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Ulster University is the only Northern Ireland University to offer a PGDip in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing


Study Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

The programme is designed to prepare students to register on the 3rd part of the NMC Professional Register in the following areas – health visiting or school nursing. This programme is only offered on a full time basis for Health Visiting and School Nursing students.

Practice learning
Students undertaking a programme leading to a Specialist Community and Public Health Nursing qualification complete 113 days of practice to permit you to attain the required specialist competencies and enable you to make the necessary links between theory and practice. Each student has a Teacher Practitioner identified who provides the support, guidance and facilitation necessary for the student to develop the competencies/attributes needed and assesses their achievement.

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About this course

In this section


While on the programme you will undertake a range of modules in semester 1 and 2 that will lead to a level of proficiency which is commensurate with the specialist nature of community public health nursing practice (NMC 2004). It will also build on your previous knowledge and skills to develop reflective professionals whose decisions are based on the best available evidence and who possess an in-depth understanding of public health practice and the differing needs of various client groups. Throughout the duration of the course pathway specific modules will focus on the theories and competencies required to meet the standard for that pathway.


The duration of the programme is 52 weeks.

Attendance (Full-time)
One – two days weekly + practice days.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Public Health in Practice

Year: 1

Public health is high on the political agenda and specialist community public health nurses are recognised as playing a key role in this agenda. Public health practice encompasses health promotion, health protection and service commissioning. This module covers the spectrum of public health activity enabling students to analyse policies and practice; evaluate models of practice; work in partnership with communities and stakeholders, develop a needs assessment of a defined community, prioritise needs and design interventions to meet those needs. Assessment is by dissertation

Family Synergy and the Developing Child

Year: 1

The role of the SCPHN (HV, SN) in identification and early intervention with children and parents has become increasingly significant in trying to improve the long term overall health outcomes of children. The SCPHN (HV, SN) at postgraduate level needs to be able to analyse family dynamics and devise individual family interventions. This module will provide the knowledge required to fulfil this role and partnership with teacher practitioners in the practice learning will give the student the opportunity for application in practice. Assessment is 100% by coursework

Developing Leadership and Management in Public Health

Year: 1

This module endeavours to provide students with a thorough understanding of the context in which they will be working through examining recent policy developments and their implementation, professional developments within the ever changing health care environment. The students? increasing knowledge base and placement experience will facilitate critical thinking through reflection and integration of theoretical perspectives with practice experiences. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

Surveillance Screening and Advanced Communication

Year: 1

Health surveillance includes the whole range of screening activities which take place in community clinics, surgeries, schools, workplaces and people?s homes. To manage these activities and engage appropriately with clients and patients SCHPN must be skilled in good communication techniques. This module aims to give SCPHNs the knowledge and skills to contribute to this process.

Clinical Practice Development and Research for SC & PH Nurses

Year: 1

This module builds on previous study of research methods at undergraduate level and provides the critical skills necessary for the SCPHN to utilise research, and its findings, in order to make informed decisions about clinical practice that will enhance nursing and improve the quality of patient care. The aim of this module is to provide the SCPHN to develop the skills required to identify literature, critique the literature, and apply and disseminate research findings relating to their nursing specialism. This module will prepare the SCPHN to develop a more critical understanding of the research process and methods, in order to assess the findings and therefore evaluate evidence to inform practice. The successful completion of this module will enable students to gain greater understanding and confidence in their engagement with the research process and its application to inform evidence-based practice.

The Continuum of Safeguarding Children

Year: 1

Safeguarding Children is a key issue for all SCPHN?s coming into contact with children and families. This module explores their role in the recognition, assessment and referral of children in need and at risk of abuse. There is strong emphasis on collaborative working to safeguard children, ethical and legal issues and professional responsibilities in relation to record keeping and report writing.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

  • Applicants must have current Part 1or 2 registration in either nursing or midwifery with the Nursing & Midwifery Council
  • BSc Hons/BSc degree in Nursing or a health related area OR
  • A Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing/midwifery which is equivalent to 240 academic credits OR
  • Applicants without a Diploma Higher Education in nursing/midwifery must have successfully completed a portfolio of evidence for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) which demonstrates the achievement of all Level 4 and Level 5 learning outcomes. Please note this APL portfolio must be successfully completed and assessed by Ulster University before applicant can proceed to interview.
  • Health Visiting students are required to apply through a Regional Recruitment and Selection process and pass the standard set at interview
  • Occupational Health Nurses and School Nurses apply directly to the HSCT and must pass the standard set at interview
  • Provide an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure certificate, which is current on application to Ulster.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

International students must achieve a score of 7 overall and 7 on each sub-scale on the IELTS test of proficiency in English (NMC requirement).

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

All modules must be completed to obtain the PG Diploma award.

Students not meeting the required NMC competencies may apply to transfer to the PG Dip Health and Wellbeing.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Career prospects of graduates from this programme are excellent with the majority moving rapidly into permanent posts with their specialist area.

Professional Recognition

Upon successful completion you will be eligible to register on the 3rd part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

Professional recognition

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse (adult).


Places on this programme are normally commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in Northern Ireland. Students wishing to apply for a DHSSPS Commissioned place should contact the Practice Education Team in their Health and Social Care Trust. The HSCT will manage your application.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

AccessNI Check

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course. 

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees. 

Please contact the course team for more information.


Course Director: Anne O'Callaghan

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 8356


Lecturer in Nursing: Aishlinn Long

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6366