MSc Advancing Practice

Enhance your career opportunities with our Masters in Advancing Practice – a flexible course for nurses and allied health professionals.

Advancing Practice

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration MSc part-time: 24 to 48 months
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery blended


The health and social care needs of the population are changing globally, highlighted most recently by the Covid-19 pandemic. The delivery of Health and Social Care supports integrated services focusing on prevention, early intervention and enablement to support people to live well for as long as possible in their own homes and communities. Health and social care professionals working in integrated teams, play a critical part in realising this vision. These roles have developed and expanded to meet new challenges and this Masters course has therefore been designed to support you to gain skills, confidence and knowledge to work effectively at an advanced level.

Working in partnership with clinical experts, patients and health care providers, this course is designed for any health professional working in a clinical, education, management or research role who is keen to challenge their thinking, gain new skills and make a difference to their practice.

We welcome applications from those about to complete pre-registration degree courses, those post-registration health care professionals working in practice, or those studying as part of other post-graduate level courses.

The course offers two different pathways:

Pathway A: Advancing Practice

This is suitable for all registered health care professionals within and outside of the UK, who are keen to gain advanced knowledge and expertise in contemporary healthcare issues to lead and influence within their role. The modules for this award are delivered entirely online which means this can be completed by professionals practising anywhere in the world.


Pathway B: Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice)

This is only suitable for health professionals practising in the UK who are working towards an advanced practice role or who require advanced skills to meet the demands of their current role and whose work is primarily clinically focused.

To gain this award, you are required to undertake two compulsory clinical modules:

These compulsory modules require regular face-to-face attendance for teaching and assessment to take place. In addition, the Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals module leads to a qualification with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), therefore you must be practising and registered within the UK to undertake this.

Teaching at Stirling is practice-focused, with an emphasis on employability and transforming careers.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

If you’re a health care professional, this course aims to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to advance both your career and your field of contemporary care.

After graduating you’ll be able to:

  • use your knowledge and skills to inform the organisation and delivery of care;
  • demonstrate advanced decision-making skills;
  • display an extensive understanding of advanced practice central themes, including 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.

Professional accreditation

All modules place a strong emphasis on your practice, aligning course content with clinical scenarios and professional requirements at Masters level.

Our Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals module meets the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Flexible learning

Our flexible degree structure means you can study the following modules from the MSc Advancing Practice individually as stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses:

These modules can link into appraisal systems such as the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework to help you record your professional development as you study.

Most modules are delivered online, however face-to-face attendance is required for MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) clinical modules.

You can complete this course part-time over 3 or 3.5 years. We currently don't offer a full-time route.

You can exit the course with a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Practice.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Practice.
  • Masters in Advancing Practice.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice).
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice).
  • Masters in Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice).

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

Research overview

You'll be taught by researchers in the field of nursing and healthcare. 100% of our research environment, 80% of our research impact and 83% of our overall research in Allied Health Professions and Nursing is classed as world leading or internationally excellent.

The Faculty is committed to ongoing excellence in research and teaching, and we take pride in the difference our work and our students can make in the world.

Find out more about the Faculty's research.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Current professional registration as a Nurse or Allied Health Professional is required for entry to this Masters. Applicants are also usually required to have a degree qualification.

You do not have to be considering an Advanced Practitioner role to apply for this course, although as part of the MSc in Advancing Practice we do offer a clinical pathway, which would support you if you are either in a trainee or substantive Advanced Practitioner role. If you are not in one of these roles, we have a wide range of modules to suit your practice area.

We welcome applications from those who are just about to complete a professional undergraduate degree qualification in Nursing, or any of the Allied Health Professions.

MSc Advancing Practice

We welcome international applications for the MSc Advancing Practice as this is delivered completely online.

We accept applicants that have an ordinary degree and are currently working in practice or students in their final year of study will also be considered but this will be conditional on you obtaining registration and gaining employment (full or part-time, even if it is on the bank).

MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) Pathway

Only UK applicants are eligible for the MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) pathway.

Current professional registration as nurse,or Allied Health Professional plus a minimum of an ordinary degree with at least 12 months clinical experience. You must also have the support of your line manager, as this is essential to undertake the clinical modules.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Our Masters in Advancing Practice equips you with valuable knowledge and skills that can boost your contribution to health and social care – and enhance your career progression.

Course modules are each worth 20 or 40 credits. The dissertation module is worth 60 credits.

Students require 60 credits to exit with a Post Graduate Certificate; 120 credits to exit with a Post Graduate Diploma and 180 credits to exit with a Masters award.

To achieve the MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) award, the following two core modules are required as part of your option choices:

  • Advanced Clinical Assessment and Examination
  • Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals

There are additional supervisory requirements to undertake Advanced Clinical Assessment and Examination and Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals. Further information will be requested when you are ready to undertake this module.

If you have completed Masters Level modules previously you can apply at point of entry to the programme for credits from another University to be applied. We have regulations around how much credit can be applied but you will be signposted to these on application to the course.

You can study any of our modules on a standalone basis to contribute towards your continuing professional development.

It does not matter which module you start with, however you should not select the Evidence based practice or Dissertation modules until nearer the end of your course. 

One of the benefits of our course is the range of choice. The only compulsory module is Evidence based practice which must be taken prior to the Dissertation module.

For January intake applicants taking the clinical practice pathway only:  a leave of absence or alternative first module will be required for the Spring Semester as ADPP011 does not run until the Summer Semester and is therefore unavailable in Spring.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


The MSc Advancing Practice is delivered entirely online. For the MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) pathway you are required to undertake two compulsory clinical modules, which require face-to-face attendance.

Online resources and interactive teaching sessions are designed to engage and challenge your thinking as you acquire new knowledge, skills and competencies. You’re also encouraged to embed your learning within your practice, advancing your critical understanding and application by completing directed activities, reading, seminars and tutorials.

How you'll learn online

We use the Canvas virtual learning platform to deliver elements of teaching online, such as online seminars, podcasts, videos and other interactive materials.


Assessments will reflect the specific requirements of the modules undertaken, and could include essays, portfolios and examinations.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023-24 fees
  UK and Republic of Ireland students International (including EU) students
Full course fee £7,600 £17,775
20-credit module £844 £1,975
40-credit module £1,689 £3,950
60-credit module £2,533 £5,925


2024-25 fees
  UK and Republic of Ireland students International (including EU) students
Full course fee £8,000 £18,700
20-credit module £889 £2,078
40-credit module £1,778 £4,156
60-credit module £2,667 £6,233

You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every module you enrol on.

Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course. If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

This fee is charged as a module fee. For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

If you complete this course in 36 months or less, you may be eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the , below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding


Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students who complete this course in 36 months or less may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

This flexible course aims to help nurses and allied health professionals to develop their professional role, leadership skills and contribution to their own area of practice, whether this is clinical practice, advanced or specialist practice, management or education. 

These modules support Continuing Professional Development and can be easily linked to appraisal systems such as the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework. This enables you to clearly identify the core and specific dimensions which can be achieved when you successfully complete a module. In addition, completion of these modules can support evidence for your professional revalidation requirements and support your career development. All modules can be linked to specific professional capability or competency frameworks within your practice area.

96% of our graduates were in employment or further study 15 months after graduation (Graduate Outcomes 2020/21, HESA).

100% of our research environment, 80% of our research impact and 83% of our overall research in Allied Health Professions and Nursing is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Employability skills

After completing our MSc Advancing Practice or the individual modules, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate extensive and critical knowledge of the central themes of advanced practice - leadership, facilitation of learning, research/development and advanced professional practice
  • 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 our students said

Zenzo Dube
Zenzo Dube
MSc Advancing Practice
I enjoyed my previous study here, so decided to come back to study a Masters. The course has given me the opportunity to advance my knowledge and practice and I hope it will further my career in the future.
Read Zenzo's story
Dianne Ross
Dianne Ross
Scotland, United Kingdom
MSc Advancing Practice
The range of modules available meant that it was easy to find ones that sounded interesting and were relevant to my role both current and in the future. I particularly liked the methods used to deliver the modules which were easy to fit around my work
Read Dianne's story
Andrew Mill
Andrew Mill
United Kingdom
MSc Advancing Practice
The quality of the teaching was second to none with the lecturers bringing in hospital consultants or Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) to teach each topic related to the course.
Read Andrew's story

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