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Advanced Clinical Practice MSc

The NHS Long term plan, published in January 2019, sets out a vision for the future based on new models of care. Health Education England (HEE) in the East Midlands is supporting this as are other institutional bodies across the region and nationally.

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Notice for 2021 entry

Please note that Advanced Clinical Practice is not being delivered for 2021 entry. However, there are still options available for you to consider.

You may choose to apply to study one of the other programmes offered at DMU. We have a wide range of courses available which start in September 2021, including:

If you would like to discuss your options further don’t hesitate to contact our Enquiry team on 0116 2 50 60 70 or email

One of the major changes envisaged in the NHS's Five Year Forward View and further developed in the Long Term Plan is the changing roles of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, essentially taking on roles that previously were the domain of medical staff. This has been happening for many years but numbers have increased significantly over recent times and with it a burgeoning desire to see standards set and the role clearly defined.

There is unfortunately still no clear definition of what ‘advanced practice’ is and therefore the education and roles that the practitioner might be required to perform or undertake is also open to question. There is however clear support from all parties involved (across the UK) that the educational provision should be at Masters level; and ideally a full MSc. The Department of Health (DoH) and HEE have published curriculum guidelines pertaining to the content of ACP courses in an attempt to introduce some standardisation. The full MSc enhances the practitioner’s ability to appraise research, think critically, and prepares them to develop further beyond simply the role of an expert clinician.

Our MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme is designed to match the DoH and HEE guidelines, and future proof graduates in regards to possible credentialing or voluntary registration schemes in the future. This programme has also taken into account the needs of local stakeholders and the views of past and current students. We seek to develop:

“Registered practitioners with an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded autonomous scope of practice, the characteristics of which are shaped by the context in which the individual practices. Demonstrable at Masters level and meets the education, training and CPD requirements for Advanced Clinical Practice” (HEEM, 2014)

The advanced practitioner is characterised by high levels of skill, competence and autonomous decision making, at a perhaps higher level than the specialist, though of course a practitioner may well specialise at an advanced level. A more simplistic explanation might be that the specialist operates at a high level in their specialism, but returns to novice when outside it; the advanced practitioner operates at a higher level in their speciality, but can also bring advanced practice to other areas as well. The department of Health (2010) suggested that it was a level of practice, rather than specific role.

Nationally, due to the extremely varied nature of ACP roles, it has proved impossible to define a set list of ‘competencies’, beyond very broad strictures such as the ability to physically examine a patient. There is however broad agreement 

on some aspects that should be common to all. Those have been identified as the ‘four pillars’ of advanced practice:

  • Clinical
  • Education
  • Research
  • Leadership

The MSc ACP at De Montfort University draws these together and produces an able graduate who is highly employable. This course will not make you competent – no course will – but it will give you the educational grounding in order to develop competence and in turn become expert, with a strong clinical focus.

The curriculum has been designed with expert advice from clinicians, academics and local strategic partners to address both the academic and clinical demands of the role. Regular meetings are held between faculty and clinical staff to ensure good exchange of information. Student opinion and feedback is also incorporated.

More courses like this:

If you want perhaps some physical examination but don’t want – or won’t be supported – in the ACP role, then the MSc in Professional Clinical Practice may be for you.


  • UK
  • EU/International

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice
PG Dip Advanced Clinical Practice
PG Cert Clinical Practice

Course code: B90081

Duration: Students are able to complete the programme part time in three to six years. There is no full time option.

Attendance: The university requires a minimum of 80% attendance at taught sessions. Students should also be aware that if they are seconded from an employing organisation, or funded by same, then details of their attendance will be passed to that organisation.

Location of study:

Learning takes place at DMU in Leicester, usually in either the Edith Murphy building or the Hawthorn Building. Locations will be given at the start of each module, and any changes communicated using Blackboard (DMU virtual Learning Environment).

How to apply: Students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online portal.

International students who do not currently have employment rights in the UK are not eligible for this course.

Entry criteria

Standard entry requirements:

  1. Holds a professional qualification as a health care practitioner and is currently registered with the relevant health care professional body.

  2. Is able to supply two references, one giving emphasis to academic and clinical ability.

  3. Has an honours degree (2:2 or above) awarded by a British University or other equivalent approved degree awarding college/body.

Minimum entry requirements:

In exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to a student who:

  1. Holds a professional qualification as a health care practitioner and is currently registered with the relevant health care professional body.

  2. Is able to supply two references, giving emphasis to academic and clinical ability.

  3. Demonstrates expertise through publication, change management and/or leadership as well as successful study at third level or above through Professional Portfolio.

Some organisations may wish to impose other criteria / restrictions upon students. For example, UHL interview staff members who they wish to develop as ACP and as a result of this process either selects or rejects them for the programme. The prospective student must still satisfy DMU entry requirements. These processes fall outside of the DMU admissions process and are not subject to DMU control. The students are then seconded by the employing organisation to enable them to undertake the course.

International students who do not currently have employment rights in the UK are not eligible for this course.

English language requirements:

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning (CELL), is available both before and during the course.

Please visit for more information.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Teaching contact hours


Students must complete a total of 180 credits.

Year one

MPHE 5801 – Advanced Consultation and physical examination skills

This is the physical examination / history-taking module and will enable the student to critically appraise the underlying principles of consultation and physical examination. It is assessed with an assignment and OSCE’s. Runs in Semester 1. Allied issues such as requesting investigations, inter-professional team working, patient referral mechanisms and professional accountability in an advanced role are also addressed. It is aimed at those health care practitioners who will be professionally supported in this active interventionist role.  It is relevant to Registered Paramedics, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals working within a variety of primary and secondary care settings.

If you do not work in an environment where you will have the opportunity to see / examine all systems, then you will need to be able to take time to access such an environment.

MPHE 5804 – Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Clinical Practice

The module will enable the student to make informed judgements, problem solve and identify complex health needs and issues specific to an advanced clinical role. It covers pathophysiology, diagnostic reasoning and the application of specialist knowledge (e.g. rheumatology, haematology, hepatology) to general ACP practice. It runs in Semester 2 and is assessed with a portfolio and case study.

MPHE 5204 – Independent Study – Advanced Practice

This Semester 1 module allows you to develop and explore in depth an area of developing and/or developed health and professional practice. In negotiation with your manager or module leader, an area of new or continuing developed study will be identified.

Building on prior achievements concerning your knowledge and experience you will take forward an area of developing health and professional practice using the framework of independent contracted learning

This is an independent study module and you will be required to negotiate individual tutorials with the relevant supervisor/s to discuss the learning outcomes of the module. The content for this module will be influenced by your choice of topic to study. You will be required to critically examine a topic independently.

It is anticipated that the module will provide the opportunity to critically examine an issue which is relevant to your current practice. Critical analysis of professional practice is also encouraged using a national and international perspective.

Year two:

SPEC 5610 – Research methods for health professionals

Taken in Semester 1 of year 2, this module introduces the student to research methodologies and is critical for developing understanding building towards the service improvement plan and the prescribing course.


PRES5005 – Applied Prescribing (NMC & HCPC Registrants)

PRES5006 – Pharmacology for prescribers (NMC & HCPC Registrants)


PHAR5557 – Practice certificate in independent prescribing (GPhC Registrants)

If the student is from a profession that is legislatively able to prescribe, then they MUST undertake the non-medical prescribing course as part of this programme. Please see the non-medical prescribing course web page for further information. This is a 45 credit course.

If the student is not legislatively able to prescribe currently (e.g. ODP) then they must make up the 45 credits from the wider DMU M level portfolio, using modules with a clinical / advanced practice focus.

Year three

MPHE 5806 – Service Improvement Project

All students must complete the Service improvement project, a 12.000 word piece of work which focuses on the education and leadership aspects of advanced practice. This replaces a traditional dissertation. This module runs over two semesters, (1 and 2)

It is possible to exit the course without doing the dissertation (if the other modules are completed) and gain the award of PG Dip in Advanced clinical practice. A PG cert is also available if a student completes a physical examination module and a research module, but please note; this is NOT a PG cert Advanced Clinical Practice.

For more information, or to discuss your potential suitability for the course, please contact the programme lead (Stuart Pinson) by email:

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is a mix of lectures, tutorials, practical sessions and self-directed learning. As this is a Masters level programme, it is expected that you will take responsibility for devising your own learning plan, and accessing support where you require it.

Assessments are designed to test the module and programme learning outcomes and are a combination of assignments, case studies, exams, OSCEs and a final project. Some modules will also have a practice portfolio element.

Any educational course in advanced practice that claims to make the student ‘competent’ should be avoided; this is just the start. The real learning occurs in practice and as such you should be able to access time away from your clinical role to consolidate your learning and address areas of learning need – perhaps examining systems that you don’t see regularly, or observing how services have developed in other areas.

Staff teaching on the course are either highly experienced ACP or senior medical clinicians. Those without a clinical focus are research active, mostly doctoral level academics, with an interest in advanced practice.

Most modules run over a full day for the taught elements, usually one day per week though not necessarily sequential weeks. Please see details of individual modules for more information.

There is a one day programme induction event, usually held in mid-September. Details of this are available once enrolled on the programme.

Contact hours in a typical week will depend to some extent on the optional modules you choose to study. However, typically you will have up to seven contact hours of teaching.

Personal tutorial/small group teaching: Three hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) over the course of a module (one hour as a group, up to two hours individually)

Medium group teaching: Seven hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week

Personal study: Eight hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using hand-outs, online activities, etc.

Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences facilities

Substantial investment has developed our teaching and learning facilities to help you expand your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.

The 19th century Hawthorn Building has facilities designed to replicate current practice in health and life sciences, including contemporary analytical chemistry and formulation laboratories, audiology booths and nursing and midwifery clinical skills suites.

Purpose-built clinical skills areas allow you to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff to ensure that you develop a precise and accurate practical ability in the clinical skills suites.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Opportunities and careers

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Graduate careers

On completion of this course, students will fulfil the academic requirements in order to practice as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner. This anticipates possible future NMC regulation, and complies with standards across all the different nations of the UK.

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