Postgraduate Course

MSc Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment and Practice

MSc Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment and  Practice


The details
Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment and Practice
October 2021
6 years
Colchester Campus

We understand that you may not have the time to do a full-time degree, so our CPD pathways allow you to study flexibly, in the way that best suits you. The structure, mode of delivery and level of support allow you to progress towards a qualification at postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or Masters level.

This pathway enables clinicians in the musculoskeletal field to advance their practice. All students will engage in material related to clinical decision making and there are options available to advance clinical skills, including injection therapy and independent prescribing. There is flexibility within this pathway for students to direct their learning to topics of personal interest. We:

  • Provide you with a critical understanding of the key concepts underlying advanced musculoskeletal clinical skills beyond your normal professional scope of practice
  • Provide you with the opportunity to acquire advanced musculoskeletal clinical skills beyond your normal professional scope of practice
  • Provide you with skills to access and critically appraise research findings to develop your own evidence-based practice
  • Enhance your understanding of the essential principles of research design and to conduct an extensive piece of independent research including: planning, formulating, designing, choosing research methods, collecting data, analysing, interpreting and writing-up
  • Ensure you acquire a range of transferable employment-related skills

This course sits within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. This allows us to bring together our internationally recognised research, share knowledge, and enhance placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.

Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies

We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.

We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard, and as such we expect that anyone who cares for others will aspire to uphold these values.

For us, involving not only our students, but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non-NHSprofessionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.

Why we're great.
  • Study flexibly with a part-time CPD pathway.
  • Develop the skills to assess and manage patients with a range of musculoskeletal conditions beyond your normal scope of practice.
  • Work with leading experts from a range of fields.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

We have a range of guest specialists who work with us, including Billy Fashanu, consultant physiotherapist and various other tutors such as consultant rheumatologists, radiologists, consultant neurophysiologists and other injecting practitioners.

Specialist facilities

This pathway is taught in our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences at our Colchester Campus. As one of our CPD students, you may be taking modules on campus or online to suit your needs.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

In order to apply for a place on this degree pathway you will need to have:

  • A relevant professional qualification and current registration with the relevant UK professional body.
  • A minimum of 1 year post-registration experience and relevant musculoskeletal experience.
  • A relevant first degree or relevant professional experience and qualifications that demonstrate ability to study at level seven.
  • You will also need to be:

  • Currently employed in a relevant field of practice.
  • Provide a demonstration of existing specialist competencies in musculoskeletal practice.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language we require an IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 450/200.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Example structure

Total credits: 180

You must take SE730: Research Dissertation (60 credits), plus two of the following modules:

Plus the following 30 credit modules:

Plus one of the following:

Summary of module assessment and award structure (.PDF)

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.


Dissertations offer the opportunity for in-depth study and analysis of a topic relevant to your Masters degree programme. They may take one of three general forms: • The collection and analysis of new data through primary research using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, or as part of a service evaluation or audit • New analysis of existing quantitative or qualitative data, i.e. secondary data analysis • An extended literature review, synthesis and in-depth analysis of a relevant policy or practice issue i.e. a library-based study You are supported by a supervisor throughout this module.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

Understanding and Managing Complex Musculoskeletal Conditions

This module is designed for experienced health professionals within the field of musculoskeletal health care. It aims to explore the value and relationship between each component of a complex patient assessment and how appropriate timing and choices are made regarding assessment tools and treatment pathways utilised. Key topics include Complexity, the Biopsychosocial Model, Working and Communicating with others, Benefits and Limitations of Diagnostic Tests and Extended Scope/Professional Boundaries.

View Understanding and Managing Complex Musculoskeletal Conditions on our Module Directory

Soft Tissue and Joint Injection Therapy

This module aims to enable you, as an experienced practitioner in the field of musculoskeletal practice (general practitioner, physiotherapist, occupational therapist e.g. hand therapist or nurse, e.g. in rheumatology), to extend your scope of practice to include the use of palpation guided injection therapy. Injections of common peripheral musculoskeletal pathologies are covered including pharmacology principles related to corticosteroids and local anaesthetics, professional issues and prescribing frameworks.

View Soft Tissue and Joint Injection Therapy on our Module Directory

Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment

This module is recommended for you if you are an experienced physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nurse or general practitioner working in the area of musculoskeletal medicine and are keen to expand your knowledge and skills in order to manage patients with a range of musculoskeletal conditions beyond your normal scope of practice. It is designed to enable you to undertake an advanced assessment including the use of additional diagnostic tools such as radiographic imaging and laboratory investigations as part of your expanded musculoskeletal practic

View Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment on our Module Directory

Applying and Using Learning in Practice

This module allows students the opportunity to take a structured approach to applying learning to their professional practice.  Those working in healthcare and sport commonly attend learning events such as conferences, workshops, skills training or role shadowing as part of their professional development.  Although highly valuable in terms of shaping ones ideas, learning techniques and broadening understanding, there is limited opportunity afforded within these ‘one-off’ learning events to allow demonstration of reflection, critical analysis, contextualisation and evaluation.  This module is designed to give people working in health and sport an opportunity to demonstrate how they have applied the learning they have gained from such events to their day to day practice.

View Applying and Using Learning in Practice on our Module Directory

Leading Change in Healthcare

There are a number of options for this module, which ranges in the level and volume of work that will need to be produced for assessment. Work-based learning offers both a means of linking theory to practice and of valuing practice, as an integral part of professional education. The principle behind work-based learning is that you are given an opportunity to explore aspects of your work for your own personal development and that of the organisation/service in which you work. This module places control over the learning process in your hands - you negotiate your own learning contract with your academic and practice supervisors. This will set out and structure what you want to learn, what action you will take to achieve it, and what evidence will demonstrate that achievement. You will directly apply the knowledge and skills gained to your professional work through development of a service improvement project and specific and individualised activities to enhance your professional practice.

View Leading Change in Healthcare on our Module Directory

First Contact Musculoskeletal Practice

This module will explore the key skills required to achieve competence as a First Contact Musculoskeletal Practitioner. It is suitable for clinicians already working in First Contact Practitioner (FCP) roles within primary care or for those working towards a future FCP role.

View First Contact Musculoskeletal Practice on our Module Directory

Practice Certificate in Independent and Supplementary Prescribing for Allied Health Professionals

This HCPC approved module will prepare the individual practitioner to prescribe as both as an Independent Prescriber, and a Supplementary Prescriber working in partnership with Independent Prescribers and the patient. One day a week, you will engage in learning through a mix of classroom and on-line activities, led by a variety of healthcare professionals and University lecturers with prescribing experience. In addition, you will undertake a minimum of 12 days of supervised practice with a medical mentor.

View Practice Certificate in Independent and Supplementary Prescribing for Allied Health Professionals on our Module Directory

Leadership in Health and Social Care

The aim of this module is to provide you with the theoretical basis of leadership as applied to practice, which supports health and social care organisations in meeting the needs of patients and service users. This course is suitable for health and social care practitioners including nurses, allied health professionals, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and, speech and language therapists and other health professions, as well as social care staff working in relevant roles.

View Leadership in Health and Social Care on our Module Directory

Research Design and Critical Appraisal

This module provides you with an advanced understanding of the research study designs commonly used in health research. It combines a theoretical and a practical approach to enable you to search for, obtain, and understand the research literature, and provides you with the critical skills to analyse and synthesize material into a literature review.

View Research Design and Critical Appraisal on our Module Directory

Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation

This module provides you with a range of techniques for collecting, analysing and interpreting data. It combines a theoretical and a practical approach to enable you to understand the collection and analysis process. At the end of the module, you will be able to design and pilot data collection instruments, conduct quantitative and qualitative data analysis using appropriate computer software, and interpret statistical and qualitative research findings. Find out more about this module at

View Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation on our Module Directory

Statistical Analysis

This module is ideal if you have no previous experience of quantitative methods. It introduces you to basic and intermediate statistical concepts and procedures, emphasising practical applications rather than mathematics; although a small amount of elementary mathematics is inevitably required.

View Statistical Analysis on our Module Directory

Postgraduate Research Methods

To scrutinise the knowledge that informs evidence based practice, health and social care professionals need to be critical thinkers who are research-literate. This module explores the different ways that health and social research is carried out, with a focus on critical appraisal, research design, data collection and analysis. The module covers qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. This learning enables students to embark more confidently and creatively on their own dissertations, as well as helping them to engage more critically with the research of others.

View Postgraduate Research Methods on our Module Directory

Learning Organisations and Quality Enhancement

This module provides health professions educators with the self-determination and conceptual knowledge to improve their practices as educators and the ability to promote positive change within their learning environments and organisations. On this module, you will develop an evidence-based and critical understanding of quality enhancement, and evaluate the complex influences that impact on learning in clinical communities and organisations. Participants who successfully complete this module (as well as HS950) and are employed as a General Practitioner (GP) in a registered GP Training Practice can qualify as GP trainers.

View Learning Organisations and Quality Enhancement on our Module Directory

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


If you are intending to follow a modular programme, please email You will be guided through how to apply and we will refer you to the relevant programme or module lead to discuss your plans.

From this discussion, a formal outline of the most suitable modules for your professional and personal circumstances will be produced, called a pathway plan. Although your plans may change over time, this formal document helps us plan delivery of modules over the coming years, and it helps your sponsor to plan funding arrangements as appropriate.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We recognise the importance of your previous academic learning and professional experience, and you can use both to gain credit value towards the specific programme you are interested in, known as Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning or APEL.

APEL is dependent on many factors. If you are interested in this option please email us at before you apply. It is necessary to highlight any prior learning before you apply as the modules you wish to study may be dependent on this. For further information on our AP(E)L procedure, please review the University’s Quality Enhancement information.

Please note: there is an administration fee for the APEL process request which can be found on our fees document (.pdf)

Application forms and supporting documents

Once you have had your pathway discussion with the relevant programme lead and, if relevant, spoken to the CPD Lead about APEL, you will need to fill in an application form and send it through to our School.

Note: Please initially check the module you are interested in as there may be additional documents required:

MSc Programme application

Module application

If you are interested in applying for a specific module, you will need to complete the module application form:

Your application and funding

If you are being funded by your employer, please obtain your line manager’s signature once you have completed the application form including how payment will be made and, if you work within the NHS, forward to your Education Liaison Manager for processing.

If you are self-funded, please complete the application form providing the required information and forward to our contracts administrator, who will then instruct you on how to make payments.

If you are being funded by a charitable organisation, please complete the application form, with the signature of the person providing the funds and the way in which they will be paying, and forward to our contracts administrator, who will then instruct your sponsor on how to make payments.

Once we have received your signed and completed application form we will write to confirm if you have been successful in gaining a place.

Module contact: Ian Mounteney ( or call 01206 873348).

Downloads and related links

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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