UCAS code


Mode of Study

Part-time, Full-time


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023




Dental nurses support dentists in all aspects of patient treatment and care.

On this 1-year CertHE Dental Nursing course, accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC), you’ll get the knowledge and practical skills required to achieve safe beginner status, become a vital member of the dental team and register with the GDC when you graduate.

Course highlights

  • Build your team-working skills by studying alongside dental hygiene, dental therapy and final year students from King’s College London Dental Institute
  • Use some of the best dental facilities for students in the country at our Dental Academy, with 44 treatment bays, 2 individual surgeries, a phantom head skill lab, full radiography suite and an electronic patient records system
  • Work with real patients in the local community, gaining valuable work experience supporting our dental outreach project
  • Qualify with a CertHE in Dental Nursing when you complete the course, which allows you to register with the GDC as a dental nurse

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC).

It is also in the top 10 for Nursing in the Complete University Guide League Tables 2022.


Hear from our Dental Academy students, Cynthia and Said

Dental Academy students talk about their experiences studying dentistry at the University of Portsmouth.

Cynthia: Reading about the University of Portsmouth in the Dental Academy, I realise it's a good place for me to harness my potential of becoming the dental nurse I've always wanted to become. 

Said: Looking after the patient, caring for the patient has been the best part of my degree. 

Cynthia: Right after your first year, you become a qualified dental nurse so while you are studying, you can still practice. 

Said: The most useful skills were the clinical skills that I acquired during my phantom head sessions where I did extensive work on periodontal treatments. Working now in clinics with patients I feel more confident and having the support of the staff and other colleagues has helped me quite a lot. 

Cynthia: We have a very friendly staff, nurses who are willing and always available to help students. When you find yourself in like any kind of confusion, they are there at your beck and call.

Said: You have to be really good with communication as well because you will continuously be communicating with patients. Also, staff and students and collaborative and professional work needs good communication skills. 

Cynthia: For those willing to study at the University of Portsmouth, I would encourage you, once you get here, to make good use of all the facilities available. 

Said: Caring for the patient is not just looking at their mouth and treating what we see but also is strongly correlated with the general health of the patient. 

Entry requirements

CertHE Dental Nursing entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – CDD
  • UCAS points – 80 points to include 2 A levels or equivalent, with 32 points in a pure Science subject (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – MMP
  • International Baccalaureate – 26
  • T levels – Pass (C or above in the core) – Merit
Selection process

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.

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.

Facilities and specialist equipment

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018

Dental Academy

Hone your practical dental skills in our Dental Academy, which includes 2 patient clinics with 44 dental treatment bays.

Find out more about the Dental Academy

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018

Phantom Head lab

Build your skills and your confidence using our realistic industry-standard phantom heads, designed to simulate working with real patients.

Explore the Phantom Head lab

18/05/2021.B-Roll - day 4..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

Dental radiography

Learn how to take dental X-rays and explore dental imaging techniques in our dental radiography booths.

Explore the Dental Academy

Take a tour of our Dental Academy at the University of Portsmouth, where we teach Dental Hygiene, Dental Therapy and Dental Nursing courses.

Careers and opportunities

Dental nurses offer vital support to dentists by ensuring they have all they need to treat patients, such as preparing tools and materials, sterilising treatment spaces and managing patient records. 

They also assist dentists as they carry out treatments, passing instruments as they need them, keeping a patient's mouth clear of water and saliva, and making sure patients are comfortable and relaxed throughout. 

Dental nursing is a crucial role within a dental team and since the pandemic, there is an even higher demand for dental nurses in the both the NHS and the private sector. 

On this Dental Nursing CertHE, you'll gain what you need to become a registered dental nurse, including knowledge of many dental restorative and preventative procedures, and professional and people skills.

You'll complete a programme of statutory and mandatory training as part of our commitment to the NHS, including the anatomy and physiology of the head and neck, body systems, and understanding health, safety and infection control.

Once you complete the course, you’ll be able to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) as a dental nurse, ready to work at a general dental practice, a hospital, with the community dental service or in the Armed Forces. Or, you could continue your studies at diploma or degree level.

What areas can you work in with a dental nursing CertHE?

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
  • health promotion

What jobs can you do with a dental nursing CertHE?

Our graduates have taken on roles including:

  • dental nurse
  • practice manager
  • practice owner

Potential salary

As an NHS dental nurse in 2021, your starting salary would likely be between £20,330 (Band 3) and £22,549 (Band 4). With more experience as a senior dental nurse, you could make up to £31,534 (Band 5).

You could also work in the private sector, or as a locum dental nurse, for a competitive hourly rate.

Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Futureproof your career

Work experience with patients in the community

To help you gain professional experience, you'll help to provide free dental health services to the public at the Dental Academy and work with patients in local community settings.

You'll have the chance to offer preventative and educational dental support within institutions such as school clinics and hostels for homeless people, enabling you to gain a better understanding of the social impact of good dental care.

Our community work experience projects include:

  • outreach activity in community surgeries and maxillofacial departments in local hospitals
  • oral health promotion
  • supervised tooth brushing in infant schools
  • helping staff to develop oral care plans in residential homes
  • providing dental screening to offenders in the probation service
  • providing dental check ups to elite athletes, including first team players from Portsmouth Football Club

Portsmouth FC players get a check up at the Dental Academy

Thanks to a collaborative partnership with Portsmouth Football Club, our undergraduate dental students gave first team players Clark Robertson and Liam Vincent a full oral health assessment at our Dental Academy.

Check ups like these are an opportunity to catch any potential issues early, such as dental trauma from the sport, tooth decay from a diet that’s often high in carbohydrates and sugars, or dental erosion caused by acidic sports drinks.

Professor Chris Louca: Today we are resurrecting a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club. So in this case, we've got final year Dental Hygiene students who are looking at the Portsmouth Football Club players and they're carrying out a full oral health assessment.

This is a really big area of interest, looking at the link between oral health and the performance of elite athletes. There's a growing body of evidence to show that there is a link between these two areas.

Francesca Lee: So an athlete's diet consists of high sugar, so the advice I'd give to athletes is to minimise eating sugary foods and drinks and if they're going to have it, eat it in one sitting rather than snacking throughout the day.

Liam Vincent: I've just had a check up and they've removed some decay off my teeth. My teeth are a lot better now!

I never really considered the health of my teeth before, as much as I will do now.

Clark Robertson: I didn't really think about it too much in relation to actually playing football, but it's something I'll be more aware of moving forward.

What you'll study on this CertHE 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, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

The course runs from September to July.


Core modules in this year include:

  • Core Skills Training Framework – 0 credits
  • Foundation of Evidence Based Practice – 20 credits
  • Foundations of Dental Nursing Professional Practice – 40 credits
  • Fundamentals of Dental Nursing Practice – 20 credits
  • Integrated Clinical Practice – 0 credits
  • Science Informing Practice – 40 credits
  • Tutorials – 0 credits
  • UPDA Events – 0 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Changes to course content

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. 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 examinations and coursework, and your clinical development and competency is assessed via an electronic software platform (LIFTUP).

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.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical laboratory work
  • guided reading

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.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Dental Nursing CertHE. You’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops and guided independent study sessions for about 13.5 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.

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.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

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.

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

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

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

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 a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

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

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 In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

​Tuition fees (2023 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
    • Full-time – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
    • Part-time – £4,625 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students
    • Full-time – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
    • Part-time – £4,625 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students
    • Full-time – £17,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
    • Part-time – £8,600 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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 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 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:


  • the UCAS course code – B751
  • our institution code – P80

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

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.

Apply for this part-time course using our online application form. Our courses fill up quickly, so submit your application as soon as you decide which course you want to study.

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

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. 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 abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.