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Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) PGDip

Key Facts

  • Level


  • Duration

    52 weeks full time

  • Starting


  • Fees UK 24/25

    Full Time: NHS Funded

  • Location

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772


Our Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course is designed to enable you to study at academic Level 7 (Masters level) whilst also preparing you to become proficient practitioners within a chosen field of specialist community public health nursing (Health Visiting HV or School Nursing SN).

Successful completion of this course which has 120 academic credits and includes evidence of achieving all core and field specific SPCHN Proficiency outcomes (NMC 2022), will allow you to work at specialist practitioner level following achievement of the academic and vocational award that can be registered on Part 3 of NMC register as SCPHN HV or SN.

Updated 14/03/2024


  • This course provides you with a programme of preparation and learning if you are a registered nurse or midwife and wish to become registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on Part 3 of the register as a SCPHN Health Visitor (HV) or School Nurse (SN) (NMC 2022).
  • Leads to a Professionally registered NMC qualification.
  • Blend of theoretical and practice based learning.
  • Practical application of SCPHN skills.
  • The University offers a wide range of facilities to support your learning.

Course Content

  • This post-registration award prepares you for a career in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at both strategic and operational levels. The postgraduate diploma consists of six compulsory modules, two of these modules are practice focused and incorporate key theoretical concepts enabling theory to inform practice and vice versa.

    There is a balance of theoretical and practice learning within the programme and the third time (for full-time students) is a period of focussed learning in practice to consolidate and apply learning and demonstrate achievement of core and field-specific SCPHN Proficiency outcomes as Health Visitor (HV) School Nurse (SN).

    All modules are linked to service delivery and developments within contemporary Public Health practice and are intended to develop your core skills in protecting health, promoting wellbeing and preventing ill health for individuals, families, communities and populations. A balance of the programme occurs in a SCPHN HV or SN practice environment which is commensurate with the specific annotation you are following: for example, Health Visiting or School Nursing. This element of the programme is supported by designated practice assessors who hold a SCPHN annotation in the same chosen field and have undertaken a formal education programme to fulfil this role. There is a focus on work-based learning throughout this course which ensures clear integration of practice-based learning, assessment and university-based work.

    The course will be delivered using a range of active blended learning approaches with teaching methods such as core lectures, group work, online activities, use of case studies and directed learning approaches. There is also a balance of practice learning via a field-specific SCPHN placement across the programme. Shared learning with other professionals may be available on this course and you will be encouraged to develop a critical, evaluative approach to the knowledge which underpins current specialist community public health practice.

    In order to achieve the named award you must meet all requirements of the Award map.*

    *Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 22/23. The modules relating to the academic year 23/24 will be available from July 2023.

  • Admissions to the programme enables all nurse level 1 and midwife registrants (including NHS, Self-employed or non-NHS employed registrants) to apply for entry to the programme.  Admission to the programme is dependent on the following minimum criteria:

    • The applicant must be an NMC registered nurse (level 1), midwife or a SCPHN for at least 12 months before applying to the programme.
    • Hold a first or second class honours degree.
    • Have employer support and protected learning time whether NHS or Non -NHS funded.
    • Have access to a suitable SCPHN Placement and SCPHN Practice Supervisor and Assessor who all meet the quality governance aspects of the programme.

    As part of the application process you will be asked to provide the following documentation with your application:

    • Personal Statement: please include information about your funding, e.g. whether you are going to be NHS or Non-NHS funded.
    • If being funded by NHS organisation: evidence of sponsorship from Provider Services prior to commencing the course, you will receive this information as part of your employment confirmation. University applications can be made prior to obtaining an offer of sponsorship.
    • If you are being funded by a NON -NHS organisation: evidence of commitment to funding support and completed CSCPHN SIF form for Non-NHS organisation funding.
    • If self-employed or self-funding: completion of SPCHN honorary contract and completed SCPHN SIF form for self-funders and self-employed.
    • A full copy of your current Enhanced DBS Child and Adult Certificate.

    The Admissions Policy for the SCPHN programme is in accordance with the University’s admissions for students, Equality and Diversity policies. It seeks to select students from diverse educational and social backgrounds who can benefit from and have motivation to complete the programme. As per the University of Northampton Academic Regulations where an applicant for admission to a programme is unable to present evidence relating to the general entry requirements, they may be considered for ‘special admission’. In such cases the Special Admissions Policy must be followed and these applicants will be referred to the programme leader to discuss suitability for ‘special admission’. If you do not have the above required entry qualifications but can demonstrate its equivalent in terms of experience relevant to the programme of study, or successful recent level 7 study, you may be able to use the APL process to gain access the course.

    For more information regarding this, please contact the Programme Leader Helen Kimble at helen.kimble@northampton.ac.uk

    For more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

  • Fees to study to study this course will be NHS funded, and may be subject to fee changes in future academic years.

    SCPHN students can be ‘sponsored’ by a NHS or Non-NHS organisation to undertake the programme. In accordance with the NMC Post Registration Programme Standards (NMC 2022) students can now also access the programme as a self-employed/self-funding student.

    For further information regarding course fees, please contact Helen Kimble, Programme Lead on: helen.kimble@northampton.ac.uk

    Additional Costs

    It is important to note that there may be additional costs associated with the course in relation to purchasing relevant Public Health, Specialist and Research books/resources, travelling to and from SCPHN placements.

    For more information about possible funding options, please visit our Fees and Funding pages.

  • How will I learn?

    The course consists of 45 timetabled weeks for full-time students which have a balance of theory and practice learning opportunities or no more than 208 weeks for part-time students which is in accordance with NMC 2022 SCPHN standards. For NHS or Non-NHS funded students, with the allocation of annual leave the programme takes 52 weeks for full time students. An initial theory (university based) induction programme is timetabled at the beginning of the course. Following this induction, the course integrates a balance of both practice and theory, so if you are following the full-time course, you can expect to be in university for part of the week and in SCPHN practice (HV or SN) for the remainder of the week. One independent study day per week is also timetabled whenever possible. There are block weeks in practice which usually occur at least once per term, and block study weeks which, wherever possible, are timetabled to coincide with preparation for assignment submission dates. The third term of the programme is spent in a period of focussed practice learning as per NMC SCPHN Standards (2022).

    If you are following a part-time route you will, under normal circumstances, attend university for one day per week, practice for the second day and have half a day study time each week. Block weeks will be timetabled as above, but will be for two and a half days per week.

    The course is delivered by a wide range of blended teaching and learning activities including lectures, enquiry-based learning, online activities, workshops, tutorials and group work. Specialist practitioners and service users input into the teaching elements of the course whenever possible.

    Attendance is through either a full-time or part-time route when available.

    How will I be assessed?

    This course comprises of a range of assessment strategies which enables you to demonstrate your knowledge, synthesis and analysis in a variety of forms.

    Assessment strategies include analytical community profiles, Health Needs Assessments, Simulation exercises with supportive discussion, placement reports, case studies ad longitudinal studies alongside a field specific online practice proficiency workbook. The aim of the assignment strategy is not only to assess your knowledge and skills and meeting of required module learning outcomes and SCPHN proficiencies, but also to develop these skills  for ongoing SCPHN practice (for instance, the ability to present to a group of people).


Placeholder image for Tracey Ali, Senior Lecturer - Leadership in Health & Social Care
Tracey Ali

Senior Lecturer - Leadership in Health & Social Care

Faculty of Health, Education and Society


Careers and Employability

The specialist nature of this award will enhance your opportunities to extend your responsibilities and take on new roles in practice within clinical teams.

On successful completion of the course, you will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the third part of the register and will be able to apply for band 6 and 7 posts as Specialist Community Public Health Practitioners.