Nursing Studies: Mental Health Nursing

MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate Mental Health

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The MSc Mental Health is designed to meet the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs of a wide range of professionals. It is aimed at, but not limited to, those who work with mental health service users and/or within mental health settings. The programme supports practitioners to develop their knowledge, skills and competence in advanced practice and in specialist areas such as Safeguarding, Migration and Forensic Mental Health. It is also the framework for Best Interests Assessor Training (BIA); Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) Training and social work Practice Educator Training (PE).

Successful completion of your chosen pathway within the programme could lead to either an MSc, PGDip or PGCert award.

The MSc Mental Health is designed in response to recent changes in legislation, corresponding developments in mental health service delivery and the evolving socio-political influences that impact upon the mental health and wellbeing of individuals. It aims to meet the needs of stakeholders for an adaptable, reflexive and resilient workforce, and its modules focus on enhancing specialist mental health practice through the application of CPD and lifelong learning.

The MSc Mental Health has been developed for the specific workforce development needs of practitioners working at a senior or advanced level.  It provides flexible options for study and is designed to support students to ‘learn and earn’ while applying their knowledge to practice. You will benefit from an exciting and challenging educational experience to which the programme team will contribute through the organisation of specialist innovative modules and practice learning.

For local social services authorities (LSSA) the programme provides the required training framework to fulfil mandatory functions in accordance with both the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007) and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act (amended 2007).

MSc Mental Health

Theoretical, ethical and legal perspectives and the parameters that influence professional practice in mental health settings will be explored. You will evaluate how research approaches and methods of critical enquiry can be best utilised to create and interpret knowledge and evidence for the improvement and development of specialist practice. The programme aims to develop autonomous and self-directed students able to sustain and enhance their knowledge and skills to meet their personal, professional and organisations requirements. Likely optional modules include:

  • Migration and Mental Health
  • Safeguarding in Mental Health
  • Mental Health in Forensic Settings
  • Professional Leadership in Mental Health

Best Interests Assessor

  • Law and Policy for Best Interests Assessors
  • Developing Best Interests Assessor Practice Skills

These modules aim to enable students to acquire a critical understanding of the legislative frameworks, related codes of practice and policy that underpins practice as a Best Interests Assessor under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Approved Mental Health Professional

  • Enhancing Health and Wellbeing
  • Models of Mental Disorder and Intervention
  • Law and Policy for Approved Mental Health Professionals
  • The Role of the Approved Mental Health Professional under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended by the MHA 2007)
  • Mental Health Statutory Practice: Rights, Risks and Responsibilities
  • Development of Advanced Practice Skills in Mental Health

You will study the complex legal and policy framework that underpins AMHP practice; the theories and models that inform a critical understanding of mental disorder, its impact on the individual, their family and social network; the research that supports evidence based practice and the skills that enable you to competently and confidently undertake the AMHP role.

You'll also have the skills to effectively manage complex situations of anxiety, risk and conflict whilst balancing risk factors and the rights of service users to take risks and recognise the complexity and implications of making independent professional judgements and decisions.

Practice Education

The aim of this module is to prepare practitioners to supervise, teach and assess learning in the workplace. Qualified social workers are required to facilitate the learning of a social work student. In order, to meet the requirements for Stage 1 Practice Educator status (Domains A-C), candidates must work with a learner who is being assessed against the Professional Capability Framework (The College of Social Work 2012) on a placement of at least 50 days.

The MSc Mental Health programme is suitable for, but not limited to, experienced practitioners working in mental health services. It is designed for individuals with an interest in improving outcomes for those experiencing mental distress across a wide range of contexts and offers flexible study opportunities to meet the Continuing Professional Development needs of the following professional groups:

  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Paramedics
  • Probation Officers
  • Police Officers
  • Medical Practitioners

Research modules

Key themes that underpin the Research Modules are the enhancement of knowledge of different research methods and approaches, the development of a robust research proposal and the ability to undertake a substantive piece of work, relevant to professional discipline.  You will access Research Modules with students from across the Faculty, who are planning and managing a research dissertation/project within their level 7 programme.  This will facilitate interprofessional learning and the development of shared knowledge and understanding of research approaches and methods, which are common across disciplines.  Bringing students together in this way establishes a more cohesive research community and promotes a unique research-active culture in which individual and organisational goals may be met.  Completion of the Research Modules will enable you to be more actively engaged in research within your professional area and will equip you to pursue a research career through registration for an MPhil/PhD.

Best Interests Assessors

Those wishing to become a Best Interests Assessor will undertake two compulsory modules on a standalone basis or as part of the full MSc Mental Health award. The taught Law and Policy module will provide you with the knowledge, skills and values base for BIA practice covering the statutory assessment process with particular reference to the duties and responsibilities of the BIA. The practice placement module will offer a range of work-based learning opportunities that will enable you to apply legislative provisions and synthesise theory with practice activities. 

Approved Mental Health Professional Practice (AMHP)

For those undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Approved Mental Health Professional there are six compulsory modules: there are no optional modules or electives. You will undertake a core initial module, Enhancing Health and Wellbeing, or an alternative module subject to the agreement of the programme director. Your unique practice experience will be utilised to facilitate and promote inter-professional enquiry and enhanced reflection.  Within this initial module you will be supported by the module lead to design a programme of learning which will meet your personal and professional development needs as well as the needs of your teams and organisations. 

The core specialist AMHP modules provide the knowledge, skills and values base for AMHP practice. They cover mental health policy and legislation, the statutory role of the AMHP, identification of mental disorder, interventions and impact and the practice of risk assessment and its application to decision making. You will have the opportunity to study current policy, legislation and research that underpins mental health care provision and its implications for ethical and value based practice, particularly the ethical dilemmas and conflicts inherent in the statutory duties and responsibilities of the AMHP role. In the Development of Advanced Practice Skills in Mental Health module you will have the opportunity to experience a wide range of work based learning opportunities to develop the advanced practice and decision making skills required for the AMHP role. This route will be full time and you will complete 120 credits in one year:

All AMHP programmes are required to be approved by the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC). The HCPC has set specialist approval criteria for AMHP programmes. The HCPC and the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) also set standards of conduct, performance and ethics which their members are expected to comply with in the AMHP role. To be eligible for approval by a LSSA as an AMHP, you must successfully complete all six modules and achieve the Post Graduate Diploma. 

Practice Education

Participants will be supported to develop and critically evaluate their skills in teaching and assessing learners in practice. They will consider how to set up an effective learning environment, including managing inductions, negotiating appropriate learning opportunities and critically evaluating their agency as a training organisation. They will consider and critique models of facilitating learning and will be encouraged to develop awareness of their own personal learning, teaching and assessment styles. Various learning theories will be critically examined in relation to individual learning needs. Organisational, legal, ethical, cultural, personal and professional factors which impact on the learning environment will be identified and critically analysed.  Principles and methods for assessment of learning in the workplace will be analysed from the perspective of the participant, learner, practice assessor and service user where appropriate. 

Students undertaking the MSc Mental Health will be experienced practitioners who will bring their existing knowledge and skills to the programme. The programme will provide the opportunity to share and learn from other practitioners from across and within the health and social care sector in order to develop themselves, their teams and their organisations. Accordingly, the MSc Mental Health is designed to enhance the possibility of career progression and promotes the habits and value of life-long learning.

Those seeking professional endorsement in the Best Interests Assessor or Approved Mental Health Professional roles will be eligible to undertake statutory interventions under the relevant legislative provisions which will considerably strengthen their career opportunities and progression.  For AMHPs this will be subject to the warranting arrangements of their Local Social Services Authority.

The modules you undertake can be chosen from a range offered within the core MSc Mental Health programme or from the University’s wider postgraduate portfolio. Your choice of modules will reflect your learning and development needs and where relevant those of your supporting/sponsoring organisation. All modules can be undertaken on a standalone basis or as part of the full programme. Typically, modules consist of 30 hours of academic direction (lectures, seminars and 1:1 tutorials) and 170 hours of practice learning and independent study. Throughout the programme the focus of learning, teaching and assessment is on work-based and work related learning where knowledge gained is applied to the workplace and reflection and evaluation further enhances practice.

All teaching on the programme will be delivered by experts in the subject area. The teaching and learning strategy adopted by the programme team also utilizes the knowledge and skills of experienced practitioners, and the involvement of service users and carers is central to the programme. The programme has a well-established programme team and the membership includes senior university lecturing staff from across the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, in particular from the Social Work and Mental Health Nursing teams, external specialist associate lecturers, AMHP and BIA practitioners and people who use services and carers. A number of the teaching staff on the programme have recent publications in their subject area. The diversity of the knowledge and experience of the teaching staff ensures that you will receive quality teaching which is current, relevant and research-led, reflecting modern mental health practice and models of service provision.


2018/19 tuition fees for this course

Fee Per ModuleUK/EUOverseas
Full-time  N/A N/A
Part-time  £805 (per module)  £1,435 (per module)

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course where the course lasts more than one academic year. The increase will reflect cost inflation in the University. Any inflationary increase will be no more than 3.5% for each year of your study. The increase will be calculated on the previous year’s tuition fees and not the tuition fees at the start of the course. 

Government loans of up to £10,280 are available for some postgraduate Master’s courses for students starting their course from 1 August 2017. Loans are subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

The rules around course eligibility mean that in some cases it may depend on how you are studying (full-time or part-time) as to whether you can apply for a postgraduate loan. To check whether your course is eligible, you can email the Student Fees Team or call 01227 923 948

Read more about postgraduate masters student loans.

Students may self-fund their course or a sponsor may fund or part-fund. Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may also be available.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any library fees and fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

The variety of assessments accommodates a broad range of learning styles and have been selected to match the module aims and learning outcomes to the theory/practice outcomes. Assessment activities include case studies, presentations, essays and examinations. Where professional role development through the acquisition of specific skills and competencies is an identified outcome, such as with the Development of Advanced Skills in Mental Health Practice and the Developing Best Interests Assessor Practice Skills modules, you will be required to undertake a period of supervised and assessed practice learning. The requirements and learning opportunities to meet the learning outcomes will be set out in a formal Practice Learning Agreement and you will be required to produce a portfolio of evidence of Professional Practice Development.

The full MSc Mental Health award is made of 180 credits. Each module carries 20 credits with the exception of the 40 or 60 credit bearing Dissertation/Project.

For professional programmes, as an alternative to a good honours degree, consideration will be given to applicants who:

  • have a professional diploma, or equivalent, at an appropriate level in a relevant subject discipline; or
  • demonstrate significant professional experience at an appropriate level, together with relevant qualifications.

You should normally be working in a field of practice relevant to your proposed study or have sufficient access to it to support your studies.  Consideration is given to other, non-professionally registered specialists, who can demonstrate the relevance of the award to their professional and career development. 

There are additional entry requirements for those applying for the BIA and AMHP modules:

Best Interests Assessors:

In addition to the requirements for the MSc Mental Health you must be one of the following registered professionals (Mental Capacity Regulations 2008: Department of Health):

  • An approved mental health professional
  • A social worker
  • A first level nurse
  • An occupational therapist
  • A chartered psychologist

You must have two years post registration experience.

Approved Mental Health Professional Practice:

In addition to the requirements for the MSc Mental Health applicants for registration as a student on the Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health - Approved Mental Health Professional Practice you must:

  • Hold a recognised professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and be a social worker registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, or
  • A first-level nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurse’s part of the Register under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, with inclusion of an entry indicating the field of practice is mental health or learning disability nursing, or
  • An occupational therapist registered in Part 6 of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Health and Care Professions Order 2001, or
  • a chartered psychologist who is listed in the British Psychological Society’s Register of Chartered Psychologists and who holds a relevant practising certificate issued by that Society.

You must:

  • Demonstrate that you already have the level of professional competence, capacity and ability to undertake and complete the AMHP training programme at Masters level. You will be required to provide appropriate evidence that you are able to undertake successfully and benefit from the AMHP programme
  • Be nominated by a local social services authority or other employer
  • Be working in a field of practice where the study of mental health and AMHP practice is relevant or have sufficient access to such practice to support your studies
  • Have a current enhanced DBS check
  • Have a minimum of two years post qualifying practice in community mental health services.

Students undertaking the BIA and AMHP modules are usually sponsored by a local social services authority and will have undergone specific selection arrangements with their employer. These modules may also be accessed on self-funding basis, providing that appropriate and quality assured practice placement learning opportunities are available. In this case students will be invited for an interview with the programme team to ensure that they meet the professional body requirements for these statutory roles. 

For more information, please contact

To apply, please contact

01227 922418 or 

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 1 year full-time
    3 years part-time

Entry requirements

  • You should normally hold a good honours degree at 2.2 or above, which is defined as a first class or second class honours degree, in a relevant subject discipline. See further entry requirements for alternative entry criteria.



Last edited 28/01/2019 15:36:00

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Last edited: 28/01/2019 15:36:00