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Healthcare Practice - Advancing Healthcare Practice

This qualification investigates the theory and practice of advancing healthcare, and how services can be improved through change agency, partnership working and the application of improvement science. You will gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to contribute to healthcare advancement, with a particular focus on the conception, design and conduct of research that has significance and benefit in practice settings. You will explore themes related to your own practice situation, and conduct a series of investigations in your workplace. You will also examine how enquiry, knowledge, evidence, strategy and skill can be combined to develop your own work as an agent of advancing healthcare, and how you can work with others to do the same.

Key features of the course
• Builds leadership skills in relation to policy, innovation and healthcare improvement
• Develops your ability to support service improvements using research and evidence-based practice
• The chance to upgrade to our MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice in just one more year.

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

Entry requirements

It is a requirement that you have:
• a degree (FHEQ Level 6 / SCQF Level 9), conferred by a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body.
• access to a setting related to healthcare
• spoken and written English of an adequate standard for postgraduate study.

If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.


Minimum – 2 years.

This qualification comprises two modules, K827 and K828. We advise that the minimum time required to complete this qualification is two years, and most students complete the qualification within this timescale by successfully completing one module each year (K827 and then K828). However, if you do not study a module every year, your study of the modules that constitute the diploma must be completed within six years.

Number of credits

120 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
This is a UK qualification with international relevance that will be of interest to professionals working in a wide range of areas related to healthcare and are seeking to improve practice. Whilst the qualification does not lead to a professional registration it is of relevance to a diverse range of employment roles and career options within or related to the field of healthcare improvement.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

To gain this qualification you require:
120 credits from the following modules:
Postgraduate compulsory modules
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)
Researching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828)

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules, you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice (E46), entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Adv HCP (Open) after your name.

Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Credit transfer
If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!