Advanced Practice

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate

MSc Advanced Practice

(Specialist Masters available in Cancer Care, Cardiac Care or Mental Health)


The Masters in Advanced Practice programme aims to assist nurses, allied health professionals and social care practitioners to develop their professional role, leadership skills and contribution to their own area of practice, whether clinical practice, management or education or practice development.

All students are encouraged to work innovatively and collaboratively across disciplines, in keeping with the ethos of improving the experience of shared care delivery for patients, families and carers in the 21st century.  All the modules support the student’s engagement with and achievement of advanced skills and knowledge.

The MSc in Advanced Practice is a product of partnerships with university departments, research centres and external partners.  This ensures a robust academic and practice based context is maintained throughout.

Who is this course for?

The MSc in Advanced Practice is open to trained nurses, social and allied health professionals from a range of backgrounds and interests. Our programme is designed for practitioners and managers who wish to demonstrate their knowledge of contemporary health care within a position they currently hold, or those who aspire to develop higher levels of professional knowledge and expertise in their area of practice.

Students who complete 180 credits and gain a Masters, have, depending on their chosen module pathway, the option to graduate with a specialist named degree and demonstrate their level of knowledge in a specific area of practice. (The decision to follow a specific pathway in order to graduate with a named award is entirely the students’ decision but a minimum of two specialist modules must be undertaken within that pathway). We offer three specialist named degrees; Mental Health, Cardiac Care, and Cancer Care as well as the unnamed award.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a taught postgraduate degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Stand-alone modules, Mixture of online and classroom delivery
  • Duration: Part-time, 2 or 3 years / Full-time, 1 year
  • Start date:

    September or January

  • Course Director: Dr Susanne Cruickshank and Dr Julie Cowie
Download postgraduate prospectus

Continuing Education Coordinator

Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
University of Stirling

  1. You will gain a Masters degree from a multi-award winning Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, led by a group of world-leading academics, with strong and established research records, real nursing experience and a wealth of world-class publications who will support you both personally and academically.
  2. The flexibility of this programme allows for students to manage their studies around their professional and personal life. The part-time option offers you the option to choose to study over 2 years or 3. Those who can commit to full-time study can complete the programme in 1 year.
  3. The MSc Advanced Practice offers you the opportunity to graduate with a named award, thus displaying your specialist knowledge in a specific area of practice.
  4. Further flexibility is provided by the diverse variety of optional modules available throughout the entirety of the course.
  5. To ensure that you equipped with the necessary knowledge and capabilities to conduct a successful dissertation and complete your Masters, specialist modules are available, specific to the three dissertation options, designed to develop your understanding and practical abilities.


Your four options:

  • MSc Advanced Practice
  • MSc Advanced Practice (in Mental Health)
  • MSc Advanced Practice (in Cancer Care)
  • MSc Advanced Practice (in Cardiac Care)

See the 'Module Titles' section for a more detailed breakdown of pathways that suit your area of practice.


Course objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Develop and embed knowledge, skills and confidence to inform the organisation and delivery of care and advanced decision making

  • Demonstrate extensive and critical knowledge of the central themes of  advanced practice, namely, leadership, facilitation of learning, research/development  and advanced professional practice, and the underpinning principles

  • Apply critical reasoning and argument skills to support evidence-based practice as part of health and social care delivery

  • Evaluate theoretical models as a basis for informing advanced practice developments and innovation

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

Learn more

Library shelves

Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

Watch our videos now

Live Life

Entry requirements

Academic 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.

Current professional registration as nurse or health/social care practitioner is required.

Please note: If you are a student from overseas and applying with a Tier 4 student visa, we unfortunately can not accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs

2017/18 Overseas PG Cert - £4,350 PG Dip - £8,700 MSc - £13,050
2017/18 Home/EU PG Cert - £1534 PG Dip - £3067 MSc - £4,600


2018/19 Overseas MSc - £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU To be confirmed

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

There is a variety of sources students may apply for funding: ILA 500, Charities and NHS Boards.

Our Scholarship Finder can be used to find sources of funding you may be eligible for

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

This flexible programme of study can be completed over three years or two years part-time or full-time over 12 months.  You are encouraged to embed your learning within your practice, thereby advancing your critical understanding and application by completing directed activities, reading, seminars, tutorials and accessing student support online.  Each module, with the exception of the dissertation, is available as a stand-alone Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module.

Delivery and assessment

The course utilises a blended approach to learning. Blackboard Collaborate™ is used as a platform for synchronised e-learning. Module content will be supported by Web-based materials including podcasts. Campus days will be facilitated by face to face contact using video-conferencing/connective technologies/SKYPE where appropriate for distance students.

The course assessment strategy will centre on student acquisition of the necessary theoretical knowledge and access to expert practice required to meet the learning outcomes.  The student will be encouraged to participate in reflective and critical review of their knowledge and practice through engagement with online materials and in the preparation of assignments and dissertation.


Which pathway is perfect for you?

A complete list of available modules, including elective options for specialist awards can be found using the tables on this page. Please take the time to consider either the generic Advanced Practice MSc or an Advanced Practice MSc with a specialism (Cancer Care, Cardiac Care, or Mental Health).

Recommended reading

Reading lists are made available on commencement of each module.

Study method


Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

3 Year part-time route (example)
  Autumn Spring
Year 1

Skills for Knowledge Enquiry (Teaching only) CORE Skills for Knowledge Enquiry (Assessment only) (20 credits) CORE
The Advanced Practitioner (20 credits) CORE One optional OR one named award module (20 credits)
Year 2
Care Integration in Practice (Teaching only) Care Integration in Practice (Assessment only) (20 credits)

Select one Optional module or one named award module:

(Cardiac Care; Cancer Care; Mental Health) (20 credits)

One module (20 credits) as a pre-requisite for your choice of dissertation:

- Quality Improvement in Health Care Project (QI)
- Evaluating Impact on Practice (WBP)

You must select one of the pre-requisite modules (20 credits) from the choice below or from the choice given in the spring year 2 selection:

- Qualitative Design and Analysis (RP), – Teaching only autumn semester and assessment only spring semester
- Quantitative Design and Analysis (RP) – Teaching only autumn semester and assessment only spring semester

Non-Medical Prescribing (40 credits)                                                                                                                                       If you select the Non-Medical Prescribing you will not do the Care Integration in Practice Module
 Year 3

 Select ONE of the following CORE dissertation modules (60 credits):

- Quality Improvement (QI)
- Work Based Project (WBP)
- Research Proposal (RP)


2 Year part-time route (example)

Year 1

Select one Optional OR one Specialist module (Cancer Care; Cardiac Care; Mental Health) (20 credits)
Optional module choices 

  • Effective Person-Centred Consultations (20 credits), [ADPP028]
  • Advanced Clinical Decision Making in Acute Care (20 credits), [ADPP026]
  • Anticipating and Enhancing the Health and Well-being of the Person with Dementia in Practice Settings (20 credits), [HWOP002]
  • GIRFEC A Multidisciplinary Approach to Practice (20 credits), [EYPP01]

Specialist module choices

  • Cancer care: Exploring the Science and Context of Cancer and its Treatment (20 credits), [ADPP005]
  • Cardiac Care: Cardiovascular Disease. Prevention and Challenges (20 credits), [ADPP029]
  • Mental Health: Minimising Risk and Maximising Recovery in Mental Health (20 credits), [ADPP008]

Year 2

Select one Optional module or one Specialist module (Cancer Care; Cardiac Care; Mental Health) (20 credits)
Optional module choices 

  • Partnerships in Care for Managing Long Term Conditions (20 credits), [ADPP06]
  • Exploring Complexities of Caring for the Older Person (20 credits), [HWOP001]
  • Contemporary Leadership in Early Years’ Practice (20 credits), [EYPP03]
  • Non-Medical Prescribing (spans autumn 2017 and spring 2017) (40 credits), [ADPP013]

  Specialist module choices 

  • Cancer care: Promoting Health & Well-Being in People Affected by Cancer (20 credits), [ADPP031]
  • Cardiac Care: Cardiac Care: Acute Treatment, Recovery and Rehabilitation (20 credits), [ADPP030]
  • Mental Health: Towards a Psychological Trauma Informed Future (20 credits), [ADPP025]

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

1st for Research


Our research is world class and is recognised for its quality and innovation. We are the premier faculty for health sciences research in Scotland.

In the research assessment exercise REF2014: 

  • The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport came top for health research in Scotland and was ranked 12th in the UK overall;
  • Our research environment is outstanding and was rated as top-equal in the UK;
  • Overall nearly half of our research activity was rated as 4* placing us top in Scotland and 9th in the UK;
  • Nearly 90% of our peer-reviewed research papers were rated as being of international significance.

We are a new Faculty and will continue to build our capacity to deliver high-quality research which improves the health of people in Scotland and reduces health inequalities through its impact on policy and practice.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


This programme uses the wide breadth of expertise within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport to bring you a range of optional modules that can be completed to give you an MSc in Advanced Practice with or without a named specialist award.

Our staff

Course Director

  • Dr Patricia Thomson
  • Dr Susanne Cruickshank
  • Dr Julie Cowie

Course Team

  • Lorraine Armstrong
  • Janette Barrie
  • Michelle Beattie
  • Elaine Dibden
  • Dr Barbara Farquharson
  • Dr Mairi Harper
  • Brian James
  • Dr Leah Macaden
  • Angela MacAskill
  • Michael MacPhee
  • Dr Cari Malcolm
  • Dr Nicola Ring
  • Julia Scott
  • Dr Annetta Smith
  • Joanna Smith
  • Dr Anne Taylor
  • James Taylor
  • Professor Mary Wells
  • Jennifer Young

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Completion of the Advanced Practice programme provides opportunity to develop transferable skills therein optimising the ability of each student to impact on the experience of individuals, families and service providers within a range of clinical, social and pastoral settings within the UK and internationally. All modules are related to NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF), enabling you to clearly identify the core and specific dimensions within the KSF which can be achieved when you successfully complete your module/programme.

All modules can be linked to specific professional capability/competency frameworks within your practice area. You are encouraged to view your participation within the programme as a means of supporting your professional development plans (PDP) and career progression.

Industry connections

The programme provides the opportunity for students to experience collaborative learning and links with other home-based, national and international students.  This strengthens their understanding of different contexts of care and the challenges therein.

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