MSc Specialist Community Public Health 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
Programme leader
Mrs Dawn Odd

* subject to final UWE Bristol approval

Applications for September 2025 are not yet open.

Page last updated 20 May 2024


On our MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing, you'll study one of three specialist pathways in Occupational Health Nursing, School Nursing or Health Visiting. The course leads to professional registration on Part Three of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) is an innovative, future-focused course with three specialist pathways for health visitors, occupational health nurses and school nurses. The course meets a continuing demand for SCPHN practitioners in the UK, who can work autonomously and inclusively with children, employees and families within different settings.

This master's degree is aligned to the Public Health Knowledge and Skills Framework, supporting you to articulate your specialist skills within the wider public health workforce. You'll achieve the competencies set out in the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards of Proficiency for SCPHN (2022).

Established reputation

UWE Bristol has established a respected reputation as a trailblazer in this field, offering strong connections with professional practice. MSC SCPHN closely aligns with the University's Research Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing, with many members of the teaching team active in research.

The course is also led and supported by experienced academics from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including public health, social sciences, and environmental health. You'll be taught through flexible blended learning, combining face-to-face and online teaching, where you'll study alongside practitioners from different fields in a multi-professional learning environment.

Specialist career routes

MSc SCPHN is suitable for those working as registered nurses or midwives, or recent graduates from an undergraduate nursing or midwifery degree. This master's degree will give you clinical knowledge and skills at the forefront of public health nursing and provide a competitive professional qualification to support your career success.

On completion, you'll gain professional registration on Part Three of the NMC register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse, specialising in Occupational Health Nursing, School Nursing or Health Visiting. The course therefore opens the doors to a variety of healthcare routes in the public or private sectors.



The structure and content of this new course is currently under review and subject to final UWE Bristol approval. It will be published as soon as possible.

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

Designed to meet the diverse needs of learners, teaching and learning on the MSc SCPHN is flexible and focused on your individual learning needs as an adult learner.

Throughout the course, you'll take a critical perspective and consider a wide range of evidence, theory and perspectives in your application of knowledge to practice. You'll also be encouraged to think critically and reflect on your professional practice in a supportive and safe environment. Where possible, you'll work collaboratively and draw on the lived experience of service users.

You'll engage in a range of interactive learning methods, such as large and small group teaching, case study discussions, debates, e-learning packages, simulation and self-directed study. You'll also receive personalised study skills support, including a bespoke academic skills package for SCPHN learners before and during your studies.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

During Year one of your course, you'll spend approximately 50% of your time applying your knowledge to practice in a professional setting. You'll spend the other 50% of your time learning theory through online and in-person teaching, as well as self-directed study. You'll be able to plan your learning experiences and opportunities in collaboration with your practice and academic assessors.

In the second year, you'll have the opportunity to pursue in-depth autonomous and independent study. You'll choose a particular topic relevant to SCPHN practice, which you'll study with the support of an allocated research supervisor.


Our formative and summative assessments enable you to demonstrate your skills development and knowledge application. The assessment tasks are co-designed with SCPHN practitioners and are workplace focused to assess your ability to apply knowledge to contemporary professional practice.

You'll complete a range of assessments which build on the skills and knowledge you've developed from your modules and the experience you'll gain in SCPHN practice. You'll be able to personalise your assessments for your chosen modules to best suit your strengths and learning needs and engage in dialogic feedback and critical reflection. You'll also receive frequent feedback from peers, teaching staff and academic assessors on your work.

Assessment methods include case studies, presentations, peer- and self-assessment activities, designing digital health promotion materials and completing a portfolio of evidence in practice. Your portfolio will contain structured reviews of your progress and tools such as practice assessments.

Learn more about assessments at UWE Bristol.


Professional accreditation

You can claim an interim award of Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing after 52 weeks of study and successfully completing the required modules. This provides eligibility to be admitted to Part Three of the NMC register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse in your chosen specialism.

Study facilities

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Postgraduate support

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


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Campus and facilities

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Careers / Further study

This MSc is the education pathway for SCPHN in the UK, with employability and career progression at its core. You'll choose one of three specialist pathways, enabling you to progress or change your career by becoming a registered health visitor, occupational health nurse or school nurse.

The content is mapped to the Public Health Knowledge and Skills Framework, enabling you to apply your skills to the wider public health workforce outside of nursing. Designed in line with the latest NMC Standards of Proficiency, you'll gain the competencies needed to become a knowledgeable and skilled SCPHN practitioner.

Develop in-demand skills such as evidence-based practice, health promotion, compassionate leadership, project management, professional and digital communication and presentation skills. You'll also gain research skills through independent study in a topic of your choice, relevant to SCPHN practice, with the support of an allocated research supervisor.

You'll learn about the social determinants of health, the impact of health inequalities, social justice and the life course approach to prevention and promoting health. The underpinning biological, psychological, social and ecological approach will equip you to apply your knowledge to embed sustainable change to public health services.

As a pre-requisite, learners must already hold effective registration on Part One (Nursing) or Part Two (Midwifery) of the NMC register. You'll achieve professional registration on the third part of the NMC register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse at the end of Year one. If you continue to study Year two, you'll achieve a full master's degree at the end of the course.

The course will enable nursing and midwifery graduates or registered practitioners to open doors to a variety of career routes in the public or private sector. For example, you could go on to work in public health or lead public health nursing teams, or practice in occupational health departments in public sector or private organisations.

Our award-winning careers service can help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Supplementary fee information

Read about postgraduate funding.


Entry requirements

You must have:

  • A BSc or BA (Hons) degree. You can apply with a degree in any discipline but healthcare related is preferred. If you do not have a degree, you may still be eligible. 
  • NMC registered nurse (level 1) or NMC registered midwife capable of safe and effective practice at the level of proficiency appropriate to the NMC approved Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) programme before being considered as eligible to apply for entry.

You'll need to secure a secondment opportunity, fixed term, or honorary contract from an employing organisation before you apply. A suitable placement must be compliant with the NMC education standards. 
Please contact the Programme Leader if you have any questions about this to discuss before applying. 

How to apply

Please use the 'Apply now' button below.

Normally you'll have an offer with an employer before applying to UWE Bristol. If you're self-funded please contact us.

The deadline for applications is 4 July 2024.

Advanced Entry

If you're looking to complete the final year of this programme please contact the Programme Leader to discuss advanced entry. Find out more about Accredited Learning (AL).

Read more about postgraduate applications.

For further information