PGCert Approved Mental Health Professional Practice / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our PGCert in Approved Mental Health Professional Practice is the only certificate that allows students to gain Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) status and be approved by local authorities.

The course combines academic study with practice in mental health, with a focus on AMHP training.

AMHP training covers the integration of mental health issues, psychiatry and mental health law in multidisciplinary teams from a social perspective.

Our lecturers reflect this multidisciplinary approach and include psychiatrists, lawyers, psychologists, nurses and social workers, as well as service users and carers.

Students undertaking AMHP training must be supported by their employers and seconded to the training. Employers must agree to provide a Practice Educator and an appropriate Practice Learning Placement.

To meet the requirements for AMHP, you must successfully complete the four mandatory course units and a competent Practice Portfolio.

Students who successfully complete the PGCert will be able to progress to our PGDip in Applied Mental Health, which includes a literature review. You can then progress to our MSc in Applied Mental Health.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.


Our PGCert has been designed for those wishing to seek authorisation under the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended in 2007, to discharge the duties of an Approved Mental Health Professional.

The outcome is to produce knowledgeable and skilled professionals who will be able to discharge statutory responsibilities under this legislation, and who will also have the ability to stay abreast of cutting-edge research and development within contemporary mental health services, as well as having the capacity to translate research insights into practice.

The course aims to produce students who:

  • have a systematic and integrated knowledge and understanding of mental disorders, the different models of causation, presentation, assessment and management, the different models of treatment and intervention and their outcomes;
  • have sufficient knowledge and practical skills to critically apply theoretical models to practice situations, both at the level of individual case planning and case management and also at the level of policy and service development;
  • can work comfortably within multidisciplinary mental health settings;
  • can access and negotiate service frameworks involving a variety of statutory and non-statutory agencies;
  • can successfully achieve consensus in representing their own professional view as one among several, perhaps competing, views or approaches to mental health problems;
  • are able to work in partnership with service users and their carers, and to have the ability to appreciate the perspectives of users and carers.

Special features

Multidisciplinary teaching

Learn from psychiatrists, lawyers, psychologists, nurses and social workers, as well as service users and carers.

Teaching and learning

Our lecturers include psychiatrists, lawyers, psychologists, nurses and social workers, as well as service users and carers.

Find out more by visiting the postgraduate teaching and learning page.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is continuous throughout the programme. Students are required to complete assessed essays, an 'open book' mental health law examination and practice-focused assessments.

Course unit details

This course comprises four compulsory units and a Practice Portfolio (zero credit rated unit). The units are:

  • Critical Decision Making in Mental Health Practice
  • Applied Psychiatry
  • The Role of the AMHP
  • Applied Mental Health Law

Each of the four units are worth 15 postgraduate credits and the Practice Portfolio is a zero credit rated unit.

The pass mark for each unit is 50%. The Practice Portfolio is assessed as either competent or not yet competent.

On successful completion of all four units plus being deemed 'competent' in the Practice Portfolio, you will be eligible to be approved as an AMHP by your local authority.

12-month route

Compulsory units:

  • Critical Decision Making in Mental Health Practice : Students will be given academic input on social perspectives in mental health which are informed by a social science knowledge base and social research. Child protection, protecting vulnerable adults and the MCA are essential components of this unit.
  • Applied Psychiatry: This unit will examine pharmacological, psychological and social intervention strategies and the research evidence for their impact on the outcomes of mental disorder.
  • Role of the AMHP: Students will be provided with knowledge about the AMHP role within the legislation and the range of functions that the AMHP is required to undertake.
  • Applied Mental Health Law: This unit has a focus on the concept of risk, risk thresholds as they operate within the Mental Health Act and the skills of risk assessment in mental health crisis work. It also focuses on the interface between the Mental Health Act 1983 as amended in 2007, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Students will be provided with an analysis of how the current capacity legislation operates in a range of contexts.
  • Practice Portfolio (zero credit rated unit)

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Critical Decision Making in Mental Health Practice SOWK60712 15 Mandatory
Role of the AMHP SOWK60741 15 Mandatory
Applied Psychiatry SOWK60751 15 Mandatory
Applied Mental Health Law SOWK60773 15 Mandatory
Practice Portfolio (AMHP) SOWK60800 0 Mandatory


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Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: