Graduate Entry Nursing - Adult MSc


Fact file

MSc Nursing (Graduate Entry Nursing - Adult)
MSc, 2 years subject to previous health care experience (advanced standing) and starts in January
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) (2:1 preferred), and GCSE English, maths and a science subject at grade C or above.
Other requirements
Healthcare experience is necessary to meet the NMC requirements. This is demonstrated by you submitting an online portfolio of your experience as a healthcare assistant, support worker, voluntary or other caring responsibilities. Full details are provided after a conditional offer of a place has been made.
7.0 (no less than 7.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Derby Education Centre at Royal Derby Hospital
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


Using the skills from your undergraduate degree, you'll be prepared with the essential practical skills and theoretical knowledge to become a registered nurse in just two years.

Read full overview

This course is aimed at those who already have a degree and some prior healthcare experience, and are committed to providing excellence in care to adult patients. Students are expected to demonstrate the Chief Nursing Officer's six C's of nursing - care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment - as they learn how to deliver outstanding healthcare in a supportive environment. 

The course offers an enquiry-based, person-centred approach, building on your existing skills for learning. It also incorporates shared learning with other disciplines and professions, developing your clinical leadership skills and preparing you for practice. 

Alongside the huge range of University support services, care has been taken to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. We welcome students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree, or simply want a change of career, and academic support from personal tutors and peers can help students back into education.

The Division of Nursing sits within the School of Health Sciences, which is a research active school. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key nursing textbooks, while many are also qualified nurses. 

This two year accelerated nursing degree has helped to define me as a conscientious healthcare professional. The support of a dedicated team was instrumental in my attaining this fulfilling and worthwhile qualification, while its hands-on and immersive components facilitated a smooth transition into nursing. 

     - George Bond, Graduate Entry Nursing 

Please note this course is not open to international students.
Course duration and structure

This programme is a three year course that is undertaken in two years, through the accreditation of your undergraduate degree and relevant practical experience*. 

In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulation, all courses leading to registration (no matter their academic level) must be of three years duration. However, for students who already have a suitable degree and relevant work experience, we can shorten the duration of the course to two years.

Students are required to produce an advance standing portfolio, which reflects their work at the level expected of a year one student nurse within their chosen field. The portfolio is produced electronically through distance-learning and there is plenty of support to help with this process, including live webinars and tutorial support in terms of any technical difficulties.

*Examples of relevant experience can be found under the 'Relevant healthcare experience' drop down, below.  

This course is not suitable for qualified nurses. If you are a qualified nurse you may wish to consider our professional courses.
Learning environments

This course is offered at the Derby Education Centre at Royal Derby Hospital*, where we have a clinical skills suite and additional drop-in facilities where students can practice in a simulated environment.

Students benefit from learning with manikins, allowing them to gain confidence before working with real patients, as well as allowing them to experience simulated scenarios which might not occur in practice; for example cardiac arrests or critical illness.

Students can also take advantage of the free HELM Open database, offering over 200 quality, peer-reviewed online learning and teaching resources.  

Uniforms for clinical learning

Students are required to wear a uniform for clinical learning, comprising of a polo shirt with navy or black trousers and appropriate shoes. Branded polo shirts are available to purchase from the online shop. 


*As of January 2020, students will be based at the School of Health Sciences, Nottingham. Those commencing January 2019 will be based at the Derby Centre for one year, then at Nottingham from their second year onwards.

View videos about the Derby centre

Campus community

We are proud to have one of the most active students' unions at any UK university, with over 300 societies and sports clubs where you can have fun, gain new skills and meet like-minded people. Students can also join the Nursing and Midwifery Association (NMA) society, who  host social activities, organise sporting events and provide welfare support.

How to apply

From August 2017 applications for GEN have moved to the postgraduate route.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and selection made based on academic qualifications and personal attributes suitable for nursing. Candidates will need to present a short account of how their prior learning and experience relates to nursing practice. 

Relevant healthcare experience

Healthcare experience is essential to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) advanced standing requirements for this course. This will involve demonstrating a basic level of care experience (under supervision) through the submission of an online portfolio of evidence.

Examples of relevant experience could include working as:

  • a healthcare assistant
  • a support worker
  • a volunteer with charitable healthcare institutions
  • a care giver within the family 

Find out more about the selection process.


Practice-based learning is a key part of the course and you will experience a range of placements, working with healthcare professionals in a variety of areas, spending 50% of your time in a clinical practice setting.

Practice experience mainly takes place across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, in a range of in-patient and community settings. These could include:

  • acute medical wards
  • acute surgical wards
  • rehabilitation wards
  • critical care and intensive care
  • coronary care
  • district nursing
  • practice nursing
  • emergency nursing
Placement settings

Our MSc-GEN adult nursing students are typically allocated to community, private, voluntary and independent, and acute placement settings.

Students will gain experience in each of the following placement categories:

  • medical
  • surgical
  • acute care
  • healthcare of the older person
  • community

Hub and spoke model

The course has a 50/50 split in terms of time spent in study and practice placement, and we have introduced an innovative hub-and-spoke model.

Your 'hub' placement will be your main base and will provide you with experience in a particular area. The 'spoke' placement allows you to go to a different area to see another aspect of the patient journey. For example, you may be based on a hospital ward, but you will also experience a GP's surgery and the care outpatients receive in the community once they go home.

This holistic approach will give you a wider perspective and demonstrate some of the challenges that both patients and healthcare professionals face at various stages. 

Year one

In the first year, you will take part in small study groups (cross field), with some specialising in adult nursing.

The structure is as below:

Module one

  • ten weeks theory
  • five weeks hub placement
  • leave
  • five weeks theory

Module two

  • four weeks theory
  • four weeks spoke placement
  • four weeks return to hub placement (this is assessed)
  • three weeks theory 

Please note that students have the same mentor for both hub placements.

Year two

In year two, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice. This supervision is integrated into the course structure from the first to last clinical placement.

Clinical skill development is an essential component of any nursing course. This will occur both in University and practice. Some clinical skills, for example hand washing, are accessed alongside other components of the course.

Typical clinical skills that will be covered include:

  • patient observations
  • giving injections
  • first aid
  • administering of medication
  • wound dressing 

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as an adult nurse.

Find out more about how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable, on our teaching webpage.

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from individuals irrespective of age, race, sexual orientation or background as the diversity this brings to nursing reflects the population you will be caring for as a registered nurse. We are experienced in providing advice relevant to your needs as a mature nursing student through our personal tutor and University support systems.

Find out more about studying at Nottingham as a mature student on the mature students' website. 

As a mature student I've had a lot of support and realised that there's a lot of people in the same boat as me - that don't live within the halls of residence at University, and that are around my age - so I've had a lot of peer support as well as the academic support.  

     - Gavin Hibberd-Smith, Graduate Entry Nursing 


Watch our student profiles


Course details

Entry requirements

Students are required to have an honours degree (2:2 or above) and GCSEs including English, maths and a science* at grade 4 (C) or above. Please note we will not accept nursing degrees.

As part of your preparation there is a pre-course biosciences workbook and formative assessment for you to complete. This is not a formal entry requirement, though will provide you with resources and identify gaps in your science knowledge which you can address to excel in your studies.

*Anatomy and Physiology, Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Double Award.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, and you have not attained GCSE English at grade 4 (C) or above, then you must pass an approved test before you apply.

For nursing the test currently recognised is the IELTS with the following scores:

  • At least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections
  • At least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections
  • An overall score of 7 (out of a possible 9)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants' varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We consider applicants' circumstances and broader achievements as part of the assessment process, but do not vary the offer from the grades advertised as a result of these. Please see the University's admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

Entry qualifications should be regulated (see find a regulated qualification) and overseas qualifications are accepted at our discretion after discussion with the University of Nottingham's International Office. Distance learning programme may be accepted if a recognised regulated qualification is awarded.

For all courses, selection is made on the basis of meeting entry requirements, academic potential and evidence of commitment to nursing. All offers are subject to being successful at the selection day, satisfactory health screening, and disclosure and barring service (DBS) clearance. 

International students

This course is not currently available to international students.



Our modules provide a balance of nursing theory and practical application via placements and are delivered in 15 week blocks. Modules are guided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) policies and procedures.

On completion of all eight modules, students will be eligible to register as a qualified adult nurse with the NMC.

Typical Year One Modules
Foundations for Professional and Personal Effectiveness in Nursing

This module provides students with the opportunity to explore the foundations of health and illness within the context of their developing professional role. Students will have the opportunity to develop knowledge, values and skills that place the individual at the centre of health care delivery and which are required for the safe delivery of care in a variety of settings. Learning will be primarily enquiry-based but also in the form of workshops, seminars and lectures.

Diverse Perspectives on Care Assessment, Planning, Delivery and Decision Making for Nursing Practice

This module gives the opportunity to experience health from the perspective of the individual and their carer. You will consider factors in infection control, self-management, communication, the impact of health on the family unit and assessment, re-integration and social inclusion.

The Social Context of Health Care Provision and Delivery

This module provides students with the opportunity to critically evaluate the role and practice of the nurse in a variety of settings. This includes further development of knowledge and skills in applying and evaluating appropriate and relevant nursing care and provides students with an understanding of health determinants, health inequalities and the development of skills in health promotion. You will be helping care givers by promoting independence and rehabilitation. 

Typical Year Two Modules
Complex Care Delivery and Decision Making for
Nursing Practice

This module gives you the chance to consolidate knowledge and the skills needed to deliver care to individuals. You will consider the evaluation and implementation of care in complex scenarios and analyse their practice in terms of ethical and legal responsibilities. You will learn through a number of lectures, workshops, discussions and seminars to develop your skills.

Adult Field Complex Care Delivery and Decision
Making for Nursing Practice

This module will give you the chance to consolidate knowledge and skills needed in a variety of complex adult settings. You will consider emergency care, specialist environments and the planning and decision making needed to deliver care effectively. You will work in areas of psychology and biology to deliver treatment to Adults and take into account the application of interventions to prevent health issues. You will learn through a number of lectures, workshops, discussions and seminars to develop your skills.

Professional Development, Leadership and Innovation
for Nursing Practice 

This module provides students with the opportunity to develop the capacity to organise and evaluate care and the management of individuals and/or groups in order to deliver high quality holistic care. You will also consider the best innovations necessary to offer the best practice and service delivery. There will be lectures, workshops and seminars to help you progress.

Research Dissertation

In this module you will complete an empirical or literature based research discussion. You will give in-depth critical analysis of relevant literature and analyse different findings. In addition you will discuss the implications in your findings and offer recommendations for nursing practice. Finally you will contribute to the existing knowledge and evidence base for nursing knowledge and practice through effective written and verbal communication, effectively disseminating conclusions to a range of audiences. 


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Update on funding changes for graduate entry nursing

The longer-term national position regarding funding of postgraduate courses leading to registration as a nurse remains undecided, with a statement below from the NHS and Health Educational England:

“The government will continue to provide a bursary for tuition and maintenance to meet the full costs of the course for a capped number of postgraduate students applying for postgraduate courses leading to registration (including masters and postgraduate diplomas/certificates) starting in 2017/18. The government will set out arrangements for 2018/19 onwards for postgraduate courses leading to registration in due course.”

For students applying for January 2018, this means:
Course fees are paid for all students who meet the NHS student bursaries eligibility criteria. Eligible students will receive a non-means tested grant of £1,000 and a means-tested bursary of up to £4,395. Additional allowances are available for students with disabilities and dependents, but you will not be eligible for the Reduced Rate student loan.

For students applying for January 2019, this means:
We are awaiting a decision about the January 2019 funding arrangements.

Full details from the Health Career NHS/Health Education England can be found online with additional information on The Funding Clinic from the Council of Deans. For an independent view on student finance see Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert website.



The 2018 Complete University Guide ranked us in the top 10 for nursing in the UK, while graduates benefit from both an academic qualification and a professional qualification that serves to enhance their employment opportunities.

Nursing graduates enjoy careers in a diverse range of settings, including both the NHS and the private, voluntary and independent sector, either locally or further afield. Nurses are the largest group of staff in the NHS and you may choose to pursue a career in clinical care, teaching and research, or management. You can also continue studying with the University of Nottingham whilst in employment with our postgraduate and doctoral studies

Find out more about the range of nursing careers

For details of typical employment opportunities, check the RCN Bulletin and NHS Jobs website.

Professional recognition

This course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Average starting salary and career progression

A newly qualified nurse working in the NHS can expect to be employed at Band 5 with a salary ranging from £22,128 up to £28,746*. With career progression and development there is the prospect of applying for senior clinical posts, for example, Band 6 Ward Manager/Band 6 District Nurse (salary range £26,565-£35,577) and Band 7 Specialist Nurse (salary range £31,696-£41,787)*.

In 2016, 99.4% of undergraduates from the School of Health Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,523 with the highest being £38,000**.

*Correct as of 1 April 2017.

**Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for work, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in your career. 

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills by: 

  • assisting with job or course applications
  • searching for appropriate work experience placements
  • hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers 

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.   

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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