Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Applied Dental Professional Practice) - MSc


Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Applied Dental Professional Practice) MSc is a flexible, transdisciplinary, postgraduate programme designed for dental professionals who wish to develop their academic skills alongside their professional role.



Exploring a specific area of your profession you will consider the professional challenges associated with your practice and develop academic skills. You will gain the opportunities to analyse the current debates relating to key issues relevant to the professional dental context in which you are working and develop academic and professional skills necessary to meet the evolving needs of patient care of contemporary practice.

Studying within the Centre for Professional Practice, you will benefit from a transdisciplinary learning environment; access to University resources and specialist academic and clinical staff.

The Centre for Professional Practice (CPP)

The Centre for Professional Practice is a trans-disciplinary academic department focused on flexible work-related learning within higher education. The Centre is founded on the belief that employers can benefit from the University of Kent’s academic and research excellence, quality teaching, design and development activities to create positive change and to forge new knowledge within their organisation.

We work with a wide range of external partners and employers to create distinct and original work-based and work-related developmental and educational solutions, which respond to the unique workforce challenges experienced by employees and organisations across the region and beyond.

The Centre’s programmes are designed to enhance career progression and foster intellectual and professional development and practice.

National ratings

Kent is ranked 21st in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’ 2017.

Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework*

*The University of Kent's Statement of Findings can be found here

Course structure

This flexible programme has been designed to encourage you to think more deeply about the challenges associated with your professional practice while enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests and career aspirations.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year.

In Stage 1 you take the following core modules:

In Stage 2 you are given the opportunity to choose modules from the Centre for Professional Practice module catalogue including:

Or you can select optional modules from the wider University catalogue with the possibility of studying on the main Canterbury campus.

Stage 3 - Dissertation (60 credits)

Taught sessions are delivered in a welcoming, supportive and flexible academic environment, by an academic team with extensive professional practitioner experience. They are experienced in delivering work-related programmes and understand the constraints of balancing a career with the demands of higher education.

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

100% coursework

You focus on developing your skills as a professional healthcare practitioner to become an effective user of research findings, with a view to the enhancement of quality service outcomes. Sessions concentrate on the analysis of literature in order to inform evidence-based practice. You become familiar with critical appraisal tools and the statistical principles used to analyse data. The module culminates in an assignment designed to consider the extent of external evidence available and how this can be applied to improve outcomes within your area of professional practice.

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This module will be delivered over two separate weekends. The module will address current and contemporary practice within the wider context of social policy and cultural influence. Participants will critically examine the background and contemporary position of health, and explore issues linked to the effects of current socio-political environments and structures, agendas and policy in dentistry.

Students will critically examine the role and contribution of the dental professionals, with regards to the delivery of dental services, as well as part of an integrated response to broader health related issues. Students will critically examine the oral health of the population through oral health education and collaborative links with other healthcare providers and the Government's Health Care strategy.

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Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This module raises awareness about collaborative working as an increasingly important part of workplace culture. You focus on collaborative working through a journey of examination, discussion and reflection on emerging collaborative practices. The role of research in, and its impact on, interdisciplinary and collaborative working is also explored. The overall theme of the module stresses the importance of building on experiential learning when working together with others, while developing critical perspectives on project management and leadership in an inter-professional context.

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As an evidence-based approach to professional working increases throughout organisations, there is a need for professionals to analyse critically within their own practice. This module prepares you to take part in research related to your own workplace and supports you to develop the skills to enable this process. You critically analyse research methodology and appraise the ever-increasing body of literature to enable an evidence-based approach to enhance professional effectiveness. There is the opportunity to develop a research proposal relevant to the workplace and use the project to develop skills in accessing literature databases and the internet, as well as critically assessing the limitations and appropriateness of research findings and methodologies.

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Optional modules may include Credits

Mentorship and coaching are believed to be essential and necessary tools with which to promote a sustainable and continuous commitment to high quality patient care. Mentoring and coaching are recognised processes used by various multi-professionals groups, to facilitate competence development as well as performance transition and enhancement. This module covers themes which are considered to be essential to the development of competent mentorship and coaching ability within the workplace setting, as a potential a learning organisation. The module will outline the principles of mentorship and coaching then consider and explore the application of both and contribution of both to the evolution of the healthcare workforce.

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During this module students are encouraged to evaluate and explore the extent of an aspect or area of their own professional practice, with a view to extending that practice, whilst remaining within the ethical and mandated bounds of Scope of Practice. The module will provide an opportunity for students to explore the relationship that they have as dental professionals in the provision of oral health care within the UK, as well the considering developments in the rest of healthcare both within the UK and within an international context.

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Compulsory modules currently include Credits

The purpose of the dissertation is to critically examine, in depth, a research question relevant to the participant's practice. This should be supported by a critical review of the literature, a statement of the methods, an analysis of the data and an extended discussion of the findings.

During the taught sessions the lecturers will outline and confirm key features and structure of the final Dissertation, establish the support structures available to students during the module. Action learning sets will be used for students to deliver, and receive feedback on, a confirmed outline of their final project plans, prior to commencing work.

The project and Dissertation will usually be based on the project detailed in the (WL 817) Research Skills module. For the Dissertation, every student will be allocated an academic supervisor. Students should work with their allocated academic supervisor for the duration of the Dissertation to ensure that their work is completed to meet the submission deadline. Students should direct the work and initiate contact with their supervisor. Projects will only be permitted to proceed subject to prior consultation with the academic team and any necessary ethical approval and, where appropriate, employing organisation permission.

Full details of the requirements for the Dissertation will be provided in the 'Student and Supervisors Handbook Guide’ issued during the taught session. Projects will only be permitted to proceed subject to, where appropriate, prior consideration and approval by the CPP Ethics Committee and, where necessary a NHS (other organisation) Ethics Committee.

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Teaching and Assessment

You will be asked to undertake preparatory reading and tasks, carry out work-based investigations and participant-led presentations. All assessment tasks are designed to allow you to develop expertise in the application of dental professional practice within the context of your work and subject interest.

Assessment is through:

  • oral presentations
  • written assignments
  • portfolio assessments
  • action learning sets

In addition, in Stage 3 you complete a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • foster the intellectual and professional development of experienced healthcare practitioners to expand the analytical and critical reasoning powers that underpin practice (eg in organisational leadership and change, health and welfare systems, organisations and services and advanced technical procedures and practices)
  • enhance the skills of experienced practitioners in multidisciplinary decision making as well as team leadership, and deepen your understanding of the dynamics of multidisciplinary working
  • provide supervision for advanced practitioner-centred research that builds a culture of evaluation and enquiry into the practice environment
  • equip experienced practitioners for their role in challenging, questioning and realigning strategies for specialist practice
  • develop confident senior practitioners who are able to participate in the development of practice, work effectively with organisational interests, evidence-based processes, and within complex multidisciplinary teams
  • enable you to critically evaluate your own area of practice, informed by evidence-based research and grounded in self-reflection
  • provide a culture of lifelong learning that values and respects practice as the context for building and testing theory, to enhance services for patients, clients and consumers
  • enable experienced practitioners from a diverse range of educational backgrounds to access and participate in a multidisciplinary working environment
  • support a programme of personal development that underpins practice development and personal planning.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • theories of reflective practice that will equip you to deliver quality services in health and social care settings
  • leadership styles to develop theory and skills appropriate to your specialist areas of practice
  • strategic decision-making in healthcare services and other health and social care and organisational settings
  • a specialist area of practice, with emphasis on developing clinical skills and your ability to evaluate quality and assess clinical or general practice
  • critical analysis of models of care of patients, clients, service users and consumers through evidence-based practice
  • collaborative working in an area of specialist practice
  • practice-based research and enquiry underpinned by concepts of patient/client assessment, such as the critical analysis of medical, health and social care factors
  • theory-building and theory-testing in professional practice, including holistic factors such as health or disease, treatment and sociologic economic factors
  • data management and the main statistical principles and methods used in your area of practice
  • key ethical and legal principles governing your area of practice
  • a critical understanding of the principles and models of dental care provision and an ability to connect these to individual workplace practice
  • a critical understanding of the professional aspects of the dental practice and the importance of continuous education, training and development.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills to:

  • demonstrate critical and analytical reasoning to review and analyse contemporary practice
  • prepare and present clearly reasoned and justified argument in securing practice change and development
  • apply work-based learning to demonstrably enhance services
  • develop a comprehensive professional portfolio that identifies the utility of intellectual skills in practice
  • design and implement a programme of practice-based enquiry
  • collect and analyse data from your practice to inform evidence-based enquiry including the statistical analysis of data
  • undertake and report the ethical analysis of practice research project plans
  • understand the importance to professionalism of positive critique, response to feedback and reflective practice.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills to:

  • demonstrate effective engagement in team working appropriate to your workplace
  • show an in-depth understanding of change management in healthcare services/practice
  • develop new roles that support the interface between the strategic aims of service and practice
  • present and argue an evidence-based case for service change and development
  • carry out ethical professional practice within a dental workplace setting
  • maintain professional practice and support the development of those who are less experienced.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills to:

  • evaluate and enquire, to support you in making a contribution to professional knowledge in your subject field
  • design and implement a research programme with a clear analysis of the outcomes and recommendations for future action
  • provide clear and detailed reporting and accounting for the implementation and outcomes of an applied development project
  • use action-learning set approaches to solve problems and identify solutions
  • use work-based learning effectively to establish a future personal plan within the context of lifelong professional development
  • use supervision to inform and enhance your learning approaches in the workplace
  • communicate effectively in academic and professional/workplace settings
  • show evidence of critical self-reflection and the ability to enhance professional competence on the basis of feedback.


A postgraduate degree in Applied Dental Professional Practice is a particularly valuable and flexible qualification that can open the door to exciting careers in many professions. Students are successfully using this programme to develop clinical, educational and policy making career pathways in the dental sector at local, regional and national levels.

Building on Kent's success as the region's leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers will value.

Study support

Flexible programmes

The Centre recognises and understands the individual needs of working professionals, who participate as non-traditional part-time learners, and the balance required between study and the specific areas within which they operate. Our flexible programmes of study provide inclusive and coherent educational and work-related opportunities, which provide you with the opportunity to study either individual modules or to work towards a postgraduate certificate, diploma or Master’s degree. Taught sessions are delivered in a welcoming, supportive and flexible academic environment, by an academic team with extensive professional practitioner experience.

Professional links

Our staff have a wealth of experience and knowledge working in public, private, health and third sectors, providing valuable contributions to the design, development and delivery of current professional practice programmes. With strong links to local and national employers, the Centre is able to ensure that its programmes are contemporary.

The Centre is also responsible for developing and accrediting postgraduate training courses delivered by NHS Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex (Postgraduate Dental Deanery), Kent Community Health NHS Trust and the New Horizons Teaching School Alliance, with whom the University of Kent has close working relationships.

Continuing professional development (CPD) courses

We offer a number of CPD courses in evidence-based practice, research skills, collaborative and interprofessional working. You can obtain further information about these programmes from the Centre.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books, both nationally and internationally. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Primary Dental Care; Dental Nursing; British Dental Journal; Journal of Public Health and publications produced by the General Dental Council.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold one of the following:

  • An exisiting professional qualification with registration to General Dental Council


  • A professional qualification in a related field, for example; dental practice management, dental public health or dental health promotion studies.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Kent’s excellent performance in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed our position as one of the UK’s leading universities: our 19 academic schools were found to be engaged in research of international and world-class standing. With programmes of study that are informed by research, our students are able to develop skills and knowledge relevant to contemporary issues.

Current research areas include:

  • experiential learning
  • reflective practice
  • communities of practice
  • dental education
  • professionalisation
  • primary dental care.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Debbie Reed: Head of Centre and Senior Lecturer

Dental communities of practice and teamworking; dental work force development and education; reflective practice; professionalisation.

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Dr Claire Parkin: Lecturer in Professional Practice (Health) Director of Health Programmes

Higher Education field: Evidence-Based Practice. Quantitative Methodology. Use of Technology in HE.

Bioengineering Field: Respiratory physiology, fluid dynamics, thoracic drainage. Clinical field: ITU, cardiothoracics, septic shock.

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Tania Hopper: Programme Director, Professional Practice

Power dynamics and power relationships within educational and organisational environments.

Dr Anne-Maria Brennan: Lecturer in Professional Practice

Public engagement with science, particularly the interface between science, technology, culture and the arts

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The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Applied Dental Professional Practice) - MSc at Medway:
UK/EU Overseas
Part-time £2780 TBC

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


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