You are viewing information for England.  Change country.
Medical technician at work

Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Healthcare Practice

Please note that the final enrolment date for this qualification will be 20 September 2018 after which it will no longer be available to new students. You must complete your study by 31 December 2019. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

This qualification will help you develop knowledge, understanding and skills important to improving the quality of healthcare in your local setting, whatever your role. You'll investigate the theory and practice of healthcare improvement, exploring what healthcare improvement means and how it can be achieved through leadership, change agency, collaboration and partnership and the field of improvement science – situating these core themes within a global context and investigating their impact on local practice. Throughout your studies you will apply your learning to the context of your own health improvement environment.

Key features of the course

  • Develops your leadership skills in relation to policy, innovation and service improvement
  • Draws on a range of evidence and case material from both within and outside the UK
  • Strong emphasis on critical thinking, reflective practice and digital, information and academic literacy skills
  • Support for transition to postgraduate level study
This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to a postgraduate diploma and finally a masters degree. You can step off at any stage, or study the whole programme.


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Minimum – 1 year
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses.

Request your copy today

Course details


To gain this qualification, you need:

60 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)

This module will help you develop leadership skills in relation to healthcare improvements, innovation and policy.

See full description

60 06 Oct 2018

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

However if you are planning to continue your studies beyond the postgraduate certificate, it is important to note that up to 60 credits at postgraduate level are allowed against the Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice (E46) subject to some restrictions (refer to information on the postgraduate diploma for further information).

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules, you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Healthcare Practice, entitling you to use the letters PG Cert Adv HCP (Open) after your name.

You may continue your studies to gain the Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice (E46) and the MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice (F52).


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

It is a requirement that you have:

  • a degree (FHEQ Level 6 / SCQF Level 9), conferred by a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body
  • access to a setting related to healthcare
  • spoken and written English of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details. 

How long it takes

This qualification comprises one module (K827). The minimum time to complete this qualification is one year and most students complete this qualification within this timescale.

Career relevance

This is a UK qualification with international relevance that will be of interest to people who are seeking to improve practice in a wide range of healthcare settings. Whilst the qualification does not lead to a professional registration it is of relevance to a diverse range of employment roles and career options within or related to the field of healthcare improvement.

This qualification has strong links to developing and supporting career planning and employability skills. 

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.