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Our Postgraduate Diploma Specialist Practitioner (District Nurse) course will prepare you for 21st century district nursing. It combines theory and practice and you will develop your knowledge to become a safe, autonomous and competent specialist practitioner district nurse.

The PgDip comprises 50% theory and 50% practice and you will be assessed in practice by a Practice Teacher or an experienced District Nurse who will act as a sign-off mentor. The course will provide you with the new knowledge, understanding and skills needed for contemporary district nursing.

In addition to meeting the NMC (2001) Standards for Specialist Practitioner District Nurse, the PgDip is also mapped against the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) and The Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice (QNI/QNIS, 2015) for best practice and demonstrates that the programme is preparing you to be equipped to lead and manage current and future district nursing services.

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Rounded Curriculum

The PgDip consists of six core modules some of which are discipline specific and others which are shared. The shared learning with a variety of disciplines provides a highly effective experience and contributes to the overall strength of the programme.


On completion of this programme students will have developed a significant range of new knowledge, understanding and advanced skills needed for contemporary district nursing practice and leads to the academic award of PgDip and the professional recordable qualifications of Specialist Practitioner District Nursing, Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber and Nurse Independent/Supplementary Prescriber.

This programme will prepare graduates for a demanding and rewarding career as a Specialist Practitioner in District Nursing.

Further Study

Our course will prepare you to continue your studies; successful completion of a research and enquiry-based dissertation will allow you to exit with MSc Health Studies (Community Health).

Top 10

in UK for Teaching Quality for Nursing

(The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)


Overall student satisfaction amongst UWS postgraduate students (iGraduate Student Barometer 2017-18)


of UWS postgraduate students would recommend UWS to a friend (iGraduate Student Barometer 2017-18)

Entry Requirements

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Postgraduate & Post-experience Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Academic Requirements

You must be registered as a first level Nurse on Part 1 of the NMC professional register and possess an Ordinary bachelor's degree.

As the programme includes non-medical prescribing, you must have at least three years’ post registration experience which includes the final year working in the community.

You must have the support of their employing organisation.

You must identify a designated medical practitioner (DMP) who can provide a minimum of 78 hours of supervision and who meets the criteria for supervising students on the Prescribing in Advanced Practice module (NMC, 2006).

As the programme includes the Assessment and Decision Making in Advanced Practice module, you must have obtained agreement from an experienced practitioner or Advanced Nurse Practitioner to act as a clinical supervisor.

Finally, you must have the support of a Practice Teacher or an experienced District Nurse who is a sign-off mentor.

Applications for this PgDip are highly competitive and you will be asked to submit/undertake a written assignment and an interview. Interviews will be conducted in partnership and collaboration with key stakeholders. Only if you are successful at this stage will you be offered a place on the course.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (Research degrees, Nursing & Midwifery degrees with NMC registration, Certificate of Higher Education, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS or Occupational English Test (OET)*.

For such courses, the IELTS score is as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • score of at least 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking and no less than 6.5 in writing

* Note that the Occupational English Test (OET) will now be accepted in addition to IELTS as proof of a Nurse's English Language Competence (Nursing & Midwifery Council, 2019). 

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

    • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
    • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
    • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Find out more about our English lanaguage Courses.

Course details

Our Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) consists of six core modules, some of which are discipline specific and others which are shared. The shared learning provides a highly effective experience and contributes to the overall strength of our course. All modules provide new knowledge, understanding and skills needed for contemporary district nursing practice.

The practice component will be undertaken within the District Nurse setting and you will be supervised and assessed by a Practice Teacher or an experienced District Nurse who is a sign-off mentor.

On completion of our PgDip you will also receive the professional recordable qualifications of:

  • Specialist Practitioner District Nursing
  • Community Practitioner Prescriber
  • Nurse Independent/Supplementary Prescriber

The PgDip Specialist Practitioner District Nurse programme requires successful completion of all 6 core modules (120 credits), completion of the practice-based learning hours aligned to the modules and the additional Advanced Assessment Competency portfolio.

The PgDip comprises the following core modules:

  • Consolidation of Practice (core, 20 credits) - 10.5 weeks continuous practice placement
  • NMC Assessment & Decision Making in Adv Practice (core, 20 credits) - blended learning at Lanarkshire campus and practice placement time
  • NMC Responding to Public Health Challenges (core, 20 credits)
  • Prescribing in Advanced Practice (core, 20 credits) - includes 25 days face-to-face delivery at the Paisley campus and practice placement time
  • Research for Health & Social Care (core, 20 credits)
  • Contemporary District Nursing: Managing Long Term Conditions (core, 20 credits) - includes 4 weeks face-to-face delivery at the Paisley campus and practice placement time

Teaching & Assessment

Our course encompasses both theoretical and practice based learning experiences with an equal distribution of each, comprising 50% theory and 50% practice (United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC), 2001)

A range of innovative teaching, learning and assessment methods are utilised within our PgDip to enable inspirational and transformative learning. Our emphasis is on the development and application of both your academic and clinical skills.

Teaching & Learning

A range of teaching strategies will be used which will include:

  • interactive lectures
  • electronic teaching materials
  • interactive synchronised discussion forums
  • ongoing practice e-portfolio
  • group work
  • enquiry case studies
  • problem solving
  • interactive quizzes


You will be assessed using a range of assessments including:

  • preparing literature reviews
  • poster presentation
  • presenting a research proposal
  • OSCE practice assessment
  • written reports
  • pharmacology
  • numeracy class test
  • presenting case-studies
  • analysis of practice based problems

Throughout the duration of your course you will be fully supported by a Personal Tutor.

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

PgDip Specialist Practitioner (District Nurse) Course Structure

Tuition Fees

Postgraduate fees for this course 2020/21

Scottish & EU

£6,500 cost of study

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£6,500 cost of study

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£6,500 cost of study

International (Non-EU)

£13,000 cost of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.

In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.

You can also find additional information in our Postgraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as a postgraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Norther Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at postgraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at postgraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Postgraduate courses (MA, MSc, MEd, MBA, DBA, PG Cert, PG Dip, etc.) & some Post-experience courses (CertHE, BA, Grad Cert, Grad Dip, etc.)

All students should apply directly to the University through our online application system. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and you should 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 return to complete it at a later date.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but they will close when they are full; apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

Before you begin your application, it is important to read the Postgraduate & Post-Experience application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

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With cutting edge facilities, specialist knowledge and world-leading and internationally excellent expertise, we aim to develop research outputs that have a tangible, early and positive impact on society across the globe.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.