Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK fee

£8,505 (2021/22)

International fee

£8,505 (2021/22)/EU

Course level




Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

This online MSc Nursing Studies is designed to equip Registered Nurses from around the world with the skills, ability and confidence to work at a more senior level, preparing for roles in leadership and management within the nursing profession.

The course covers contemporary and global nursing practice, ethical and legal frameworks, sustainability within the health and social care sector, professional accountability and leadership and management surrounding person-centred care; and culminates in an independent practice-based project.

Become a professional leader and transform the provision of care

Throughout the course, you will apply advanced healthcare concepts whilst contributing to cutting edge nursing practice, service improvement and research, for the benefit of the patient/client and their families, your employer, and society. You will develop advanced problem-solving techniques and the ability to deal with complex issues, systematically and creatively, to make informed evidence-based decisions, building your skills to drive positive impact and change.

The curriculum is evidence-based and forward thinking, covering essential concepts, theories and principles relating to modern nursing practice. The course is delivered by an academic team who are research active and highly motivated. They bring extensive and up-to-date subject and practice experience in advanced nursing, at a local, national and international level. This combined with a globally located student cohort to study alongside will enrich your studies and enhance your learning as you share experiences and professional views.

You will be engaged in debates and discussions around contemporary nursing and national and global nursing and healthcare priorities, you will explore leadership and management approaches for the effective planning and delivery of health and social care services and will develop the ability to inform and influence transformational improvements in patient/client care and the effective use of resources.

Your Independent Project - a dissertation or work-based project and publication

The MSc Nursing Studies incorporates an Independent Project where you undertake a research project with your supervisor. This project can be a traditional dissertation, undertaking primary or secondary research, or a work-based project and preparing an article for publication. This approach provides you flexibility in how you complete your studies and enable you to demonstrate your scholarly abilities at masters level.

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

The MSc Nursing Studies award is achieved by completing six core 20 credit modules and a final research project, which is a triple module, worth 60 credits, during which you will undertake an in-depth independent project producing a dissertation or shorter work-based project with an academic paper or poster.

The modules within the course are varied, covering aspects of both nursing and health and social care, and are designed to reflect the delivery of healthcare in the UK and around the world.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Discovering Online Learning Webinar: November 2021

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 15.00 - 16.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through the basic principles of how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

The course is delivered entirely online through our user-friendly student portal dashboard and intuitive digital learning environment.

Modules within this course will be delivered by expert academics who are experienced Registered Nurses and registered healthcare practitioners. They ensure that module content remains up-to-date and highly relevant as they bring through current research as well as pertinent and topical examples from the nursing profession around the world.

As well as academic guidance and self-supported study, our distinctive course design supports learning from each other, across the subject area and inter-professionally across the world to provide a deeper understanding and to challenge your thinking.

You will interact with your tutors and fellow students and through virtual live classrooms (which are recorded to view in your own time) and tutorials. Group discussions and debate are held through webinars, online forums and community spaces, and collaborative tools are used for group projects and assignments. Digital texts, eBooks, journals, databases and more are available electronically via our library.

Study skills

Many of our students are mature learners and may not have studied academically for some time. To help you to become an effective student able to study at postgraduate level, there are a series of advanced study skill resources available to you covering areas such as advanced research skills, critical evaluation in academic context, literature search, referencing and plagiarism.

Pace of study

The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. During the term times, we recommend around 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module for the standard study plan.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as case studies, essays, written reports, presentations and an independent project. They are designed to develop skills in critical thinking and innovation across the range of nursing practice at postgraduate level.

Through the assessments, you will apply practical solutions and interventions essential for effective nursing practice to ensure a breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding appropriate to this level of study.

You will be encouraged to consider and apply knowledge gained during the modules to nursing practice and to share your professional experience with your fellow students whilst directly applying your new skills to your work environment.

Personal Development Planning (PDP) and employability

Personal development planning (PDP) is embedded throughout this course. During your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop your ability to plan personal development and to develop key skills as a life-long learner such as critical self-analysis and reflective practice skills.

You will also develop leadership and management qualities and skills that relate directly to your employment.

Who will teach you

Alan Williams standing with hands clasped, wearing a red and white striped shirt

Dr Alan Williams
Programme leader

Academic Lead for Nursing, Dr Alan Williams, commenced as Academic Lead for the Nursing and Perioperative Practice programmes in April 2019. Alan is a Registered Nurse (Adult and Mental Health) with over twenty years' experience in the NHS before becoming an academic.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

Standard Entry

You'll need all the following:

Non-Standard Entry

Exceptionally, we may admit registered nurses without an academic award comparable to a lower second class (2:2) undergraduate honours degree, where you can demonstrate the potential to achieve the aims and outcomes of the curriculum.

You will need:

In addition, you will be required to attend a virtual interview with the Programme Leader, and you will need to pass the first module to confirm progression onto the rest of the programme.

For non-standard entry, the Programme Leader will consider your:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Have you already studied at another institution, completed a training course, or does your work experience appear equivalent to one or more modules of your chosen course?

If so, applicants who meet the standard entry requirements may be able to translate this prior learning into credits towards your course modules, so you don’t have to study them again.

This will be assessed on an individual basis and you will need to evidence your knowledge, skills and/or certificated awards that are directly comparable to a module or modules on the MSc in Nursing Studies programme.

Further information about applying for credits for prior learning can be found in our recognition of prior learning section.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2021 and August 2022.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £945 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £8,505

2022/23 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2022 and August 2023.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £945 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £8,505

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

Masters funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out more about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Registered nurses with a masters qualification are well positioned to advance their career in nursing, health and social care, education, or leadership and management roles.

Studying for this masters award will enable you to critically explore professional issues in depth, and use this new knowledge in your role, ultimately to benefit patient / client care.

For nurses registered with the NMC, your studies may contribute to your triennial revalidation, and for nurses governed by a regulator elsewhere in the world, studying at postgraduate level demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning and ambition to excel as a healthcare practitioner to provide the very best care and lead others in doing the same.

Clinical, managerial and academic career prospects

You may be looking to advance your career in a clinical area in the UK such as senior sister, matron, clinical nurse specialist or researcher or move to an education role within the health and social care or higher education sectors, with equivalent roles available in your domicile if you are based outside the UK.

It is also possible to continue your studies at doctoral level, whether this is via a traditional PhD or professional doctorate route. Because this programme is open to registered nurses across the globe, the terminology used and structure of how health and social care is delivered may vary from country to country but the value of postgraduate study towards career advancement, remains globally relevant.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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