Postgraduate Taught

MSc Advancing Practice in Occupational Therapy

On this course you will focus on developing your knowledge of the evidence-base in practice and deepening your critical thinking, professional reasoning and research knowledge. We have designed it to suit occupational therapists from a wide range of settings and to give you the support you need to redefine your career as an advanced practitioner in education, research or management. 

Following consultation with existing students, practitioner colleagues and employers, we have made changes to the course content and structure which will enable students to be awarded an MSc Advancing Practice in Occupational Therapy. The programme remains a post-registration Masters for qualified occupational therapists and builds on the previous MSc (Post Reg.) Occupational Therapy content.

As a student on this revised programme, you will develop your knowledge of the evidence-base for/of practice and deepen your critical thinking, professional reasoning and research skills. We have designed the course to suit occupational therapists from a wide range of settings and to give you the support you need to redefine your career as an advanced practitioner in education, research, leadership, policy or practice.

The MSc Advancing Practice in Occupational Therapy is embedded as an integrated pathway on an existing master’s framework for person-centred practice, which affords equal attention to both the philosophy of occupation and person-centredness. This framework offers a student-centred approach to education, fostered through three approaches to learning, experiential and collaborative learning; critical discourse; and evidence-based teaching.   






Why QMU?

  • Take control of your learning by choosing your own topic for most of the modules on the course.
  • You can structure the delivery and duration of this very highly flexible course around your own study and work goals.
  • You can select specific modules for your continuing professional development studies.

Course overview

The course is flexible so you can design a programme relevant to you and your career path. We offer an intellectually stimulating opportunity for you to develop your academic knowledge and research skills, which will enhance your practice. As well as core modules, you will select topics and themes which are of specific interest to you.

The course content is largely dependent on the choices you make related to study options. However, we encourage all students to undertake our core occupation modules. These consider both an occupational science perspective, as well as the application and creation of an occupation focus to practice. The learning achieved as part of these modules will permeate and inform learning and teaching throughout the remainder of the course.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credit)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip, or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The learning experience promotes independent and student-led study. This encourages the student to use library, web and other resources to seek out information. Assessment on this course will be carried out through a variety of strategies such as drawing on your own practice experiences. It can also include case-based work, presentations, essays, systematic and literature reviews, a research proposal outline and development of a learning contract.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module which you study on campus will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on which module you are studying and whether you are studying full-time or part-time. Some modules are also available by distance learning.

Class sizes

Normally, there are around 15-20 students undertaking the course each year.


To gain an MSc, you will need 180 credits and will complete: 

  • Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)
  • 90 credits (of which 60 must be core/ specialist occupational therapy modules) from:
    Developing Professional Practice Through Work-Based Learning (15/30/45 credits)/ Specialist Practice Through Independent Study (15/30 credits)/ Critically Engaging with Occupation 1 (15 credits)/ Critically Engaging with Occupation 2 (15 credits)/ Rights-Based Practice for AHPs Working with Dementia, their Families and Carers (15 credits)

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (September 2019) but are subject to change. In the event that modules are changed, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Single modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Fiona Maclean for more information.


There are no placements on this course. 


This course will enable occupational therapists to change career direction to advanced practitioner, education, research or management.

Entry requirements

Normally an honours degree or equivalent in occupational therapy.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0. International students registering for the named award will normally have gained their professional qualification from a school recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Application deadline


Professional Registration

Framework awards do not lead to UK registration with the HCPC or the right to practice within the UK, but aim to foster an intellectual approach to personal and professional development.

More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or Fiona Maclean or Linda Renton on tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU with additional online learning
Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 3 – 7 years
Start Date
September 2020
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

A student Story (see bottom of page for more)

Grahan Samson - MSc Occupational Therapy (Post-Reg) “I feel as though my critical thinking skills developed early in the course, and in particular, I noticed that I began to develop my ‘own voice’. For example, I feel more able to produce my own thoughts on contested issues, and to justify my particular stance. That’s quite an empowering development, not only for clinical reasoning, but on a personal and social level." Read my story

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