Two advanced dental nursing students practicing
Mode of Study
2 years full-time
Start Date
September 2020


If you’re looking for a course that leads to registration with the General Dental Council (GDC) and you’ve got the drive to succeed as a key member of a dental team, this 2-year Advanced Dental Nursing DipHE course is for you.

On this course, you’ll gain the essential knowledge you need to become registered with the GDC, while learning practical and professional skills in our first-rate facilities. You'll be an essential member of the dental team, with a scope of practice which allows you to increase your role in patient care.

After the course, you’ll be set to take on a variety of careers in the dental industry. You could go on to work in a clinical environment or in health promotion, management, the NHS, as well as private general and specialist dental practice.

Professional accreditations

This course is fully accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC). This allows you to register as a dental nurse when you complete your first year successfully.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Qualify with a DipHE in Advanced Dental Nursing, granting you a wider scope of experience in radiography and impression taking. You can then increase your contribution to direct patient care and develop further autonomy and independence with our BSc qualification (+1 year).
  • Learn dental nursing procedures and techniques in our Dental Academy
  • Turn your knowledge into practical skills, working as part of a team to provide dental care and oral health promotion to patients in the community
  • Use treatment bays and simulation technology, which includes our Phantom Head (manikin head) skill lab and radiography booths
  • Work alongside dentists, dental nurses and other students, giving you a taste of your future work environment
  • Develop additional clinical and academic skills to expand your scope of practice as a dental nurse, including radiography and impression taking
  • Produce a research proposal on a subject of your choice, related to your advanced dental nursing practice

Careers and opportunities

There are many career routes you can take after completing this course.

What can you do with an Advanced Dental Nursing DipHE?

As a registered dental nurse, you’ll be qualified to take on roles in any sector of the dental industry, including:

  • general dental practice (NHS or private)
  • corporate dental practice
  • hospital dental services
  • armed forces
  • specialists dental practice
  • oral health promotion 
  • sales
  • management
 You can top up your diploma within 5 years of completion by joining the third year of our BSc (Hons) Advanced Dental Nursing course.

Whatever career you pursue, our Careers and Employability service will be on hand with support and advice for 5 years after you finish your course.

What you'll study on this DipHE Advanced Dental Nursing course

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.


Core modules in this year include:

  • Core Skills Training Framework
  • Foundation of Evidence Based Practice
  • Foundations of Dental Nursing Professional Practice
  • Fundamentals of Dental Nursing Practice
  • Science Informing Practice

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Applied Dental Nursing Professional Practice
  • Communication for the Dental Team
  • Core Skills Training Framework Repeat
  • Dental Radiography and Dental Imaging
  • Engaging with Service Improvement
  • Evidence Based Decision Making

There are no optional modules in this year.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written examinations
  • computer examinations
  • presentations
  • coursework

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Work experience and career planning

This course focuses on applying your knowledge and building the practical skills needed to succeed in your career as a dental nurse.

You'll provide care in the local community and outreach locations, working as part of a dental team with dental professional and students including undergraduate King’s College London Dental Institute students.

Our Careers and Employability service will support you in your workplace ambitions and help you with career planning.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical work
  • guide reading
  • independent study

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this Advanced Dental Nursing diploma of higher education.

Dr Marie Stopforth, Programme Leader

Marie is a Chartered Psychologist, HCPC-registered applied psychologist and a coach. She has a wealth of experience in leading both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and in teaching psychology and behaviour change. She has also worked extensively with individuals, teams and organisations to increase health, wellbeing and performance.

Within the Dental Academy, she contributes to the behavioural science modules, which help students to understand how to influence positive behaviour change in relation to their oral health.

Dr Marina Harris

Marina is a senior lecturer and lead for the curriculum teaching of Periodontology. She has a keen interest in the psychological wellbeing of our students, which was the topic of her globally-published PhD research. Away from her role within academia, she is an active member of her professional body and has held the position of President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

Debbie Withers

Debbie qualified with a BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene & Therapy in 2008, and has worked in a variety of clinical environments -- including private practice, NHS practice and the Community Dental Service. She is also a Dental Care Professional Teaching Fellow, and is involved with both clinical and academic aspects of the student experience.

Sarah Barber

Sarah is a qualified Dental Hygienist and Therapist with vast experience within NHS, private and orthodontic practices. Since joining us in 2007, Sarah has balanced her clinical practice with her teaching responsibilities, which focus on Behavioural Sciences related to Dentistry; pre-clinical operative techniques, and clinical supervision.

Sarah is currently Associate Head of Innovation and an integral part of the Dental Academy's tutorial system. She also co-founded Oral Health Matters in 2016, an innovative initiative designed to impact and improve oral health care within social residential care.

Lisa Clarke

Lisa has more than 20 years experience working in the dental industry, as both a student and qualified Dental Nurse, and has worked in NHS, private, community and hospital dental settings, providing primary and secondary dental care to patients.

She joined the dental academy in 2005 and now runs the pre-clinical module for the Hygiene/Therapy course, which delivers an innovative, gold standard approach to the full scope of practice of the profession.

Jo-Anne Taylor

Jo is a Dental Surgeon with a broad range of clinical experience in both the private and NHS sectors, and 11 years of academic practice within the university environment. Her interests lie in clinical and professional skills development; clinical reasoning & decision-making; technology for learning; dental public health, and medical aesthetics.

Passionate about empowering Dental Nurse, Hygiene and Therapy undergraduates to embrace their expanding scope within the dental team, Jo has engaged in collaborative projects with external partners such as Liftupp and Generic Robotics to enhance teaching and learning with technology. She has also won several awards for teaching excellence, and employs a student-centric approach to higher education.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it. 

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Advanced Dental Nursing degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops for about 10.5 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

Learning support tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Entry requirements​

DipHE Advanced Dental Nursing entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 96 points to include 2 A levels, or equivalent, including 32 points from a pure Science subject. For A levels which include a separate science practical component, a pass is desirable and may strengthen an application.

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Selection process
  • All shortlisted applicants will need to attend an interview. Applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Occupational Health checks before starting the course. This includes screening to exclude infectivity with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Values and the NHS Constitution

We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.

Find out more about the values we look for 

​Course costs

Tuition fees

These fees are based on courses starting in 2020. We'll confirm 2021 fees here in autumn 2020.

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,300 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

You’ll get 3 sets of scrubs (clinical clothing) and a name badge at the start of the course. You can order extra or replacement scrubs at £8 per set or £4 an item. You can also order replacement name badges for £7.

You’ll need to buy your own visor frame (available from the Dental Academy for £8) and a pair of black shoes which enclose the foot (not canvas or clogs).

Plastic skulls are available for a £30.00 deposit to assist your learning of oral anatomy during your first year.

You’ll need to bring your own 40mm padlock if you use our locker facilities.

You’ll attend outreach locations to support your studies, and you’ll need to cover travel costs. The NHS may meet some of these costs through its Learning Support Fund.

Optional conference trips will cost in the region of £100–£200. You may have the opportunity to engage in the Erasmus programme, which will incur additional costs.


How to apply

To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – B754
  • our institution code – P80

If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close