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Surgical Care Practice MSc

Develop core and specialist surgical skills, tailoring the course to your specific area of experience and work-based learning requirements, on a programme approved by the Royal College of Surgeons.

Please note, course content for this programme is subject to change for September 2023 entry onwards. Applications for September 2023 are currently paused and will re-open later this year.


Course length: 2 years full-time
Start dates: September 2023
Location: St James, Manchester
Subject(s): Health and Social Care
Faculty: Health, Social Care and Medicine
Department: Medical School

This innovative Masters degree is suitable for qualified practitioners who have been appointed to surgical care practice training posts within surgical directorates. Your role should encompass the provision of care and appropriate intervention within the perioperative environment, on wards and/or in clinics (usually within a specified surgical specialty).

The programme will provide you with a systematic and critical understanding of the breadth and depth of knowledge within specific areas of practice. You will develop core and specialist surgical skills and extend your knowledge and practice within the surgical care environment. This will include some operative procedures that will enable specialist practitioners to provide continuity of service and standards of care to patients in areas which do not necessarily need to be provided by medically qualified staff.

Eleven specialist pathways are available:

  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (General Surgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Gynaecology)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Maxillofacial Surgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Neurosurgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Otorhinolaryngology)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Paediatric Surgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Trauma and Orthopaedics)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Urology)
  • MSc Surgical Care Practice (Vascular Surgery)

Course features

  • Professional accreditation

What you'll study

Initially, you will be given a broad overview of surgical practice, covering areas such as clinical examination and diagnostic tests. You will also study and practice first assistant skills, basic surgical skills, and generic surgical care practice skills (including all of the pre, intra and post-operative patient phases). Research analysis and leadership skills in relation to the role of a surgical care practitioner are also introduced and discussed.

In the second half of the course, you will undertake a specialist negotiated module which will be tailored to your specific specialist practice requirements. For instance, if you work for an orthopaedic team then the module will be tailored to the specific requirements of that team, potentially considering themes such as understanding the pathophysiology of joint disease and strategies for their treatment, the use of implants in elective orthopaedic surgery and in relation to specific orthopaedic procedures, and knowledge of available options and surgical techniques.

A dissertation module focuses on a clinical project that will demonstrate leadership and innovation in a specific clinical issue.

Compulsory modules:

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Advanced Practice Project
Appraising and Evaluating Research Within Surgical Care Practice
Clinical Examination and Diagnostics in Surgical Care Practice
Generic Surgical Care Practice Skills
Introduction to Surgical Care Practice
Leadership and Management in Surgical Care Practice

One of:

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Surgical Care Practice in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Surgical Care Practice in General Surgery
Surgical Care Practice in Gynaecology
Surgical Care Practice in Maxillofacial Surgery
Surgical Care Practice in Neurosurgery
Surgical Care Practice in Otorhinolaryngology
Surgical Care Practice in Paediatric Surgery
Surgical Care Practice in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Surgical Care Practice in Trauma and Orthopaedics
Surgical Care Practice in Urology
Surgical Care Practice in Vascular Surgery

How you'll study

The programme incorporates a blend of face-to-face study, independent learning and time spent working in practice.

For the time spent in university, the first half of the course will be delivered through block-weeks of face-to-face sessions. Eight block-weeks of face-to-face sessions will take place in the first year. Some reading time will be incorporated into these eight weeks to help you plan for the assessment and submission of work.

In the second half of the programme, there is a greater focus on independent learning. However, some face-to-face sessions will be planned and there will also be an attendance requirement for assessments.

Throughout the programme, you will undertake training in your place of employment, working alongside the multidisciplinary team to deliver safe and effective care to patients in the perioperative environment, on the wards and in the clinics both pre and post-operatively.

A minimum of 33.5 hours per week, for approximately 37 weeks, will be spent working in practice. The national curriculum requires a minimum of 2,200 hours over the two years in combined clinical activities in and out of the theatre environment. A minimum of 1,100 hours has to be spent in the operating theatre environment.

In addition to the above, a half-day per week will be built into your annual timetable to facilitate self-directed learning and engagement with Edge Hill University’s virtual learning environment.

Please note, some face-to-face sessions and/or examinations may be undertaken at Edge Hill University instead of St James’ in Manchester.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

In university, assessments will take the form of essays, written case studies, viva voce (oral) examinations, written examinations and observed structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).

In practice, you will be assessed using a variety of techniques, including:

  • The Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS), where you will perform a specific practical procedure that is directly observed
  • Case-based Discussion (CbD), requiring the evaluation of your performance in the management of a patient. This will provide an indication of your competence in areas such as clinical reasoning, decision-making and the application of medical knowledge in relation to patient care
  • Clinical Evaluation Exercise (CEX), where a clinical encounter with a patient is evaluated to provide an indication of your competence in skills essential for outstanding clinical care.

Who will be teaching you

You will be taught by tutors from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine who have the experience and expertise to deliver the applied elements of this MSc via lessons, seminars and discussions. In addition, teaching will be provided by associate lecturers who are either medically qualified, or employed as qualified surgical care practitioners.

You will require a mentor who must be a consultant surgeon for the practice elements of the programme, although it is expected that you will work with a variety of staff within the surgical team. This may include, for example, other consultant surgeons, registrars and junior medical staff, in addition to other surgical care practitioners (subject to availability). The mentor(s) must be willing and available to work alongside you in the clinical arena, with real patients, supervising and assessing your clinical activities.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

To join this MSc, you must be a registered healthcare practitioner employed in a suitable working environment.

The minimum requirement is a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a health or social care related subject, with evidence of at least 18 months post-registration experience. If you do not have a degree at 2:2 or above but have been employed as a trainee surgical care practitioner, you may still be able to gain entry to the course if you can demonstrate evidence of study at undergraduate level (minimum 20 credits at Level 6) within the last two years.

It is anticipated that all students joining this course will have extensive subject knowledge or work experience in their chosen field as all of the assessments involve the relation of theory to practice. An interview will form part of the selection process.

You must provide written approval from your organisation to confirm that they support you joining the course, while a surgical supervisor in practice must be identified to support your surgical skills development. You will need to be employed as a trainee surgical care practitioner on a supernumerary basis for the duration of the course.

Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure and occupational health checks must be provided by your employer.

In addition, you must complete a two-day Basic Surgical Skills Workshop, delivered by Edge Hill University and accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons, prior to the start of the course.

How to apply

Please note, course content for this programme is subject to change for September 2023 entry onwards.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Did you know?

If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.

Discover our accommodation


Clinical skills facilities at St James' in ManchesterSt James’ in central Manchester provides an extensive modern clinical simulation suite, including a mock operating theatre, ambulance simulator and clinical skills stations. A 3D immersive simulation suite enables you to practice clinical scenarios in a realistic, supportive and safe environment. Additional facilities include a library and IT resources.


Tuition fees

Tuition fees for students joining this course in academic year 2023/24 are still to be announced. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see our EU student finance page for further details.

Your future career

On completion of this programme, you will gain a nationally recognised qualification that enables you to undertake the role of a surgical care practitioner.

You will also be able to demonstrate a number of core and specialist skills that will enable you to work effectively as part of the surgical team, work competently to practice within your field of speciality (such as cardiothoracic, colorectal, or trauma and orthopaedics) and to be able to function confidently, competently and autonomously.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Download our course leaflet