Dementia Studies

Study Dementia Studies and graduate with a university degree

Postgraduate Diploma, MSc, Postgraduate Certificate

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Dementia Studies
  • Type Online, Part-time
  • Start date September and JanuarySee

Programme Secretary Colin Bell Building
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467746

Applied Social Science is at the forefront of developing new elearning opportunities. In 2003, we offered the first online MSc in Dementia Studies in the UK. In following person-centred care principles, this course places the person with dementia at the very centre of our understanding.

Course objectives

The objectives of the MSc are to:

  • develop an advanced understanding of multidisciplinary perspectives about dementia and approaches to dementia care
  • address critical issues in dementia care and service delivery
  • foster improved multidisciplinary and collaborative practice
  • compare and contrast national and international research
  • identify and debate current practice developments
  • develop critical thinking to promote reflective practice
  • develop knowledge and skills of social research processes

The course has been developed to provide students with an in-depth, research-based knowledge of dementia, including theory, innovative and best practice, policy drivers and initiatives studies and a grounding in academic and research skills.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Students must be professionals currently working in a relevant field.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Part-time (delivered by mixed mode):

MSc: three years
Diploma: two years
Certificate: one year

Course start date

September and January
See semester dates

Structure and content

This MSc has been carefully designed to form a coherent and integrated course. It consists of six modules taken over three years with students completing two modules each year.

  • Critical and creative approaches to dementia – This module will introduce students to current and cutting edge theory in dementia studies and explore how this has been taken forward and translated into practice. Due to the complex nature of dementia theoretical perspectives from a range of disciplines will be considered. Students are encouraged to understand how these theories influence practice and within this module the focus is on the diverse array of creative and arts-based approaches to working with people with dementia as viable alternatives to pharmacological interventions. Students will be supported to develop skills of critical analysis and writing and to better understand recent developments in the theoretical and methodological landscape of dementia studies.
  • Working with People with Dementia: investigates different approaches used when working with people with dementia, focusing strongly on the role of communication. The roles of life story work and the arts, as well as design and technology in dementia care, are explored
  • Education and Support for Paid and Unpaid Carers of People with Dementia: examines what is known about the experiences of paid and unpaid carers of people with dementia. There is a strong focus on the various education and training programmes offered to these two groups
  • Living with Dementia – Care Pathways: looks at the experiences of people with dementia through the lifespan of the condition from diagnosis to end of life care and death. Examples are drawn from a wide range of groups and individuals to illustrate diversity in the experiences of people with dementia
  • Researching Dementia: focuses on different aspects of the research process. Assignments will include a literature review and a research proposal. This module will equip students with necessary skills to undertake social research
  • Evaluation and Assessment in Dementia Care: introduces students to the evaluation process. It discusses assessment and outcome measures. The module will develop students’ skills in critical analysis of the literature and in assessing research and evaluation projects

Delivery and assessment

Each module commences with a one day introductory session at the University and entails 300 hours study over a 15-week period.

Apart from an introductory session, all teaching uses text and web-based distance-learning materials. The specially designed interactive website enables student interaction and tutorial support as well as providing online access to the programme materials and much of the reading material required. Special emphasis is placed on a collaborative and problem-solving approach to learning and on encouraging reflective practice.

All modules are assessed through coursework and you experience a range of assessment including essays, evaluation reports, research proposals and literature reviews.

Students will require access to a computer with an internet connection; broadband or a link to a powerful LAN (such as in a college or University) is the preferred option, although dial-up with a minimum of a 56K modem will also work.


Course Director

Dr Louise McCabe

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was ‘Internationally Excellent’ with the top 10 percent of that judged to be ‘World-leading’.

Career opportunities

This course has enabled students to develop practice within their existing posts, while some previous students have moved to more specialised or promoted posts. It has also encouraged some students to continue with research on completion of their studies. Other students have become involved in training initiatives.


2014/15Overseas£1,365 per module
2014/15Home/EU£945 per module
2013/14Overseas£1,365 per module
2013/14Home/EU£945 per module

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Masters Scholarships

The Scottish Funding Council is funding Home/EU tuition fees for a number of places on this course.  Funded places are open to applicants domiciled in Scotland and the EU.  More information

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS.  More information

Information on possible sources of funding