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Early Years Practice Health Visiting [MSc, PGDip]

Course Description


This programme aims to equip nurses and midwives to develop an enhanced and applied knowledge base in Health Visiting Practice allowing you to exit with the required Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) recordable qualification as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse.

The programme is delivered in collaboration with NHS Health Board and local authority partners in Western Isles, Highland, Tayside and Forth Valley, combining academic teaching and practice learning throughout the programme.

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to respond to the demands of contemporary public health practice in the community and to work to influence and improve the standard of care for children, young people and their families.

Please note:

Students require a Practice Teacher to supervise and assess their placement learning. At this time in Scotland Practice Teachers are supplied by NHS Health Boards and local Authority partners. Recently Health Boards have advised that they are only able to provide this support to students that they are fully seconding onto the programme. As a result we are not in a position to recruit any independent students.

To apply for a trainee health visitor post applicants are encouraged to access the recruitment pages of the NHS SHOW website for Health Board and the MyjobScotland website for Local Authority student Health Visitor adverts.

Academic requirements

All entrants to the MSc/Graduate Diploma in Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) Programmes must meet the following requirements (NMC 2004):

- Valid registration on the Professional register maintained by the NMC;
- The registrant must have developed their own knowledge, skills and competence beyond NMC registration, i.e. normally two year’s post registration experience as a registered nurse or midwife however other relevant professional experience can be considered.
- In order to protect the public the NMC registrants are required to have an up-to-date membership of the Disclosure Scotland: Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme
- Arrangements made to have a Practice Teacher allocated to the student for the duration of the Programme (allocated by the relevant health board area following successful interview).
- Students must demonstrate the ability to study at degree level (minimum academic SCQF Level 9) (NMC 2004; Standard 5);
- Understand the programme requirements regarding length of programme;
- Support from Senior Practice Line Manager.

Structure and content

This programme contains specialist modules that ensure students gain insight into the complexities of caring for children and their families in the early years and act as change agents to facilitate improvements in care provision. The programme consists of 50% practice learning and 50% theory, as prescribed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The programme can either be studied at SCQF Level 10 or Level 11 and completion of the programme will allow students to graduate with either a:

- Graduate Diploma in Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) (SCQF Level 10) or
- Masters (MSc) in Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) (SCQF Level 11)

Students who enrol on the MSc programme will have ability to exit following successful completion of the 6 core modules with the award of Post Graduate Diploma in Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) and will register with the NMC as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting).

Both programmes are available on full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years) routes.

Delivery and assessment

Programme Delivery

The programme utilises a blended approach to learning with the content being supported by web-based materials including podcasts and discussion forums. In addition to e-learning students will attend face to face seminars, small group work and lectures.

A unique feature of the programme is the provision of master classes. These classes are delivered by key note speakers recognised for their expertise in the field of child health and wellbeing.

The study days will be delivered at various locations:

Stirling Campus
Highland Campus
Dundee (venue TBC)


A combination of assessment methods will be used across the modules of the programmes.

Career opportunities

On completion of the course graduates will be eligible for employment as a qualified Health Visitor/ Specialist Community Public Health Nurse.


Visit the Early Years Practice Health Visiting [MSc, PGDip] page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Academic requirements can be found in the text below or on our website

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