The MSc Nursing is a challenging course suitable for qualified nurses who wish to develop higher levels of criticality in research and leadership.
The Master of Science (MSc) in Nursing is a challenging post graduate qualification for nurses, midwives or health visitors from all fields of practice. This course will assist qualified staff to develop personally and professionally in a wide range of topics and issues including communication, health promotion, leadership, person-centred practice and research.
In the full-time mode, the MSc Nursing (general pathway) it is typically completed over one calendar year.
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About this course
In this section
MSc Nursing (general pathway): This will allow students to build upon their existing knowledge, skills and values. This course will challenge students about their practice and offer different opportunities to enhance their knowledge, understanding and critical thinking through classroom and personal study. Nurses undertaking this option often self fund.
International applications from individuals who are qualified as nurses in their own country are particularly welcome for this course. As this course is for qualified nurses and it does not include registration as a nurse.
All staff contributing to the programme hold or are working towards a teaching qualification.
- The School has achieved “earned autonomy” from monitoring exercises carried out by Mott MacDonald on behalf of the NMC
- The School has an active Educational and Professional Issues Research Group which links with the Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice (CHERP)
- Several members of staff have received funding from CHERP to undertake projects designed to develop and enhance teaching, learning, assessment and feedback strategies within the School and Faculty
- The School encourages all staff to seek accreditation with the Higher Education Academy either at Fellow or Senior Fellow level
- In the 2014 Research Exercise Framework (REF2014) submission, the School excelled in all three areas: Output 94.6% internationally excellent or world leading; Impact 100% internationally excellent or world leading; Environment 100% internationally excellent or world leading
- Many of the teaching staff are full or associate members of the Institute of Nursing and Health Research
- Teaching is informed by the research activities of staff
Attendance will be at the Jordanstown or Magee campuses (dependent on availability).
MSc Nursing (general pathway): This is a full time course. Attendance will vary depending on modules being studied.
The final component of all MSc Nursing pathways is a research project (dissertation). This module is by supervision and and as such there are no face to face taught classes. Occasionally additional workshops may be offered. Regular supervisory meetings will take place where students will be supported by an experienced member of academic staff. These meetings will be arranged between supervisor and supervisee over the duration of the research project (normally an academic year in part time mode).
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Teaching, learning and assessment take a variety of forms across the suite of modules in this course. The strategies used are based on principles of adult learning such as self-direction and a capacity to draw upon experience. The course assumes that students have recent experience in practice.
Teaching strategies are selected by the nature of the intended learning outcomes. The learning experience is designed to encourage students to become active and motivated learners, who can seek information, question and analyse its validity and draw appropriate and logical conclusions. Students are encouraged to make connections between theoretical content and professional experiences and this facilitates their ability to move from understanding practice and applying skills taught, to questioning and critiquing practice, and ultimately to proposing and carrying out research or innovation that contributes to service/practice developments or enhancements.
Teaching methods on the course include:
- Lectures that provide students with the necessary knowledge base to develop their insight into practice and thus inform skill development. Lectures also provide an excellent opportunity for experts to be invited in to teach students about current practice and developments in their field
- Seminars that encourage students to take responsibility for leading discussions on practice based issues and reviewing the current literature in their field
- Tutorial group work sessions enable students to examine a specific focus. Small group working is encouraged throughout the course to enable students to engage with problem based learning
- Creativity is encouraged to enable students to develop a flexible approach to learning
Assessment throughout the course has been constructively aligned to the learning outcomes of each of the modules and all contain a combination of formative and summative components. Ongoing formative assessment that has a significant diagnostic function occurs throughout the course and students are encouraged to discuss their progress and actively plan to address identified learning needs. Summative assessment of student performance and progression in modules on the MSc Nursing (general pathway) is carried out through coursework. Assessments include essays, presentations, literature reviews and reflective analyses. These are designed to test knowledge and understanding, to allow students to integrate and apply information, and encourage the development of critical thinking skills.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
This module focuses on person-centred nursing as a form of practice that holds central the personhood of everyone involved in health and social care - staff, service users and care partners. This module focuses on how person-centred concepts and theories are applied in nursing, public health and palliative care contexts. The module will be underpinned by the Person-centred nursing Framework of McCormack & McCance (2010), a theoretical framework that will enhance understanding of person-centredness and its translation into practice.
Leadership in Professional Practice
This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of leadership and to apply this knowledge to leadership in healthcare practice. It will encourage the development of effective leadership strategies, based on best evidence to meet the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and promote the development of cultures of compassionate leadership. Assessment is by presentation, discourse and coursework
Populations and Policy for Public Health
This module is optional
Health promotion and public health specialists have a key role to play in reducing health inequalities. This module covers a spectrum of key skills and qualities to enable students to identify and address health inequalities and to effectively assess the impact of policies on health and inequalities. Assessment is by coursework.
Epidemiology and Statistics for Public Health
This module is optional
This module will develop the capacity and capability of professionals to use demographic statistics and epidemiological data and analysis to improve public health. Through the assessment framework students are enabled to apply their learning to specific chronic diseases within population groups.
MSc research project
This module is optional
This is a required component of a programme leading to a MSc. The student completes, under supervision, a research proposal with successful submission to appropriate ethics committee/s and completes a research project which makes a contribution to the knowledge base for professional practice. This is assessed by coursework.
Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care
This module is optional
This module builds upon previous study of research methods and enables students to develop and apply theoretical and scientific knowledge and problem solving skills, extending their understanding of the philosophical and practical aspects of research, service evaluation and practice development. In particular, it examines quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs for collecting, recording, analysing and interpreting data with the ultimate goal of further developing their research and development skills.
Professional Decision Making and Accountability
This module is optional
This module develops students' understanding of the major components and complexities of professional decision making and accountability and the central role this plays in the design, delivery and evaluation of safe and effective compassionate care for people within services in hospital and community settings. Within the module. students will critically analyse the relationships between professional decision-making, accountability, governance and patient safety within an interdisciplinary context. Assessment is by coursework.
Therapeutic Communication Skills for Health and Social Care Professionals
This module is optional
This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of communication and to apply this knowledge to the development of advanced communication skills within health and social care practice. It will encourage the development of evidence-based communication strategies to promote compassionate person-centred care. Assessment is by 100% coursework.
This module is optional
Scientific theories and research methods have a series of interconnecting ideas that underpin them. It is important to have knowledge of this in order to make coherent choices about research designs. This module serves as an introduction to the subjects that make up these frameworks. Along with this there is a long tradition of considering the role theory plays in the development of knowledge in the professions and the subsequent impact this has on decision making. This module will help students uncover the theoretical base of their profession's knowledge.
Assessment is by presentation, discourse and coursework.
Independent study module
This module is optional
This postgraduate module enables students within a specialist area to build on the more general specialist modules already completed and to develop their knowledge within a more focused area of professional practice. Students work independently with the guidance of an academic tutor and prepare written work for discussion at each meeting with their tutor. Assessment by coursework.
Global Perspectives in Transforming Health
This module is optional
The spectrum of health challenges currently facing the global care community seems to be growing exponentially with many of the determinants of individual, community and global health stagnating or reversing. Infectious diseases, global poverty, inactivity and obesity levels to mention only some, all show signs of rising and the current world recession has on occasion blunted governmental actions and investment directed towards positive health promotion. Such a situation presents challenges that healthcare professionals need to be aware of. Additionally, it requires them to acquire and develop the knowledge and skills to lead developments in practice they can play locally to help positively address healthcare provision globally.
The aim of this module is enable you to enhance your knowledge of the issues emerging in global healthcare that have a direct bearing on the way in which practice is governed. This is with a view to enabling you to lead developments in practice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Applicants for the MSc Nursing will be a qualified nurse, midwife or health visitor (in any field of practice) with registration or licensure in their country of practice and have a first degree or equivalent.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
For those who do not have English as a first language, the minimum requirement for this course is an academic IELTS of 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Accreditation of Prior Learning may be considered through the School of Nursing APL process. Students are encouraged to discuss this with the Course Director. There are no exemptions from the MSc Research Project.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
The MSc Nursing encourages qualified nurses, midwives and heath visitors from all fields of practice to develop high levels of reflection, decision-making and criticality in nursing theory and research. This is particularly useful for nurses who wish to develop their careers and strive for promotion, particularly those aspiring to higher roles in research, leadership and education.
Work placement / study abroad
MSc Nursing (general pathway): students undertaking this course are full time students. No work placement or study abroad is required for this option.
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are several awards available to students during this course. Students with outstanding performance in the leadership module may be considered for the Professor Robert Bowman Award. Outstanding students in MSc research project module may be eligible to apply for the Mona Grey Award.
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
For information about the admissions process, please contact:
For information relating to the content, please contact Course Director:
Dr Helen McGarvey
For more information visit
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