Postgraduate Course

Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK fee

£9,495 (2023/24)

International fee

£9,495 (2023/24)

Course level




Start dates

September, January, 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.

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Discovering Online Learning Webinar: October 2023

Thursday, 12 October 2023 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through 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.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

James Chircop sitting at a desk

James Chircop
Programme leader

James is an adult nurse and lecturer with a passion for research, education and nursing. James has attended and organised various courses and conferences around Europe on designing training, nursing and education amongst other. James has been nominated for the Inspirational Teaching Award in 2020.

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 qualification

You'll also normally require one of the following 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:

We may accept other equivalent English Language qualifications with supporting evidence so please provide full details with your application.

Find out more about our English language requirements

Fees and funding

2023/24 for new entrants

Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,055 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £9,495

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee 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.

If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front, either for the full programme or the academic year, will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.

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.

If you are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.

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

Please look at our application deadlines before you 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

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*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.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

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.

Utilise our Careers and Employment Service​

Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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