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Become a highly skilled Maternity Care Assistant

The Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) Maternity Care Assistant has been developed to develop the knowledge and skills of existing Maternity Care Assistants (MCAs) who are already working in a hospital or community midwifery setting.

The course integrates knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes and develops your professional and personal maturity along with attributes necessary to work in a multi-disciplinary, woman-centred healthcare environment. The course is designed to ensure equity to Senior Health Care Support Workers (Scottish Government, 2010) and to meet the requirements related to professional proficiency and fitness for practice in relation to achievement of MCA Competencies (NES, 2006).

MCAs work with childbearing women and their families and with the professionals who provide care and applicants to this course must already be employed in a maternity services setting and be nominated for entry to this course by their Line Manager.

This course is fully funded by the NHS.

School of Health, Nursing & Midwifery

The School of Health, Nursing & Midwifery at UWS offers a variety of innovative courses with hands-on experience and work in virtual and real-life ward situations.

Our modern healthcare facilities across our Scottish campuses simulate clinical environments as well as home settings to teach caring for the elderly and people with dementia. If you’re learning in London we have face-to-face and online courses that will enable you to accelerate your career in the healthcare sector.

The School’s work on breastfeeding has been internationally recognised by UNICEF and our research into dementia policy and practice won best educational initiative at Scotland's Dementia Awards 2016.

Our students graduate ready to achieve their ambitions in the healthcare sector.

UWS London campus student discussion


of all UWS students in work and/or study 6 months after graduating

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

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 Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

NB: you must be employed within maternity services and be nominated for entry to the programme by a Line Manager. There will be formal agreement from the maternity services provider stating that you will be fully supported to undertake this course.



  • Scottish Higher: At least Higher English plus four subjecs at Standard Grade / National 5 level 
  • A levels: At least 1 A level plus 3 subjects at GCSE level
  • Other academic, vocational or professional qualifications deemed to be equivalent will be considered.

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


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, 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 score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

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


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).

Course details

The CertHE Maternity Care Assistant lasts one year. Each trimester comprises a short theory block followed by defined practice placements to integrate and consolidate evidence-based knowledege and understanding with skills acquisition, attitudes and behaviours.

Topic areas include:

  • the professional, ethical and legal role of MCAs
  • working with vulnerable women
  • supporting infant nutrition early years parenting support

You will undertake practice placements within your NHS Board, and the Board will administer the placement, ensuring you experience a variety of ante and post-natal care settings.

Course Structure

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

Course Structure (17/18)

Career prospects


Following completion of the CertHE there are a number of potential career paths available including working in General Acute Maternity Services, working in a hospital-based maternity unit or supporting Community Midwifery services.

Roles in parent Education are also an option, supporting new mothers with issues such as baby and infant feeding, transitions into parenthood and postnatal support.

You could also become a Breastfeeding Supporter, leading workshops and supporting new mothers to breastfeed.    

Further Study

Upon completion you could go on to further study at UWS including Health Studies, Childhood Studies or Midwifery.


The CertHE Maternity Care Assistant course is closed for applications at present.

We do, however, expect the application process to commence again in May 2018 once funding is approved by the NHS.

We anticipate that the application process will follow the same process as last intake in September 2017 where recruitment was via the NHS SHOW website once funding and approval was received.

If you want to more about this then please contact the Course leader (Liz Miller).

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


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Course Leader

Liz Miller

Health, Nursing & Midwifery

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

Life at UWS

Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


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.