Midwifery is a whole lot more than just delivering babies.
It’s the professional care of mothers – before, during, and after the birth of their child. A combination of medicine and compassion, midwifery has been an honoured and important profession for thousands of years.
If you want to make your mark on the world by helping keep mothers and their children safe and comfortable, a degree in midwifery will teach you everything you need to know.
As with all medical degrees, the entry criteria for midwifery courses are strict. Almost all universities will require an qualification in biology (or at least another science), to show your technical ability. To show your compassion and understanding, qualifications in psychology or sociology would help.
Grade requirements will vary by university, but again you can expect them to be higher than other subjects. You will probably need at least Bs in the core subjects related to your applications, and As at the more prestigious or competitive universities.
As midwifery is such a broad profession, there are many soft skills you should try to demonstrate in your application too. Bedside manner, of course, but also communication, compassion, empathy, high attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, along with mental and physical stamina.
- Apply by 15 January
- Attend an interview
- Submit a personal statement
- Show work experience
- Submit a portfolio
- Audition for a place
- Take an entry test
There aren’t many careers more important than midwifery. Not only are midwives essential for the safe and healthy delivery of babies, they are pillars of support for parents both before and after the birth.
And, because they’re so important, the NHS funds many courses to enable students from all backgrounds to become midwives. This means that you may gain your degree for free. Please check with your chosen university.
A career in midwifery will be challenging and rewarding in equal measure, giving you magical moments that you’ll remember forever. It’s also a very safe and stable career, with almost every midwifery graduate in immediate employment, earning an average of £22,000 from the outset.
Some modules you may study are:
- Public health and childbearing
- Human relationships in midwifery
- Prenatal care
- Autonomous midwifery
- Postnatal care
- Midwifery emergencies
- Midwifery research
- Midwifery leadership
Most midwifery graduates will remain in their careers for life, but the transferable skills developed during practice lend themselves to success in other medical and caring professions.
A new grant has been announced for nursing, midwifery, and some allied health professional students from August 2020 – offering students between £5,000 and £8,000, and which doesn’t need to be paid back.
All new and continuing degree-level students enrolled on a course in September 2020 will receive at least £5,000 a year.
Some students will be eligible for an additional £3,000, creating a total grant of £8,000 per year. Further details of eligibility will be confirmed by the government in early 2020.
Students will still be able to access funding for tuition and maintenance loans from the Student Loans Company.
A levels – Entry requirements range from BCC to ABB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for ABB.
Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBC to AAABB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring BBBC. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for AB.
Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, or an SCQF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.
Studying midwifery is demanding, there’s no doubting that. You’ll need to push yourself and rise to challenges, both in the classroom and on the ward. The three-year course is designed to teach and prepare you for everything you might face as a midwife, so expect to step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
But once you graduate, you’ll be stepping into one of the most rewarding jobs going.
You won’t be sitting in lectures five days a week. You’ll split your time between theory and practice, meaning that you’ll often be on placement. You will have the opportunity to observe specialists at work, and eventually treat your own patients under supervision. You’ll be working all sorts of hours on placement, just like you will when you’re a qualified midwife.
You’ll generally study the same modules as everybody else during your midwifery degree, rather than specialising in certain areas. This is because you need to have a lot of core skills to become a licensed midwife, and be allowed to care for mothers and babies.
During your degree, you can expect to be:
- writing reports and essays
- carrying out research projects
- attending lectures and seminars
- watching practical demonstrations
- observing professional midwifery
- practising supervised midwifery
The nature of a midwifery degree means you won’t get as much time off as some of your friends on different courses. You can expect to spend 20+ hours per week in the classroom, plus the time on placement in hospitals and clinics.
If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.
There are over 60 apprenticeships in the health and science sector available in England, with more in development.
Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.