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Postgraduate Diploma 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 2020. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

This qualification investigates the theory and practice of advancing healthcare, and how services can be improved through change agency, partnership working and the application of improvement science. You will gain knowledge, understanding and skills needed to contribute to healthcare advancement including the conception, design and conduct of research that has significance and benefit in practice settings. You will explore themes and conduct activities related to your own practice situation. You will examine how enquiry, knowledge, evidence, strategy and skill can be combined to develop your own work as an agent of advancing healthcare, and how you can work with others to do the same. 

Key features of the course

  • Builds leadership skills in relation to policy, innovation and healthcare improvement
  • Develops your ability to support service improvements using research, evidence-based practice and skills development
  • The chance to upgrade to our MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice in just one more year


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 – 2 years
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.

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Course details


To gain this qualification you require:

120 credits from the following modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules 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 FINAL
Researching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828)

This module assists you to play a leading role in healthcare improvements through an appreciation of healthcare quality, research, evidence evaluation and skill analysis.

See full description

60 06 Oct 2018

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
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

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

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 Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice (E46), entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Adv HCP (Open) after your name.


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 two modules, K827 and K828. We advise that the minimum time required to complete this qualification is two years, and most students complete the qualification within this timescale by successfully completing one module each year (K827 and then K828).

Career relevance

This is a UK qualification with international relevance that will be of interest to professionals working in a wide range of areas related to healthcare and are seeking to improve practice. 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.

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