MSc Advancing Practice


Program Description

Expand your health and social care expertise, gain new skills and make a difference to your practice with our MSc Advancing Practice. Working in partnership with clinical experts, patients, health and social care providers, our course is designed for any health and social care professionals working in a clinical, education, management or research role.

This content of this Masters course in Advancing Practice has been strongly influenced by the fact that the health and social needs of the population are changing globally. We have an ageing population with changing patterns of ill-health and the use of health and social care services. We understand the diverse needs of every individual.

Degree pathways

You can choose from two different degree pathways:

MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice)

Designed for health professionals in the UK whose work is primarily clinically focused, are working towards an advanced practice role or require advanced skills to meet the demands of their current role.

This pathway uses a flexible approach, with modules delivered online and face-to-face. Face-to-face attendance is required for the clinically-focused modules, as these are delivered by experts working in partnership with University staff to maximise different learning opportunities for students.

MSc Advancing Practice

For any health professional – locally, nationally or internationally – who wants to gain advanced knowledge and expertise in contemporary healthcare issues to lead and influence their role.

This pathway can be undertaken completely online. However, if you choose one of the clinically-focused modules, face-to-face attendance is required, as these are delivered by experts working in partnership with University staff to maximise learning opportunities for students.

Part-time, flexible study

Each pathway can be studied part-time over 2-4 years, giving you the flexibility to work around your professional and personal commitments as you earn this highly-regarded postgraduate qualification.

We welcome applications from those about to complete pre-registration courses (adult and mental health), those post-registration working in practice, or those studying as part of other post-graduate level courses.

Throughout your studies, you’ll learn from our world-leading academics and draw from the latest research to enhance your leadership skills and critical thinking.

Top reasons to study with us

  1. We’re ranked 1st in Scotland for Health Sciences (REF 2014).
  2. Choose from modules that will enable you to enhance your career aspirations.
  3. All modules relate directly to practice.

Course objectives

If you’re a health or social 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 the 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 accreditations

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

Our Non-Medical Prescribing module meets the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Health Professions Council.

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.

You’ll study a range of core and optional modules, which will vary depending on which degree pathway you choose:

MSc Advancing Practice

You'll be required to undertake core modules in

  • Advanced Practice
  • Long-term conditions: Care and Management
  • Methodologies for project work in practice

Each is worth 20 credits. You'll also be required to choose another 60 credits and your dissertation (60 credits). Students who complete 180 credits will gain a master’s degree.

MSc Advancing Practice (Clinical Practice)

This pathway places a strong emphasis on:

  • Advanced clinical outcomes
  • Autonomous practice
  • Critical thinking
  • High levels of decision-making and problem solving
  • Values-based care
  • Improving practice

You'll be required to undertake and apply the core modules in advanced clinical assessment and examination, non-medical prescribing and advanced practice to your own area of practice.

Students who complete 180 credits will gain a Masters degree.

Who can apply for this pathway?

Any nurse or allied health professional who is working at, or towards, an Advanced Practice level/title. Please note there are additional supervisory requirements to undertake non-medical prescribing and further information will be requested when you are ready to do this module.


This course includes a mixture of both classroom-based and online teaching. The exact ratio of online versus face-to-face learning will depend on which degree pathway and modules you choose. It’s possible for students on the core Advancing Practice pathway to complete the entire course remotely. We use the CANVAS virtual learning platform to deliver elements of teaching online, as well as podcasts, videos and other interactive materials. Video conferencing software will also be used, where appropriate, for distance-learners.

Your teaching staff will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to critically reflect, review and write at Masters level – and to achieve a successful outcome. 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 pathway and modules undertaken and could include examinations, essays and practical tests.

Course director

Dr Susanne Cruickshank
+44 (0)1786 466362

Dr Julie Cowie
+44 (0)1786 466103

Fees - 2020/2021

  • Overseas: £15,250
  • Home/EU: £6,000
Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society.

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society. Read less