Professional Development in Health and Social Care

MSc or PGDip or PGCert

Start dates: September 2024 / January 2025 / September 2025 / January 2026

Full time: MSc: 12 months, Distance learning: 12 months, PGDip: 12 months, PGCert: 6 to 12 months

Part time: depends on the award sought and any credit already attained; maximum of 3 years (Distance Learning 24 months)

Location: Headington, Distance learning

Department(s): Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Find a course



An ageing population and limited resources are putting pressure on healthcare systems. To be ready for the future, we need to change how healthcare teams care for communities.

Our MSc Professional Development in Health and Social Care is for professionals who want to become leaders in their field. At the same time, you’ll be keen to maintain clinical or professional practice and explore factors impacting health. Perhaps you want to carry out research. Or maybe you want to know how to use the evidence to inform practice.

You’ll pick one of two pathways: structured and unstructured. We’ll help you decide which is right for you, but the structured pathway will be a good fit if you haven’t studied at master’s level before.

The unstructured pathway is for students who want to build on their professional development. Pick modules from across the Faculty of Health and Life Science and choose the degree title you graduate with. It may even be possible to build up study credit from elsewhere to a full master’s degree.

This course is a mirror provision for a pathway in Hong Kong.

Attend an open day or webinar Contact us Order a prospectus

Two Professional Development in Health and Social Care Students, MSc, PGDip or PGCert students in lab on campus at Oxford Brookes University

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Two pathways
    Pick from our unstructured or structured pathway. Pick unstructured for more control over your modules and choice of your degree title.
  • Expert teaching team
    We have staff from across continents who have backgrounds in nursing, management, public health and research. Your learning will be informed by their extensive experience.
  • Diverse research
    Our team is carrying out projects in everything from social inequalities and digital healthcare to nursing practice around hand hygiene.
  • Focus on employability
    We’ve designed this course to give you the skills you need to take your next step, whether that’s a promotion or carrying out vital research in your field.
  • Work-based learning modules
    You’ll put your problem-solving skills to the test by proposing solutions to real-world problems in health and social care.

Course details

Course structure

You can study via a structured or unstructured route. The structured pathway has a defined choice of modules, while the unstructured pathway offers modules from across our health and social care portfolio.

On the structured pathway, you’ll explore areas like evidence-based practice, leadership, and advanced health promotion. These areas are key for giving you the confidence and skills you need to take the next step in your career.

On the unstructured pathway, you’ll have the freedom to choose from an extensive list of CPD modules. A popular option with our students is Operational Management in Health and Social Care. However, you can also choose from specialist areas such as epidemiology, coaching, and children’s emergency care.

Whichever pathway you choose, you’ll learn how to design research to inform practice and policy. This includes carrying out a research project on an area that interests you. Because of our wide range of expertise, we support students on a range of topics, from leadership and management to community health.

Professional Development in Health and Social Care students in a lecture at Oxford Brookes University

Learning and teaching

At Oxford Brookes, we have made a commitment to student-centred learning. We believe this approach encourages innovation within the practice areas.

We ask you to be proactive as you complete your unique learning journey. Your tutors will facilitate your learning, yet be available. 

Your course will build on existing knowledge and skills. There will be many opportunities for academic learning. You'll also further develop your professional practice.


Modules are assessed either by coursework or examination or both. Full details are in the module guides.

We use a variety of assessments to promote independent and reflective learning. Assessment is rigorous, of an appropriate standard and fair. This process is overseen by an external examiner.

You will show that you have achieved the learning outcomes for the module. And for the whole course. We ensure that you understand what learning outcomes are expected of you. And module instructions and marking criteria are clear. 

Tasks and questions are set by the module leader. They are  moderated internally (checked by another member of staff), and sent to the external examiner.


The course content is underpinned by the research and scholarship activities of the staff in the fields of consultancy, educational development, management education, leadership development, project management, and related clinical fields including health promotion, drugs and alcohol, and clinical trials.

Over the past few years, these researchers have won external research and consultancy contracts including grants, fellowships and studentships for NHS staff. Our research staff collaborate with researchers from across Oxford Brookes University, with researchers from the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, and with research teams from many other UK and international centres.


By the time you graduate, you’ll be ready to take your next step, whatever that looks like for you. Perhaps it’s securing that promotion to matron if you’re a nurse. Or using your updated managerial knowledge to take the lead in a social care setting. 

Our students go on to leadership of small teams in their workplace as well as management positions in areas like strategic development. You’ll have skills that are in demand such as the ability to create a business case, use rigorous research methods, write policy documents, and more.

Wherever you decide you want to make a difference, you’ll be ready to solve real-world problems and shape the future of healthcare.

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

Application for MSc Professional Development in Health and Social Care is via our portal.

Along with your application you will be required to submit:

  • two references (professional/academic)
  • copies of certificates of previous qualifications 
  • English language qualifications if your first language is not English
  • confirmation of funding.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.