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Guide to studying Midwifery

Midwives have a key role in public health, aiming to meet the challenges of reducing inequalities and improving the wellbeing of women and their families.

Midwife gives newborn baby to a mother to hold

CONTENTS

  1. What is Midwifery?

  2. Why study Midwifery?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Midwifery graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What is Midwifery?

A midwife acts as a professional companion during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period.

As an autonomous practitioner, the midwife is the lead professional for all women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Midwives have the expertise to facilitate the normal psychological processes of childbirth.

Why study Midwifery?

Midwives are passionate about women's rights, working as their advocate, to facilitate and uphold informed choices.

They have to be responsive to the needs of women in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, with challenges such as an increasing birth rate and advances in research and technology. It's intellectually, physically and emotionally engaging.

The NHS Learning Support Fund is currently offering payments of £5,000- £8,000 per year to support undergraduate and postgraduate Midwifery degree students in England and Wales. This is a grant, so you don’t have to pay it back.

Read our six reasons to study Midwifery for more information on why you might choose this subject area.

What jobs can you get?

Upon qualifying as a midwife, you may choose to work within the NHS or privately, in a hospital or community environment.

In the NHS, midwives usually commence their careers as Band 5 midwives. You'll have the opportunity to progress to Band 6 after completing post-qualification competencies (which usually take one year to complete).

You can then progress to more senior roles such as team leader, specialist midwife or manager. This provides the opportunity to move further up the salary bands.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Midwifery have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Midwifery students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

You normally need at least five GCSEs at grade C or above. These should include English, Mathematics and Science, in addition to three A Levels or equivalent. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university and course you're interested in.

You'll also usually need at least six months of work experience, which can include voluntary work.

What degrees can you study?

  • Midwifery Practice
  • Midwifery Sciences
  • Midwifery (Pre-Registration)
  • Midwifery with NMC registration

How will you be assessed?

Courses are approximately 50% theory and 50% practice. Theory time will include academic sessions and opportunities to practise clinical skills. Placements can include community and low-risk birth centres and hospital allocations.

You can be assessed through academic essays, written and clinical examinations, case studies, research critiques, presentations and a dissertation. You're required to pass all elements of the course and demonstrate professional behaviour throughout.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Midwifery graduates must commit to continuing professional development throughout their careers. You can go on to study a master's or doctorate-level programme. This is usually required should you choose to progress to a career as a consultant midwife, senior manager, educationalist or researcher.

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