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 Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date January 2022, September 2022, January 2023
  • Duration MSc part-time: 24 to 48 months
  • Mode of study Online, Part-time, Stand-alone modules


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 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 Master’s 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

The course uses a flexible approach, with modules delivered online. Face-to-face attendance is only required for the clinical modules for the MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice).

This flexible course can be completed part-time over 3 or 3.5 years. Currently, we 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)

Each module, with the exception of the dissertation module, is available as a stand-alone Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module.

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. You’ll study Advancing Practice in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport – ranked top in Scotland for Health Research in the UK’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).

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, Allied Health Professional or Social Care Professional is required for entry to this MSc. Applicants are also usually required to have a degree qualification.

You do not have to be considering an Advanced Practioner 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 either Nursing, Social Work 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, health or social care practitioner plus a minimum of an ordinary degree with three years clinical experience. This is essential to undertake the clinical modules.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

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

  • IELTS Indicator 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 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
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 105 overall with a minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 20 December 2021

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

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

Please note there are additional supervisory requirements to undertake Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals and 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 programme.

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

One of the benefits of our programme is the range of choice. The only compulsory module is Methodologies for Practice which must be taken prior to the Dissertation module.

If you are on the MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice) pathway the following two modules are compulsory as part of your option choices:

  • Advanced Clinical Assessment and Examination
  • Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals

It does not matter which module you start with, however you should not select the Methodologies for Practice or Dissertation modules until nearer the end of your programme.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). 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 face-to-face clinical modules.

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

Online resources and face-to-face 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.


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

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2021/22 fees
 UK and Republic of Ireland studentsOverseas students
Full course fee £6,600 £16,775
20-credit module £734 £1,864
40-credit module £1,468 £3,728
60-credit module £2,202 £5,592


2022/23 fees
 UK and Republic of Ireland studentsOverseas students
Full course fee £7,100 £17,275
20-credit module £789 £1,919
40-credit module £1,578 £3,839
60-credit module £2,367 £5,758

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

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 £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 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.

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 postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within fifteen months of graduating (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020, HESA).

The University’s health and social care courses are taught by world-leading experts. We were ranked 1st in Scotland for Health Sciences in the most recent Research Excellence Framework survey.

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

Dianne Ross
Dianne Ross
Scotland, United Kingdom
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
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

Changes at Stirling

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