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Advanced Dementia Studies (distance learning)

Duration: 3 years
Attendance mode: Part-time
Award: MSc
Suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Health Studies
Apply Download course booklet


The MSc Advanced Dementia Studies is a three year part-time distance learning programme. By studying online you will have flexibility to fit your studies around your working life and learn from and with students from around the world.

The programme has been designed to develop you as a leader in your field of dementia care and enable you to use the best evidence available to support your work. We adopt a human rights perspective to understanding the experience of people living with dementia and encourage multidisciplinary team-working and service user engagement. Our programme is underpinned by cutting-edge research. 

This programme is intended for UK and international students who are:

  • Health and social care professionals who want to gain a specific qualification in working with people who have dementia
  • Voluntary workers who already have contact with people with dementia

Application deadline:  August 3rd 2018.

Why Bradford?

The University of Bradford has been providing accredited programmes in Dementia Studies since 2001, and has a long history of cutting-edge research related to person-centred dementia care and innovative methodologies for researching and developing practice in health and social care for people with dementia.

All teaching on the programme is research-informed and delivered by an academic team who are actively involved in relevant fields of dementia research.  Members of the course team have completed research projects and studies using film, music, photography, narrative, conversation analysis and other participatory methods to enhance understanding of the experience of dementia.

Our flexible approach allows you to combine study with work and home life. Our online courses are designed to be directly applicable to the workplace and to help you develop your own and your colleagues' practice.

We use a variety of virtual learning environments so that students can interact with the course tutors and fellow students. For each module you are provided with a module study guide produced by the course team. It contains exercises, activities and links to audio and visual materials. To enhance the learning experience you are asked to contribute to on-line discussion groups and take part in real time tutorials.

Entry requirements

Candidates should have at least one of the following:

  • A first degree with 2:2 or above in a relevant subject area

However, if you have had any prior experience of successful study at undergraduate or postgraduate level you may apply, providing evidence such as certificates and transcripts.  The programme team will make a decision based the overall quality of your application.

If you do not have a first degree or equivalent, you may be asked to complete a portfolio of evidence to support your application for which you will need to achieve a mark of at least 60%.  If this is the case please ensure you apply in a timely manner as this will need to be approved before you can start the course.

Additional entry requirements:

Practice entry requirements

You must already have a work role, or voluntary placement, which regularly brings you into contact with people who have dementia. The minimum contact requirement is 2 hours a week during the academic year (September to June). This contact must be regular, direct and ongoing throughout your studies.  It is not enough merely to work in an environment or service that provides dementia care; you must have regular opportunities to interact with a range of people who have dementia in the course of your day-to-day employment or voluntary role.  It will be your responsibility to ensure that this contact is maintained if your employer or work role changes during the course of your studies.

You must also have access to a computer with Internet connection and be prepared to spend on average 15 hours a week on your studies.

Due to the applied nature of the teaching and learning activities on the programme and its direct implications on practice, for example through seeking stakeholder involvement and opinion in projects, and appraising, planning and evaluating practice development initiatives, applicants will be required to seek approval for studying within their work or voluntary setting from a manager prior to commencing the course.

English language requirements:

Students for whom English is not a first language must either have studied previously at Bachelor's degree level or above in English, or have IELTS 6.5 with no sub-tests less than 5.5 or equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

The MSc Advanced Dementia Studies (3 years) includes two embedded exit awards; Postgraduate Certificate Dementia Studies (One year, 60 credits); Postgraduate Diploma Advanced Dementia Studies (Two Years, 120 credits); MSc Advanced Dementia Studies (Three Years, 180 credits).

The programme offers all students the same core modules (each worth 30 credits):

Critical Perspectives on Dementia: A rights based approach (Year 1, Semester 1)

This module will provide you with a critical appreciation of a human rights perspective for understanding the experience of people with dementia. It also enables you to develop a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing the lived experience of dementia (sociological, psychological, biological). You will develop your ability to apply principles of social inclusion and citizenship in practice, in order to promote the rights of people with dementia, including those whose voices are seldom heard.

Advanced Evidence Appraisal and Synthesis (Year 1, Semester 2)

The module is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to bring about evidence-based changes within your field of dementia care practice. It fosters your ability to critically examine literature, helping you to influence practice development based on the best available evidence. The module promotes the values of service user input, multidisciplinary working, inclusion and diversity and takes a global perspective on interpreting the value of evidence.

Advancing Practice: skills and research methods (Year 2, Semester 2)

This module provides you with the advanced critical skills to evaluate examples of dementia care practice, a critical appreciation of the role of a leader as a proponent of practice based change, the ability to independently develop and propose evidence-based solutions for practice change and a comprehensive understanding of the barriers and facilitators to practice change, acknowledging and evaluating multi-disciplinarily and its role in practice development.

Optionality within these modules enables students to focus on their own preferred area of practice.

In year 2, semester 1 there are option modules (each worth 30 credits) from which you choose one:

Post-diagnostic Support Pathways

This module helps you to gain a critical appreciation of holistic assessment of the needs of people with dementia and their families after diagnosis. You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the range of post diagnostic support interventions available, including social, cognitive, psychological and technological approaches. You will develop your ability to evaluate these approaches to service provision.

Enhanced Communication Methods

You will gain enhanced insight into the complex nature of communication between people with dementia, their families and practitioners. You will be provided with tools to critically interpret communication and make recommendations to enhance communication and social inclusion for people with dementia in your own field of practice.

Arts and Activities in Dementia Care

This module is designed to enable you to develop skills and knowledge in conducting arts-based activities, psychosocial interventions, or other meaningful activities for people with dementia. It will help you to develop, implement and evaluate personally-meaningful activities for people with dementia, on a one-to-one or group basis. You will critically appraise a range of evidence to support the development of a specific arts project or activity group for one or more people with dementia and make recommendations for disseminating the outcomes in ways that challenge stigma and stereotypical views.

The final year dissertation offers students the chance to undertake either original research or an implementation and evaluation dissertation (60 credits) that facilitates the application of learning into practice.

Please note not all option modules may be available for each intake.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

This distance learning part-time programme is delivered through digitally enhanced learning and teaching methods, including real time tutorials, inter-professional discussion groups, practice-based exercises, directed and self-directed study.

Learning materials consist of:

An interactive study guide for each module

  • Online supplementary resources including podcasts, videos and readings
  • Online real-time tutorials
  • Online discussion groups and opportunity for networking with peers
  • A study planner for each module including key dates and timeline for completing the module activities

The interactive study guide provides:

  • An overview explaining the aims of the module
  • The learning outcomes students are expected to achieve
  • Guidance for the on-line exercises
  • Details of assignments
  • Details of readings

Each module will include a: i) formative assessment (i.e. tutor feedback on written work in progress); this work is not graded and you are able to make changes your tutor recommends before you submit your final assignments; ii) summative assessment (i.e. final); this will be by means of one or two pieces of work for each module which are graded and count towards your final mark for the award. There will be a variety of types of assessment that include case studies, written reports on practice-based work and critical reflections on evidence.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Career prospects

A Dementia Studies award may be a good career development move for you if you are already working in the dementia field and wish to specialise in this area of practice. Expectations are increasing about the quality of care people with dementia should receive.  This means that there will be many opportunities for you to progress in your career having studied successfully at this advanced level. 

Many of our students receive promotions or are successful in applying for new posts.  The postgraduate programmes in Dementia Studies do not, however, lead to a professional qualification or registration.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Postgraduate study with the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford.

What can I do with a qualification in Dementia Studies?

A Dementia Studies award may be a good career development move for you if you are already working in the dementia field and wish to specialise in this area of practice. Expectations are increasing about the quality of care people with dementia should receive. This means that there will be many opportunities for you to progress in your career having studied successfully at this advanced level. Many of our students receive promotions or are successful in applying for new posts. The postgraduate programmes in Dementia Studies do not, however, lead to a professional qualification or registration.

What if I am still studying?

If you are still enrolled on another undergraduate or postgraduate course when you apply and do not yet have your final grades, we may be able to make you a conditional offer based on marks to date or predicted grades. It is important to be aware that this offer will only be confirmed if your final marks meet our entry criteria.

Do I need to be working with people who have dementia?

It is vital that you meet the practice requirement of having regular, direct, ongoing contact with people with dementia. This may be in the context of paid employment or a voluntary placement, and needs to be for a minimum of two hours a week for the duration of your studies. It is important to be aware that by direct contact we mean sustained, one-to-one interaction with people who have dementia, not merely being in an environment where dementia care or services are provided.

You will not be able to complete the coursework assignments without this kind of personal contact with people who have dementia, and it must already be in place when you start the course. By accepting your place on the course you are confirming that this contact requirement will be met.

How will you decide whether to offer me a place?

There is no interview process. The decision will be made on the basis of your application form, which can be completed online. It is important that you complete the application as fully as possible, ensuring that you use the full word count for the personal statement which asks about your previous experience and reasons for wanting to study on the programme.

We will use your personal statement to make a decision about your writing ability as well as your motivation to study. The form may be returned to you by the Admissions team without being passed to the programme leader if it is not completed in sufficient detail. We may contact you by email or phone to discuss aspects of your application.

Do I need to come to the University in order to study?

Induction and enrolment are completed online. There is no attendance at the University for this programme.

Can I choose which dementia-related subjects I study?

The programme combines core modules taken by all students with option modules which you may choose in order to follow up an area of special interest.

In Year 1 all students study the same compulsory modules, Critical Perspectives on Dementia: a rights based approach and Advanced Evidence Appraisal and Synthesis. In year 2 all students take one more compulsory module (in semester 2), Advancing Practice: skills and research methods. You will have a choice of option modules in the first half of the second year (semester 1). Option modules currently include: Enhanced Communication Methods, Post-diagnostic Support Pathways for People with Dementia or Art and Activities in Dementia Care.

If you undertake the full three-year Masters programme, you will complete a dissertation in the final year under individual supervision from a member of the course team. This involves either evaluating a service relevant to your own work role or area of professional interest, or engaging in some original research. You can therefore choose the subject area you wish to pursue. In each module you will have the opportunity to develop and follow up areas of specialist personal interest related to dementia studies.

How long will it take me to get an award?

The course is part-time, but still involves a time commitment of at least 15 hours a week during the academic year (September to June). A Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Care can be completed in one academic year, a Postgraduate Diploma in two years, and the full MSc Advanced Dementia Studies takes three years to complete.

Can I study at my own pace?

The course is designed to be as flexible as possible. For example, you can start by completing a single 30-credit module between September and February as a ‘taster’, if you wish to do, so before deciding whether to continue in the following academic year.

It is not possible to spread the study period for any module over a whole academic year. Extensions of time for submitting assignments are, however, available if there is evidence that you need more time, e.g. own or family illness, bereavement, personal problems or change of employment. If you need to take a break from study for similar reasons which are ongoing for a longer period, this can be arranged. You may not, however, take more than five years in total to complete any award in Dementia Studies.


Our team was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2016 for Higher and Further Education for world-leading work to improve the lives of people living with dementia. 

Read more about our research.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • £1,500 per taught 30 credit module
  • International: £2,490 per 30 credits

Fees are subject to a small annual increment.

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

Funding for eligible staff within the region will be reviewed by Health Education England (HEE) in the coming months for the 2017/18 academic year. We advise all applicants to apply as normal for 2017/18 courses and further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of applications for this course. If you are having problems with your application, please contact 01274 236593.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.