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Our MSc Nursing course is designed to provide a progressive pathway of masters level study for all registered nurses working in all fields of practice.

From a national and international perspective there is a recognised shift towards delivering safe, person-centred and effective care. Nurses are central to achieving this ambition and this course will enable you to advance your knowledge and experience as a nurse by specifically examining contemporary issues such as quality improvement; advancing roles and leadership. Our course will therefore be of interest to local and international students (including the armed forces). This is a theory based course and no placement or study abroad opportunities are involved.

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need?

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Postgraduate & Post-experience Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Academic Requirements

You should possess an undergraduate nursing degree achieved within the last 5 years. If your degree is more than five years old then we would expect to see relevant degree level study or above. Those who do not hold a degree may be considered provided they can demonstrate recent study and based on their professional practice.

Professional Experience

You must hold current registration as a nurse with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) or for International students you must hold registration with an equivalent recognised nursing professional body in your home country.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL may be considered where applicants can demonstrate they have achieved similar or work related experience against the module or programme outcomes.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

  • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
  • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
  • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Course details

Our MSc Nursing has various exit points allowing you to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters award depending on your needs however most students will typically complete the full Masters award.

Stage 1- Postgraduate Certificate

Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (SCQF Level 11):

  • Quality improvement in healthcare - 20 credit Core Module
    • Independent Study - 20%
    • Scheduled Learning - 80%
    • Assignment: Essay (70%) & Presentation (30%)
  • Role development in Nursing - 20 credit Core Module
    • Independent Study - 97%
    • Scheduled Learning - 3%
    • Assignment: Essay (60%) & Essay (40%)
  • Option Module - select one, each one equates to 20 credits:
    • Clinical Teaching
    • Delivering Compassionate Care
    • Independent Study
    • Introduction to eHealth

As part of the core modules you will critically explore a variety of models of quality improvement, the tools and techniques used, thus enabling you to use a variety of different approaches to realise the potential of the improvements being undertaken. You will also examine your own professional knowledge and experience and develop a solid foundation for your own professional development as we recognise that nurses now have additional management and leadership responsibility which may involve service improvement.

In addition to the core modules you will have one optional module to choose from to compliment your area of practice.

Please Note: The availability of optional modules may vary, year-on-year.

Successful completion of the two core modules and optional module will mean you may exit with a Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing. 

Stage 2 - Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing

Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (SCQF Level 11)

If you choose to continue on with your studies then you will undertake a further two core modules and one optional module for this stage:

  • Research for Health and Social care - 20 credit Core module
    • Independent Study - 25%
    • Scheduled Learning - 75%
    • Assignment: Essay (100%)
  • Leadership for Effectiveness - 20 credit Core module
    • Independent Study - 80%
    • Scheduled Learning - 20%
    • Assignment: Assynchronous Discussion (30%) & Report (70%)
  • Option Module - select one, each one equates to 20 credits:
    • Clinical Teaching
    • Contemporary Cancer & Palliative Care
    • Independent Study
    • Introduction to eHealth
    • Psychosocial Concerns

The topics you’ll cover from your core modules will include critically exploring the current challenges facing health and social care professionals as well as appraising your own personal leadership role, the influence of team dynamics and the contribution various professional groups make towards the delivery of efficient and effective health and social care practice. You will also gain an understanding of research design and methods as well as explore a range of methodological issues relevant to research in health and social care setting.

In addition to the core modules you will have one optional module to choose from to compliment your area of practice.

Please Note: The availability of optional modules may vary.

Successful completion of the two core modules and optional module will mean you may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing.

Stage 3 - Master's Dissertation

MSc Nursing (SCQF Level 11):

  • MSc Dissertation module - 60 credits Core Module
    • Independent Study - 93%
    • Scheduled Learning - 7%
    • Assignment: Dissertation (100%)

As part of your studies you will undertake a piece of extensive piece of work either in the form of a research project or improvement project in which you will engage with relevant methodology, developing skills in data collection and analysis and acquiring a deeper and more extensive understanding of your chosen topic. Additionally, you have the option to undertake or a research protocol (in-depth proposal) which will include a systematic description and detailed set of activities for your proposed research project.

Teaching & Assessment

Our programme is delivered fully online and course materials prepared by different health & social professionals at various levels including lecturers, senior lecturers and professors who are considered experts in their field or practice.

  • You will access all learning materials through our Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle.
  • Teaching and course materials will be accessed through a variety of resources such as podcasts, videos, PowerPoint, eBooks and journal articles.
  • Guest speakers and contributions from national and international conferences are streamed (where possible) to enrich the learners experience.


  • Independent Study: 80%
  • Scheduled Learning: 20%

A variety of traditional and innovate assessment strategies are included in this programme and these will normally include essays, asynchronous discussions, written reports and dissertation. Depending on the optional module you choose coursework may be assessed via presentations and engagement within online forums and discussions. You are encouraged to write for publication (where applicable) and support can be accessed to achieve this via the teaching team or personal tutors. Support and constructive feedback is built into each module to enable you to improve on your academic ability as you progress through your studies.


  • Coursework: 100%

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

Course Structure

Career Prospects


Gaining a postgraduate qualification in nursing can lead to a variety of nursing roles (e.g. specialist, leadership, nursing management, etc.) and destinations in health and social care. Professionally, learners will build and advance their critical thinking, reflection, leadership, conceptual and decision-making skills.

Further Study

Upon completion of the course learners may wish to consider further Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or be supported to take their studies to the next level by completion of either a Professional Doctorate or PhD.

Studentships are regularly available to support PhD levels of study.

Furthermore learners will be supported and encouraged to publish their work as appropriate.

Postgraduate Tuition Fees

Part-time / Online Study 2018/19

Scottish & EU

£790 per module (20 credits)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£790 per module (20 credits)

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£790 per module (20 credits)

International (Non-EU)

£790 per module (20 credits)

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.

In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.

You can also find additional information in our Postgraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as a postgraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Norther Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at postgraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at postgraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Postgraduate courses (MA, MSc, MEd, MBA, DBA, PG Cert, PG Dip, etc.) & some Post-experience courses (CertHE, BA, Grad Cert, Grad Dip, etc.)

All students should apply directly to the University through our online application system. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and you should have all your supporting documents ready.

The first stage of the process is to create a profile; you don't have to complete the application in one session - you can complete it in stages by saving each section and return to complete it at a later date.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but they will close when they are full; apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

Before you begin your application, it is important to read the Postgraduate & Post-Experience application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

UWS Research Students | Researcher Development & Concordat | University of the West of Scotland

Research at UWS

With cutting edge facilities, specialist knowledge and world-leading and internationally excellent expertise, we aim to develop research outputs that have a tangible, early and positive impact on society across the globe.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.