Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) PGDip

Key Facts

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    52 weeks full time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Sponsored through local NHS Trust

  • 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) whilst also preparing you to become proficient practitioners within specialist community public health nursing/practice. Successful completion of this course will allow you to work at specialist practitioner level within complex primary health care arenas.

Updated 09/12/2022


  • The University offers a wide range of facilities to support your learning.
  • You will have the opportunity to gain the additional qualification of Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) upon successful completion of this course.

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. You will have completed a consolidating period of practice equivalent to at least ten weeks by the end of the course, in keeping with Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) SCPHN Standards (2004).

    All modules are linked to service delivery and developments within Primary Care/Public Health and are intended to develop your core skills in research, practice development, public health activity and education. You will complete half of the programme in a 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 teachers who have undertaken a formal education programme to fulfill this role.

    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 2004).

    You will have the opportunity to gain the additional qualification of Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Council upon successful completion of this course.

    There is a focus on work-based learning throughout this course which ensures clear integration of practice-based learning, assessment and university-based work. A shared learning approach is encouraged with inter-professional modules and integrated working incorporated within the overall programme structure.

    The course will be delivered by a range of teaching methods such as core lectures, group work, online activities, use of case studies and directed learning approaches. Shared learning with other professionals will be a focus of 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.

  • Application Steps

    Firstly, you are required to make an NHS application for either as a “Health Visiting” or “School Nursing” SCPHN Student via the NHS Jobs website. Once your application and Interview have been successful, you will then need to make a formal application to the University using the apply now button.

    Entry Requirements

    To be eligible for this course, you will need to:

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

    • evidence of sponsorship from Provider Services prior to commencing the course, you will receive this information apart of your employment confirmation. University applications can be made prior to obtaining an offer of sponsorship,
    • a full copy of your current Enhanced DBS Child and Adult Certificate.

    If you do not have the above qualifications, but can demonstrate its equivalent in terms of experience relevant to the programme of study, you may be able to access the course as an associate student. For more information regarding this please contact the Programme Leader Helen Kimble at advancedpractice@northampton.ac.uk.

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

  • This course is a sponsored programme through local NHS Trust.
    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, travelling to and from placements and travelling to any ‘off-site’ modules.

    For further information regarding the course, please contact Helen Kimble, Programme Lead on: advancedpractice@northampton.ac.uk

  • How will I learn?

    The course consists of 45 programmed weeks for full-time students (half of which is in practice and the other half is in theory), or no more than 208 weeks for part-time students which is in accordance with NMC 2004 SCPHN regulations. An initial theory (university based) induction programme is timetabled at the beginning of the course, followed by a practice induction period.

    Following this induction, the course integrates both practice and theory, so if you are following the full-time course, you can expect to be in practice for part of the week and at university for the remainder of the week. One 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 final ten weeks of the programme is spent consolidating practice as per NMC standards (2004).

    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 which will be negotiated with the sponsoring Provider Service.

    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 portfolios, exams, vivas, reports, essays, audio taped interventions and presentations alongside a practice proficiency document. The aim of the assignment programme is not only to test your knowledge and skills but also to develop these skills (for instance, the ability to present to a group of people). You can expect between one and three items of assessment per module.

Upcoming Open Days

Open Days give you the best experience and insight to courses, people and facilities that interest you. Make your choice easier and come meet us.


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

View Profile

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.