working for their future career as an advanced nurse practitioner in cardiac care.
  • 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).
  • Contemporary Issues in Mental Health Care
    Explore current issues in mental health from both a national and global perspective. Together we’ll address a number of issues related to mental health and society. The way in which mental illness is portrayed through the media and the impact this can have on interpretations of mental health and mental illness within a given society will be explored. This includes examining how mental health is represented in the news, on social media and within fictional sources including films and literature. The delivery of culturally appropriate health care will also be examined and how the knowledge gained can be applied to current or future practice.
  • Contemporary UK Healthcare Practice
    As a non-UK healthcare practitioner, you will gain an overview of contemporary healthcare practice in the UK. You will be given an overview of the National Health Service, understanding of the role of medical, nursing and allied health professions in the UK and the professional bodies that regulate them. You will explore legal and ethical concepts such as confidentiality, autonomy and advocacy that underpin UK healthcare practice. You will undertake 100 hours of observational practice visits. No direct or indirect patient care will be undertaken on these visits. These visits will be dependent on your areas of interest and negotiated with the course leader. The assessment for this module is a 15-minute seminar presentation and a 3,000-word written critical reflection. If you choose this module you’ll be required to satisfactorily complete a DBS check and occupational health clearance.
  • Critical Care
    This module provides a partnership between theoretical knowledge and practical competence as supported by the National Standards for Critical Care Nurse Education (Critical Care National Nurse Network Leads 2012). You will be required to provide safe, high quality care for the critically ill. Through this module you will learn strategies to support improvements in critical care practice. Thus such safety and quality of care becomes embedded within your clinical practice through the ability to continually re-evaluate and enhance care. It is recognised that the critical care environment is constantly changing especially with the emergence of new technologies and therapies to facilitate patient recovery from an often life threatening illness. To be able to care for the critically ill patient expertly, critical care nurses need to ensure they develop and maintain their own competence in practice. The importance of competence within nursing is recognised as one of the six 'Cs' fundamental to the vision of developing a culture of compassion and care (Department of Health 2012). As a theory/practice you 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, scenario based group work and simulation.
  • 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.
  • Enhancing Care for the Adult Patient
    The needs of an individual will change on admission to hospital. In order to assess and interpret the patient’s needs and to provide high quality nursing care, nurses require particular skills and knowledge. This module will enable the student to enhance the skills necessary to assess and plan holistic care in a hospital setting, taking into account the biological disorders, multi-cultural needs and the diverse patient population that the students will be used to caring for in their own areas of clinical practice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Safeguarding Children and Young People
    In this module you will study explanations of child abuse and safeguarding children and young people, and critically reflect upon the findings. An examination of personal reflections related to children and young people, and the relevant issues, will also offer professional insight into current policy and procedure. It will enable you to critically evaluate your own knowledge and the skills which underpin your current practice and to take a more proactive and innovative stance when promoting the safeguarding of children and young people.
  • 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.
  • 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.


To find out more details about the modules including teaching dates and locations please take a look at our Continuing Professional Development course listings page.

Assessments are your chance to show your achievement of learning outcomes, we make sure that we use different methods to adapt to different learning styles. Assessments vary from module to module and will include: essays, online activities, portfolios of evidence of work-based learning, OSCEs, competency frameworks for practice learning, viva voce, unseen examinations and posters. The assessment have been designed to give you freedom to explore your own areas of interest and develop specialist knowledge and skills in your practice. The appointment of a mentor in practice will ensure that you are assessed suitably throughout the whole course.

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

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, per year)


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.

For more information about fees, please enquire with our CPD Admissions Team. Call 01245 686868 or email

Entry requirements

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Due to the national lockdown all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.

Teaching options when not in a lockdown

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic all our students can choose to either study face to face on campus or online only, and students are able to change their mode of delivery at given dates throughout the trimester.

For on campus teaching, we offer at least 4 hours face to face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full time programmes supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours vary 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 the University remains 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 within the UK 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.

National Lockdown (from 5 January 2021) 

View the impact of the current restrictions

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

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.

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