The University of Southampton
Health SciencesPostgraduate study

3310 Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing - Child (pre-registration)

The postgraduate diploma in child nursing is a two year full time course that gives you everything you need to begin your child nursing career.

It represents a rigorous combination of theoretical work in the classroom, along with practical experience in clinical settings during your practice placement.

After successfully completing this course you will be entitled to register to practise with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

A first degree in a biological sciences related subject may be an advantage for applicants, but it is not essential.

Introducing your course

This PGDip will give you the credentials you need to be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a qualified nurse. The course represents a rigorous combination of theoretical work in the classroom and practical experience in clinical and community settings. The PGDip in Nursing, Childrens nursing pathway will allow you to acquire the higher level skills of critical thinking, reasoning and analysis in this area. This course represents two-thirds of a masters degree. The outstanding third may be taken in the future through a top-up course.


Duration: 2 years
Intake: February

On the PGDip in child nursing you will acquire the skills and knowledge needed to care for patients in increasingly complex situations, both in hospital and in the community.

You will learn that children's bodies can behave very differently to those of adults. After all, symptoms in children can often be sudden and extreme.

Plus, illness or injury in children can have long-term consequences for their future development.

In addition, children generally cannot express themselves as clearly as adults, so good communication skills are central to doing well on the course.

Higher level research skills and evidence based practice underpin this programme from day one.

As a student, you will benefit from the results of world class research, undertaken here at the faculty; giving you the best informed start to your career.

Furthermore, we will work hard to help you become experienced at making complex decisions, evaluating practice, co-ordinating care, and being an advocate for patients' needs.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

Applications must be made through UCAS. This course can be found in the undergradaute section.


Nursing and Midwifery Council NMC

Programme Structure

This child nursing postgraduate diploma comprises theory and practice elements to ensure appropriate preparation and assessment in both areas.

You will gain a wealth of practical experience during your practice placement, which will help you to assimilate the role of a nursing professional.

Theoretical modules are designed to cover the many subjects needed for nursing, including: health sciences, psychology, sociology, leadership, politics and the fiscal aspects of nursing.

However, the main emphasis is on developing higher level skills of critical thinking, reasoning and analysis. You will also develop enhanced leadership skills, which will equip to supervise, delegate and challenge practice in the future.

This programme represents two thirds of a masters degree.  If you wish, you can complete the outstanding third at a later date through a top-up course.

Key Facts

Children's nursing is the ideal career choice for those whose interest is caring for children from premature babies to teenagers. Many of these children are in difficult and emotional circumstances requiring extraordinary nurses with high levels of emotional intelligence.   

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

GCSEGCSE English Language, maths and science (A*-C)
First degree

2:2 Honours degree (minimum)

Selection process

To enter one of our courses, you must meet our academic criteria. You must also have undertaken some relevant formal academic study within the past five years.

Applications should be submitted through UCAS ( Once you have submitted your application, the Admissions Team will review it to check that you either already meet or are on target to meet our academic entry criteria for this course. If so, your application will be passed to the Programme Admissions Tutor who will review your personal statement and reference and assess these against fixed criteria.


What will the Admissions Tutors look for in my Personal Statement?

The Admissions Tutor looks for evidence that you offer a caring and compassionate approach; that your personal values and attitudes align with those of the NHS Constitution and the University; that you have realistic insight to the area you plan to study; and that you are committed to both study and practice parts of the course.

Why do you want to be a Child Nurse? What is it about ‘your’ attitudes, values and character that makes this profession so appropriate for you?

What do you understand about the role? To further strengthen your application, it is important that you demonstrate a clear insight into your chosen profession and scope of the role. This should hopefully be achieved by reflecting on relevant work experience, volunteering or shadowing you may have undertaken.

Discuss your relevant academic preparation. What have you particularly enjoyed during your studies and how do you feel this has prepared you for this course. Discuss any particularly relevant projects/work you may have undertaken.

Personal interests – sports / music / drama / ‘team’ / job / responsibilities / relaxing / etc. Identify transferable skills that will be useful in your chosen profession.

The Admissions Tutor will then decide whether to shortlist your application and invite you to attend a selection session or reject your application. You will normally be notified of this decision within 3 weeks of submitting your application, however at peak times this can be longer.


What happens if my application is shortlisted?

If the Admissions Tutor decides to invite you to a selection session you will receive an invitation via email. You will be offered a range of dates to choose from and further information on how to confirm your attendance. You will also receive a link to a website with important information informing you how to prepare and what to expect during your selection session.

Nursing Selection sessions normally last approximately 4 hours. During this time you will undertake a number of assessed activities:

Numeracy and written exercise – a total of 45 minutes available to answer 10 numeracy questions and one written question linked to NHS Core Values. The numeracy questions are similar to Level 2 Key Skills/Functional Skills questions. Example numeracy questions can be found in the "Useful Downloads" section, at the bottom of the Programme Overview page. To help you prepare for this we recommend you use the BBC Bitesize revision tools.

Group Discussion – small groups of around 6 applicants will have 20 minutes to discuss a particular topic linked to NHS Core Values. Two assessors will monitor this discussion and you will be assessed on your contribution and your interaction with other members of the group. It will be helpful to draw on your experience during this task and hopefully interesting to hear views and opinions from others with similar interests to you.

Reflection – short 1:1 discussion with Assessor which will allow you to reflect on the group discussion.

Situational Judgement – short activity exploring NHS Core Values only lasting around 3-4 minutes

For each activity you will be given a numerical score. All scores will be combined and used in conjunction with details from your application to determine whether to make you an offer or reject your application. You will normally be notified of this decision within 2 weeks of attending the selection session.

During the selection session you are likely to meet academic members of staff, current students, clinicians and service users. Their thoughts and observations support the evidence you have provided on the day but be assured that all final decisions are made by the admissions tutor, who will review your whole application to enable a final decision to be made.

As part of the selection session, you will also have the opportunity to pose yours questions to Admissions Tutors and current students in order to discover more about the course and studying at Southampton. We get a lot of information from you in this session so it’s important that you ask all your questions too.


Understanding your offer

If you receive an offer of a place to study on our course, this will be a “Conditional” offer. This means to secure your place on this course you need to meet certain conditions such as attaining certain academic grades/qualifications. Any conditions attached to your offer will be shown on UCAS Track.

All offers are also made on the condition that you pass an Occupational Health check and Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal record) check. Further information on these processes will be provided to you before you start the course.

You will only be able to enrol on the course when you have met all these conditions and your offer becomes “Unconditional”.


This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

In accordance with the NMC (2010) Standards for Pre-registration nurse education, students must complete 2300 hours theoretical study and 2300 hours practice study. The Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing has been designed to allow students to complete the NMC requirements as well as gain the required European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits to be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing (pre-registration) with eligibility to register with the NMC in the appropriate field of practice.

Requirements and assumptions

  • Students must complete 2300 hours of theoretical study and 2300 hours of practice.
  • To achieve Postgraduate diploma students must achieve 60 ECTS (of which at least 45 ECTS must be at level 7).
  • 1 ECTS = 25 hours of student effort
  • Working week is taken to be 40 hours in both theory and practice

Year 1

Semester Two
Practice Experience 2
Acute Care Needs
Practice Experience 3

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc).
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentIT: Computers are provided on the campus but many student choose to use their own laptops/tablets to support their work.
ClothingA uniform for clinical practice will be supplied but you will need to buy suitable footwear.
Printing and copyingSome pages or items of the electronic Assessment of Practice Portfolio (eAOPP) may need to be printed/photocopied. In the majority of cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted online. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit online and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
PlacementsAccommodation: The NHS Bursary department state the following for students who commenced after 1st September 2012: “If you have to live away from your normal term-time accommodation during a period of practice placement, you can claim for the cost of any temporary accommodation on or near your practice placement site if it not practical for you to travel there from your usual accommodation each day. However, if your temporary accommodation is your parental home, you will NOT be able to make a claim for your accommodation costs.” You can also claim the cost of ONE weekly return journey between your normal term time accommodation and your temporary accommodation AND the cost of daily travel from your temporary accommodation to your placement site, provided the cost of travel is greater than the cost of daily travel from your normal term time accommodation to your usual place of study. You must provide evidence of the cost of your temporary accommodation, such as official receipts showing the amount(s). Limits are up to £55 per night for commercial accommodation and £25 per night for non-commercial accommodation. Students are required to book and pay for their own accommodation then if they are in receipt of an NHS Bursary they claim the costs back through the NHS Bursary department. The Faculty currently pay for accommodation on the Isle of Wight with Spectrum Housing and A Room Away From Home only, however we are unsure how long this agreement will be place for and we understand that at some point in the future students will be required to pay the cost upfront themselves.
PlacementsTravel costs: The NHS Bursary department state the following for students who commenced after 1st September 2012: “Providing the student is in receipt of an NHS Bursary or the £1,000 non-means tested grant students may claim the difference between the cost of daily travel from normal term-time accommodation to practice placement site and back. The cost of the daily return journey to placement must be more than the cost of their daily return journey to university.” Again all travel is paid for upfront by the student then if eligible to claim they do so through the NHS Bursary department. Claims can be submitted on a regular basis such as weekly/fortnightly basis rather than waiting until the end of a practice placement but claims cannot be submitted in advance.
PlacementsImmunisation/vaccination costs: Students will receive the immunisations which prepare them for practice, as recommended by Occupational Health. Students may opt to pay for others (e.g. meningitis).
PlacementsDisclosure and Barring Certificates or Clearance: Students will be required to provide evidence of DBS clearance.
PlacementsTranslations of documents: If any documents that you use during the programme that are not in the English language (for example those that might be used to support requests for extensions to deadline), you will need to provide an English translation from a professional translator.
OtherParking costs: Students may opt to pay for parking whilst on campus, and there may be opportunity to buy parking space whilst on placement.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Being a child nurse is a rewarding and satisfying career, which allows you to make the most of your talents.

As you may already know, nurses have more contact with patients than any other member of a medical team. 

As a practising nurse you will be the central support system for patients recovering from acute and long-term illnesses.

However, you might also find yourself working in specialist areas such as: intensive care, theatre and recovery, cancer care, or care of older people.

It is a career that offers many opportunities to work around the globe, as well as here at home, in the richest variety of roles and with many exciting challenges.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

University of Southampton

Highfield Campus

Based on the University's main Highfield campus, the School is situate...Find out more

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