Advanced Nursing Practice - MSc

2025/26 Part-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Master of Science

Faculty:

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School:

School of Nursing and Paramedic Science

Campus:

Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2025

Overview

Students will develop their practice in an advanced way to provide a holistic care experience to benefit both the service and patient.

Summary

The MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice is undertaken over two academic years. Via the commissioning process, students are appointed to full-time ANP trainee posts within the HSCTs or GP Federations in Northern Ireland and undertake the course on a part time basis. To achieve the academic award of MSc Advanced Nursing Practice, students must complete 180 credits of academic study at level 7, plus a practice learning component and portfolio.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course

About

All students studying for this award must undertake the core compulsory modules Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care (NUR857), Transforming Practice through Person-centred Leadership (NUR878), MSc Project (NUR836) and ANP Portfolio (NUR872).

Students must then undertake 2 additional pathway specific modules depending on which pathway they are on. Available pathways at UU are:

Advanced Nursing Practice in Adult Medicine and Older People Care

Advanced Nursing Practice in Children's Nursing

Advanced Nursing Practice in Emergency Care

Advanced Nursing Practice in Primary Care

Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health

Simultaneously students will complete the practice learning component. This is 129 days per year, totalling 258 days over the whole course.

Attendance

Requirements for this course are 2 days for academic study (inclusive of classes) and 3 days in clinical practice per week. Students are expected to attend all classes associated with the programme and be punctual and regular in attendance. A student who has not been in attendance for more than three days through illness or other cause must notify immediately the Course Director. The student shall state the reasons for the absence and whether it is likely to be prolonged. Where the absence is for a period of more than five working days and is caused by illness which may affect their studies the student shall provide self-certification. No more than three self-certificates across an academic year will be accepted, in accordance with the General Regulations for Students. Absences from class are fed back to the commissioners / employers.

Students who are absent without good cause for a substantial proportion of classes may be required to discontinue studies, in accordance with the General Regulations for Students.

Students undertaking the MSc Advanced Nursing Practice are required to complete 258 days of practice learning across the 2 year course and submit a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates achievement of the competencies outlined in the ANP Framework (DOH 2016).

Start dates

  • September 2025

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Attendance and Independent Study

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:

  • 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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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

    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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - 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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

Belfast campus

Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

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Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Modules

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

Year one

Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care

Year: 1

This 30-credit module is compulsory for the student to achieve their MSc award. 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 project development initiative. Students are required to write an identified research question relevant to research, service evaluation or a project development initiative. This module is assessed by 100% coursework.

Transforming Practice Through Person-Centred Collective Leadership

Year: 1

This module encourages students to lead small step change contributing to quality improvement initiatives leading to transformation of services through person centred practice. It focuses on the development of strategic leadership skills in nurses in order to meet the global challenges facing todays healthcare systems.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Primary Care 1

Year: 1

This module is optional

This level 7 module provides an opportunity for students to develop an in-depth understanding of the role of the advanced nurse practitioner in primary care. Students will develop an enhanced knowledge of applied pathophysiology and use this as a basis for the assessment, planning, management and evaluation of whole care episodes for people in primary care. During this module, students will concurrently undertake clinical practice under the guidance of a clinical practice supervisor. Assessment is by coursework and on-line test. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Adult Medicine and Older People Care 1

Year: 1

This module is optional

This level 7 module provides students with an opportunity to explore and develop their role as a nurse in advanced practice within the field of adult medicine and older people care. Students will develop advanced knowledge of relevant pathophysiology and will extend their skills of caring for people living with a range of disorders, including people who are frail and vulnerable. Students will undertake practice learning alongside this module, under the supervision of a clinical practice supervisor. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Children's Nursing 1

Year: 1

This module is optional

This level 7 module provides students with an opportunity to explore and develop their role as a nurse in advanced practice within the field of children's nursing. Students will develop advanced knowledge of relevant pathophysiology and will extend their skills of caring for people living with a range of disorders, including people who are frail and vulnerable. Students will undertake practice learning alongside this module, under the supervision of a clinical practice supervisor. Assessment is by coursework and examination.
This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Managing key emergency respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and trauma presentations

Year: 1

This module is optional

This is the first clinical specialist module for the Advanced Nursing Practice in Emergency Care student, and the focus is on the assessment, clinical examination, diagnostic investigations and management of patients presenting with selected key respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and trauma clinical presentations across the age and acuity spectrum. Assessment is by coursework, examination, and Objective Structured Clinical Examination. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health 1

Year: 1

This module is optional

This is the first of two field specific modules within the mental health through the life span, ANP pathway. The module centres on developing knowledge, understanding, and skills for undertaking comprehensive collaborative mental and physical health assessment and formulation and treatment of people presenting with acute and/or chronic mental illness. The module includes developing on the ANP's competence with health promotion, improvement, psychological therapies and nurse prescribing practices. Assessment is by course work. This module is only available to those undertaking the advanced nurse practitioner (mental health through the lifespan) pathway.

Year two

MSc Project

Year: 2

This 60-credit module is compulsory for the student to achieve their MSc award. Students are allocated an MSc supervisor. The student completes either a traditional research project or a service evaluation or a project development initiative. Students must write a project proposal, apply for ethics, collect data, analysis the data and the write the final report. This module is assessed by 100% coursework.

Advanced Nursing Practice Portfolio

Year: 2

The Advanced Nursing Practice programme at Ulster University requires students to complete a 258 day period of practice learning where they work under the supervision of a Clinical Practice Supervisor from the clinical area and a Pathway Leader who is a member of staff at the university. This practice learning component of the programme runs alongside the theoretical component allowing students to develop, practise and consolidate their clinical skills. During this module, students will demonstrate an advanced level of practice, knowledge and decision-making that is commensurate with the advanced nursing practice role and reflects the requirements of the Advanced Nursing Practice Framework as set out by the DoH (2016). Course regulations state that the academic award of MSc Advanced Nursing Practice is wholly dependent on the completion of this ANP portfolio. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Advanced Nursing Practice.

DoH (2016) Advanced Nursing Practice Framework: Supporting Advanced Nursing Practice in Health and Social Care Trusts. Belfast: NIPEC.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Primary Care 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

In this Level 7 module students will further enhance their knowledge and skills to facilitate autonomous advanced nursing practice in primary care. The module will follow a systems based approach underpinned by the principles of person-centred practice. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to manage clinical complexity in order to provide safe and effective care. During this module, students will concurrently undertake clinical practice under the guidance of a clinical practice supervisor. Assessment is by OSCE and examination. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Children's Nursing 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

This is the second pathway module which enables students to continue along their path towards becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Children's. (ANP). The module focuses on common conditions in infants children and the young person (ICYP) that ANPs would be reasonably expected to encounter in clinical practice.

*The term 'children' includes all children aged birth to 18 years of age.

Assessing and Managing People Presenting to Emergency Care with less common conditions

Year: 2

This module is optional

This is the second clinical specialist module for the Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Care student, and the focus is on the history taking, assessment, diagnostics and management of a range of less common clinical presentations associated with set body systems across the age and acuity spectrum. Assessment is by coursework, class test, and presentation. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Adult Medicine and Older People Care 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

This level 7 module will encourage students to further develop their role as an advanced nurse practitioner. Students will continue to develop their knowledge and ability to care for people experiencing a range of conditions and will enhance their understanding of complexity within care. Alongside this module, students will engage in practice learning experiences under the guidance of a clinical practice supervisor. Assessment is by assignment and OSCE. This module is only available to students who are undertaking the commissioned programme for MSc Nursing - Advanced Nursing Practice.

Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

This is the second of two ANP mental health through the life span modules. The module learning objectives centre on proficiency for ethical, legal and lawful therapeutic decision making, additionally, theory, knowledge and application of psychological therapies and psychopharmacology prescribing. Assessment is by course work and exam. This module is only available to those undertaking the advanced nurse practitioner (mental health through the lifespan) pathway.

Standard entry conditions

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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a degree with at least 2:1 Honours or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the programme through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.

Be commissioned by a Health and Social Care Trust, GP Federation, or similar organisation.

Be working in a clinical area which will facilitate their achievement of the ANP competencies.

Have live registration as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in a relevant field of practice

Have successfully completed a non-medical prescribing / nurse and midwife prescribing (v300) course

Provide confirmation of an Access NI check within the last three years

Have agreement of their employing organisation to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place

Provide confirmation of the availability of an appropriately qualified clinical practice supervisor

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award, at the highest level. The specific clinical nature of this qualification means that previous study may only be credited towards the module Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care (NUR857). Where students can provide evidence of having completed an equivalent module of study, they may attend class without competing the assessment for this module. Final degree classification will be calculated only on those modules taken within the MSc Advanced Nursing Practice course.

Students from MSc Advanced Nursing Practice may transfer to MSc Nursing, but not in reverse due to role specific and employment contractual requirements set out within the commissioning agreement with the Department of Health.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Students on the MSc Advanced Nursing Practice from Ulster are all already in employment within the Health and Social Care Trusts and GP Federations. Successful completion of this course leads students to the opportunity to apply for advanced nurse practitioner posts with the sponsoring employer. The qualification enables students to develop their practice in a stimulating and fulfilling manner, working in an advanced way to provide a more holistic care experience to benefit both the service and patient. Completion of this course ensures that the student has met the specific requirements of the ANP Framework for NI (DoH 2016) and makes the student an attractive prospect for any health service provider and employer wishing to advance their nursing service.

The unique commissioning arrangement within Northern Ireland means that students undertaking the MSc Advanced Nursing Practice are commissioned by their employer to a Band 7 Advanced Nurisng Practice Trainee post. On successful completion of this course, they are eligible to apply for a Band 8a Advanced Nursing Practitioner post. Graduates of this course are also eligible to apply for PhD study.

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Start dates

  • September 2025

Fees and funding

2025/26 Fees

Postgraduate fees are subject to annual review, 2025/26 fees will be announced in due course.

See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2024/25 entry.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  1. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  1. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  1. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.