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Advanced Professional Practice (Negotiated Specialism) MA/MSc/PGCert

Learn about the course below
PGCert: PGX99Z
September 2022
January 2023
MA/MSc: 18-24 months
PGCert: 12 week semester
Full-time blended learning
Part-time blended learning
£9,000 (UK) *
£14,000 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Ruth Miller

These negotiated professional practice work-based learning programmes are purposely flexible and are designed to be responsive to the changing work force development needs of the health, social care and education sectors and to the professional development needs of individual practitioners.

This course is delivered entirely online.

Why study MA/MSc/PGCert Advanced Professional Practice (Negotiated Specialism) at Middlesex University?

This is a flexible, work based route to gaining a postgraduate qualification in a particular area of professional practice, that can be customised to meet your needs and those of your workplace. It is ideal for those who have completed previous accredited activity/qualifications/CPD as well as for those who have significant prior experience of work in the health, social care and education sectors.

You will be supported to reflect and build upon your prior experience and experiential learning to develop advanced situated knowledge based around your workplace context. You will develop your advanced practitioner inquiry, leadership and project skills to develop your own practice and practice in your organisation. You will also be able to design and lead a work based project that has the potential to transform your own practice and that of others.

Course highlights

  • You can negotiate your own programme and specialist award title
  • It is not always necessary to attend the campus as workshops are repeated online
  • You will be supported to undertake a real practice improvement project in your work place
  • You will gain peer support  through a community of learning as well as 1:1 academic supervision
  • You will develop your confidence in presentation and dissemination through group seminar presentations as well as written reports.

Find out more

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What will you study on MA/MSc/PGCert Advanced Professional Practice (Negotiated Specialism)?

During the course of this programme, you will develop your knowledge and critical understanding of a range of theoretical concepts and practice knowledge that can be applied to give new insight to real work contexts and complex issues. You will study ethical principles, values and codes of practice and explore how these can be critically applied to your practice and that of others. You will also explore the influence of current policy, organisational context, quality imperatives and  workplace priorities on practice development. You will also look into relevant methodologies and improvement strategies for developing practice/service in health, social care and education settings.

All modules are delivered through online distance learning.

What will you gain?

On completion of this programme, you will be able to effectively engage, network and communicate with relevant stakeholders and academic audiences, and take responsibility and leadership for practice/service development initiatives. You will understand how to critically evaluate  practice or organisational issues and apply creative problem solving techniques, advanced inquiry and action planning. You will have the ability to systematically design, undertake and manage a work based project that has the potential to transform your own practice and that of others. Finally, you will learn to critically reflect and evaluate your own practice and systematically plan professional development.

MA/MSc modules

All modules are delivered through online distance learning.

  • Modules

    • Advanced Review of Learning (10 credits)

      The aim of this module is for you to review and reflect on past and current learning experiences to develop a recognition of prior learning (RPL) portfolio to gain credit toward your programme. The RPL portfolio is assessed separately for credit.

      Please note: you may be exempt from this module if you already have 80 credits via Recognition of Prior Learning

    • Advanced Personal and Professional Development (10 credits)

      This module runs throughout the programme and is designed to enable you to critically evaluate your personal and professional development needs and develop a professional development plan. It will also support the academic skills needed to succeed at post graduate level.

      Please note: you may be exempt from this module if you already have 90 credits via Recognition of Prior Learning

    • Advanced Practitioner Inquiry (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to develop your understanding in a range of advanced enquiry methodologies appropriate for practitioners to design a proposal for a real work-based project that has clear objectives related to your own professional development or the development of practice in your setting.

    • Advanced Work Based Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module is the culmination of a your Masters study and will support you to undertake a substantial work based project that is designed to develop your professional practice and address a practice, organisational or service issue that you have already identified in your workplace or professional field. Building on your understanding of advanced practitioner inquiry methodologies, you will be encouraged to consider improvement and leadership strategies to support the successful management of your project and to deliver real outcomes that have the potential to transform practice.

      Read more about this module

PGCert modules

  • Modules

    • Pre programme (30 - 40 credits) - Compulsory

      Bring in relevant certificated credit from Middlesex modules, another university or accredited partner or gain credit for experiential learning through recognition of prior learning (RPL).

    • Advanced Small Work Based Project (15, 20 or 30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will support students to undertake a small work based project or activity that is designed to systematically develop areas of their own and/or others professional practice. Students will plan, carry out and evaluate a small project and critically discuss the learning gained, as well as outcomes of the project for their area of practice and setting. The focus of the projects are negotiated and can be related to individual or team practice development aims.

You can find more information about this course here:

Optional modules are not offered on every course. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we've learnt in recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

How is the MA/MSc/PGCert Advanced Professional Practice (Negotiated Specialism) taught?

The course is taught entirely through online distance learning. On all programmes, modules are supported through an online approach, involving online workshops, supported online peer interaction, tutor support and guided self-study.

Most modules run over 12 week semesters from October to January or January to May. The final project module runs over 2 semesters.


All modules are assessed through course work that is directly relevant to your own practice and work context. Key assessment requirements are:

  • Structured reflection on professional development
  • Designing a project proposal
  • Undertaking a practitioner inquiry/ work based  project
  • Producing a project written report and seminar presentation

Teaching and learning from 2022

We have developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2021/22 academic year, and have resumed the majority of our teaching on campus.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2022 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start. Delivery may differ in light of block teaching requirements, with theory sections covered online and practical sessions delivered in specialist spaces on campus.

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA/MSc/PGCert Advanced Professional Practice (Negotiated Specialism) support your career?

As this programme gives you the skills and experience you need to apply directly into your current service or practice, the range of projects can vary. Below are just some examples of previous student projects:

  • Improving compliance to clinical guidelines (2016)
  • Developing strategies to improve workforce retention across North London Clinical commissioning groups (2016-19)
  • Developing a Direct Referral pathway into the Camden Rapid Response Team (2018)
  • Production of a toolkit for disseminating learning from Mental Health homicides for NHS England (2017)

Career progression

Past students tell us how the Msc and their work based project in particular has helped their career progression and promotion:

Ruth Miller
Associate Professor

Ruth is the Director of Programmes for Accreditation, RPL and Work-Based Learning across the School of Health and Education. She has extensive experience across FE and HE developing programmes in response to workforce development needs across the sector. She has a particular interest in the recognition of students experiential learning and developing their project skills to lead real practice development.

Dr Paula Nottingham
Senior lecturer

Dr Nottingham is based in the Department of Education within the Faculty of Professional and Social Sciences working on the professional doctorate programme and degree apprenticeships. Her research interests are in higher education and work-based pedagogy, lifelong learning and professional doctorates. She has been the co-covenor for the UALL Work and Learning Network since 2015 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education academy.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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