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MA Advanced Mental Health Practice

MA Advanced Mental Health Practice (Part-time) video

The principle aim of the course is to prepare practitioners who will be considered for appointment as approved mental health professionals under the Mental Health Act 2007.

After completing the course, you’ll be able to take on the role of best interest assessor (Mental Health Capacity Act 2005). In meeting the requirements of the Higher Specialist Social Work Award in Mental Health, the course also recognises the diversity of mental health social work and provides practitioners with the opportunity to develop and extend their knowledge and enhance their skills in dealing with complex work. 

Learning includes a mix of interactive workshops, teaching sessions and facilitated group discussions. Service user and carer input will be central to student learning methods. This is combined with individualised self-directed learning with flexibility in units to tailor learning to meet individual student needs.

Opportunities for experiential learning are provided in a supervised practice placement as required by the professional body. Assessment for the course will include completing a portfolio including a report by a practice assessor, based on observation of how you apply learning and competence in showing the requirements. A range of reflective assignments and an in-class test will also be included.

Key information

Next start date:

February 2018, April 2018, September 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


Maximum 5 years

Entry requirements:

Applicants are normally expected to have at least one year of professional or management experience and a first degree or its equivalent. A professional qualification may be acceptable with evidence of professional experience at degree equivalent level. Applicants for the programme must also meet the professional requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Mental Health (AMHP) Regulations 2008 and hold a professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and be currently registered to that profession as laid out in Schedule 1. 

 If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

This is a part-time course delivered in blocks of taught days and placement days.

Core units

  • Ethics, Values & Perspectives in Mental Health: Approved mental health professionals bring knowledge, skills and values to their role. In this unit you'll consider models of mental distress and approaches to care and treatment for people who use mental health services. This will help you identify elements of socially inclusive practice.
  • Mental Health & the Law: Mental health professionals play a key role in the care and protection of people with mental disorders, and have responsibilities under mental health legislation. You'll examine and apply the laws, codes and social welfare legislation surrounding the field in the context of professionally ethical practice.
  • AMHP Role in Practice: The role of mental health professionals includes preventing the need for admission to care which currently takes place in the context of mental health policy initiatives. You'll consider the impact of social policy on current and potential service users and carers, and on professional practice across mental health disciplines.
  • Evidencing Professional Learning (Practice Assessment): A feature of professional practice is developing and showing occupational competencies and needs. This unit offers a flexible work-based approach for you to show your competencies and standards that meet the needs of professional and statutory regulatory authorities.
  • Evidencing Professional Practice & Decision-making: During this unit, you'll evaluate complex decision-making and professional judgement, and apply your knowledge and skills to solve problems in the unpredictable professional context.
  • Preparing for your Service Improvement Project: A Service Improvement Project (SIP) aims to better a service or services. You'll learn about an appropriate, systematic and justified methodology in a complex professional area to design an original, intellectually challenging and in-depth SIP action plan for your professional context.
  • Service Improvement Project: You'll show your autonomous and independent ability in a complex professional context to expand or redefine existing knowledge or develop new approaches to service improvement, and then evaluate your SIP's impact. Throughout the unit you'll be supported by a university tutor via phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings. Your tutor will direct you towards helpful resources. This may include electronic resources, workshops, seminars and master classes.

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. 

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MA Advanced Mental Health Practice.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For Advanced Mental Health Practice we are looking for applicants who:

  • Have suitable practice experience in mental health (normally two years post-qualifying).
  • Possess a suitable knowledge around mental health practice, including the relevant legal and policy context as well as having a good understanding of mental disorder and its impact on service users and carers.
  • Display a critical understanding and application of a range of models of mental disorder and in particular must be able to assert a social perspective on mental distress.
  • Have observed at least 4 Mental Health Act assessments and be able to critically reflect on the role of an AMHP.
  • Hold a CPSP in mental health (or PQ1 with a mental health focus) and an appropriate professional qualification in social work, occupational therapy or psychology and be registered.

All applicants must be nominated by their employer who is required to provide a reference of their suitability for the course and verify that they are able to provide an appropriate placement and practice assessor to evaluate the practice competencies.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • Applicants are normally expected to have at least one year of professional or management experience and a first degree or its equivalent
  • A professional qualification may be acceptable with evidence of professional experience at degree equivalent level.
  • Applicants for the programme must also meet the professional requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Mental Health (AMHP) Regulations 2008 and hold a professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and be currently registered to that profession as laid out in Schedule 1. 

It will also be a course pre-requisite that students:

  • Have completed the Consolidation Unit
  • Hold a recognised professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and are registered to that profession
  • Demonstrate that they already have the level of professional competence, capacity and ability to undertake and complete AMHP training at the PQ Higher Specialist Social Work Award Level
  • Have been nominated by their employer, who can provide support and an appropriate placement and practice assessor.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our study postgraduate entry requirements page.

Non-academic requirements

Notice from the Health and Care Professions Council

Social Work is a regulated profession. If you are a social work student you will be expected to register with the Health and Care Professions Council, the social work profession's regulator, and adhere to the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Workers. As well as regulating individual social workers and students, the HCPC also regulate the performance of social work courses, the reports of which are published on their website, so you can see how each university is performing. For more information visit please visit the Health and Care Professions Council website.

How to apply

We offer a single point of contact for all questions and enquiries regarding Post Qualifying Social Work courses.

Please contact our NCPQSW Administration Team (National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work) for more information:

  • Tel: +44 (0)1202 964765
  • Email:

Please note: If your fees are to be paid by your employer you should submit your application via your Workforce Development Officer so that your employer can sign the sponsor section of the payment agreement. This must take place before you can be enrolled.

If you are paying your own fees you should submit your application directly to the NCPQSW Administration Team.


Advanced Mental Health Practice graduates can undertake roles such as Approved Mental Health Professional and Best Interest Assessor. Graduates would be able to support roles within Mental Health and Health & Social care.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions & specialist teaching facilities.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a hard copy/memory stick/ DVD
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service;
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, Faculty Librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/ improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our unilinx bus service operates in the local areas, offering a subsided travel rate. We also have a large number of bike storage facilities.
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Travel to placement is your responsibility; you may be able to reclaim costs from NHS Student Bursaries
  • Supplementary uniform supplies
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/ securing placements
  • Professional Body membership/registration post qualification
  • Internet access at discretion of your accommodation provider
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Student section of the website.

Other possible costs to consider

  • Replacement Student ID card- £10.00 (per replacement)
  • Cost of resit examination- No charge if examined at Bournemouth University, if examined elsewhere costs may be incurred at the Exam Centre
  • Cost of additional transcript results- £10.00 (per year of study)
  • Replacement certificate (Postgraduate and Diploma level students only)- £30.00 (per replacement)

Additional information

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