Midwifery (3 Years) [BMidwif] - Course details
Year of entry: 2015

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Course description

From September 2013 we have been running our new contemporary curriculum which has been highly commended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and other external reviewers for its innovative design and woman-centred approach.

Successful graduates can register as a midwife with the NMC and will be eligible to practice as a midwife anywhere in the UK and in many other parts of the world.

The course is underpinned by a commitment to:

  • The integration of theory and practice
  • High standards of clinical competence
  • Partnership working with women
  • Keeping birth normal
  • Midwifery support for women with complex needs
  • Multi-disciplinary team working to benefit midwifery clients
  • The appreciation of diversity and the principles of equity
  • Tackling health inequalities through effective public health interventions
  • Evidence-based midwifery practice and developing new knowledge through research
  • Improving service provision through effective professional leadership
  • Being responsive service users needs and future service development
The course is taught predominantly by a team of midwifery lecturers with wide ranging experience including up-to-date clinical midwifery practice, well developed teaching expertise and established research skills. Where appropriate, we also draw on the expertise of clinical specialists and other lecturers such as from the Faculty of Life Sciences .

50% of your time on this course will be spent in university-based learning: lectures, reading, tutorials, seminars, enquiry-based group work and online activities. The other 50% of your time will be spent learning in practice, working alongside midwives and other professionals.

See: Midiwfery programme information booklet (PDF, 147KB) for further information


This course aims to equip you with the clinical, communication and thinking skills needed to provide high-quality midwifery care for women and families from a range of diverse backgrounds and to co-ordinate services from the wider health, social care and voluntary sectors.

We aim to produce innovative midwives, who will use their skills to contribute to the future development of family-centred services through the generation of new knowledge and the initiation and evaluation of new ways of working. The following strategies are used:

Developing compassionate competence midwives through:

  • Focusing on the needs and experiences of women and families
  • Stimulating self-awareness and reflection on own values
  • Constant application of theory to practice
  • Use of simulation including skills laboratories
  • A wide range of midwifery placements
  • Well designed units fostering effective learning
  • Student case-holding
  • Effective student support
  • Continued development of clinical mentors

Developing leadership skills through:

  • Manchester Leadership Programme
  • Leadership shadowing and master classes
  • Inter-professional learning
  • Promoting skills for life-long learning
  • Entrepreneurship option

Developing research skills through:

  • Teaching under-pinned by cutting-edge research
  • Research processes taught by leading national and international researchers
  • Completion of a research dissertation
  • The opportunity to explore a research career

Developing effective clinical decision- making skills through:

  • Enhancement of interpersonal skills
  • Critical analysis of decision-making processes
  • Use of simulation based learning
  • Regular reflection on real-life practice scenarios
  • Sound ethical frameworks for problem-solving

Developing effective public health skills through:

  • Exposure to the varying needs of Manchester's diverse population
  • Developing awareness of social, political, cultural and environmental issues
  • Planning and reviewing strategies to reduce health inequalities
  • Emphasis on supporting breastfeeding and early parenting

Special features

The elective at the end of year 3 offers you a number of different options to enhance your future career development. These include:

  • International midwifery - the opportunity to visit and observe midwifery care provided in another country. The School has close links with midwives around the world, in both developed and developing countries. This is a unique opportunity to experience midwifery in another culture, and to utilise leadership knowledge and skills acquired previously on the course.
  • Investigating a research career - this provides the opportunity for mentorship with a midwifery researcher. You will have exposure to clinical research in practice, involving service users, research governance, funding opportunities, grant writing, report writing and writing for publication.
  • Midwife entrepreneurs - some midwives currently provide various aspects of maternity care outside the NHS via social enterprises. This¬† will provide you with the opportunity to experience different models of maternity care provision funded by the private and independent sector. You will also have the opportunity to attend a workshop on developing entrepreneurship skills to aid you in the establishment of innovative midwifery services.
  • Professional consolidation of practice - this option provides the opportunity to further enhance your midwifery skills and explore employment options through appropriate placements in Greater Manchester and the wider UK.

Additional course information

The School has excellent relationships with our local NHS Trusts, where students undertake a wide range of placements including community midwifery, antenatal clinics, day care facilities, delivery suites, midwifery-led birth centres, antenatal and postnatal wards, neonatal special care and short placements in medical and gynaecological settings. Students also visit a range of community services and specialist clinics and work with other professionals such as social workers and medical staff.

Your first placement will begin in week 9 of the course, facilitating the application of learning to the real world of midwifery practice. There will be a mixture of University weeks and full practice weeks but most weeks will include 2 days in University and 3 days in practice.

You are provided with supervision in practice by a midwife mentor, trained to support and assess students learning. You will be expected to work the same shifts as your mentors, including early, late and night shifts. Start and finish times vary. Commonly, early shifts start at 7.30am and late shifts finish at 9.30pm. Night shifts may be from 9pm to 8am. Some Trusts have 2 long shifts to cover the 24hour period.

We have stringent attendance policies. Applicants should consider their ability to meet the demands of travelling to placement, working shifts and completing the rigorous study requirements of the course.

You will complete your year 1 placements in the maternity services of one NHS Trust and then move, to complete your 2nd and 3rd year placements in another Trust. Experiencing care in 2 different localities gives students wider experience of the cultural diversity of our amazing city, deeper understanding of the different ways NHS services are provided and greater confidence when applying for posts as newly qualified midwives.

Teaching and learning

This course is taught by, leading midwifery lecturers, researchers and clinicians. Experts from the wider University contribute to your learning especially in relation to life sciences and leadership theory.

You will engage in a range of different activities designed to make learning enjoyable, challenging and effective. Simulated learning sessions in the skills laboratories are very popular.

Learning in clinical practice is a key feature of this course. Students spend half their time engaged in learning in hospital and community settings. Students are supervised and supported by qualified midwives who have also completed an additional teaching and assessing qualification. Students are also supported by the University Lecturers and Peer Mentors.

Each year comprises 45 weeks of study (37.5 hrs per week) and 7 weeks holiday.

Your first placements begin within a few weeks of starting the course as this facilitates the application of learning to the real world of midwifery practice. You will experience a mixture of University weeks and clinical weeks but most weeks will include 2 days of theory and 3 days of practice.

In line with NMC requirements we have very stringent attendance policies. Prior to application you are encouraged to carefully consider the demands of working long shifts (including some night duty) and travelling to clinical placements alongside completing the rigorous study requirements set by the University.

Dedicated student support to enhance student experience

The National Student Survey results from our final year students indicate very high levels of overall satisfaction with the current course. This reflects our well established culture of student-centred working and partnership.

As the course combines academic study with working in a physically and emotionally demanding environment, the course team ensure that students benefit from caring and robust support systems to maximise the quality of their learning and their enjoyment of the course. Student support comes in many forms including:

  • An academic advisor assigned at the beginning of the course provides regular academic and professional guidance and pastoral support. You will get to know them really well over the 3 years.
  • Well evaluated student-led support networks facilitating excellent support for 1st years from more experienced students.
  • The split week design of the course allows regular contact with your tutors and fosters mutual support as you to meet with your friends on campus most weeks.
  • The University has well developed student support services including the Disability Support Office, the Occupational Health Service and the Counselling Service.

Elected student representatives attend committee meetings, ensure student issues are addressed and are closely involved in course developments within the School.

Coursework and assessment

A range of strategies are used to assess your knowledge, understanding and skills, including assessments in practice, online discussions, essays, examinations, presentations and the dissertation.

All assessments must be passed in order to meet the professional requirements of the NMC. Course regulations govern the decision to offer a second or subsequent attempt at any failed assessment.

Course units overview

This course is taught by, leading midwifery lecturers, researchers and clinicians. Experts from the wider University contribute to your learning especially in relation to life sciences and leadership theory.

You will engage in a range of different activities designed to make learning enjoyable, challenging and effective. Each unit will be taught using a mixture of face-to-face lectures, small group tutorials, on-line learning activities, directed reading, group presentations and discussions. Simulated learning sessions in the skills laboratories are very popular.

Each year comprises 45 weeks of study (37.5 hrs per week) and 7 weeks holiday. Your time is equally divided between academic and practice-based learning. Some weeks are campus-based and others placement-based, but most will include 2 days in university and 3 days in practice.

Learning is divided into a number of units in each year. The course and assessments for each unit are planned and delivered by a small team of lecturers with the relevant expertise related to those topic areas.

Unit assessments vary and include written and multiple-choice exams, essays, case studies, poster presentations, on-line work and a skills lab-based exam. Most units of learning also include the assessment of relevant skills in practice which are carried out by the midwifery mentors during the clinical placements. All assessments must be passed in order for you to progress onto the next stage of the course and so achieve their professional registration. Course regulations govern the decision to offer a second or subsequent attempt at any failed assessment.

Course content for year 1

The focus of the first year is on developing the knowledge and skills to be able to provide high-quality women-centred midwifery care for women experiencing a straight-forward pregnancy and birth. You will explore a number of key aspects of childbirth, midwifery theory and evidence-based, holistic practice as well as core topics such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and essential communication skills.

You are also helped to consider some of the social factors which affect women's lives and contribute to inequalities in health for them and their families.

Areas of study include:

  • Midwifery theory and practice (antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care)
  • Anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology
  • Communication skills
  • Health inequalities, public health, infant feeding
  • Sociological and psychological theory underpinning practice
  • Women's experiences and needs during childbearing
  • Foundations for research

Clinical placements in year 1 focus on the development of essential midwifery skills in a range of settings including community, antenatal clinic, delivery suite and post-natal care.

Course content for year 2

In year 2, you will build on your midwifery knowledge and skills acquired in year 1, examining the impact of complex health and social issues on women's needs, aspects of complicated childbirth and the specific roles, responsibilities and skills of midwives in these areas including the therapeutic use of medication.

Through the completion of the Manchester Leadership Programme , you are helped to develop your leadership skills. Further knowledge and skills for understanding research provide a sound foundation for critically appraising research studies as a basis for evidence-based approaches to midwifery practice. Progressive models of midwifery-led care are examined with a focus on midwifery case holding and caseload management. Areas of study include:

  • Complex childbirth and midwifery responsibilities and skills
  • Medicines management
  • Evidence-based midwifery practice
  • Models of midwifery-led care
  • Leadership. The Manchester Leadership Award is achieved on completion of an optional 20 hours of volunteering, enhancing employability
Clinical placements in year 2 focus on developing skills in antenatal care, community and delivery suite as well as postnatal, neonatal unit/transitional care. 'Spoke' placements on gynaecological and medical wards are also undertaken.

Course content for year 3

The aim of the third year is to consolidate and extend existing knowledge and skills to equip you to move into the role of the contemporary midwifery practitioner. This is achieved through developing your knowledge and skills in relation to caseload management, clinical decision-making skills, responding to and managing midwifery emergency situations and examining strategies for tackling health inequalities within the diverse population of Manchester.

The dissertation component of this year focuses on the application of midwifery and health related research to practice. This involves a considerable piece of work which enables you to demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking skills to 'real world' challenges in midwifery practice. Areas of study include:

  • Student case holding
  • Managing midwifery emergencies
  • Parenting and promoting wellbeing for families
  • Research-based dissertation
  • Clinical leadership in action
  • Optional opportunities enabling exploration of career options in midwifery research, international practice entrepreneurship or practice development
A full range of clinical placements are available in this final year.

Scholarships and bursaries

Fees for this course are usually paid by the NHS.

UK students starting on NHS funded programmes after 1st September 2012 can apply annually for an NHS Student Bursary.

UK students may also apply for a student loan . Loans are normally reduced for midwifery students as they receive the NHS bursary.

You may also qualify for other grants and bursaries from your local education authority. The University of Manchester offers some bursaries and awards. For more information about qualifying criteria see: Student Finance

Travel to placements can be expensive and should be included in your calculations. If you qualify for a means-tested NHS bursary, you may also be able to re-claim some of your travel costs. At the end of the course, you may opt to complete an elective placement, overseas or in a different UK setting. You must self-fund any additional costs. Some students have been successful in applying for funding support from The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust or The Cavell Nurses Trust .

What our students say

In the National Student Survey, our final year midwifery students indicated their very high levels of satisfaction with the current course (90-100% overall satisfaction). This reflects our well-established culture of student-centred education, participation and partnership.

It has been an amazing experience and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to have been a University of Manchester student. I will wear my badge with pride! Character, kindness, empathy, intuition and instinct - all attributes I have been shown throughout my time at Manchester, both at university and in clinical placement. (Rebecca Ross, 2011 graduate)


The School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work is based in a state-of-the-art building housing seminar rooms, IT facilities, clinical and interpersonal skills laboratories and lecture theatres. Midwifery students will also be taught in other facilities across the campus.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office .

If you have a disability or long-term health condition that might affect your ability to meet the demands of the course, we recommend that you contact the Disability Support Office and the Occupational Health Service for advice and support as part of your application process.