MSc Specialist Practice (District Nursing)

Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Glenside Campus
Two years full-time; three years part-time.
Full-time; part-time; starts September
Programme leader
Cat Andrews

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 28 June 2024


Develop your leadership and influencing capabilities, build the confidence to shape and enhance community nursing practice, and gain the skills to inspire and lead large nursing teams.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study district nursing?

Working in the community, district nurses lead nursing teams to provide care and support for patients with a variety of acute and long-term health conditions.

Many employers require nurses in team leadership roles to hold the district nurse qualification.

An opportunity to take your career to the next level, you’ll build your leadership skills and play a more strategic role in how care is delivered in the community.

Why UWE Bristol?

Learn from an experienced team of community nurses at UWE Bristol, with strong industry links and access to the latest research. Benefit from their depth of knowledge across advanced clinical practice, research and education.

With outstanding onsite facilities, and a combination of theory and practice-based learning, you'll gain the strong academic and practical grounding you need to practise competently and confidently as a qualified district nurse.

Relevant to the changing landscape of community nursing, you’ll gain a deep understanding of current issues. This will help you take a more strategic and political view of your care provision, drawing on policies, literature and evidence that influence your care delivery.

We place a strong focus on nurturing positive relationships with team members and other colleagues, disciplines and agencies. We also work in partnership with service users and carers to develop person-centred holistic care.

Where can it take me?

MSc Specialist Practice: District Nursing is a professional practice course for registered adult nurses working in the community, aspiring to move into team leader grade roles.

NHS employers increasingly require band 6 community nurses to hold the NMC recordable specialist practice qualification (SPQ) in district nursing, as well as the independent/supplementary prescribing qualification. You'll achieve both these qualifications by successfully completing the course to PGDip level.

Undertaking the Master’s course, you can take your learning further, carrying out your own research or project in an area of practice that interests you.



The below information is indicative of the course content and is subject to final UWE Bristol approval. The approved content will be published on this page as soon as possible. When the content has been published, any optional modules listed will be those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You'll study:

  • Evidence Based Practice in District Nursing
  • Leadership and Innovation
  • Physical Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
  • Professional Practice in District Nursing
  • Independent and/or Supplementary Prescribing*.

*Two versions of this module are available. The version you take will depend on credit requirement and will be subject to Programme Leader approval.

Year two

You'll study:

  • Health and Social Care Research: Methods and Methodology.

Plus one optional module from:

  • Dissertation
  • Evidencing Work Based Learning.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we'll inform you. 

Learning and Teaching

The course comprises a mix of lectures, small-group seminars, student-led sessions and clinical skills practice. In addition, Action Learning will support you to develop as a self-directed, reflective practitioner.

Completing the course alongside your current work, you'll be supported by a suitably qualified practice assessor/ supervisor within your organisation. This will enable you to apply what you learn to your own practice and bring your experiences into the classroom.

Work with other health professionals on selected modules, building on the inter-professional and interpersonal skills that are essential to district nursing.

Develop your knowledge of the socio-political context of community nursing, prescribing, the latest evidence and research, and leadership and innovation.

Learn about research techniques, critical appraisal and evaluation and draft your own research proposal. You’ll then undertake a research study or service improvement project. 

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Available as a full or part-time course, you can work at a pace that suits you and your employer, studying for at least 45 weeks. 


We'll assess you using a mixture of essays, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), exams and presentations.

You'll also produce a practice portfolio you can take with you, providing valuable evidence of your learning. 

Learn more about assessments.


Professional accreditation

A University Examination Board will verify your eligibility for the interim award of PGDip Specialist Practice: District Nursing. They’ll also verify that you meet all NMC requirements for annotation on the register as a Community Nurse Specialist Practice: District Nurse. The University will then notify the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). You may wish to continue to MSc level at this point.

Please note, you'll need to successfully complete the course to PGDip level and pass the Independent and/or Supplementary Prescribing module, to claim the independent / supplementary prescriber qualification with the NMC. 


To consolidate your learning and development, you'll be based in another area within your own organisation during your Professional Practice in District Nursing module.

Study facilities

You'll be based at our Glenside Campus, where you'll benefit from the latest facilities, including our advanced Skills Simulation Suite, where you can practise on mannequins and hone and develop your clinical skills.

Glenside has one of the best healthcare libraries in the country with a huge selection of books, journals, audio-visual materials and specialist health and social care software.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Nursing and Midwifery facilities and see what's on offer here for you.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


A stunning city for student living with all the qualities to make you want to stay.

Sports, societies and activities

There is more to your experience here than study. Choose to make the most of it and try new things.

Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

Discover our campuses and the wealth of facilities provided for our students.


Careers / Further study

NHS employers increasingly require district nurses to hold the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recordable specialist practice qualification (SPQ) in district nursing. You'll achieve this by completing the course to PG Dip level.

Once you've successfully completed the course to PGDip level, you’ll be eligible to claim the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specialist practitioner qualification in district nursing. You’ll also gain the independent / supplementary prescribing qualification (V300).

Undertaking the Master’s course you can take your learning further, carrying out your own research or quality improvement project in an area of practice that interests you. Develop the higher-level critical thinking skills that come with master's level study, as well as strong decision-making and leadership skills needed to progress and evolve your career.

Completing the course full or part-time alongside your work and studying at a pace that suits you and your organisation, you'll put what you learn into practice in your work, supported by your own practice assessor .

You’ll be equipped to effectively and confidently lead nursing teams in the community, and to work in more senior district nurse roles. You’ll be sought after for your leadership skills, strategic thinking, and ability to manage large teams of nurses in challenging and complex environments.

You'll be able to evaluate knowledge relating to change and service improvement and put forward your own ideas for initiating and leading service developments. You'll also learn to plan and evaluate care in complex and unpredictable contexts.

You'll graduate as an independent and self-critical practitioner, able to question and challenge practice, and well equipped to lead and manage teams of nurses to provide effective evidence-based care.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service can help you to develop your employment potential through career coaching and  to find graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our graduate destinations pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating. 


Supplementary fee information

Read about postgraduate funding


Entry requirements

Applicants must:

  • be registered on part 1 of the UK NMC register as an Adult Nurse
  • be working in an environment and with a client group that enables them to achieve the programme learning outcomes
  • be qualified as an Adult Nurse for at least 1 year
  • hold a relevant undergraduate degree (120 credits at level 6).  

If you don't hold a relevant undergraduate degree, please contact the Programme Leader to discuss your options.


Interviews take place with your employer prior to being made an offer. 

How to apply

You'll apply to the course via Admissions.

Please Note: you'll need to submit a separate application to study the Independent/Supplementary Prescribing module. You can do this via the separate course page for that module on the UWE Bristol website.

Read more about postgraduate applications.

For further information