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

Learn about the course below
PGCert: PGX99Z
September 2020
January 2021
MA/MSc: 18-24 months
PGCert: 12 week semester
Part-time blended learning
£53 per credit (UK/EU) *
£93 per credit (INT) *
Course leader
Ruth Miller

We’re planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and face to face learning for the first few months of the new academic year. If you’re thinking about starting with us in autumn 2020 or spring 2021, check back for more detail on arrangements for this course in July and August, and see our current plans for teaching and learning.

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.

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.

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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.

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

  • 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 Enquiry (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 in the programme specification. 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.

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

On all programmes, modules are supported through a blended learning approach, involving interactive campus and online workshops, supported (online) peer interaction, tutor support and guided self-study. Workshops are provided at Hendon campus, usually 3-6 per module but are also available online for students accessing the course from a distance.

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
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. 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.

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