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  • Delivery:
    2 years part-time

This part-time course will support you in developing advanced practice competencies, across the four pillars of Advanced Practice and in line with nationally recognised advanced level nursing criteria. You'll gain knowledge and skills that will help you develop in an advanced nurse practitioner role, professionally and academically at Master's level.

It will extend your analytical and reflective skills, and allow you to integrate new and existing clinical skills within your practice setting to provide high-quality healthcare as an autonomous practitioner in a multi-disciplinary healthcare team.

Once you've completed this course, you’ll be able to further progress the service and practice development and clinical leadership aspects of your role by undertaking the MA Advanced Practice course. The Master's element will provide you with the opportunity to complete a service improvement project, which can support the development of new patient and client services and the enhance practice within your own organisation.

In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in December 2016 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded. The September 2017 and January 2018 intakes will undertake the existing course structure. 

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017, January 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


2 years

Required subjects:

Three years experience as a qualified nurse

Entry requirements:

Relevant first degree or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements

Course details

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, lecturer practitioners who work at the university and in practice as Advanced Nurse Practitioners, other and other qualified healthcare professionals.

The course will facilitate the development of your critical appraisal, analytical and reflective skills, and enable you to integrate new advanced clinical skills and knowledge with your existing experience within your practice setting, in order to support the provision of high quality care and service delivery  as an autonomous practitioner within a multi-disciplinary healthcare team.

This part-time course has six taught units. You'll need to attend university once a week during term time over the two years.

Core units

  • Professional Issues for Advanced Practice: You’ll explore contextual aspects surrounding advanced practice, as well as the development of your advanced professional role while analysing and debating recent developments relevant to your clinical practice.  This first unit helps set the scene for your developing advanced practice role and is also the starting point for your advanced practice portfolio.
  • Advanced History Taking & Physical Assessment: You will develop knowledge and skills that will enable you to obtain 

    a comprehensive patient history, perform a complete physical assessment of all body systems and distinguish normal findings from pathological ones. You’ll learn to accurately describe observations and findings using appropriate terminology.

  • Advanced Health Assessment & Decision-making: Here, you’ll develop skills of clinical reasoning and decision-making at an advanced level and the ability to formulate differential diagnoses, This unit follows on from the advanced history taking and physical assessment unit,  supporting you in the development of knowledge and skills for planning and managing patients within complete packages of care, working in partnership with patients, carers and multidisciplinary team.
  • Independent & Supplementary Prescribing: This unit meets the government agenda for non-medical prescribing and through successful completion of this course and achievement of competencies in your practice area, you will gain a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recordable  prescribing qualification. The curriculum has been devised following Department of Health guidelines and by collaborating with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Learning and teaching will take place at the university and in practice. Lectures will be followed with question and answer sessions and analysis of case examples.
  • Principles of Disease Processes & Management of Therapeutic Interventions: Here, you’ll develop your understanding of disease processes, and improve your diagnostic and clinical decision-making skills for determining, implementing and evaluating evidence-based therapeutic pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. (This unit is undertaken by students as an alternative pathway to the non-medical prescribing route).
  • Advanced Practice Portfolio: This unit encourages self-direction and personal responsibility for professional development as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, using nationally-recognised advanced practice criteria against which you will benchmark your advanced practice.Throughout the course, you will collect evidence of your advanced role development that  will demonstrate achievement of generic advanced practice competencies, as well as more speciality-based one within your own practice area.  An additional aspect of this unit focuses on leadership and business acumen, within the context of your advanced practice role. The unit will culminate in you producing a personal, professional portfolio that spans the whole two year course, drawing together all elements of your developing advanced practice role, alongside academic development at Masters level.  

​Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll be able to undertake the top-up MA Advanced Practice programme, which will further enhance your leadership and management and service development skills. This Master's programme will provide you with the opportunity to undertake a service improvement project, aimed at developing patient-centred care and improving service delivery within your own organisation.  

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 PGDip Advanced Nurse Practitioner

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 & Experience

For Advanced Nurse Practitioner we are looking for applicants who:

  • Possess clinical competence beyond that of a newly qualified nurse (minimum of three years).
  • Display enthusiasm and motivation to develop their roles as advanced nurse practitioners.
  • Have an understanding of advanced practice.
  • Have the ability to plan and pursue their own professional development in order to meet the requirements of the programme.
  • Are able to maintain a high level of clinical practice within their nursing roles.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • Possession of a degree, diploma, or equivalent
  • A minimum of three years' experience working as a qualified nurse
  • Currently working in practice for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

International entry requirements

International students are welcome on this course if they are currently working in practice in the UK. Unfortunately we can not accept applications from international students unless you meet this criteria, this is due to the high level of interaction with clinical practice throughout the course. If international applicants would like to study this course you would need to do a conversion course which we do not offer at Bournemouth University, you would also need three years experience as a nurse in the UK.  

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) 6.0 or above with minimum 5.5 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 international entry requirements page.

How to apply

How you apply for this course, depends how the course will be funded:

  • Funded places (NHS Contract): If you are being paid for by the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) NHS Contract - applications for these contract places are dealt with through your Line Manager and they will arrange for you to complete the relevant paperwork/application form.
  • Self-funded or Direct Purchase and Employer funded/sponsored (outside of NHS Contract Agreement) - you can apply directly to the university for this course by clicking the 'apply now' icon above and downloading the application form.


After completing this course you will have met the nationally recognised advanced level nursing criteria and will be in a position to practice as an advanced nurse practitioner.

Career progression may lead to you becoming an:

  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Academic lecturer
  • Academic researcher.

Industries you could work in

  • NHS (hospital and community)
  • Private and independent healthcare sector (nursing homes and private hospitals)
  • Education
  • Academic research.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Postgraduate Diploma, you can look into our range of Master's 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 Students 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

Simon Phelps

Career development

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International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.