Critical Care (MSc)

This is an interprofessional, e-Learning programme, intended for healthcare professionals wishing to specialise in acute care or critical care, and those who teach within such settings. It provides opportunities to explore critical care as a multidimensional phenomenon, through the teaching and module assignments.

The MSc in Critical Care is a part-time, distance learning course, which aims to provide the opportunity to explore critical care as a multidimensional phenomenon through the module assignments and through taught components.

Critical care is the specialised and comprehensive care of patients whose conditions are life threatening, from pre-hospital assessment through to discharge from critical and acute care environments. The course explores the management of critically ill patients, and the final dissertation requires you to examine in-depth issues related to current practice of the critically ill patient.  The course also aims to inform those who teach within the critical care setting at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to further their knowledge and teach others more effectively.

The full MSc course takes two years to complete, although you can choose to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after nine months or a Postgraduate Diploma after 18 months, if you have fulfilled all the criteria for those awards.

The taught component introduces you to the multifaceted nature of caring for a critically ill patient. The modular approach allows you to evaluate care of the acute or critically ill patient from an evidence-based perspective, at any point on the patient’s journey (pre-hospital to discharge), allowing consideration from a multi-professional approach. Professional issues, including interprofessional practice, law, ethics, quality and safety are covered, as well as the psychosocial aspects relevant to caring for critically ill patients. The assessments are structured to allow students to evaluate the topic in relation to their practice and professional base.

Approximately 50 places are offered per intake and the majority of students are self-funded; although some obtain awards from charities and trusts.

Distinctive features

  • Opportunities for health care professionals to critically analyse, reflect upon and synthesise research evidence to inform practice.
  • Students will be better able to critically evaluate the care they provide with the aim of improving patient care within a clinical governance framework.  It recognises that these intellectual skills, as well as advanced research skills, are needed to perform at Master’s level and to lead innovation in practice.
  • These intellectual skills are seen as transferable, key and/or generic and in many health care professions, Master’s level education is required for advanced or senior practice.
  • It will also provide the opportunity for interprofessional collaboration, education and practice through discussion and debate (group work, case studies, critical incidences, etc.).
  • It aims to facilitate professional and personal growth through promoting lifelong learning and professional awareness both from within the individual student’s profession and from how that profession understands and interacts with other health carers.
  • An inter-professional approach to enhance group work, discussion sessions and case-based presentations.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration2 years
QualificationMSc
ModePart-time - distance learning
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

In addition to satisfying the requirements of the Cardiff University General Entrance Requirements, including English Language requirements, at the discretion of the relevant Board of Studies, applicants will:

  • Hold a UK higher education qualification, minimum of a BSc (Hons) grade 2:2 or above, from a UK institution with relevant degree awarding powers as detailed by the Department of Education and Skills.

OR

  • Hold a non-UK qualification equivalent to CQFW credit level 6 or above as defined and detailed by the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (NARIC).

OR

  • Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Head of School or nominee, equivalent skills that are sufficient to meet the demands of the programme of study in question.

AND

  • Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Head of School or nominee, that they have held for a minimum of two years a position of responsibility of relevance to the proposed programme. The student has to be working in a clinical area, that is relevant to the programme they are undertaking. If the student's relevant clinical employment ceases or where he/she is unable to attend work in the necessary clinical setting for any period of time (exceeding three months), then they are required to notify the programme team immediately in order that appropriate arrangements can be made.  In the case of temporary absence but continued relevant clinical employment, leave of absence (Interruption of Studies) and/or extensions shall be considered. In the event that a student's relevant clinical employment ceases then the University reserves the right to withdraw the student from the programme. Please refer to the University regulations on 'Fitness to Practice" for further information.

The MSc consists of three stages – stage T1 (first taught stage), stage T2 (second taught stage) and stage R (research dissertation stage):

  • Stage T1 (first taught stage)

This stage lasts for nine months, and consists of three 20-credit modules totalling 60 credits, at Level 7.

  • Stage T2 (second taught stage)

This stage lasts for a further nine months, and consists of a further three 20-credit modules totalling 60 credits, at Level 7, to achieve a total  of  120 credits to complete the taught stages.

  • Stage R (MSc research dissertation stage)

The dissertation stage of the programme lasts for a further six months, to a total for the MSc of two years, and will include a dissertation of 60 credits at Level 7, to achieve a combined total of 180 credits at Level 7 to complete the MSc course.

You may leave the course after successfully completing stage T1 with a postgraduate certificate, or after successfully completing stage T2 with a postgraduate diploma. 

Year one

Year two

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The course is delivered via Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.  Approaches to enhance your learning include:

  • Recommended reading / links within modules
  • Feedback on assignments
  • On line tutorials
  • Annual reports made available to students
  • External examiners’ feedback.

Studies at MSc dissertation level will largely consist of guided independent study and research, making use of the extensive learning and research facilities available. A project supervisor will be allocated to support and advise you on researching and writing up your specific dissertation topic.

How will I be supported?

All students are allocated a personal tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who will be in regular contact to discuss progress and to provide advice and guidance as needed.  Extensive written feedback is given on all assessments.

You will be allocated a personal supervisor during the dissertation period.  They will be able to give written feedback on dissertation drafts and provide you with the opportunity to discuss any queries you may have.

Feedback

Formative feedback will be communicated through electronic and written means in a timely manner.  Summative feedback on assessment will be delivered within the timeframe set by the University.
 

How will I be assessed?

There are a variety of formative and summative assessment methods used, such as:

  • Written modules
  • Voiced over power point presentations
  • Recommended reading / links within modules
  • Feedback on assignments
  • On line tutorials
  • Discussion board forums
  • Patient stories 

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this Master's level course, you will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of skills and abilities you can apply to any professional setting. In addition to greater conceptual understanding of current knowledge, issues and methods, you will have the opportunity to practise and develop abilities in critical analysis, the application of evidence based medicine and in dealing with complex issues systematically and creatively.

Your studies should also help you develop your problem-solving and decision-making abilities by enabling you to utilise evidence effectively and communicate important concepts to colleagues and others.  Through the research focused elements you will have the opportunity to develop and enhance skills in literature review, critical evaluation, research design, research methodologies, data collection, data analysis and research principles.

By fully engaging in this course, you should also be able to:

  • Demonstrate an informed and structured critical approach to critical care.
  • Evaluate and integrate knowledge into critical care from different disciplines such as the biological, psychological, sociological, pharmacological sciences.
  • Challenge traditional approaches to managing patients pre and post critical care.
  • Develop an interdisciplinary knowledge base to support patient care during the critical care period.
  • Demonstrate research awareness and activity to both consolidate and extend current themes, concepts and frameworks for managing patients in the critical care period.

Successful completion of this course will add value to your CV. Graduates of the course have reported that it led directly to promotion, and many students were also stimulated to pursue academic careers via further study up to PhD.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will need a reliable computer with high speed Internet access (and up-to-date virus and malware protection) and appropriate software.