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The University of Southampton
Health SciencesPostgraduate study

3010 Postgraduate Diploma/MSc (if sufficient hours in RPL Portfolio) in Nursing - Adult (pre-registration)

Acquire the expertise needed to care for adult clients in a broad range of increasingly complex situations both in hospital and in the community. Gain skills in delivering and co-ordinating nursing care; making complex decisions; and evaluating and leading nursing practice. Studying at the School of Health Sciences means you’ll also be part of a vibrant community of staff and students with a global ranking for nursing and midwifery - 5th in the world and 2nd among UK universities (QS World Rankings by Subject 2020/21).

UK and EU student funding: Standard tuition fees of £9250 p.a. apply to both Postgraduate Diploma and MSc Adult Nursing courses. For the courses commencing in January 2021, UK and EU residents can access student loans to cover all tuition fee costs; in addition UK residents can apply for loans to cover maintenance or living costs. Full information can be found at Financial Support at University (NHS + SFE links). This link will also explain that UK residents can (and should) apply for a training grant via the NHS Learning Support Fund; this will be a minimum of £5000 per year. Residents of Ireland may be eligible to apply for grant support via the SUSI scheme. For courses commencing after 2021 different arrangements may apply to EU residents.

This course has a January start date. If you would like to apply for the January 2021 cohort, please apply using the 2020/21 admissions cycle via UCAS. You can now submit applications for the courses commencing in January 2021. All applications, for both the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc, should be submitted via UCAS using the Postgraduate Diploma course codes: Centre S27, Postgraduate Diploma Adult: 3010

Introducing your course

The two year Postgraduate Diploma course involves a combination of intensive campus based teaching with 2300 hours of practice learning in a range of practice placements in healthcare settings. Successful completion of the programme confers eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Registered Nurse (Adult). The Postgraduate Diploma represents two thirds of a Master’s degree and the opportunity exists to ‘top up’ to a full MSc by undertaking a dissertation module after successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma. The programme also enables applications who are already graduate nurses to gain registration in a second field of practice.

Similarly, the two year MSc course involves a combination of intensive campus based learning, with 2300 hours of practice earning in a range of practice placements in healthcare settings. Successful completion of the programme confers eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Registered Nurse (Adult).

Admission to these accelerated courses requires submission of a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate where your prior graduate learning and experience of healthcare can be applied. Our experienced Admissions Team will provide clear guidance about what is required and are available to provide advice when preparing your portfolio. Students intending to complete the Postgraduate Diploma are normally expected to provide evidence in their portfolio that they have worked at least 110 hours in a healthcare environment under the supervision of a Registered Healthcare Professional.

For students who can provide evidence in their portfolio that they have worked at least 675 hours in a healthcare environment under the supervision of a Registered Healthcare Professional, we offer an option to complete a full MSc within 2 Years. All candidates should apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in the first instance. Offers for the full MSc option will be made on the basis of your portfolio.

Student nurse talking to mentor

Programme Overview

The Postgraduate Diploma comprises theory and practice to ensure appropriate preparation and assessment in both areas. You will gain a wealth of practical experience during your practice placement, helping 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 and politics, as well as healthcare research.

The main emphasis is on developing higher level skills of critical thinking, reasoning and analysis. You will also develop enhanced leadership skills equipping you to supervise, delegate and challenge practice in the future. Cooperative learning is central to the success and support of the programme. You will be an active part of a field-specific ‘Professional Practice Development Group’ where interactions construct new knowledge, place it within a conceptual framework of existing knowledge, and then refine and assess what you know and do not know.


View the programme specification for this course for MSc 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for PGdip 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification addendum for this course for MSc 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification addendum for this course for PGdip 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for MSc 2021/22 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for PGdip 2021/22 entrants

To Apply

Applications must be made through UCASPlease note, this course can be found in the undergraduate section.


Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

This programme is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), with whom you will be eligible to register.

Key Facts

  • Course start date: January
  • Our Nursing and Midwifery ranks 5th in the world and 2nd among UK universities: QS World Rankings by Subject 2020/21
  • Adult Nursing is the career choice which offers extraordinary opportunities to be with amazing people with different challenges on every working day
  • Rewarding placement opportunities with NHS trust partners such as University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Trust
  • The diversity of our student cohorts offers an exciting mix of knowledge and backgrounds and provides a stimulating learning environment in which you will thrive
  • South coast University City with great transport links to London and Europe


Achieve Your Career Aspirations

Discover more about the PGDip in Nursing from Senior Admissions Tutor, Jim Bird

Apply now

Student Testimonial

Photo of Helen Catton
The PG Diploma in Adult Nursing provided me not only with nursing skills and knowledge but also foundational skills as a health professional. These continue to be critical to my current work.
Helen CattonPostgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Nursing - Adult, 2005

Further Queries

To learn more about our PGDIP in Nursing contact our friendly Admissions Team who are happy to discuss any queries you may have and talk you through the application process:

  • Telephone: +44 (0) 23 8059 5500
  • Email:

Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for Postgraduate Diploma/MSc (if sufficient hours in RPL Portfolio) in Nursing - Adult (pre-registration)
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. The programme is open to degree graduates of any discipline. Applicants whose first degree was completed more than 5 years ago must be able to demonstrate the currency of their graduate knowledge and skills.

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 an Adult 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:

Group Discussion – groups of around 6-8 applicants will have 20 minutes to discuss a nursing related topic. All the scenarios are linked to the NHS Values and have been generated by people who are recipients of NHS care, both patients and carers. Two assessors will observe this discussion, including senior nurses from local NHS Trusts, people who use NHS services and academic staff. You will be assessed on your contribution and your interactions / relationship 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 an assessor which will allow you to reflect on the group discussion.

Situational Judgement –exploring how your personal values align with NHS Core Values; the activity will include watching several short video clips and writing brief notes.

During the selection session you are likely to meet admissions tutors, other academic staff, current students, local nurse clinicians and service users. Their thoughts and observations support the evidence you have provided on the day but 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 your 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 during your time with us so it’s important that you ask all your questions too. There will also be an optional information session for family members / parents.

For each assessed activity you will be given a numerical score. The scores will be reviewed by an Admissions Tutor who will further review your UCAS application including the reference and noting digital accuracy. This will 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.

This programme of study requires you to work with children and/or with adults in vulnerable situations and therefore you will be required to provide a satisfactory Disclosures and Barring Service enhanced disclosure before being permitted to commence any activity in practice settings.  The programme is regulated by the NMC and the University is obliged to refuse admission to applicants where the applicant’s enhanced DBS check reveals prior criminal behaviour giving rise to concern for the protection of children or adults in vulnerable situations. 

A satisfactory occupational health assessment is a condition of entry and continuation of the programme.  Where an applicant is deemed unacceptable to continue on the programme because of an occupational health assessment, feedback will is provided to the applicant to this effect. All information provided by an applicant relating to his/her occupational health assessment remains confidential between the applicant and the designated occupational health assessor. 

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 One
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Year 2

Semester One
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

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).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Nursing (Adult)PGDip 2020Full-time£9,250not offered
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.
PlacementsPlease visit for more on costs including information on travel and living costs.
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

Assessments on this PGDip in adult nursing take the form of essays, exams, projects and professional conversations. Practical skills will be assessed whist you are on placement and recorded by your practice mentor.

Study locations

University of Southampton

University of Southampton Highfield Campus

Based on the University's main Highfield campus, Health Sciences is si...Find out more

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