Skip to main content

PGDip Adult Nursing (with professional registration)

Watch our video
  • UCAS Code:
  • Institution:
  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

The postgraduate diploma course in Adult Nursing is open to applicants with a first-degree or a higher degree; the programme makes use of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) provision for prior learning to allow students to complete the academic award and achieve professional registration as a nurse via a two-year course. Successful applicants will undertake some of their studies alongside undergraduate students completing the BSc (Hons) in Adult Nursing, but will also complete dedicated study at Master's level to achieve a postgraduate qualification. 

The NMC’s Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education (2010) require programmes leading to registration to be delivered over 4600 hours, with 50% of this theory and 50% practice; NMC do however permit prior learning to be recognised where this can be mapped against the programme outcomes and requirements. Students applying for this programme will therefore need to demonstrate that they have the relevant experience and learning prior to entering the course.

Throughout the course you will develop your knowledge and understanding of the art and science of adult nursing. Communication and team working are key in health and social care and you will develop a range of interpersonal skills that enable you to work effectively with a wide diversity of clients and within complex settings.

The health economy is rapidly changing and future nurses are likely to be located in a broader range of workplaces. Your placement opportunities will therefore be in a diverse range of settings which include the growing independent sector as well as care within the community, preparing you to function effectively and meet the health care needs of an increasing ageing population.

Watch a webinar presentation to find out more about the course or attend one of our Undergraduate Open Day events where the PGDip Adult Nursing programme is represented. 

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Key information

Next start date:

February 2019


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus;


2 years, including mandatory placements


Nursing & Midwifery Council

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:2 or above or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 7.0 (Academic) or above. For more information see our full entry requirements.

Course details

Throughout the course you'll develop your knowledge and understanding of the art and science of adult nursing. Communication and team working are key in health and social care and you'll develop a range of interpersonal skills that enable you to work effectively with a wide diversity of clients and in complex settings.

You can view information on our facilities and take a 360 tour of our simulation suites here.

The health economy is rapidly changing and future nurses are likely to be located in a broader range of workplaces. Your placement opportunities will therefore be in a diverse range of settings which include the growing independent sector and care within the community. This will prepare you to work effectively and meet the healthcare needs of an aging population.

After graduating you'll have met the standards and competencies set by the NMC to register as an adult nurse.

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. 

Year 1

Core units

  • Nursing Knowledge From Philosophy to Practice: Broaden and deepen your understanding of the historical philosophical, theoretical and political influences on the development of modern adult nursing.  The unit will enable you to explore the core values that underpin the nursing framework philosophy from an adult nursing perspective and critically apply them to specific areas of clinical practice.
  • Challenges to Humanising Nursing Care: An examination of how care can be humanising and de-humanising. You'll evaluate the humanising framework for guiding nursing practice, and use experiences of vulnerable service users and carers to propose improvements to nursing care and reflect on current practice.
  • Care of Clients with Acute and Long-term Conditions: You'll explore a range of acute and long-term conditions in the current healthcare system, including physical and mental health conditions. There will be links to clinical skills that you'll practice in a simulated environment. You'll identify and discuss causes of a range of acute and long-term conditions, and explore the effects these conditions have on service users and carers.
  • Therapeutic Communication in Adult Nursing: The theoretical and practical understanding of communication in healthcare. There will be an emphasis on therapeutic relationships and anti-oppressive practice. You'll apply knowledge of psychology, sociology and communications theory to understand individual roles in groups in health and social care settings, while analysing communication methods for meeting a range of clients' and carers’ needs. This includes clients with dementia and learning disabilities.
  • My Health and Wellbeing Through the Lifespan: Promoting health and wellbeing is a key and complex role for all registered nurses. This unit offers foundational knowledge, attitudes and skills for the health, ageing and wellbeing theme in the curriculum. You'll develop an understanding of health and its elements by exploring sociological and psychological perspectives.
  • Developing Knowledge for Practice: A personal and professional development portfolio is central to this unit. In it, you'll reflect on your skills, recognise your limits and respond to the changing needs of individuals, groups and organisations, locally, nationally and internationally.

Year 2

Core units

  • Public Health Perspectives: You'll think critically about health on an individual, community and international basis. There will be a focus on sustainable approaches to population health and wellbeing across the lifespan, the social elements of health and inequalities in health.
  • Developing the Professional Role: Throughout this unit, you'll evaluate leadership and management theories and how they're applied to professional practice. You'll assess practice-based teaching and learning theories and how they're used, and learn to respond to situations where care standards are compromised. 
  • Principles of Enquiry & Evidence-based Practice in Health & Social Care: You'll be introduced to the debates about approaches to enquiry and knowledge production, and show how different philosophical assumptions shape the research process and knowledge claims.
  • Advanced Principles of Enquiry and Evidence-based Practice in Health and Social Care: You'll develop a proposal for a research study, practice development or comprehensive review project. A range of research methods and analysis techniques will be introduced throughout the unit. These focus on critically analysing the findings.
  • Managing Complex Conditions: Challenges to Humanising Nursing Care: How to care for clients with complex conditions. You'll learn about care management based on nursing assessment and clinical decision making, investigating the impacts of conditions on family members, partners and carers.
  • Evaluating Knowledge for Practice: This unit teaches you how to work responsibly and autonomously when offering care that respects, safeguards and protects people of all ages, as well as their carers and families. This will promote their independence and wellbeing. You'll work with other health and social care professionals and agencies, service users, carers and families to learn about the seamless client transition to wellbeing and recovery.

Assessments on this course include written assignments, group presentations, examinations, your clinical competence in the practice-learning environment and on placement, reflection, and the development of a portfolio.

Your reflective learning sessions during and following placements will prepare you for advanced practice roles after the course by ensuring you have the necessary knowledge and skills to take part in further learning throughout your career.

Programme specification 

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for PGDip Adult Nursing (with professional registration) (pdf 404kb).

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

As a Nursing student, you will spend half of your time in a practice placement setting, gaining experience of caring for clients in a variety of settings such as elderly, medical, surgical, community and critical care.

Whilst on placement, you will be required to work 150 hours every 4 weeks and experience the full 24-hour shift pattern, including 12-13 hour, weekend and night shifts.

Your placement could be based in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or Hampshire. Your locality will be assigned when you receive your offer letter and will stay the same for the remainder of your time on the course, so you should arrange your accommodation accordingly.

Your placement travel expenses will be reimbursed from the Department of Health and Student Finance England.

If the placement locality you have been assigned is outside of the BH postcode area you may be eligible for support for travelling to Bournemouth to study. Criteria and detailed information on the support available can be found here.

Placement localities

Below are some examples of the specilaities of some of the hospitals we work with. Your placements will involve both clinical and community placements throughout your study. 

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals

  • Royal Bournemouth Hospital came in the top 10 in the first ever assessment of NHS hospital quality in England, based on what matter to people e.g. waiting time, infection control rates
  • Radiology - the cutting edge of technology - Toshiba has chosen Royal Bournemouth Hospital as the first site for installation of its latest CT scanner - the first of its type in the world
  • Pathology - Royal Bournemouth Hospital is the regional haemophilia centre for Bournemouth, Poole and Dorchester
  • Colorectal surgery - Royal Bournemouth Hospital is one of the best performing trusts nationally for 30-day post operative mortality after major colorectal surgery
  • Orthopaedics - third largest joint replacement unit in the UK
  • Bournemouth Diabetes and Endocrine Centre - Narional and international reputation in the field of clinical diabetes
  • Cardiology - Cardiologists here have the lowest levels of major adverse cardiac events in the country.

Salisbury District Hospital

  • Cancer patients at Salisbury District Hospital have rated their care highly with 94% of those asked saying it was excellent or very good
  • New 3D printing service enabling surgeons to plan their operations and become more cost effective
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded £115,000 for the Salisbury District Hospital Stroke Unit to improve the technology that enable staff to access electronic patient records in the community and on hospital wards
  • Specialist services include - Plastic Surgery Department, Spinal Treatment Centre and Rehabilitation Services.

The Somerset Partnership

  • 13 Community Hospitals across the county of Somerset specialising in Stroke Care to Ambulatory care
  • A range of 30 nursing disciplines at all levels in the Community Health, Mental Health and Learning Disability Services
  • Clinical skills teams who provide on-site clinical skills training and support and advice when it is needed.


We have links to the Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Please note that students on the Adult Nursing course who are based in Yeovil are taught at University Centre Yeovil as well as the main Bournemouth University campuses. Your other placements will be within Somerset.

You can find out more about our placement locations here.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For PG Dip Adult Nursing, we are looking for applicants who:

  • Have an interest in adult nursing as well as the motivation and commitment to undertake the course
  • Have undertaken relevant work experience
  • Have a clear understanding of the profession
  • Can demonstrate personal skills and qualities relevant to the course.

Some healthcare experience and prior learning is required to be accepted on this programme. Please see full entry requirements for more information. 

Our courses are built around the NHS constitution values, and when assessing your application we will take these values into consideration:

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts.

Find out more about the NHS Constitution principles.

IT skills

IT skills are increasingly important in almost all professions. In the healthcare sector IT is now a vital tool for accessing and maintaining patient records, accessing literature to client care and conducting clinically-related research. As a student you will receive an introduction to IT near the beginning of your course and you will be provided with computer access and your own email address. During the course you will be expected to use your developing IT skills to produce assignments, to conduct literature searches, and to use client-related record systems in the clinical setting. Following instruction some of your study will be undertaken through web-based learning tools, for example by participating in online discussions.

Selection methods

We’ll use the UCAS applications to create a shortlist of candidates who we would like to find out more about. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.

Please note that interviews are part of our selection process and you must be able to demonstrate at interview that you show the necessary insight into nursing, as well as the motivation and commitment to become a nurse.

What to expect at interview

This will be a group interview. Firstly, you will be met by a member of the Admissions Team who will register your attendance. The interview session includes an introductory talk, group discussions/task, an individual interview and a tour of our facilities when possible. Your individual interview will last approximately 15 minutes - the candidate order of interviewing will be allocated at the time. There are no tests for English or maths.

You can find further information about interviews with the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences here.

International applicants: if shortlisted for interview you will be notified of the interview arrangements once your application has been processed. 

Additional reference

In addition to the reference on your UCAS form, once we’ve received your application we will contact you to ask for a second reference; this can be a different teacher/lecturer, employer or person who knows you in a professional capacity.

Unconditional offer scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/DDD in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications).

We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • Possession of a 2:2 degree or equivalent. A science degree (biological science, psychology or social science) is preferred but not essential. 
  • A minimum of 4 GCSEs (grades A*-C) including Maths and English or appropriate Key Skills Level 2. A science subject is preferred.

You’ll need to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and learning prior to entering the course via a portfolio of evidence. A template for this portfolio will be sent to you once you've been interviewed for the course. Your portfolio will include demonstrating you have undertaken 600 hours of practice experience in a health or care environment to show you have good skills, knowledge and understanding of the profession, ideally this will be paid experience. This experience needs to be completed before you start the course, and is equivalent to 3-4 months of full-time work but may be achieved through part-time work over a longer period. It may be possible for some applicants to gain the required experiences in a voluntary capacity.  Personal/family caring responsibilities will not be considered.  For examples of practice experience that meet the requirements, please view the Entry Portfolio guidelines below. If you remain unsure if your practice experience meets our requirements please do email the Programme Leader, Dr Jonathan Branney for advice:

View the portfolio template you'll need to complete after being interviewed. 

Read the Entry Portfolio guidelines

Further information

Graduates who obtained their degree more than five years ago may be considered for the course provided they can demonstrate evidence of successful recent and relevant study, at an appropriate level.  For example, the Open University provides several highly relevant courses of study at degree level. Guidance for recent study is provided on an individual basis and entry to the course would be conditional on successfully completing such study.  

Practice experience may be gained during the application period but it must be completed at least six weeks prior to course commencement to allow the claim to be processed and approved.

Although postgraduate diploma students are regularly taught alongside BSc Hons nursing students, the level of assessment will be at master's level (Level 7) in a number of units; applicants are therefore required to demonstrate considerable capacity for self-management and independent learning during the application process.

Unsuccessful applicants may be eligible to be considered for the three year BSc Hons Adult Nursing course.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading.

View further information about our English language requirements.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

Language testing applicants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the USA

All overseas applicants are required to meet the NMC standard for English language regardless of where they come from. This makes sure that all applicants meet the same standard in a system that is equitable, fair and non-discriminatory. There are no current plans by the NMC to waive the IELTS requirements for these countries.

​Non-academic entry requirements

Occupational Health (OH) Checks

Nursing is physically and mentally demanding and you will  need to be mentally and physically able to undertake your chosen course. Places are offered subject to passing an OH check, and this will be carried out at the University Hospital Southampton. Health conditions  need to be dealt with on an individual basis e.g. deafness, blindness, eczema (or other dermatological allergic reactions) on exposed areas, epilepsy,  back problems, or mental health conditions, eating disorders and other disabilities. These do not automatically exclude you but please ensure that you fully disclose your condition  to OH. The University can then consider the recommendations made by OH and whether reasonable adjustments can be made to support you on your chosen course. If you require more guidance please contact us for more information.

You will be required to provide a record of your immunity status or be vaccinated or have the required blood tests. Please see this table for the required immunisations. You may need to ask your GP or current OH department or find your childhood vaccination record  for details of your past immunisation records. You should be aware that there may be charges made (for which you will be liable) relating to your gaining the appropriate immunity required prior to starting your training programme.

Refusing Immunisations

Students who refuse immunisations, or who cannot be immunised for medical reasons, will be reviewed on an individual basis by occupational health. Refusal to have immunisations may result in the student not being allowed to attend practice placement and being withdrawn from the course. There is no opportunity to appeal against the requirements of the immunisation policy.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (previously known as CRB)

All successful applicants will be subject to an Enhanced Disclosure and Barred List check; this will be a condition of offer and will need to be completed prior to commencing the course. Please see the Government website for the most up to date information.


After completing this course, you will possess the necessary skills and knowledge to continue into an academic career or secure employment in a range of organisations. The emphasis on core practical skills will give you extra marketability in the professional arena, providing you with a route into a rewarding career.

Career progression may ultimately lead to you becoming a:

  • Lecturer practitioner
  • Specialist practitioner
  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Consultant nurse
  • Academic lecturer
  • Academic researcher.

Industries worked in

  • NHS (hospital and community)
  • Private and independent healthcare sectors (nursing homes and private hospitals)
  • Education
  • Academic research.

Our graduate employment rate for the BSc (Hons) route of this course is 97%*, we currently do not have any graduate employment statistics for the PG Dip route of the course. 

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Postgraduate Diploma, you can look into our range of Master's programmes.​

*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Your lecturers

Dr Jonathan Branney

Dr Jonathan (Jonny) Branney is the Programme Leader for this course. He's a Lecturer in Adult Nursing and also teaches on the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing programme and the post-registration Critical Care Nursing course. He has a substantial clinical background as both a registered nurse (critical care; accident & emergency) and a registered chiropractor. He is passionate about the role of biosciences in nursing education, using innovative teaching techniques wherever possible to engage students, and in research into musculoskeletal disorders, particularly that aimed at improving outcomes for patients.

Prior to joining Bournemouth University, Jonny was based at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Research & Clinical Implementation (IMRCI), Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, where he completed award-winning doctoral research into the mechanism of spinal manipulative therapy and its relationship with patient-reported outcomes in the treatment of patients with neck pain. This work included the use of quantitative fluoroscopy (motion x-rays) to measure the movement of the bones in the cervical spine of the participating patients before and after treatment. He has published the findings of his research into neck pain which was conducted with colleagues at IMRCI where he holds a Visiting Research Fellowship, in international peer-reviewed journals. Working with the Orthopaedic Research Institute at Bournemouth University, his research activities there are currently aimed at improving outcomes for patients scheduled for hip and knee replacement surgery.

Before getting involved with academia Jonny worked clinically, first as a nurse, graduating with a BN (Hons) from the University of Glasgow, in 2002. Following several NHS posts he qualified as a chiropractor with an MChiro from AECC before embarking on research into neck pain. Jonny has now brought both his research and duel clinical backgrounds together to mutual benefit in informing his career as a full-time academic.

No hidden extras

Course specific material(s) included in your tuition fee:

  • Professional body accreditation of the course
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Check
  • Occupational Health Check
  • Uniforms

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions & specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad), fieldwork and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service;
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/ improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team
  • DVD/USB submission consumables where requested for assignment submission.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: find our price guide  
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our unilinx bus service operates in the local areas, offering a subsided travel rate. We also have a large number of bike storage facilities.
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages 
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Travel to placement is your responsibility; you may be able to reclaim costs from NHS Student Bursaries at
  • Supplementary Uniform supplies
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/ securing placements.
  • Professional Body membership/registration post qualification
  • Internet access at discretion of your accommodation provider
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website

Repeat units

For students who need to repeat units, the NHS will not normally fund tuition fees or bursary unless mitigating circumstances have been submitted and approved by the University Exam Board for their programme.  For those students who submit mitigating circumstances to the Exam Board, the University will apply automatically on their behalf.

Any decision on funding is within the remit of the NHS only and if funding is not approved then students will need to self-fund their tuition fees for each unit to be repeated and associated maintenance.  Fees are currently £1,500 per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
14/03/2017 Only IELTS qualifications will be accepted for English language tests, we cannot accept equivalent qualifications.  International entry requirements

IELTS (Academic) 7.0 with minimum 7.0 in each component, or equivalent.

What our students say

Joanne Salisbury-Standerick

Whilst excited to soon practice as a theatre nurse, I'll be taking any opportunity to continue studying. I wish I had discovered my thirst for knowledge sooner!

What our graduates think

Abigail King

I absolutely loved the practical side of it. Each placement taught me something different, which I will take with me throughout the rest of my career.

Additional information

Open day walking courtyard

Open Days and tours

Discover what makes our Open Days and tours so enjoyable and useful – and register to attend one of our events.

An NHS student

NHS placement locations

Find out more about our NHS locations and where you may be based for some of your NHS placements.

Students examining patients

Hospital wards

Find out about our patient ward where you can get used to working in a hospital ward setting and practise your skills.

Image of people jumping

Application and interview guidance

Watch helpful videos on what we are looking for in your healthcare application - what to include in your personal statement and interview preparation tips.
Mature students

Mature students

Find out what it’s like to be a mature student at BU, and what support services we offer that may be of use.