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Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (MSc)

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Part time blended learning

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Start date

Open day

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Why study this course

This is the part-time version of our full-time Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course. Health visiting is a hugely rewarding role in public health nursing where you can make a long-lasting, positive impact on a family’s physical and mental wellbeing during the earliest days of their family life.

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) Health Visiting is an exciting professional career at the forefront of public health. Health Visitors are uniquely placed to reach children and families in their own homes, building trusting relationships that can positively influence future health outcomes. This NMC approved programme is designed around the NMC (2022) SCPHN standards of proficiency and will develop your skills to act as an autonomous resilient practitioner, identifying health needs and implementing evidence-based interventions in partnership with families.

On successful completion of our Health Visiting programme, you will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for registration on part three of the register and then subsequently practice as a registered SCPHN Health Visitor. This offers opportunities to work closely with public health organisations, explore innovative ideas around health promotion and to lead services that are person centred and evidence driven. In addition, working to highlight and address health inequalities, advocating on behalf of those who are vulnerable, and utilising a multi-disciplinary team approach to care.

The programme will also include the All-Wales Practice Assessment Document which will capture your clinical learning and achievement of clinical proficiencies. In addition, this will provide you with the opportunity to showcase your clinical development.


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.

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

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your qualification certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved an honours degree or diploma (120 credits at level 2) in a relevant subject area such as nursing or midwifery, or an equivalent international qualification.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in Listening, 7.0 in Reading, 7.0 in Speaking, and 6.5 in Writing, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. A reference from your employer to evidence that you currently work in an area relevant to the programme. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application. 
  4. Your professional body registration number which shows that you are currently registered on either part one or two of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.
  5. Evidence that you will be supported by an appropriate host organisation throughout the course to provide the practice element of the programme, where appropriate.
  6. A personal statement which must address the following points:
  • Why have you applied for this programme?
  • What interests you about this 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

The application deadline is 28th June for 2024 only. If you submit an application after this date, it may be considered for the next available intake. 

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, including an assessment of suitability through the personal statement, you will be invited to attend an interview conducted by the programme academic staff and supporting health board.

Recognition of prior learning

You may apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL) at level 7 or higher of up to 60 credits. RPL is considered through mapping of learning outcomes of comparable modules, as stipulated in the NMC (2023) standards.

If you intend to apply for recognition for prior learning, this will need to be submitted with your application for the programme. Further details can be found here.

For further information regarding RPL, please see the RPL policy.

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 will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required.

If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

Course structure

The MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing programme spans 3 years.  This comprises of a taught component of 120 credits over two academic years, plus a 60-credit dissertation that runs for an additional six months equating to 180 credits in total.  There are six core modules in the taught component with two optional modules to choose from including a work-based project dissertation and a systematic review dissertation.

There are placement experiences throughout the programme that will allow integration of theory with actual SCPHN practice. Your learning on placement will be facilitated by experienced practice assessors and practice supervisors who will support you in achieving the NMC standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurse.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

In year one you will undertake two modules (60 credits) which are designed to build your knowledge as you progress through the programme. As you complete these modules, you will undertake concurrent time in practice thus enabling you to apply theory to practice in real world situations. In the Autumn semester, you will develop your academic skills and complete a module exploring the wider fundamentals of community and health visiting practice. Alongside this you will have the opportunity to explore in more depth your specialist field of health visiting practice. In this first year, you will also complete a module exploring the role of leadership and research in developing SCPHN health visiting practice.

The All-Wales practice assessment document is assessed in a non-credit bearing module, which runs throughout year one, where you will be assessed by your practice assessor, practice supervisors and academic assessor.

Year two

In year two you will undertake 3 modules (60 credits). In the autumn semester you will undertake a public health module which offers you the opportunity to engage with the key debates surrounding protection and promotion of health on a local, national, and global level. Enabling you to understand the determinants of health, public health practice and its application in improving the health status of individuals and communities.

You will also explore the role of leadership and research in developing SCPHN health visiting practice and develop your skills in assessment and decision making with the concepts and principles of assessment and care planning in health visiting practice. You will explore the complexities of safeguarding and working with vulnerable children and families as a health visitor within the context of interagency and partnership working. This aims to prepare you to become a highly skilled and autonomous practitioner.

The All-Wales practice assessment document is assessed in a non-credit bearing core module, which continues throughout year two, where you will be assessed by your practice assessor, practice supervisors and academic assessor.

Successful completion of all core modules will lead to the award of 120 academic credits and a PGDip Specialist Community Public Health Nursing, with eligibility to have your qualification recorded on the third part of the NMC register (if you exit with PGDip).  

Year three

Successful completion of the Post Graduate Diploma in SCPHN health visiting at end of year 2 will afford you the option to select one of the optional 60 credit level 7 modules. These include:

Work-based project dissertation.

Systematic review dissertation.  

Complementary to this 60-credit module is a dissertation learning contract which enables you to demonstrate continued application of learning to SCPHN practice.

Completion of this additional 60 credits and the learning contract  leads to the award of MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse and eligibility to have your qualification recorded on the third part of the NMC register Specialist Community Public Health Nurse register (if you did not exit and register at point of PGDip completion).

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?

Teaching approaches on the programme follow a blended learning model, whereby multiple teaching methods are used to accommodate for different learning styles, while also employing appropriate methods to deliver relevant material in SCPHN practice. This includes the use of lectures, seminars, workshops, problem-based learning, skills workshops, and debate work. These discussions are in the form of student and facilitator collaboration, or peer to peer group work.

Teaching sessions are delivered by the programme team, with regular input from both expert SCPHN practitioners and interprofessional learning from the multidisciplinary team. Service users also contribute to teaching sessions, providing an in-depth perspective from the very people health visitors serve.

In addition, simulation and virtual reality technology will be incorporated, enabling you to utilise your knowledge in a safe simulated environment, allowing you to develop confidence and competence for real world situations.

Directed and self-directed study is also employed with the aim to further develop your abilities as an independent lifelong learner. As is expected at post-graduate level study, pre-reading will be provided to support your preparation for any sessions where group discussion, academic advice on assessments or debate is employed. Learning at postgraduate degree level requires you to take responsibility for your own learning, and we will encourage this throughout the programme. 

How will I be assessed?

The curriculum incorporates a diverse and creative range of authentic assessment methods which are reflective of an inclusive, learner-centred approach which align to the learning outcomes of the programme.

The formative assessments for each module have been tailored to aid in preparing you for the summative assessment, offering you support in achieving positive assessment outcomes. Each formative assessment offers feedback opportunities from both your peers and academic staff.

All assessments are accompanied by written guidelines and assessment criteria which correlate with the learning outcomes of the programme and individual modules. While all examinations will be undertaken in person on our Heath Park Campus.

You will be summatively assessed in the following ways:

  • Essays
  • Evidence-based research poster
  • E-Learning resource
  • Oral presentations on campus 
  • Integrated structured clinical examination (ISCE) on campus 
  • Practice based audit
  • All Wales practice assessment document (PAD)

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor from the SCPHN academic team, who you will meet regularly throughout the programme to support your overall development and provide you with personalised pastoral support. WeIsh-speaking personal tutors are available if your preference is to access support through the medium of Welsh.

You will undertake learning in practice on a supernumerary basis, where you will be supported by a triparted team which includes SCPHN health visiting Practice Assessor, a nominated Practice Supervisor, and a nominated Academic Assessor.  This team will work collaboratively with you to enable your achievement of the practice programme requirements.

You will also be a member of an Action Learning Set, which involves participating in a series of peer-to-peer reflective discussions during the programme. These sets are supported by the Academic Assessor and aim to allow you to address real SCPHN practice issues with your peers through reflective discussions and to develop your leadership skills. 

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard Ultra, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars. All in-person lectures are recorded via Panopto and are available for you to view throughout your programme.

You will be provided with oral and written feedback on your formative assessments as we prepare you for summative assessment. Personalised feedback on all your summative assessments will be provided electronically via our virtual learning platform, which aims to enable your continual development by offering feedforward to inform your future assessments.

In addition, the University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support you. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, day care facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

Further information about what the University can offer you can be found in the following link:

Student life - Study - Cardiff University

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning outcomes for this programme describe what you will achieve by the end of your programme at Cardiff University and identify the knowledge and skills that you will develop. They will also help you to understand what is expected of you during this programme.

On successful completion of the MSc Advanced Healthcare Practice Programme, you will be able to: 

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Critically apply advanced levels of SCHPN knowledge to prevent ill health, protect health and promote wellbeing with comprehensive consideration of economic influences, sustainable development goals, legislative, ethical and regulatory frameworks.                     
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the social determinants of health in a diverse range of populations, acknowledging the unpredictability and complexity of diverse environments, communities and populations.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of methods that build trusting relationships which enable a SCPHN to identify, assess and plan for the health and wellbeing needs of children and families, promoting health and initiate evidence-based person-centred interventions.

  • Critically analyse legislative and evidence-based guidelines to provide family centred health advice, taking into consideration individual, environmental and genetic factors.


Intellectual Skills:

  • Develop and sustain independent, carefully researched, analyses of policy that impact the health service provision for children, families and populations, drawing on critical appraisal of multiple sources of evidence underpinning health visiting practice.
  • Synthesise and apply knowledge from research and audit to lead service development in improving the health of children, families and communities, sharing good practice.
  • Demonstrate critical and autonomous thinking when diagnosing and dealing with complex health problems, developing and leading on innovative solutions that are person centred, anti-discriminatory, culturally competent and inclusive.
  • Exhibit a range of leadership approaches that demonstrate collaboration and compassion when leading quality improvement strategies in partnership with stakeholders.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Practice as an autonomous SCPHN who exercises initiative and critically evaluates and reflects on their practice to enable continual professional development while adhering to the NMC standards for proficiency and NMC Code.
  • Work as a collaborative member of the multidisciplinary team who can make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations, providing evidence-based care to a complex range of populations, taking into consideration ethical and legal issues.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use enhanced communication skills, advocating for fairness, equity and social justice, utilising multiple information sharing methods to convey information to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Expertly respond to multiple levels of complexity, unpredictability, and uncertainty in healthcare contexts through demonstration and implementation of specialist reasoning to provide effective care across a range of community settings.

  • Apply high level professional judgement to observe, recognise and respond to signs of abuse and neglect across the life course through advocating for and protecting those who are most vulnerable.


Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Demonstrate creativity and originality in problem-solving in the academic and practice environment, including a commitment to addressing health inequalities through prevention and early intervention, demonstrating entrepreneurship within health visiting practice. 
  • Actively engage in continuing personal and professional development underpinned by critical reflection and a commitment to autonomous lifelong learning.
  • Demonstrate advanced communication skills in the academic and practice environment to collaborate and work in partnership with other agencies.
  • Practice effective self-management and an advanced ability to teach and motivate others, drawing upon multiple leadership and management skills.
  • Demonstrate advanced digital and technological skills in education and practice to meet the needs of people, and communities.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

The tuition fees for this programme will be available shortly. While we update this information, please send any tuition fee enquiries to our team.

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

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 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

Additional costs

Living costs

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


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

Successful completion of this NMC approved programme leads to the ability to register your qualification on part 3 of the NMC register, a mandatory requirement to practice as a SCPHN health visitor in the United Kingdom. All these programme elements are highly sought after by employers, which will enable you to apply for roles within Local Health Boards, NHS trusts, private sector organisations and third sector organisations such as charities.


You will undertake a practice placement throughout the programme which will allow you to integrate theory with actual health visiting practice. You will be facilitated by experienced Practice Assessors and Practice Supervisors who will support you in developing your practice at every stage of the programme. You will have supernumerary status whilst undertaking the programme, supporting you to achieve the required standards of proficiency. Supernumerary status in this instance means that you shall not, as part of the programme be employed by any person or body under a contract of service to provide specialist community based public health nursing care. 

Much of the professional practical skills learning occurs whilst you are on placement, there is an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ throughout the programme, enabling you to translate your developing knowledge of SCPHN health visiting into real world practice. 

Next steps


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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.