Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) Top-up BSc (Hons)

Key Facts

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    52 weeks Full-time
    no more than 208 weeks Part-time

  • Starting:


  • Fees:

    Sponsored through NHS Trust

  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772


This course is designed to enable you to study at academic Level 6 (BSc Hons) whilst also preparing you to become proficient practitioners within specialist community public health nursing/practice and work at specialist practitioner level within complex primary health care arenas.

This course provides a programme of preparation and learning for registered nurses and midwives who 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).

Updated 08/11/2022


  • Top-up to complete BSc (Hons).
  • For Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registered Nurses or Midwives.
  • 50% practice 50% theory.
  • Robust supervision and support is in place for both practice and academic studies.

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Course Content

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

    There is a focus on work based learning throughout the 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 present day specialist community public health practice.

    This post registration award prepares you for a career in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at both strategic and operational levels. The BSc Hons consists of six compulsory modules, two are practice focussed modules underpinned with key theoretical concepts and run for the duration of the course enabling theory to inform practice and vice versa. A consolidating period of practice equivalent to at least ten weeks at the end of the programme is incorporated into this programme as per NMC SCPHN Standards (2004).

    All modules are linked to service delivery and developments within Primary Care/Public Health and are intended to develop core skills in research, practice development, public health activity and education. 50% of the course is in a practice environment which is commensurate with the specific annotation students are following i.e. Health Visiting or School Nursing. This element of the programme is supported by designated practice teachers who have undertaken a formal education programme to fulfil this role.

    List of modules:

    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 June 2023.

      • Module code: NUR3019
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare practitioners for working within the community to develop and enhance their public health knowledge and skills. It will equip practitioners to undertake a health needs assessment, and design an intervention to build community capacity and empower a target population to improve their health and wellbeing, following a settings based approach.
      • Module code: NUR3023P
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students enrolled onto the SCPHN/SPQ programmes, on successful completion of the course, to legally prescribe from the Community Practitioner Formulary (V100). This module follows an approved education programme in line with the NMC Standards for Prescribing Programmes (NMC 2018).
      • Module code: NUR3031
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to advance the students interpersonal communication skills and knowledge of evidence based psychological therapeutic approaches. Advancing skills and knowledge in this area will enable students to better promote their patients wellbeing and mental health.
      • Module code: NUR3032P
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate a level of skill and understanding commensurate with SCPHN Practice (School Nurse (SN) / Health Visitor (HV)). The first of two Principal modules, using an active blended learning approach, students will demonstrate developing proficiency in SCPHN practice (NMC 2004) through evidence based, innovative, reflective and pro-active approaches to meeting community and universal health needs for Children, Young People and Families within a progressive framework.
      • Module code: NUR3033P
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this second principal module is to enable students to develop innovative, reflective and pro-active approaches to meeting targeted and complex health needs for children, young people and families, within a progressive framework. Whilst this module forms the foundation of knowledge and skills acquisition through an active blended learning approach, knowledge and skills gained in other modules can be used to further inform the context of evidence presented to promote robust achievement of SCPHN School Nurse (SN) / Health Visitor (HV) professional proficiency (NMC, 2004).
      • Module code: NUR3064
        Status: Compulsory
        The indicative content explores leadership theories, motivation, creativity and innovation in self, others and their organisations in relation to group and team dynamics, considering how to overcome barriers to promote a positive culture and influence effective change in public health practice.
      • Module code: NUR3066
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to equip students with the tools to enable them to judge research findings and incorporate them judiciously into their practice.
  • 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 applicants must:

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

    • evidence of sponsorship from an NHS Trust or 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.

  • Applicants needs to secure funding from their NHS Trust provider. 

    Applicants must be registered with the NMC as either a nurse or midwife, and will need to provide evidence of sponsorship from an NHS Trust prior to commencing the course.

    You are advised to contact the course leader Helen Kimble, Programme Lead on: advancedpractice@northampton.ac.uk  as soon as possible if you require information as to which NHS Trusts are likely to offer sponsorships.

  • How will I study?

    If you choose to study this course full-time course (over 45 weeks), you will not usually have annual leave during the course as this is given predominantly at the end of the course (six weeks annual leave over the summer period). Over Christmas and Easter, however, block weeks of study leave are expected to be timetabled on both occasions.

    Students following a part time route 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 comprises of 45 programmed weeks for full-time students (50% of which is in practice, 50% 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 for those students following the full-time course, they 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 10 weeks of the programme is consolidating practice as per NMC standards (2004).

    How will I be assessed?

    This course comprises of a range of assessment strategies which enable you to demonstrate your knowledge, synthesis and analysis in a variety of forms. Assessment strategies include portfolios, exams, vivas, reports, essays, OSCEs 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.

    How to contact for further information?

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

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Careers and Employability

The specialist nature of this award will enhance graduates opportunities to extend their responsibilities and undertake new roles in practice within clinical teams.

On successful completion of this course, you can register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on third part of the register. You will be able to apply for band 6 and 7 posts as Specialist Community Public Health Practitioners working within a wide variety of settings.