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Community Health Studies (SPQ) (PgDip)

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Part time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Successful completion of this programme leads to the award of the NMC recordable Specialist Practitioner Qualification, in either District or Practice Nursing.


Approved and supported

Our programme is fully supported by local service providers.


Student support

You will have academic support and be assigned a designated personal tutor throughout your studies with us.


Additional skills

The course includes the community practitioner nurse prescribing qualification, V100.


Student representative

You will have the opportunity to become a student representative and shape future educational provision.

This part-time course is for registered nurses wishing to pursue a career in community nursing. It leads to a postgraduate diploma in Community Health Studies, a recordable specialist practitioner qualification with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) in district nursing.

The course aims to:

  • Develop a critical awareness and understanding of discipline specific knowledge, informed by current practice and scholarship.
  • Judiciously apply the evidence-base to clinical situations that are complex and justify decisions to the inter-professional team.
  • Develop discipline specific competencies to Masters practice level demonstrating self-direction and the ability to act autonomously in the management of patient care, within the scope of professional practice.

The Postgraduate Diploma course consists of three core generic modules and one core specialist module equating to at least 600 hours of student engagement. The focus of learning and teaching is to link theory with practice and therefore the modules are split into 50% theory and 50% practice. The theory covered during the modules aims to prepare you for the supervised clinical practice you will be undertaking during the course.

For the practice element of the course, you will work alongside a practice teacher or sign-off mentor. A total of 600 hours in practice must be achieved during the programme. 

You must have the agreement of your employer to release you for the necessary theory and practice hours.

We're committed to delivering programmes that are innovative and relevant, providing the best learning outcomes and career prospects for our students. In light of this, we're currently reviewing some elements of this programme. As such, the details shown are subject to change and indicative only. You can still apply now. We'll update this page and contact all offer holders when the review is complete to confirm any changes.

Where you'll study

School of Healthcare Sciences

Our courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to embark on a professional healthcare career.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

  • Current registration with the NMC on Part 1 of the register*.
  • A BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent.

* Entry criteria for entry to specific Specialist Practice pathways are as follows:

  • District Nursing: First level nurse trained in general nursing or in adult nursing.
  • Practice Nursing: First level nurse trained in general nursing, adult nursing, the nursing of sick children or children’s nursing.

Selection of students for the course may require relevant Health Board selection and support, along with meeting University and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) selection requirements. Selection criteria will be as follows:

  • Appropriate NHS Health Board identification.
  • The NHS Health Board will inform the Programme Manager of the candidates they intend to support to undertake the programme. This will include confirmation of support from a Sign-Off Mentor or Practice Teacher to meet NMC requirements.
  • Secured funding. To date community SPQ programme modules up to Postgraduate diploma have been funded centrally by Welsh Government, now via the Workforce Education and Development Services (WEDS) - it is anticipated this funding will continue. This does not include the Masters Dissertation modules.
  • Evidence of post-registration experience within the specialised area of practice.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Enhanced up-to-date DBS disclosure in conjunction with Health Board colleagues, where necessary.

The personal statement on your application form will be considered when a judgement is made on your suitability for the programme for which you have applied. You must address the following points in your personal statement. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Why have you selected this programme?
  • What interests you about the programme?
  • Any relevant experience related to the programme or module content.
  • How you plan to use the qualification in your career.
  • How you and your profession will benefit from your studies.
  • Why you feel you should be given a place on the programme.

Application deadline: End of July of each academic year.  Your application will be considered after this date but it may be for a later intake.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

All students will attend the three core generic modules and one core specialist module that apply to the particular pathways for the award of Postgraduate Diploma - District Nursing or General Practice Nursing.

Successful completion of all four modules will lead to the award of a postgraduate diploma in Healthcare Science - Community Health Studies [SPQ] and recordable NMC specialist practice and community practitioner nurse prescriber qualifications.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

Year two

Year three

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Learning and teaching methods will include lectures, guided reading activities, seminar discussions, online activities, and discussion forums. Screen and podcasts, lecture-capture, and supervisory blogs are also planned to enhance and promote learning.

As some students may have concerns about the level of IT skills required to undertake the course, each student accepted onto the course will be provided with pre-programme support.

The face-to-face taught component of the module will also provide an opportunity for students to meet and develop insights into each other’s roles and experiences.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is via a variety of methods, including written assignments, exams, presentations and a practical assessment (clinical portfolio). Assignments vary according to the module.

The programme is 50% theory and 50% practice for the postgraduate diploma level. The practical element will be assessed through a summative clinical portfolio.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support students. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, crèche and day facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

This programme gives you the opportunity to share ideas with health professionals. As well as developing your own intellectual abilities, this sharing of ideas enables you to learn and benefit from the experiences of others. Opportunity is given for this sort of discussion and exchange of ideas through seminars and tutorials.

All students are given a named personal tutor following registration onto the programme, who is able to assist with any pastoral care as well as advice on writing style, grammar and academic mentoring.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars.

For students whose first language is not English there are open access English Language courses available. These are 5 week courses run on a first come first served basis and cost an administration fee of £25.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark.  You can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this course, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of your profession, informed by current practice, scholarship and research, including a critical awareness of current issues and developments in the subject and the profession.
  • The ability to apply research to professional situations, both practical and theoretical.
  • The ability to use a range of techniques and research methods applicable to your professional activities.

You will have the opportunity to practise and develop a range of generic abilities and skills that include the ability to:

  • Use initiative and take responsibility.
  • Solve problems in creative and innovative ways.
  • Make decisions in challenging situations.
  • Continue to learn independently and to develop professionally.
  • Communicate effectively, with colleagues and a wider audience, in a variety of media.

This reflects the requirements of the NMC relating to the specialist practice qualification, who define specialist practice as exercising of higher levels of judgement, discretion and decision making in clinical care (United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC) 2001). This programme has been designed to meet the requirements as set out by NMC for achievement of these higher level skills focusing on four broad areas:

  • Clinical practice.
  • Care and programme management.
  • Clinical practice development.
  • Clinical practice leadership.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

This programme is funded by the Welsh Government for current NHS Wales Employees. Those interested in self-funding should contact the School directly via the admissions tutor.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

This course does not currently accept students from outside the UK/EU.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

Successful completion of this course should equip you with skills and knowledge to help advance your career in nursing.

The ongoing shift of care closer to home is driving the continued development of primary care services both locally and nationally, and community nurse education features strongly in these plans to ensure the workforce is fit for purpose.

Service reconfiguration requires specialist district nurses and practice nurses to be able to lead and deliver services to meet the increasing demands of an ageing population.


UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2023 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.