MSc Community Health Studies (Specialist Practitioner District Nursing)

This part-time course is for registered nurses working in a community setting who aspire to be district nursing leaders.

Currently all staff applying for band 6 and band 7 leadership positions within district nursing teams are required to have (or be working towards) an SPQ so this is an essential qualification to gain if you wish to enhance your career within community services.

This SPQ course is focused on developing your leadership and influencing skills so you will develop the confidence to implement quality improvements and lead large nursing teams. Successful completion will lead to registration of a Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) in District nursing.

This district nursing course is fully funded by the Welsh Government for the first two years and gives you a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the contemporary primary and community health agenda.

This course is currently being updated in line with the new NMC education standards for Specialist Practitioner Qualification, please contact the programme lead for further information on the level of study and course content: Angela Hiscocks, [email protected] 

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

District nursing means working collaboratively with patients, family, carers, other community nurses, health professionals and individuals from both statutory and voluntary organisations. As such, this course will enhance your leadership skills and encourage reflective inquiry, self-awareness, assertiveness and critical thinking skills. Excellence in case load management is also fostered.

Year One

During the first year of study, you will undertake three core modules.

Fundamentals of Community Practice - 30 credits
This module prepares you to work safely, effectively and efficiently in a community setting, with patients, clients, families, colleagues and members of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams.

Decision Making- 10 credits
This module enables you to critically explore decision making processes as they relate to practice.

Specialist Practitioner (district nursing) - 20 credits
The module enables students to critically analyse district nursing specialist practice knowledge and expertise within the context of a variety of settings, complexity and change. It promotes prepare that will enable students to take the lead in working as a specialist clinician, adapting to meet challenges, to develop both generalist and specialist skills in order to provide timely and comprehensive care to individuals and populations, maximising health across all sectors of the community.

Year Two

During the second year of study, you will undertake two or three modules.

Core modules

Law, ethics and nurse prescribing - 20 credits
This module aims to assist you to utilise and make judgements about the legal and ethical frameworks relating to patient and clients in society. To analyse the accountability of Community Health Nurses and to prepare community participants to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively from the community practitioner formulary for nurse prescribers

Research Project - 20 credits
This module aims to provide a comprehensive grounding in research paradigms and methods. 
Enabling the student to demonstrate critical appraisal and synthesis regarding the relationship between the research context, research question, method and knowledge development

Optional modules

Optional modules will be decided at the end of year one. Students must study 60 credits per year.

Diabetes - 20 credits
This module aims to enable you to acquire further evidence-based knowledge of issues related to diabetes care and to understand the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in the care of people with diabetes.

Living well with long term health conditions - 20 credits
This module aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of Long Term Health Conditions and its management to enable Service Users to live with the
conditions and improve their health and wellbeing.

Minor Illness - 20 credits
This module enables you, as a first contact practitioner, to attain clinical knowledge and skills to meet the health needs of the practice population in delivery of care for a range of undifferentiated minor illnesses and or minor injuries (focus is primarily on the general practice nurse role).


The course is taught on the Glyntaff campus where you will be taught alongside other community nurses. The academic team possess the SPQ qualification and are supported by other members of the academic team and practitioners.

The NMC require forty academic days to be completed. Twenty-six of these require attendance on a Tuesday, from September to May. The other fourteen academic days will be self-directed and recorded in a course diary.

Each academic day is counted as 7.5 hours, thus achieving 300 hours of student effort.  You will also undertake 40 clinical practice days between September and May, again equating to 7.5 hours, thus 300 hours of student effort.

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, tutorials, workshops and self-directed study.
If you have undertaken the Fundamentals of Community Practice module (30 credits) within the last five years, this can be transferred to the degree.

Whilst undertaking the course you will meet the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (1994) Standards for specialist education and practice. On successful completion you will be awarded a specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ), which is recorded with the NMC, as well as a MSc (Hons) Community Health Studies (Specialist Practitioner District Nursing).

Please note, this course fully funded by the Workforce, Education and Development Services department of Welsh Government.


You will be assessed using a range of methods including written assignments and case studies, formal presentations, poster presentations, examinations, literature reviews and clinical practice assessments.

Year One 

Fundamentals of community practice
The practical assessment will require developing and completing a portfolio demonstrating achievement of the four clinical learning outcomes. The academic assessment will take the form of a 5000 word case study examining in-depth, the theoretical outcomes associated with the four themes.

Decision making
You will complete three academic ‘enabling activities’. These activities will consider decisions made by yourself relating to your own workplace. Each activity has equal weighting and will be marked out of 100. The completion of a clinical portfolio of evidence that supports and demonstrates the decisions made (within the Summative assignment).

Specialist practitioner (District Nursing)
Academically you will present a 20 minute oral presentation of a short quality improvement exercise within your practice area. Sign-off mentor verification of achievement of the six clinical learning outcomes.

Year Two 

Law, ethics and nurse prescribing
Poster presentation exploring one of the themes of this module applied to Community Health Nursing, which aims to recognise ethical and legal issues that have implications for nursing practice and take appropriate action. A written examination consisting of four parts and to achieve 2 clinical learning outcomes.

Practice project - 40 credits
A written 6,000 word review addressing a negotiated subject area, exploring the relationship between the theory that underpins student's practice and its application to practice. To include recommendations that can be disseminated and to achieve all four clinical learning outcomes.

Practice project - 20 credits
A written 3,000 word assignment that explores, in detail, a negotiated area of the students’ sphere of practice. The study must address the relationship between the theory that underpins the students practice and its application to practice. Two clinical learning outcomes to achieve.

A 3,000 word assignment focusing on an aspect of diabetes care, examining relevant literature and discussing implications for diabetes care. One clinical learning outcome to achieve

Living well with long term health conditions
A case study that identifies an individual with at least one Long term Health Condition, which critically examines how the professional works with the service user and other professional to enable them to improve their health and wellbeing. One clinical learning outcome to achieve.

Minor illness
The student will undertake a 3000 written piece of work, whereby they will need to analyse the evidence base for the management and treatment of five prescribed pharmacological scenarios’ commonly seen in practice. Three clinical learning outcome to achieve.


The University of South Wales is an NMC Approved Education Institution (AEI).


Students must achieve 40 clinical days within a community setting that meets the needs of adult clients. Students can arrange placements with appropriate teams and practitioners to aid their understanding of the clinical learning outcomes.

The mentor will generally enable the student to source useful placements. The course does not hold any exchange partnerships, although the students can arrange placements outside of Wales if they are deemed to be helpful in meeting the clinical learning outcomes.

Students will gain skills in communicating, presenting, analysis, problem solving, IT, critical reflection and quality improvement methodology. The course lead has links with managers of community nursing teams in six health boards.


As part of the Decision Making module you will use the Hydra Suite which is used to help analyse and improve decision making for a variety of scenarios faced by professionals within district nursing.


Learn from a highly experienced team of community nurses who have a depth of knowledge across many areas.

The course team is supported by other members of the nursing faculty and outside speakers who are specialist in their topic area.

Main team members are:

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Applicants must have a first level registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

You must have acquired a credit rating of 120 credits at Level 6 (Degree) or studied previously at Level 7, e.g. postgraduate diploma.

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)


Fees: This course is fully funded by the Welsh Government.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

    These courses are normally supported by Welsh Government commissioners in collaboration with NHS University health Boards

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

    These courses are normally supported by Welsh Government commissioners in collaboration with NHS University health Boards

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £55.42
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.


USW Postgraduate 20% Alumni Discount 2023/24

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales* graduates starting a taught/online*** MA,MSc, LLM,MBA or DBA course from September 2023 (this includes students starting a course in January/February 2024). T's and Cs apply. Click here for more details and eligibility criteria: USW Postgraduate Alumni Discount 2023/24

Apply directly to the University for this course. 

Admissions statement 

Undertaking the MSc Community Health Studies (District Nursing) course ensures you will graduate with the knowledge, skills, competencies and capacity to provide safe and effective nursing care in community settings. Additionally, having employees with a specialist practitioner qualification is valued by nursing managers, commissioners and the Welsh Government.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.