Sexual Health Studies MSc

Sexual Health Studies MSc

School of Community Health and Midwifery


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: Twelve months, Part-time: Four years

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    September, January

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

On this programme you’ll critically evaluate contemporary thinking and its impact upon sexual health knowledge and practice. Compulsory modules explore and evaluate the specific knowledge and skills required for the study of sexual health studies at Master’s level, evaluating underpinning philosophies and relationships which influence evidence-based practice, within sexual health and covering critical thinking, moral reasoning, professionalism and skills development. Optional modules are available providing you with choice and flexibility to meet individual practice and professional needs. The clinical modules on this course have been specifically designed to enable first level NMC Registered Practitioners to prepare to be able to undertake further professional qualifications including the Nurse Diploma from the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health (NDFSRH) and the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV STIF Competencies. 


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Entry Requirements

A recognised British Honours degree in a health related subject or equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas Higher Education Institution. This must have been achieved within the last 10 years, with a minimum lower second classification or above.

Demonstrate evidence of successful academic study at a minimum of Level 6 or equivalent, normally within the last 3 years.

Be able to provide two satisfactory references (one must be academic and a further personal reference from your employing organisation or equivalent.
You must demonstrate written English language ability.

Health Care Practitioner applicants that wish to undertake the option clinical practice modules on this programme must be qualified Nurses, Midwives and Specialist Community Public Health Nurses registered with the NMC in the UK. There must also be no restrictions on professional practice.

A DBS will be required for students who undertake modules with clinical placement requirements.

For overseas students you must demonstrate evidence of International English Language Testing (IELTS) - minimum 7.0 achieved within the last 2 years on each element of the test and not just the overall average. 

Programme at a Glance

Students are required to complete a total of 180 credits (c.) at level 7.

Core modules include:

  • MW4016 Critical Thinking and Challenges in Sexual Health (20c)
  • NU4025 Introduction to Post Graduate Research (20c) & NU4053 Dissertation (60c) or
  • NU4073 Evidence for Practice (20c) & NU4138/NU4139/NU4140 Advanced Work-based Project (60c)


The remaining 80 credits can be achieved by choosing from the following option modules within the health portfolio:


  • Non-NMC & NMC Registered Students
  • MW4301 (20c) Sexual Health Promotion
  • HP4007 (20c) Student Initiated Module 
  • MW4036 (20c) Organisational Leadership & Management
  • MW4062 (20c) HIV & Hepatitis
  • NU4026 (20c) Advanced Research Methods
  • MW4022 (20c) Sexual Health Global Perspectives
  • MW4038 (20c) Sexual Health Perspectives of Safeguarding (Adults and Children)
  • MW4039 (20c) Sexuality & Gender
  • MW4037 (20c) Sexual Health Contemporary Practice
  • MW4015 (20c) Educational approaches for Health & Social Care Professionals

Nursing and Midwifery Council Registered Students Only​

  • NU4096 / NU4097 (online) (20c) Multi Professional Support of Learning and Assessing in Practice
  • NU4023 (40c) Non-Medical Prescribing
  • MW4061 (20c) Sexually Transmitted Infections: Theory & Practice
  • MW4019 (20c) Contraception: Theory & Practice
  • MW4018 (20c) Contraception and Sexual Health Update
  • MW4017 (10c) Cervical Screening in Practice & MW4040 (10c) Student Initiated Module


Further Information

The course is composed of modules of learning that, where possible, allow for individual choice and flexibility in learning. The MSc Sexual Health Studies programme is delivered on a part-time and full-time basis divided into nine modules.

Compulsory modules are designed within the programme to provide a core for the exploration and critical evaluation of the specific knowledge and skills required for the study of Sexual Health Studies at Master's level. Key theoretical concepts will include:

  • A critical examination and evaluation of the knowledgebase and critical thinking that informs contemporary sexual health practice
  • Evaluating underpinning philosophies and relationships which influence evidence-based practice, within sexual health
  • Critical examination of the basis of knowledge and critical thinking that informs sexual health practice from a global perspective
  • Moral reasoning as a critical thinking tool
  • Professionalism and challenges to role and service development within the current political context of sexual health provision
  • Skill development within the research process

Option modules may be selected from a range of modules at Level 7. These aim to provide choice and flexibility enabling students to meet individual practice and professional needs. Within the MSc Sexual Health Studies programme, students may be from a clinical or non-clinical background and may be employed within the NHS or alternative organisations.

Learning outcome & aims

Course Aim

The MSc will provide opportunity for students to undertake a critical evaluation of underlying theory, practice and research in sexual healthcare. It provides a forum to share knowledge and experience; to debate methodological and contemporary issues and enhance practice within a collaborative learning community. Critical thinking skills are central to this level of learning. A choice of optional modules are available to offer approaches to self-development as a practitioner and/or practitioner/researcher. The course includes an optional student initiated module (SIM). This module can be used to plan and carry out a project chosen by the student who is free to study any topic of particular interest. Finally, the dissertation aims to develop reflexive students who can provide leadership and vision in the planning, development and evaluation of contemporary practice.

Course Outcomes

Learning outcomes are the terms used to describe the skills and qualities which the student will develop during a course or a module. The outcomes are described in 4 sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Subject-specific skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Other skills relevant to employability and personal development

The course outcomes are expressed in general terms and the learning outcomes for each module are expressed in more specific terms with reference to the aims of the chosen modules.

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).

Individuals working for health and social care organisations should initially discuss their application with their employer as arrangements may be in place for financial and study leave support.

Individuals can purchase this course as an independent student and should obtain an application form from the contact details below:

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400



For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

DBS Checks

This course will involve you working with vulnerable groups of individuals, including children. In order to ensure that the University offers places on their programmes to suitable candidates you will all be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB). We will be able to guide you through this process once you have been offered a conditional place of study at the University of Central Lancashire.

It is important to note that should your Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prove to be unsatisfactory for the purpose of the course you have applied to, your offer of a place for that course may be withdrawn. If you have already enrolled on a course and your DBS check subsequently discloses a criminal conviction, you may be required to withdraw from the course even if you have already started. If you are aware that your DBS check will disclose a previous conviction, please contact the course leader for advice as not all convictions may preclude you from continuing with the course.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The course has a blended delivery both in the classroom and via elearning; therefore potentially accessible to students in all parts of the world. It utilises web technology to deliver multimedia teaching materials and includes live interactive sessions on a regular basis. Online activities are supported by email contact with tutors and peer groups, message boarding and scheduled live personal tutorials.

The course will be conducted in spoken and written English. It offers postgraduate education for career development and continuing professional development.

Depending on choice of optional modules, assessment will include: essays, critical reflective account, written reports, project work, presentation of research proposal, oral presentations, clinical competency documentation, case studies, development of teaching materials, summary of recommendations for clinical practice, and a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Academic Expertise

All members of the sexual health team are qualified nurses with a current NMC nurse teacher registration.
The team have a wide range of expertise and skills within sexual health practice and all have worked as sexual health nurses and continue to maintain their skills and knowledge through honorary contracts with local services.
The team keep up-to-date with evidence-based practice and utilise research-based evidence to inform teaching and are Associate Members of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, as well as members of other professional forums (BASHH, NHIVNA, GUNA & Higher Education Academy).

Donna Welch (Course Leader)


At UCLan we work with a range of businesses and organisations, many of which provide work experience opportunities to enable you to gain real work experience whilst you undertake your postgraduate programme. Your course tutor will advise on opportunities available within your course and UCLan’s Careers Service can provide help, advice and guidance on how to apply for them and how to make the most of these opportunities.

NMC Registered Practitioners are able to choose from a range of option modules that require a placement within a sexual health service to enable them to achieve clinical competencies. The competencies have been designed in line with standards of practice from the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare and the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV.

Students may wish to transfer from the MSc Sexual Health to enter the Professional Doctorate when they have completed 120 credits. Students are requested to seek advice and support from the Course Leader to ensure their profile is appropriate in meeting the admissions criteria of this programme.