Advancing professional practice

This module supports you in developing the knowledge and skills required to advance your scope of professional practice. Throughout your studies, you'll be required to explore the role of service improvement in health and social work practice. An integral aspect of the module assessment requires you to identify an aspect of quality improvement within your practice that you will investigate further through a critical literature review.

You'll critically explore the role of leadership in delivering quality improvement and undertake practice-based activities throughout the module to develop your skills and build a practice portfolio that will further embed your learning. During your studies, you'll develop advanced skills in the systematic and critical use of appropriate evidence that is relevant to your practice, enabling you to engage with stakeholders as you plan and deliver a service improvement project.

Vocational relevance

This module is suitable for registered health and social work professionals currently working in an area of practice.


K805 is a compulsory module in our:


Module 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.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method

Distance and practice-based learning

Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

Studying this module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to scope your advancing professional role in practice, systematically and critically use evidence in your practice, and plan for the implementation of a service improvement project.

In the first week, you'll be introduced to the four blocks of study and you will revisit some important knowledge that will help you complete the module.

Block 1: Service improvement – the big picture
This block explores the role of service improvement in health and social work practice. You will also start to focus in on your own practice, revisit the concept of critical thinking, complexity and change, service improvement models and professional implications in leading service improvement.

Block 2: Focusing in and scoping your practice
This block provides you with some tools to enable you to scope your quality improvement in practice and identify a topic area to investigate further as part of a critical literature review. It provides you with the knowledge and skills to create a review question on your chosen topic, plan and do a critical literature review.

Block 3: Doing a literature review
In this block you will be provided with support to conduct your critical literature review.

Block 4: Planning your service improvement
This block revisits some of the content you have covered in blocks 1 and 2 relating to planning service improvement and engaging different stakeholders. It builds on this and provides you with the knowledge to produce a service improvement plan.

This module will equip you with the skills to scope your quality improvement in practice, conduct a critical literature review, and plan your service improvement project for your area of practice. However, you will not be expected to implement your service improvement plan during the module.

You will be required to complete practice-based activities throughout your study which contribute to an e-portfolio to be submitted for assessment at the end of the module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have the support of a module tutor and will be required to engage with your tutor and peers through online discussion forums related to the module materials. There are two compulsory full-day schools, which are currently delivered online and you must attend these to pass the module. There is also a series of tutorials delivered by your tutor throughout your study.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Professional recognition

Advancing professional practice is the final module studied in the MA in Social Work (F80). You will need to be a registered professional already to study.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Advancing professional practice (K805) starts once a year – in October. 

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2029.


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

Entry requirements

To study this postgraduate module, you’ll need to:

  • hold an undergraduate degree from a UK university (or equivalent)
  • hold current registration with one of the statutory health or social work regulatory bodies as relevant to your profession (such as NMC, GPhC, HCPC, SWE, SCW, SSSC or NISSC)
  • be employed in a relevant practice area or have the opportunity for practice-based learning. It will not be possible to complete this module if you do not have access to practice-based learning in a health or social work environment.
  • have access to a suitably qualified and experienced supervisor during the module who is committed to supporting you to achieve the required practice learning and negotiation of additional learning experiences that will enable you to complete the requirements of the module.

Please be aware that your registration on this module is conditional until we have confirmed that you have met the above entry requirements.

If you plan to study Advancing professional practice (K805) as part of the below qualifications, please refer to the individual qualification descriptions for full details of their entry requirements:

How to apply

If you would like to apply to register for this module, please contact us for details on the application process, or for further guidance.

Preparatory work

Before your module begins, it may be useful for you to revise topics such as:

  • evidence-based practice
  • research methods and approaches
  • critical appraisal of evidence
  • critical thinking
  • service improvement models
  • stakeholder analysis and engagement methods.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3905.00

To register for this course - see 'Entry requirements'. Registration closes 12/09/24

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2029.

Future availability

Advancing professional practice (K805) starts once a year – in October. 

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2029.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You will have access to a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • video recordings
  • an assessment guide
  • access to online discussion forums
  • an electronic portfolio
  • interprofessional day schools
  • tutorials.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

If you have specific learning support needs, you may be eligible to received printed or suitably adapted versions of the module materials.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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