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MSc Early Years Practice Health Visiting

If you're a registered nurse or midwife on Part 1 or Part 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, this course will equip you with the higher level knowledge and skills to deliver safe and best practice in the role of Health Visitor.

Early Years Practice Health Visiting

Nursing Midwifery Council logo

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 24 months, MSc part-time: 36 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules
  • Accreditations Nursing and Midwifery Council

This course will provide you, as a registered nurse or midwife on Part 1 or Part 2 on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, with the opportunity to influence the health and social care provision of children and families. The course will equip you with the higher level knowledge and skills to deliver safe and best practice in the role of Health Visitor as defined in the NMC Standards of Proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses (NMC, 2004). 

The development and delivery of the course is supported by a multi-disciplinary collaboration with our NHS Health Board and Local Authority partners. This reflects the growing priorities that have been identified to provide an improved and more responsible level of care to support, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.

You'll be taught by a group of world-leading academics and your experience is enhanced by working in collaboration with other faculties and researchers. The course features an equal split of theory and practice to ensure you can put everything you learn straight to work in a professional setting. A unique feature of our course is the provision of master classes delivered by expert and key note speakers. You’ll also benefit from a varied approach to teaching that includes online guided study, traditional face-to-face lectures, group-work, podcasts and experiential learning. Support and guidance is on hand from your personal tutor, as well as your Practice Supervisor and Practice Assessor. 

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    The course curriculum is designed to equip nurses and midwives to deliver safe and best practice in the role of Health Visitor, as defined in the NMC Standards of Proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses, the Report from the Education Sub Group of the Children, Young People and Families National Advisory Group, and key legislation from the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

    The course focuses on three key themes:

    • Wellbeing
    • Assessing and analysing children’s needs including the impact of children’s experiences on their wellbeing
    • Improving outcomes for children and their families
  • Professional accreditations

    This course has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council by passing quality assurance standards on maintaining public protection and safety.

  • Work placements

    You’ll complete a work-based “Health Visiting in Practice” module which spans the entire duration of your studies. You’ll be assessed throughout it by a Practice Assessor who determines your eligibility for part-3 NMC registration. Health Visiting in Practice is designed in collaboration with practice partners via a working group of Practice Assessors, lead nurses and practice education facilitators from the NHS.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    Our Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport was rated 1st for health research in Scotland in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) – highlighting our commitment to producing world-leading research that improves healthcare and reduces health inequalities on a global and local scale.

    You’ll be supported in your studies by a group of influential academics with strong and established research profiles, public health experience and a wealth of world-class publications.

  • Academic requirements

    To gain entry to the MSc/PGDip Early Years Practice (Health Visiting), you must meet the following requirements.

    • Valid registration as a nurse or midwife on either parts 1 or 2 of the NMC professional register. We would welcome applications from nurses working in all fields of nursing (Adult, Child, Learning Disability and Mental Health) and midwives.
    • The ability to study at degree level (minimum academic level SCQF Level 9) (NMC 2004; Standard 5).
    • Demonstrate knowledge, skills and competence beyond your initial NMC registration, i.e. normally two years’ post registration experience as a registered nurse or midwife-however, other relevant professional experience can be considered. Each individual application is considered on their own merit.
    • In order to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) practice requirements for the programme, you’ll need to be supported by an NHS Health Board/LA in an approved practice with a nominated practice assessor and practice supervisor. The placement will be negotiated between the University and NHS health boards and local authorities.
  • Application procedure

    Before you apply you'll need agreement from a Health Board that they can provide a practice placement and access to a Practice Supervisor and Practice Assessor who can supervise and assess your practice learning throughout the course. To support this process, the University of Stirling and partner Health Boards/Local Authorities will hold joint interviews for both the University selection process and Health Board provision of practice placements and supervising Practice Assessors. There can be secondment opportunities.

    In Scotland, Practice Supervisors/Assessors are currently supplied by NHS Health Boards and local authority partners.

    To apply for a trainee health visitor post, applicants are encouraged to visit the recruitment pages of the NHS SHOW website for Health Board and the MyJobScotland website for Local Authority Student Health Visitor adverts.

  • English language requirements

    In order to be a registered Nurse or Midwife you will already have been required to prove your English language ability to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

This course leads to both an academic award and a professional qualification. It's made up of 50% practice learning and 50% theory which are equally distributed across the course as prescribed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The course length is 52 weeks full-time and 104 weeks part-time.

Practice is integrated throughout the programme and each week students will have a mix of practice and theory including protected learning time. Placement hours in our fulltime course are:

  • Semester 1: 30 days
  • Semester 2: 30 days
  • Semester 3: 53 days (50 days consolidation)

Placement hours in our part time course are:

  • Semester 1: 14 days
  • Semester 2: 14 days
  • Semester 3: 14 days
  • Semester 4: 14 days
  • Semester 5: 27 days (20 days consolidation)
  • Semester 6: 30 days (consolidation)

The course includes six core modules specifically designed to enhance your knowledge and expertise in the care of children, young people and their families. On successful completion of these modules you can exit with a Postgraduate Diploma and professional registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse-Health Visiting on Part 3 of the NMC Register. If you want to gain the award of Masters/MSc, you'll be required to complete the 45 week dissertation module.


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    The course takes a blended approach to learning, with content 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 course is the provision of masterclasses. These classes are delivered by keynote speakers recognised for their expertise in the field of child health and wellbeing. The core teaching team are NMC registered SCPHN-HV, registered teachers and Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. They are all research active.

  • Assessment

    A combination of assessment methods will be used across the modules of the course reflecting the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level of the course of study.

  • Classroom hours

    The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

    1 Year full-time route (PgDip/MSc)




    GIRFEC: A Multi Agency Approach to Practice

    Understanding Children and Young People’s Experiences: Assessment and Decision Making

    Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People

    Principles and practice of Child and Family Health and Wellbeing


    Contemporary Leadership in Early Years Practice

    Health Visiting in Practice (Spans the whole Programme commencing Spring Year 1)

    2 Year part-time route (PgDip/MSc)





    Year 1

    GIRFEC: A Multi Agency Approach to Practice

    Understanding Children and Young People’s Experiences: Assessment and Decision Making

    Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People

    Year 2

    Principles and practice of Child and Family Health and Wellbeing


    Contemporary Leadership in Early Years Practice

    Health Visiting in Practice (Spans the whole programme commencing Spring Year 1)

    Year 3

    Autumn Dissertation  
  • Course director
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    Jayne Donaldson

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  • Fees and costs

    This course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of Home/EU.

    Self-funding students are welcome to apply.

    2020/21 fees
     Home/EU students
    Annual full-time course fee £6,000

    If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you are not studying full time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate it was set in your year of entry.

    For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

    Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Scholarships and funding

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

  • 1st in Scotland and top 15 in the UK for Health Sciences (REF2014)
  • 96% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey, 2016/17)
  • Top 15 in the UK for nursing (QS World University Rankings 2018)

Our MSc/PgDip in Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) is a Nursing and Midwifery Council approved and accredited health visitor course.  After completing it, you'll be eligible for employment as a qualified Health Visitor or Specialist Community Public Health Nurse. You'll have advanced knowledge and skills in public health, leadership and assessment and decision making. Career opportunities can include advanced specialist practice, leadership and academic roles.

  • Take your career in nursing or midwifery to the next level
  • Study a curriculum shaped by world-leading academics and healthcare professionals
  • Get the professional qualifications you need alongside invaluable transferrable skills
  • Testimonial quotes

    We’ve enjoyed working collaboratively with the University of Stirling to ensure our HV students are given the very best opportunities to develop both excellent academic and professional practice here in Tayside. The course delivers the quality nursing and health professional education that is needed for successful Health Visiting practice today.

    NHS Tayside

  • Employability skills

    As well as greatly enhancing your knowledge of Early Years Practice, your studies at the University of Stirling will help you to sharpen transferrable skills in areas such as:

    • Leadership
    • Analytical thinking
    • Research
    • Communication and teamwork
    • Decision making
Bethan Murdoch
I had a very supportive personal tutor who is passionate about academia, Health Visiting and improving practice, she pushed me to be better. Her passion was infectious; she made me passionate about what I was studying
Bethan Murdoch
MSc Early Years Practice Health Visiting
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The programme provided me with a firm grounding for a career in Health Visiting
Charlotte Curley
MSc Early Years Practice Health Visiting
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