Nurses tend to a patient in hospital

MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Specialist Practice

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Nursing and Midwifery
Glenside Campus
Programme leader:
Dr Clare Hopkinson
Key fact:
This course is studied and applied for on a modular basis. You take the core module/s then simply pick and choose from the wide selection of optional modules we have available.

Page last updated 21 December 2016


This flexible part-time Specialist Practice course is designed for all health and social care practitioners wishing to enhance and develop their skills in a specific area of their practice. It can be achieved over a five year period with Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma interim awards. 

The course aims to enhance practice competencies through critical reflection on practice and development of your practice in line with current professional standards. You will be encouraged and supported to increase your level of autonomy and cross boundary working in your specialist roles.

In today's healthcare the term 'specialist' is no longer confined to a specialist unit as all areas of health are specialisms in their own right. Evidence suggests that patients have better outcomes if cared for as a client group by practitioners with the skills and knowledge in their specialism.

For students working in the community who wish to achieve the NMC Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), there is an option to follow the 'community pathway'. This applies to district and and community children's nurses and must be completed over a five year period.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The course is designed to support practitioners in their specialist practice roles, and offers considerable flexibility. This allows you to choose from a range of optional modules from across the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences to meet your own particular needs. You will be prepared for role changes and equipped with sophisticated negotiation and decision-making skills to manage the service as practice evolves.

All modules require you to use research in your field of practice. As such, you will be required to synthesise information and evidence from a wide variety of sources and utilise critical reflection skills in order to fully grasp the complex nature and context of contemporary specialist practice. You will also be required to complete a compulsory research methods module and a research dissertation.

Postgraduate Certificate 60 credits, of which 20 credits may be at level 3

  • No core modules
  • Optional modules

Postgraduate Diploma 120 credits, of which 40 credits may be at level 3

  • Contemporary Issues in Advancing Practice (15 credits)
  • Health and Social Care Research: Methods and Methodology  (15 credits)
  • Optional modules

 MSc Specialist Practice 180 credits, of which 60 credits may be at level 3

  • Contemporary Issues in Advancing Practice (15 credits)
  • Health and Social Care Research: Methods and Methodology  (15 credits)  
  • Dissertation (45 credits)
  • Optional modules

MSc Specialist Practice (SPQ) 180 credits, of which 60 credits may be at level 3
Students undertaking the community pathway leading to the Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), have five years to complete the programme and are required to undertake a number of compulsory modules:

  • Current Issues in Community Practice (20 credits)
  • Health and Social Care Research: Methods and Methodology (20 credits)
  • Synoptic module with or without V100 (Community Prescriber) (40 credits)
  • Optional modules

Optional modules

A range of specialist practice and option modules have been developed specifically for this course that will help you meet the learning outcomes of the course in full.

See a full list of the available modules.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The emphasis of the learning and teaching will be student-centred, aimed at utilising the diversity of students' experience. A wide range of learning and teaching methods will be employed ranging from lectures to group work and discussion forums as well as independent study.

Strategies embedded within individual modules will foster collaborative working with opportunities for peer support, enabling you to focus on one of these specialist areas within an integrated framework. Some of the modules will use skills laboratories that provide you with additional opportunities to develop your skills and integrate theory with practice. Some modules will be delivered online but for the most part there will be a dynamic, blended learning approach in many modules.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

You have ownership of mapping out your own development through your choice of modules, which is supported by a wide ranging multi professional team from within the University and across local and national practice.


Study facilities

The department is superbly equipped with an extensive range of teaching and learning resources across four campuses.

The library on the Glenside Campus is one of the best health and social care libraries in England with a huge selection of books, journals and audio-visual materials including access to specialist health and social care packages.

Information Technology provision is in the form of multimedia laboratories, smart boards and innovative projects such as 'multicasting' to deliver teaching material. At the main Frenchay Campus there is 24-hour access to computing facilities.

The Interprofessional Simulation Suite provides excellent opportunities for the demonstration and practice of professional competencies for health and social care practitioners.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.


Supplementary fee information

Payment for this course is per module, whether you are studying for the full Master's course or individual modules as CPD. Please view the full fee information so see the price bracket for our modules.

Funding may be available to support your learning. Please contact your Trust Education Lead. If you work in the Private, Independent and Voluntary Sector, please contact your employer.


Entry requirements

You are normally required to have a first degree or its equivalent in a relevant subject.

Applicants must:

  • Be registered with the NMC or HCP
  • Provide evidence that their current level of practice forms a pre-requisite stage required for specialist practice

Students wishing to undertake the PG Diploma Specialist Practice leading to an NMC recordable Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) must:

  • Be registered on the NMC register
  • Be registered on the relevant specialist part of the register for the SPQ pathway chosen

How to apply

Our timetable will assist you in your application for CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate programme. Please apply online.

For further information

You might also like

Back to top