Public Health Practice with SCPHN (School Nursing) MSc

This dynamic programme enables you to develop the academic and professional skills you’ll need to qualify as a school nurse and to practice in the fast-changing and complex field of health care and public health care.

Why Surrey?

Combining practice with taught modules, this programme leads to qualification as a school nurse and will advance your clinical skills as well as your ability to critically analyse and lead on innovation and change in the public health environment. 

Programme overview

School nurses have a vital role in promoting and maintaining the health of school children. Their role has been recognised by recent government public health policy and the school nursing vision and call to action: “Getting it right for children, young people and families”.

A school nurse needs high-level clinical skills and an in-depth understanding of the context in which public health is delivered. School nurses need to understand how care is commissioned, who funds it and how they can influence these decisions, as well as excellent insight into education policies and priorities.

The programme is designed to be responsive to the dynamic nature of policy, demographic change and technological development within the public health setting. It will prepare you for the multi-disciplinary and interprofessional approach to working, which is vital for a role where you will work alongside colleagues from social care, education and mental health. It will also help you to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for this complex, diverse and ever-changing role. The programme will also enable you to continue to develop your ability to display the values required in modern healthcare and within the NHS Constitution, including compassion, kindness, empathy, advocacy, good communication and teamwork skills, and respect for patients’ privacy, dignity and individuality.

Designed to reflect changing practice needs, the programme allows shared learning with practitioners from other specialities and draws on the innovative research base within the School of Health Sciences.

Our Public Health Practice MSc with SCPHN (Health Visiting) programme will enable you to obtain an academic award and in addition, through completing a specified period of practice, to register on Part 3/the SCPHN part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

Students are sponsored for the NMC Specialist Community Public Health Practice award by a health care provider organisation. Please contact the pathway leader Beth Wilson for further details of this.

Programme structure and modules

The programme is designed to allow you to achieve 120 level 7 credits and the registrable qualification of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nursing) in 52 weeks. In this time, you will spend 50 per cent of your time in practice and 50 per cent of your time at University.  You will be supported by a practice teacher (PT) and mentor in the clinical setting and you will have a personal tutor in the University. Your tutor will visit you in practice to discuss your progress with your PT and mentor and you’ll complete three progress assessments throughout the year.

You will be required to complete the following modules to achieve the specialist practice learning outcomes:

Compulsory modules

Public Health Assessment

This module explores key public health concepts and facilitates the development of data analysis and application skills. It will also allow you build an overview of the public health needs of your area of practice.

Leadership and Innovation

This module allows you to share learning with practitioners from a wide range of health backgrounds. As well as examining current management theories, you’ll reflect on your own management style and that of others you work with.

Health Promotion: Partnership and Enablement

The module helps you to develop the key skills required for health promotion and examines the theoretical background to health promotion work. Teaching skills and poster presentation are two of the skills developed.

Research Design and Methodology (15 credits)

On this module, you’ll learn alongside others from different health backgrounds. A wide range of research approaches will be explored, and you’ll be able to develop an area of interest to focus your research proposal on.

Early Intervention Work with Children, Parents and Carers

The recent advances in knowledge about the importance of early years development is reflected in this module. Key concepts such as attachment, bonding, risk factors and resilience are explored and applied to practice situations.

Professional Practice in SCPHN

Relevant topics are examined in this module such as nutrition, mental health and sexual health. The module allows you to develop the knowledge base needed to underpin your professional practice.

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

The module explores safeguarding practice in relation to children, young people and vulnerable adults, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of current practice. Underpinning theories and concepts are examined and applied to practice

V100 Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing

(at the discretion of your sponsoring organisation)

The module equips you with the skills and knowledge to prescribe safely from the Nurses’ Formulary. You are required to pass the academic component of the module and also complete 18 hours of prescribing experience in practice.

Optional modules

In addition, you will be able to choose between modules in:

  • Sexual Health
  • Skills in Contraception
  • Innovation in Clinical Practice

Awards and modes of study

At the end of programme, students can leave with the award of Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) and the registrable qualification of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nurse). Alternatively, you may choose to continue with the Masters-level dissertation module (60 credits) and, on successful completion of 180 credits, exit with the award of MSc Public Health Practice.

The programme can be undertaken on a full or part-time basis according to University regulations. You may start your dissertation immediately at the end of 52 weeks, or defer it for 12 months.

Self-study hours

150 hours per 15-credit module (30 hours taught)

600 hours per 60-credit module (60 hours taught)

Programme length


One year/ 12 months to achieve the Postgraduate Diploma and registrable qualification of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nurse).

You may then choose to continue to complete your MSc (programme length 24 months) or defer your dissertation module for a year (programme length 36 months).


104 weeks/ 24 months to achieve the Postgraduate Diploma and registrable qualification of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nurse).

You may then choose to continue to complete your MSc (programme length 36 months) or defer your dissertation module for a year (programme length 48 months).

Professional recognition

Students undertaking this programme will obtain both the academic award and in addition, through completing a specified period of practice, will be able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on part three of the register (SCPHN).

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Professional development

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Pat Colliety

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 4 years

Start date:

Sep 2016, Feb 2017

Entry Requirements

MSc / PGDip Public Health Practice with SCPHN

Students will normally hold a previously accumulated credit volume of 360 FHEQ Level 4-6 credits, of which at least 120 will be at FHEQ Level 6, and be named on Part One or Part Two of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register (NMC 2006a).

Students applying for the Postgraduate Diploma Public Health Practice/MSc Public Health Practice with SCPHN endorsement will also need to secure sponsorship from a community healthcare provider. Advertisements for sponsorship will be on NHS Jobs. There is a joint selection process between the providers and the University.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS min overall 7.0

IELTS min by component 7.0

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 Set by the SHA TBC
Full-time Feb 2017 Set by the SHA TBC

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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