Adult Critical Care Nursing MSc

Postgraduate (2-3 years distance learning)

Distance learning

September 2018

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

We are no longer recruiting for this course. For information on other courses, please visit our Postgraduate page.


Our course meets the needs of critical care nurses worldwide. Delivered entirely by distance learning accessible both nationally and internationally, we promote an online community of learning which is prepared by critical care experts with diverse research interests.

Full description


You’ll already be working as a nurse in a critical care environment, which involves regular patient/client contact (Anglia Ruskin will not arrange clinical placements). By completing this course you’ll have the opportunity to advance your career in critical care into leadership positions within clinical settings, or in the fields of management, research and teaching.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Complexities of Critical Care
    In this module you will use case studies, drawn from your own area of practice, to develop a deep and systematic understanding of the complexities of critical illness pertinent to the patients for which you will provide care. As this is a Masters level course, you will be expected to already have acquired knowledge of the fundamental principles of adult critical care nursing. The focus of this module will, therefore, be on world class contemporary research and international guidelines relevant to nursing within critical care. The pathophysiology of critical illness and its implications will be explored in the context of patient assessment, interpretation of clinical observations and patient management. You will work within action learning sets on-line appraising, discussing and debating key evidence via Anglia Ruskin University's virtual learning environment. You will be expected to evaluate the validity and reliability of this key evidence for their area of practice to promote humane and caring nursing. The expectation is that practice will vary widely amongst the class and be influenced by cultural and resource availability. You will be expected to evaluate the research in the context of your own patients, culture and resources and draw conclusions and implications for practice that are realistic and achievable.
  • Development and Innovations in Critical Care
    The focus of this module is the delivery of safe and effective quality adult critical care nursing and the processes by which this is monitored. Quality adult critical care nursing is dependent on clinical governance. Quality-improvement programmes, which include such activities as clinical effectiveness, clinical audit and procedures for identifying and remedying poor performance, will be evaluated. In this module you will critically explore issues relating to quality and safety in relation to their own area of practice. You will be encouraged to evaluate how system failure and human error/human factors results in sub-optimal care together with areas of good practice in developing response to deficiencies within their own sphere of work; taking into account cultural differences and boundaries of resource allocation. The role of quality, innovation, productivity and prevention of harm in enhancing patient care will be explored. You will be expected to demonstrate the ability to isolate and focus on significant features of problems and construct coherent solutions. The assessment is patchwork text/service user enhancement project, in which, solutions to an identified quality or safety issue will be evaluated. You are expected to produce a piece of work that recommends specific, measurable and realistic changes in practice that are innovative or have significant original features. This will enable you to demonstrate competent, evidence based practice which has positive and assessable benefits for the patient.
  • Research Studies
    This module is designed to provide you with a critical overview of the main methodologies and designs applied to research within health and social care, professional practice, regulation and policy. It will provide you with an opportunity to explore the theoretical dilemmas that underlie the process of inquiry and its relationship to practice. The module will provide a framework within which to select, evaluate and justify the research methods chosen for your research project. The module requires you to prepare and write a research proposal which will normally lead to a level 4 dissertation. Hence prior knowledge of some research approaches at level 3 is normally expected. This module is taken by students on a variety of courses. Learning will usually be with a group of students who bring different academic and/or professional interests to their study, thus providing a community of collaborative learning well suited to interdisciplinary exploration.
  • Advancing Decision Making for Healthcare Professionals
    The aim of this module is to advance your decision making skills through critical reflection particularly in the area of advanced organisational practice. The demands of modern healthcare systems require the development of roles for confident autonomous organisational practitioners, who possess the knowledge and skills to implement complex decisions in a rapidly changing health sector environment and to play key roles in service development. This is particularly important in advanced organisational practice and you will be encouraged to focus on new or advanced areas of service developments and consider issues such as ethics, legislation and quality assurance. You will need to be able to utilise both strategic and operational decision making skills within an area of advanced organisational development and/or practice and to develop strategies to facilitate the implementation of the outcomes of the decision making process, either as an individual or within a team/organisational context.
  • Major Project
    The Major Project, which is central to the Masters award, enables students to demonstrate their ability to synthesise learning from previous modules and use this learning as the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This project provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate: the ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to their specialism; depth of knowledge which may involve working at current limits of theoretical and/or research understanding; critical understanding of research methods and its relationship to knowledge; awareness of and ability to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice; the ability to draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions from information which may be complex or contradictory; the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge to develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development to best practice; the ability to communicate these processes in a clear and sophisticated fashion; the capability to evaluate their work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner. In the course of your studies with us you may generate intellectual property which is defined as an idea, invention or creation which can be protected by law from being copied by someone else. By registering with us on your course you automatically assign any such intellectual property to us unless we agree with the organisation covering the cost of your course that this is retained by them. In consideration of you making this assignment you will be entitled to benefit from a share in any income generated in accordance with our Revenue Sharing Policy in operation at that time. Details of our Intellectual Property Policy and Guidelines can be found on My.Anglia under Research, Development and Commercial Services or by contacting this Office for a hard copy.

Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change.


Our teaching and learning strategies draw heavily on your own experiences. Our assessments will constantly challenge your critical and creative thinking and vary between modules. They include patchwork text (a series of separate pieces of work that are ‘sewn’ together at the end to link to the structure of the module), a service user enhancement project, focused case analysis, research proposal, critical review of literature, case studies, systematic reviews and data analysis.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.

With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.

At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff. With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.

Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.

You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.

Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.

Where can I study?

Distance learning
Person using laptop

Study at a time that suits you, using our Virtual Learning Environment.

More about distance learning

Fees & funding

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting a postgraduate degree with us can access a £600 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online