MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting)

If you're a registered nurse (level 1) or a registered midwife on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, this course will equip you with the higher level of autonomy, knowledge and skills in health visiting practice.

Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting)

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024
  • Duration MSc full-time: 24 months, MSc part-time: 36 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery blended


Nursing and Midwifery Council

Nursing Midwifery Council logo Unicef - baby friendly accreditation logo


This academic and professional Masters course has been designed to prepare Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registered nurses and/or midwives to fulfil the role of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor).

It will equip you with the higher level of autonomy, knowledge and skills in health visiting practice, enabling you to apply for registration with the NMC as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor).

This course is aligned with Scottish Government policy and legislation that commits to supporting and improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of children, young people and families, upholding their rights and enabling them to thrive (Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014); Scottish Government 2022; Public Health Scotland 2022).

The MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting) course adopts a strengths-based, student centred, culturally sensitive and trauma informed approach underpinned by the principles of salutogenesis, human valuing, ecological systems theory, and a life course perspective.

You'll be taught by a group of world-leading academics and your experience will be enhanced by working in collaboration with other faculties and researchers. You will also have an opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge in the practice module.

A unique feature of our course is the provision of masterclasses delivered by expert and key note speakers providing real-world experience and up-to-date research. You'll also benefit from a blended approach to teaching that includes face-to-face teaching, webinars, online guided study, 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 NMC registered nurses and midwives to deliver safe and best practice in their role as a culturally competent autonomous health visitor committed to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for children, families and communities as defined in the Standards of Proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses (NMC 2022).

The course focuses on the following three themes which have been informed by consultation with our key stakeholders, current policy drivers and the Standards of Proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses (NMC 2022).

  • Promoting child health and wellbeing in a global society.
  • Supporting children and families with complex health and enhanced support needs.
  • Improving the outcomes for care experienced and children in need of protection.

Professional accreditation

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

This course is also accredited by the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) as Baby Friendly for implementing best practice in breastfeeding training. 

Work placements

During Year One of the full-time course and Years One and Two of the part-time course, you’ll undertake a work-based module spanning the duration of your course, delivered in collaboration with our health board and local authority partners using the expertise of our practice assessors and practice supervisors.

You’ll have a named practice supervisor as well as a named practice assessor who will work in partnership with the academic assessor to evaluate your practice.

Flexible learning

You can study some modules on MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting) as standalone Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses.

These modules can link into appraisal systems such as the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework to help you record your professional development as you study.

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 overview

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.

In REF 2021, 100% of our research environment, 80% of our research impact and 83% of our overall research in Allied Health Professions and Nursing was classed as world leading or internationally excellent.

Entry requirements

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 on Part 1 and/or a registered midwife on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 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.

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).

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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.

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 jobs website for Health Board and the MyJobScotland website for Local Authority Student Health Visitor adverts.

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.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will then be sent an additional application pack and complete the University of Stirling's online application form.

University of Stirling online application process

To apply to Stirling you need to complete our online application form. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and have all your supporting documents ready.

The first stage of the process is to create a profile; you don't have to complete the application in one session - you can complete it in stages by saving each section and returning to complete it at a later date.

You will need to upload supporting documents with your application, which include transcripts and degree certificates and the additional application pack which will provide evidence of sponsorship.

Before you begin your application, we recommend that you read our guide to applying for a postgraduate course.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with a minimum of 60 in reading and writing and 59 in speaking and listening.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 20 in speaking, 18 in reading and 23 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these 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.

Course details

This course leads to both an academic award and a professional qualification, spanning 52 weeks full time and 104 weeks part time.

Practice is integrated throughout the course in a spanning practice module, and each semester focuses on a theme which reflects the key role of the health visitor in the 21st century. This structure affords you the opportunity to identify your individual learning needs alongside the key learning outcomes of the course.

The course includes six core modules specifically designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of public health nursing, enabling you to deliver and lead culturally competent, strengths based and person-centred care.

On successful completion of these modules, you can continue to work towards your Masters degree or graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and eligibility for the professional registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - Health Visiting on the SCPHN Part of the NMC Register.

If you want to gain the MSc award and professional registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - Health Visiting, you'll be required to complete the dissertation module.

Application procedure

Before you apply, you'll need agreement from a health board or local authority that they can provide a practice placement and access to a health visitor practice supervisor and health visitor practice assessor for the duration of the course.

To support this process, the University of Stirling and partner health boards or 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 and self-funding opportunities.

Single modules

If you are looking to complete a single module prior to applying for the MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) course, you can apply to the MSc Advancing Practice course as an associate student noting that you wish to apply to undertake one module. The choice of modules would be Child Health and Wellbeing in a Global Society, Principles of Public Health Nursing Practice, Supporting Families with Complex Health and Enhanced Support Needs, Compassionate Leadership, Research and Innovation and Safeguarding Children: Building Effective Health Visiting Practice.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


The course utilises a blended approach to learning and teaching which offers a combination of face-to-face teaching and online learning activities. 

To provide some flexibility and to support students who live at a distance and/or may have personal life related circumstances, hybrid teaching will also be available to ensure the learning environment is inclusive and does not place some students at a disadvantage to their peers.

We use the ‘flipped classroom’ approach to deepen student understanding, utilising a variety of methods, including a Teams space to interact with peers on learning activities prior to class. 

A unique feature of the face-to-face delivery within the blended approach is the use of ‘Masterclasses’. These masterclasses are devised to enable students to apply theoretical learning from module content to key topics that reflect public health priorities. They are facilitated by experts within clinical practice and academics from other faculties, providing real-world experience and reflecting the current and emerging evidence base from contributors’ current research interests. Importantly, users of service and carers are central to the development and delivery of these masterclasses, enabling the lived experience to be a fundamental aspect of these sessions. The core teaching team are NMC registered SCPHN-HV, registered teachers and Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. 

How you'll learn online

Modules offer a mixture of online content including videos, recorded short lectures, interactive online activities, guided study, online discussion forums and synchronous and asynchronous teaching.

You will be encouraged to develop as an independent learner, working through reading and tasks set on a weekly basis. You are expected to set aside a substantial part of your week to complete this work.

During teaching sessions, you will discuss topics you have been given to prepare in advance, work through tasks in groups and ask questions. This allows you to consolidate your knowledge, delve into the subject and work with your fellow students, who will come from diverse backgrounds. These activities will help you develop graduate attributes including team working, communication skills and time management. As well as these sessions, you might have to complete tasks outside classes to help your understanding of the subject and develop your skills.

Our learning and teaching approach is not only about transferring knowledge to you, but also about you building confidence to learn independently while developing a wide range of skills. 


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.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023-24 fees
  Scottish students
Fee for the PGDip £5,700
Fee for the Dissertation £1,900
Total fee for Masters £7,600


2024-25 fees
  Scottish students
Fee for the PGDip £6,075
Fee for the Dissertation £2,025
Total fee for Masters £8,100

This course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of Scottish.

Self-funding students are welcome to apply.

If you are studying part 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 set in your year of entry.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

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

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

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


Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

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.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

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.

International (including EU) 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

After you graduate

Our MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting) is a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) accredited health visitor course. Upon graduation, you'll be eligible for employment as a qualified health visitor. You'll have advanced knowledge and skills in public health, leadership, assessment, and decision making. Career opportunities can include advanced specialist practice, leadership and academic roles.

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

Which course would you like to apply for?

MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting) 

Search for another course