The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) has outlined the standards required for pre-registration midwifery degree programmes. You can find a list of all degree programmes that meet the required standards on the NMC website.
Pre-registration midwifery degree programmes are usually three years in length and each year involves 45 weeks of study. If you are already registered as an adult nurse, degree programmes are usually 18 months in length. Annual leave is often linked to periods of study, as well as being divided between Christmas, Easter and summer breaks.
Pre-registration midwifery degree programmes typically include both academic teaching and clinical practice. Most degree programmes split this into 50% academic teaching and 50% clinical practice. This combination of teaching and practice will enable you to learn about all aspects of antenatal, labour, postnatal and neonatal care.
Academic course content
Academic teaching tends to include a mixture of lectures, tutorials, workshops and case studies. Most academic modules are compulsory in the first two years, and then you may be able to choose some optional modules in your third year. Assessments may include exams, essays, presentations and online work.
You will also be expected to participate in a number of clinical placements. This involves providing care for women and babies under the direct or indirect supervision of a qualified midwife. Indirect supervision is likely to take place when you have more experience, and when you can safely undertake complex duties.
You may be encouraged to take on a caseload, which involves continuously caring for a small number of women and attending most of their antenatal appointments, labour and birth, and postnatal visits. Providing continuity of care will enable you to build trusting and mutually respectful relationships with the women involved. You can listen to the experiences of midwives providing this care by visiting the Royal College of Midwives website.
Universities may offer placements covering a wide geographical area. Placements can usually be listed in order of preference, but some students may need to travel a considerable distance. It is important to find out where the locations are, particularly if you have family commitments or transport constraints. The various placement options are often listed on the university website.
You can find advice about placements on the NHS Health Careers website. You may also be interested in reading the MIDIRS blog to find out about the experiences of a student midwife during her placement.
Students are usually awarded both an academic qualification (BSc (Hons)) and a professional qualification (RM). You must be successful in both your academic and clinical placements in order to complete your degree and qualify as a midwife.
Click the links below for general information on midwifery, applying for courses and more.