MSc Advanced Practice

The MSc Advanced Practice is suitable for those working directly with patients in roles that afford a significant degree of autonomy in decision-making.

The Advanced Practice course is designed for registered healthcare professionals such as specialist nurses, advanced nurse practitioners and service leaders who wish to develop holistic advanced practice across a broad range of competencies (which may include clinical assessment) – the detail of which is individually negotiated. Such roles may involve working at the boundaries of traditional healthcare practice, pioneering and developing new services in response to changing needs.

This part-time Masters in Advanced Practice has a distinctive practical focus, and integrates practice-based and university-based learning through the process of cooperative inquiry. Study will focus on your day-to-day practice and examines competence in knowledge application, clinical and interpersonal skills, clinical judgement and decision making, influencing standards and development of care.


2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 2 Years September Glyntaff A

The MSc Advanced Practice course is structured around a series of nine competencies which holistically reflect the dimensions of advanced clinical practice. The first two of the competencies listed below must be undertaken and successfully completed within the first year of the course. The remaining seven competencies may be taken in any order according to student preference (although there must be some negotiation with other group members and course leader).

Using Knowledge (Must be completed in Year One)
Within this competency, you will critically examine the forms of knowledge that underpin your clinical practice. You will be introduced to a range of ‘knowledge frameworks’ and use these to explore and evaluate theory and research findings from a range of disciplines that are relevant to contemporary practice-based problems or clinical issues.

Being Reflective (Must be completed in Year One)
Within this competency you will develop your use of critical reflection, gaining an ability to use it more effectively within your clinical practice. A range of reflective frameworks will be introduced and examined in detail, and the group will review the ways in which reflection may enhance practice - especially in situations where existing theoretical and empirical knowledge is conflicting or inadequate.

Relating to Patients 
The discriminating use of advanced interpersonal skills is the focus of this competency. Here you will explore the nature of the therapeutic relationship, and consider the ways in which advanced interpersonal skills can be used in order to establish collaborative empowering relationships with patients/clients that facilitate appropriate holistic assessments, and provide a basis for health promoting behaviour.

Cultivating Collaborative Relations with Colleagues
This competency explores the manner in which collaborative relationships may be effectively developed and sustained with other colleagues. Communication dynamics will be explored across several domains according to the needs of the group, and could include hospital-based multidisciplinary teams, or professional groups working across the primary/secondary care/third sector interface.

Promoting Learning
Within this competency, you will critically explore strategies utilised in order to teach, advise, or influence professional colleagues. Competency themes include learning theory, approaches to learning and teaching, the physical and psychological learning environment, and the challenges of facilitating learning within a clinical practice context.

Evaluating and Developing Clinical Skills
This competency requires you to critically review the appropriate adequacy of your current clinical skills in the context of the clinical services you provide. Within the competency, you will have an opportunity to work with a mentor from your own practice to further develop your current skills, or work towards the acquisition of new ones.

Decision-Making and Clinical Judgement
Decision-making and clinical judgement are core facets of the advanced practice role. Within this competency, you will explore these in detail; models of decision-making will be introduced and explored, and you will have the opportunity to critically examine the decision-making and clinical judgement incumbent within your own practice. We will also look at decision-making processes from the perspectives of evidence based practice, law & ethics, and the implications of the multidisciplinary context.

Innovation and Change
Within this competency, you will have the opportunity to manage actual and anticipated change within your service/clinical practice. Models and strategies for change management will be introduced and examined, and you will directly apply them to a specific clinical issue. A number of students have previously used this module to effect significant service role or service redesign within their areas of practice – and a several of these have resulted in work published both at a local and national level.

Clinical Management
This competency explores and develops clinical management skills with regard to efficient use of human and material resource, quality of service provision, and risk management. The competency will also allow you to develop a critical understanding of the way in which political legal, and ethical factors impact upon resource management and policy making within the wider healthcare context.  


You will attend the university one day per week, with the possibility of further sessions outside term-time. The Advanced Practice course uses an innovative learning and teaching approach termed Co-operative Inquiry, and involves people with similar issues or problems coming together to collaboratively research and develop answers.



As an Advanced Practice student, you will belong to a Co-operative Inquiry group, and (with input from the course leader) negotiate the development of the course timetable, the specific nature of what is to be studied, and the self and peer assessment processes. Whilst this may seem challenging, please be assured that experienced facilitators support these group processes. The Co-operative Inquiry approach does however demand a continuous engagement with, and contribution to the negotiated and agreed group processes, but this does obviate the need for single end of year assessments.

Applicants must be a healthcare professional registered with either the NMC or HCPC, and educated to at least degree level.

You must have a minimum of three years, full-time, post-registration experience (or equivalent part-time) and be in current employment. You must also be working in a role that involves direct contact with patients/clients, and value the opportunity to examine critically your own practice and that of your peers.

Given the professional nature of the course, accreditation of recognised prior learning (RPL) will also be considered.

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.



Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.


USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount 

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales graduates studying a postgraduate course from September 2021 (this includes students starting their course in January/ February 2022). T's and C's apply.

Click here for more information about the USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount


Apply directly to the University for this course.

Admissions statement 

Graduation from this clinical Masters degree in Advanced Practice will enable you to make a significant contribution, directly and indirectly to the development, delivery and evaluation of service provision in your field. Many of our graduates report that their capabilities, confidence and job satisfaction are enhanced as a result of this course, and have been instrumental within role and service development, securing further advancement within their respective professions.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.