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Advanced Surgical Practice (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time distance learning

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This is an interprofessional, distance learning course, intended for healthcare professionals who want to specialise in the field of surgical and perioperative care.


Flexible e-learning programme

Distance-learning, online format enables flexible learning at your own pace.


Student focused assessment

Flexible assessment tailored to students' own practice requirements means you can focus on subject areas relevant to your work.


Evidence based content

The philosophy of the programme is to promote critical analysis of the evidence to support or refute current practice.


One to one tutoring

We utilise multiple tools to ensure communication and collaboration, both with your personal tutor and the wider PG community.


Interprofessional study

Work, learn and collaborate with students and staff from a range of healthcare professions and other academic disciplines.

The MSc in Advanced Surgical Practice aims to offer knowledge and expertise to provide a transition between theory and your own clinical practice. It draws together a wide range of fundamental information in an e-learning format, with an emphasis on the general principles of surgical practice rather than on the management of specific conditions.

This part-time distance learning programme is aimed at registered nurses, doctors, operating department practitioners and other healthcare professionals looking to specialise in the field of surgical and perioperative care. 

During this innovative programme, the multifaceted nature of caring for surgical patients is evaluated from an evidence-based perspective. Teaching considers the full journey of the surgical patient, starting with admission and preoperative preparation through to postoperative care and discharge.

Professional issues, including clinical governance and inter-professional practice, are also covered. Assessments are structured to enable you to evaluate the topic in relation to your practice areas of interest and professional base.

Where you'll study

School of Medicine

We are of the largest medical schools in UK, committed to the pursuit of improved human health through education and research.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2068 7214
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as healthcare, nursing, or medicine, or an equivalent international degree.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. Evidence that you are currently registered with the professional body relevant to your profession.
  4. Evidence that you are working in a clinical area that is relevant to the programme and will continue to be for the full duration of your studies. Evidence of your employment can be provided in the form of a signed and dated employer reference.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of a minimum of two years relevant professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This part-time MSc consists of three stages – Stage T1 (first taught stage), Stage T2 (second taught stage) and Stage D (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 D  (MSc dissertation stage)

The dissertation stage lasts for a further six months, to a total for the MSc of two academic 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 programme.

The total normal duration to complete the full MSc programme is two academic years (stages T1, T2 & D), from the date of initial registration on the MSc.

You may leave at the end of stage T1 with a postgraduate certificate, if you have obtained a minimum of 60 credits and have completed any required modules.

You may leave at the end of stage T2 with a postgraduate diploma, if you have obtained a minimum of 120 credits and have completed any required modules.

The dissertation is normally not more than 20,000 words. The subject of each student’s dissertation shall be approved by the Chair of the Board of Studies concerned or his/her nominee.

The dissertation, in combination with the taught stage, is weighted 33% for the purpose of calculating the final mark:

Stage   Weighting

Taught modules            66%

Dissertation (stage R)    33%

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

The programme team support you throughout the academic year and will run video calls during each module. Academic support is provided through discussion boards, review of and feedback/feedforward comments on drafts of work and video, or telephone calls. You will be allocated a personal tutor, to provide pastoral support to discuss anything that is affecting your ability to study. All of the module content is delivered asynchronously, which means there is flexibility in studying module content. The module assessments are ‘evidence-based reviews’, that enable you to focus on an area of your interest in surgical practice, submitted online via a tool called Turnitin. The programme starts with a Module on Research, Statistics and Evidence Base Medicine, which provides you with the knowledge and skills to develop evidence based reviews. The module content, student support, assessments and assessment feedback, enable and direct the improvement in MSc level writing.

Year two

The module content, student support, module assessments and assessment feedback, enable and direct the improvement in MSc level writing, to the level required for the Dissertation. The dissertation stage enables the consolidation and application of what is learnt from years one (Stage 1) and two (Stage 2). It also provides the opportunity to apply research and statistics skills in planning, or undertaking an evidence based review, research or audit.

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

A wide range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the course, which is delivered via e-learning format through Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) Learning Central™. The course consists of a number of compulsory modules and some of these have sub-topics where you have a choice.

A variety of media is used to deliver the content:

  • Online, interactive modules
  • Voice over PowerPoint presentations
  • Links to other online resources
  • Presentations

Module assessment and dissertation topics are chosen by the student, but have to be approved by the programme team.

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 assessed?

The assessments have been chosen to ensure that the learning outcomes are appropriately tested and provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate they have met them.  Specific module assessment methods for each module shall be determined by the relevant Board of Studies and are detailed within the relevant Module Description.

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

  • Written Assignment plans/drafts
  • Written Assignments
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Reflective blogs
  • Group work

The MSc dissertation will be wholly assessed based on the final dissertation. Expectations for the format, submission and marking of the dissertation will follow the current Assessment Regulations, supplemented where appropriate with additional requirements of the Programme/School/College and any specific requirements arising from the nature of the project undertaken.

How will I be supported?

Online support is provided via discussion boards e.g. to discuss module content, assessment ideas, assessment development, clinical issues. You are encouraged to make regular contribution through the discussion boards on Learning Central, where you will be supported by the programme team and a panel of clinical experts. You will be able to plan and reflect on your learning of individual modules and assessments, through you own personal blog (this can be extracted to include in Professional Portfolio/professional validation, re-validation). In addition, there will be regular opportunities to have online meetings with the academic staff.

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 to help and guide you for future assessments.


In order to help and guide you with the planning, writing and development of assessments, formative feedback will be provided through our online “feedback studio” – specific instruction on this is offered on module 1.  Summative feedback on assessments will be delivered within the timeframe set by the University.

Students are allocated a personal supervisor during the dissertation period. They will give written feedback on dissertation drafts and provide the student with the opportunity to discuss any queries they may have.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will achieve by the end of your programme at Cardiff University and identify the knowledge and skills that should acquire. They will also help you to understand what is expected of you.

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

Have the opportunity to apply a wealth of skills and abilities to your professional setting.  In addition to greater conceptual understanding of current knowledge, issues and methods, you will practice and apply abilities in critical analysis, the application of evidence based medicine and in dealing with complex issues systematically and creatively. During studies you will use problem-solving and decision-making skills by to utilise evidence effectively and communicate important concepts to colleagues and others.  Through the research focused elements you will apply skills in literature review, critical evaluation, research design, research methodologies, data collection, data analysis and research principles.

The course aims to facilitate students to apply their knowledge to an advanced level in their area of expertise and or interest within the field of surgery. This is however, undertaken within a broader context, which allows the student to understand their level of expertise and knowledge base fits into interprofessional practice as a whole.

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Integrate knowledge of the multidimensional aspects of surgical practice from different disciplines in order to approach patient management from a holistic perspective.
  • Apply an interprofessional, evidence-based knowledge of surgical practice to support any clinical and educational initiatives.
  • Write evidence-based reviews that inform patient care / clinical education;

Intellectual Skills:

  • Challenge traditional approaches to conceptualising surgical practice by framing clinical questions for your assessment, gathering evidence, assessing that evidence and forming recommendations.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Examine current practice and evaluated traditional methods and attitudes to surgical practice.

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Have a critical and analytical approach to surgical practice in a range of health settings.
  • Identify areas for quality improvement in practice.
  • Consolidate and consider extending current practice through research activities.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,725 None
Year two £5,725 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,450 £2,500
Year two £9,450 None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

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.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Career prospects

This programme is particularly suitable for those who wish to increase their knowledge of surgical practice in order to help improve patient care. Graduates have reported that it led directly to promotion, and many were also stimulated to pursue academic careers via further study up to PhD.

This Masters programme enables you to demonstrate you are taking the opportunity to develop your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and in dealing with complex issues. Whilst we do not formally assess clinical skills or competencies in a face-to-face context (so the programme is not a substitute for a formal specialty training programme), studying at this level should help successful students demonstrate numerous academic skills that should be highly regarded in relation to their career development and progression.

In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in relation to the application of evidence-based medicine and the potential enhancement of services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in relation to taking on greater responsibilities or perhaps seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.

Here’s what some of our alumni say about their time on the programme:

“I undertook this degree to further my understanding in critical appraisal and analysis of information to improve my skills as a clinician and also to interpret and relay this information to my patients. I benefited most from the appraisal tasks and, of course, the dissertation where I was able to have an in-depth focus on an area of interest. Completing the programme has helped me to secure a radiology training post of my top choice.”
Hannah Lewis, Medical Doctor

“I decided to apply for the Masters at Cardiff University as it was based on critical appraisal and research which would help my career. I think what I benefited from most was the initial module on research methods, which were then applied throughout the whole degree, as well as the discussions with the faculty and fellow course members about various topics. The programme has affected my practice as I am more able to judge how good evidence is so I can base my practise on string evidence. It has also allowed me to be more involved in research as my colleagues ask for help. It has also improved my career prospects.”
Alexia Farrugia, Clinical Research Fellow in HPB Surgery

Next steps


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.