Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing)


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Key facts

Start dates

September 2023 / September 2024

Course length

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months


This course is undergoing revalidation with the NMC for September 2024, there will be a change in the module content, subject to NMC approval. Once approved the webpage will be updated.

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council


Our innovative Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing) course enables you to develop your practice as a specialist public health nurse. You will finish the course as a collaborative public health practitioner, who is able to lead practice forward.

We believe that academic preparation is an integral part of practice development. So the course content reflects current issues in practice issues. And includes the exploration of high impact areas of contemporary public health across the fields of practice.

You will be able to work in partnership with clients and other professions and agencies. You will strengthen your leadership attributes to become a high-quality practitioner who is a skilful public health nurse. Either in School Nursing or Health Visiting.

On successfully completing this course, you are eligible for registration by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC):

  • on the third part of the register (specialist community public health nursing)
  • and as able to prescribe from the community practitioners formulary (V100).
Health visitors in a school with a child

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Access to the SCPHN course is open to practitioners who meet the following criteria.

This course is at level 7 (Master’s Degree) therefore evidence is required of recent study at level 6 (degree level).

You must:

  • be registered on either the nursing or midwife (parts one or two of the NMC register)
  • be able to demonstrate evidence of recent study at level 6 on entry
  • have secured a student place within an NHS Trust which will ensure the following:
    • access to a community practice teacher and placement area
    • a source of NHS funding (employment) to enable payment of the course fees.

Self funding for this course is not an option


  • entry onto the course will be subject to satisfactory Disclosure Barring Service clearance
  • evidence of being currently on the NMC register will also be required
  • successful entry to this course is subject to satisfactory references.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.


All applicants will be screened for fitness to practise and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

Pathways courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Oxford Brookes University works in partnership with Berkshire, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Oxford community NHS Trusts in the recruitment of students; you may apply to any of these NHS Trusts for a place.

Please ensure that you have been offered a place in an NHS Trust before applying to Oxford Bookers University.

A requirement of the application is that you are UK registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a working UK visa that would permit your employment in the NHS as a Nurse.

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Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
NHS funded (see further below)

Home (UK) part time
NHS funded (see further below)

Home (UK) full time
NHS funded (see further below)

Home (UK) part time
NHS funded (see further below)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
NHS funded (see further below)

Home (UK) part time
NHS funded (see further below)

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
NHS funded (see further below)

Home (UK) part time
NHS funded (see further below)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400


Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

Funding is secured via application to an NHS Trust for a student post for the 52 week course (Student School Nurse or Student Health Visitor); this will involve an application to NHS jobs for the student vacancy followed by a joint interview with a community NHS Trust and the University. A values based recruitment strategy is used for all aspects of selection. please ensure that you are familiar with NHS Constitution values for professionals.

You should not apply for this course at Oxford Brookes until funding has been secured with an NHS Trust and you have a conditional offer in writing from an NHS Trust to commence the course.

For more information please contact the Programme Administrator.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Travel expenses will be incurred (only travel within the practice placement will be reimbursed).

Core texts are available in the university library, there are no essential purchases of books required.

Online submission of assessments eliminate printing costs for all modules.

Learning and assessment

You will need to take all seven course modules over a year, for the full time route.

On the part-time route, you will need to take seven modules over two years with the required amount of practice.

There are many opportunities for you to continue to study after the end of the course. We encourage you towards lifelong learning. On successful completion of the postgraduate diploma, you may achieve a master's in Public Health Nursing, for further information please discuss this with the course leader. This will require independent funding.

Healthcare professional meeting with young person

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Foundations of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing 1

    This is a practice-based module with clear links to currency in public health practice and policy which enables you to develop an in-depth systematic understanding of the knowledge and skills in public health nursing in relation to health visiting or school nursing.

  • Leadership in Health and Social Care

    This module allows you to develop and apply the knowledge, conceptual and practice skills needed to be an effective leader within health and social care environments, both in the public and private sectors.

  • Risk and Protection of Children

    This module will critically examine contemporary childhood from an international perspective including children's rights, child welfare and well-being and children's experiences of harm in society.

  • Foundations of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing 2

    This is a practice-based module which will continue to enable you to demonstrate originality and initiative in your consolidation of public health knowledge and skills in relation to your field and practice.

  • Advanced Health Promotion

    This module will explore practical aspects of health promotion, including how to develop strategic and action plans.

  • Psychosocial Care of Children, Adolescents and their Families

    This module develops psychosocial assessment skills using a sound theoretical framework. Building on family strengths, this module aims to support the acquisition of skills and knowledge in relation to assessment, planning interventions and exploring therapeutic approaches.

  • Foundations of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing 3

    This is a practice-based module which aims to consolidate your knowledge and practice experience in a single placement area - a minimum of 50 days will be spent in the practice setting in this final element of the course. You will build on your leadership skills in taking a lead role in managing a caseload of families.

  • The Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing

    This recordable qualification will be embedded into the specialist practice modules (foundations of Specialist Community Public Health nursing 1, 2, and 3). This will enable practitioners to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribers’ Formulary for Community Practitioners.

Optional modules

Work-Based Learning

This is a practice-focused single module which will enable integration and consolidation of your specialist community knowledge and skills. You will work on a project based on the principles of work-based learning.

Diagnostic Reasoning in Practice

This is a theory-based module. The aim is to enable you to critically appraise knowledge and evidence related to diagnostic tools used within practice. The development of this knowledge will enable you to provide a theoretical base from which to make efficient and effective decisions in relation to patients/clients health care needs, and their management.

Advanced History Taking and Assessment

This single, level 7 practice-focused module provides you with the opportunity to develop your critical thinking through enhanced knowledge and skills in taking a comprehensive patient history and performing a thorough physical and psychosocial assessment. You will be expected to demonstrate analysis and evaluation through your assessment skills, and ability to accurately communicate a patient / client health history and examination findings using appropriate terminology, reporting deviations from normal in a succinct manner to colleagues within the multidisciplinary team.

Advanced Research and Design

This module aims to equip you with the skills to find, appraise and utilise research, as well as plan and design a piece of research work. It helps you define a suitable research question and to use this as a basis for identifying the appropriate research methodologies for a small scale research project or dissertation. You will gain the skills that will enable you to plan and outline a rationale for a piece of primary research, secondary analysis, literature review or audit. It focuses on research as part of a body of evidence used for health and social care practice, and provides an overview of methodologies and methods commonly used in health and social care policies and working environments.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching methods including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • debates
  • group work.

You will also use the Brookes Virtual Learning Environment, an on-line repository of lectures, handouts, information and learning exercises.

You will develop skills in:

  • self directed learning
  • self-reflection
  • integration of theory and practice
  • interprofessional collaboration.

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy of the course reflects its inter-professional, client-centred and practice-focused approach.

Field trips

There is an expectation that the course will consist of:

  • 45 weeks of structured learning in the 52 week programme
  • or 90 weeks - 104 weeks part time.

This will comprise of 50% theory and 50% practice based experience.

You will be able to chose five days alternative practice placement experience in an alternative Health Visiting or School Nurse setting.

In addition, you will gain 10 days in alternative practice settings (public health days). These will be aligned to the public health nurse role in building a wider picture of community practice.


Assessment methods used on this course

Your assessments will be diverse, and will support different learning styles - you’ll have a real opportunity to showcase your strengths. Your learning may be assessed by a combination of individual or group coursework, examinations, and presentations. The assessment methods chosen will be based on your learning needs, individual aims and the academic standards expected for the course.


We have a number of both promising and experienced researchers working in established areas including:

  • cancer care
  • children and families
  • drugs and alcohol
  • physical rehabilitation and enablement
  • interprofessional education and collaborative practice.

Our research staff collaborate with researchers from across Oxford Brookes University and from the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. Along with research teams from many other UK and international centres.

Our academic staff have extensive experience of NHS and general management at both senior and director level.

Researcher using a laptop in a quiet space

After you graduate

Career prospects

On successful completion of the course:

  • you will receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing)
  • your details will be forwarded to the NMC for registration on the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (third part of the register), and for registration to prescribe from the community practitioner’s formulary (V100).

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.