Nursing (Mental Health) BSc


Fact file - 2018 entry

Nursing (Mental Health) | BSc Hons
UCAS code
3 years full-time 
A level offer
Required subjects
Plus five GCSEs at grade C or above to include English, maths and a science subject 
IB score
32 (with three subjects at Higher Level, including a science subject, plus English and maths at Standard Level) 
Course location
Medical School, Nottingham 
Course places
300 across Adult, Child and Mental Health Nursing including a maximum of 5 international places


This course will develop your clinical skills and healthcare knowledge through a blended approach and give you invaluable experience working with real patients so you're prepared when you graduate.
Read full overview

This information is based on the curriculum for 2017 entry. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is currently revising its standards for nursing education, and so what we teach may change for 2018. Please keep checking this page for the latest details.

Our BSc Mental Health nursing course is aimed at those who are committed to providing excellence in care to people who experience mental health problems.

According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), nursing is defined as "The use of clinical judgement in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability...". Mental health nurses make a vital contribution to supporting service users’ recovery, working alongside people to help them manage their distress and work towards individualised goals.   

On this course students will have the opportunity to learn a range of mental health nursing skills including communication skills, building rapport, and developing a therapeutic relationship. Students will also learn about different psychological approaches and techniques that can help people learn how to manage their mental distress. These skills will be developed through role play, working in groups, understanding the underpinning theories, and on practice placements.

Students are expected to demonstrate the Chief Nursing Officer’s six C’s of nursing, namely: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Working within these values enables mental health nursing students to deliver recovery orientated care. The BSc Mental Health Nursing course is underpinned by a recovery philosophy. Recovery in mental health " about building a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by the person themselves, whether or not there are ongoing or recurring symptoms or problems" (Shepard, Boardman, Slade 2014).

This course is designed to build the skills and knowledge needed for a modern nursing career, giving you three full years in your chosen specialism. We offer a person-centred approach, offering holistic care for the individual and their family - covering social, psychological and biological perspectives - and you will gain clinical experience in a supportive environment. 

Alongside the huge range of University support services, particular care has been given to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. As such, the course has been specially developed to provide the wide-ranging, high-level skills you need; not just in terms of the practical work you will do, but also by sharpening your creativity, critical judgement and ability to lead.

The Division of Nursing sits within the School of Health Sciences, which is a research active school and has its own dedicated Mental Health Research Group led by Professor Mike Slade. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key mental health texts, while many are also qualified nurses.  

Watch our student profiles

Learning environments

The majority of study takes place at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where we have a clinical skills centre and additional drop in facilities where students can practice in a simulated environment. 

Students benefit from taking part in simulations which enable them to practice mental health nursing care with simulated patients (actors) in a safe environment. Mental Health students also have the opportunity to work alongside child field students, participating in simulated scenarios of with young people who experience emotional distress.

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

Getting to our Nottingham campus is easy, with a wide range of transport links available, from the tram – with stops at both Queen’s Medical Centre and University Park Campus – to a number of public bus services, or the hopper buses which take students from Nottingham to Royal Derby Hospital.


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 aid interprofessional collaboration as well as hosting social activities, organising sporting events and providing welfare support. 

I chose Nottingham because of the opportunities it provides to learn at world-renowned healthcare facilities, alongside staff that are specialists in their field. I have also participated in a number of extracurricular activities that underpin and enable me to use the skills and knowledge I have gained throughout my training. 

     - Jodi Shaw, BSc Nursing 



We believe it is important for you to gain experience not only in the local area, but also further afield, and you will have the opportunity to study nursing overseas, or elsewhere in the UK. This means you will:

  • See how different trusts operate, giving you a wider perspective of the healthcare sector
  • Broaden your practice experience and nursing skills
  • Better prepare yourself for a nursing career, understanding the challenges that both service users and healthcare professionals face at various stages
  • Make connections for future job opportunities and learn which role is suitable for you

During placements, you will be supported by experienced clinical mentors and participate in student forums. 

Placements have been absolutely fantastic and the teaching hospitals have been brilliant.  

- NSS student feedback, 2016

Elective placement

During the second year of your course you will undertake a four-week elective placement. Students arrange their own elective placement and have the potential to go anywhere in the world, provided the country is deemed safe to travel to and the student is able to fund their trip.

For more information, see the 'International Opportunities' tab.


Placement settings

Our BSc mental health 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:

  • Community
  • Acute care and crisis support
  • Mental healthcare of the older person

There are also opportunities to experience some of the following;

  • Forensic services, including high secure hospital
  • Child and adolescent mental health services
  • Substance misuse and addiction services
  • Liaison psychiatry
  • Mother and baby mental health services

Rather than being given a pass/fail, your progress during placements is graded (dependent on the stage of your course), using ‘credits for practice’. Credits go toward your final degree classification, meaning students are assessed based on their practice ability as well as academic achievements.  


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.

In addition to this hub placement, 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 an acute ward, but you will also experience a crisis team and the care service users 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 specialising in mental health nursing.

The structure is as below:

  • Three months of theory until the Christmas break
  • One month hub placement
  • One month spoke placement
  • Two month hub placement

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


Years two and three

In years two and three, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice.

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 skills that will be covered include:

  • Developing the therapeutic relationship
  • Recovery planning
  • Giving injections
  • Cognitive behavioural techniques
  • Administering of medication
  • Coping strategies for hearing voices 

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a mental health 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 


International applicants

We will be offering up to a maximum of five places for international students. Please note that our international course fees include uniforms and placements.

It is highly beneficial for UK students to study with international students, as it broadens their outlook of nursing, allowing them to share experiences and differing practice techniques. 


The University of Nottingham International College (TUNIC) opened in January 2017 offering international students foundation courses including a science foundation certificate and assistance to meet the entry requirements in English provided by Kaplan International Colleges. As of September 2017 this will include courses specifically tailored for nurse entry.  

You will need to satisfy both the Kaplan and University entry requirements to obtain a place on this course. Successful completion of the foundation course, with the necessary progression requirements including maths and English, will be accepted as equivalent qualifications for entry onto one of the nursing courses.

Acceptance onto the nursing course is dependent on face to face interview, Certificate of Good Character, Occupational Health assessment and an IELTS of 7.5. 

For more information, see the 'English language requirements' tab under 'Entry requirements'. 


Entry requirements

You are required to have one of the following:

A levels

A levels are required at grades ABB with at least one being biology, chemistry, physics, physical education, psychology or sociology. General studies will not be accepted.  

If you commenced A Level studies in autumn 2015, completing in summer 2017, and have not chosen a science, please contact us for advice on whether your application can be considered for a BSc Nursing course.

CACHE Diploma
An overall grade A is required.
Scottish Advanced Highers

ABB is required.

Irish Leaving Certificate

AABBB is required.

International Baccalaureate
Diploma with an overall score of 32 points.
European Baccalaureate

Diploma with an overall score of 75%. All candidates must hold science credits of A level equivalence.




5 at grade C or above, including English, maths and a science* (BTEC science components will also be accepted). Key skills will not be accepted.

*anatomy and physiology, human biology, biology, chemistry, physics or double award. 




The Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (Health Studies) or Health Science should be passed with a minimum of DDM as the final award to include a minimum of 60 academic science credits, plus GCSE English and maths (grade C or above). Other relevant Extended Diplomas may be considered if they include 60 credits out of the list below: 

  • Development through the Life Stages 
  • Anatomy and Physiology for Health and Social Care 
  • Sociological Perspectives for Health and Social Care 
  • Physiological Disorders 
  • Health Psychology 
  • Nutrition for Health and Social Care 
  • Complementary Therapies for Health and Social Care 
  • Human Inheritance for Health and Social Care 
  • Infection Prevention and Control 
  • Physiology of fluid balance 
  • Psychological  perspectives for Health and Social Care 
  • Biochemistry for Health
  • Science for Health 


Access to HE Diploma

45 credits at level three (to include a minimum 30 credits at merit or above with at least 15 of these at distinction), with a minimum of 15 credits from science units at merit or above plus, GCSE English and maths (grade C or above).

We no longer accept Functional Skills qualifications in maths and English in lieu of GSCEs.

Distance learning Access to HE courses: any exam invigilation should take place with the invigilator physically present in the room with the student.


English language requirements

Nursing students need to be fluent in the English language in order to both understand and complete the course and to communicate effectively with patients and members of the multidisciplinary team.

For students whose first language is not English we require an IELTS score of 7.5 with no less than 7 in any element. Please note that a pass at GCSE English language with a B or above will normally be regarded as meeting this requirement. 

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

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.

You can find out more information on our Advice for Nursing Applicants webpage.  


International students

We will be offering up to a maximum of five places for international students.

Please note that our international course fees include uniforms, placements and travel to placements.



The course is an integrated blend of modules reflecting the field of mental health nursing. Each module is informed by the latest academic thinking and has been designed to develop the real skills and knowledge you will need to become a registered nurse. 

Typical year one modules

Personal and Professional Effectiveness for Nursing Practice (Level 1)
This module gives you the opportunity to explore nursing in a professional context whilst also developing your understanding of different theories. You will be given insights into ethical practices, mental health legislation and safeguarding in care delivery which will further enhance your confidence in real situations. The aim of this module is to teach you the roles and responsibilities of becoming a nurse.
Communication, Innovation and Leadership (Level 1)
This module introduces principles of communication for nursing practice with links into innovation and leadership. You will be given innovative solutions to care delivery, leadership skills in healthcare and the chance to apply communication models effectively into mental health practice. In addition you will gain an overall understanding of the relationship between nurses and the public which will prepare you for the future. 
Person Centred Nursing Practice: Foundations (Level 1)
This module teaches you the skills needed for nursing assessment, decision making, care delivery and management. You will be given an introduction into human physiology, psychological development, social perspectives, clinical skills for mental health practice and an introduction to pharmacology for medicines administration. By the end of the module you will be able to confidently describe the nurse’s role within the healthcare system.

Typical year two modules

Personal and Professional Effectiveness for Nursing Practice (Level 2)
In this module you will cover the professional, legal and ethical issues you might encounter in nursing. Concepts of accountability and decision making will be analysed as you access complex care placements. You will consider health choices in relation to contemporary law to achieve a solid understanding of current nursing practices.
Innovation, Communication and Leadership (Level 2)
Building on the communication skills developed in Communication, Innovation, Leadership (Year One), you will continue to explore a variety of communicative approaches, including facing challenging behaviour, framing problems effectively, and applying models of communication appropriate to the client group. You will develop an awareness of your own limitations, and those of others, and consider strategies of action. Once more, there is an emphasis on shared reflection to your practice. 
Person Centred Nursing Care: Delivery and Decision Making (Level 2)
This module enhances the skills and knowledge required for nursing assessment, decision making, care delivery and management. It integrates the theoretical knowledge and understanding required into the professional body requirements for nursing care delivery. The aim is to enhance student skills and knowledge for the delivery of recovery orientated nursing care as they experience more complex health and social care practice scenarios. Integration to professional body requirements will be central to this module.

Typical year three modules

Personal and Professional Effectiveness for Nursing Practice (Level 3)
In this module you will be given the opportunity to evaluate your skills through research practice and application of evidence to your nursing practice which will help you on your leadership role placements. In addition a key part of this module will be dissertation preparation through tutorial support. You will be building upon your knowledge from previous years in ethical, professional and legal concerns.
Leadership, Innovation and Communication (Level 3)
This module considers the principles of communication for nurses, within the context of innovation and leadership. You will learn and apply models of communication, develop your leadership skills in the context of working with other professionals, agencies and organisations. You will understand the importance of confidentiality, show an awareness of potential language barriers, and consider policy/ best practice in relation to breaking bad news. The module is delivered through a mixture of practical sessions supplemented by E-learning resources, and a student forum where you will be invited to reflect on your practice.
Person Centred Nursing Care: leadership and management (Level 3)
This module consolidates the skills and knowledge required for assessment, decision making, care delivery and care management. It integrates critical theoretical knowledge and understanding into the professional body requirements for nursing care delivery at the point of registration. The aim is to provide students with an opportunity to consolidate their skills and develop critical knowledge of different mental health care settings to facilitate the leadership and management of high quality recovery orientated nursing care in preparation for their role as a Registered Nurse.

The dissertation provides opportunity to produce an individual and substantial piece of work, over an extended period of time, related to an area of interest within students’ nursing field of practice. By its nature, it requires students to undertake independent work, which encourages individuality of thought and initiative.


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. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


International opportunities

During the second year of your course you will undertake a four-week elective placement. Students arrange their own elective placement and have the potential to go anywhere in the world, provided the country is deemed safe to travel to and the student is able to fund their trip.

Previous students have undertaken placements in Australia, Barbados, Cape Verde, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and USA. 

Elective placements could include working in areas as diverse as:

  • The prison service
  • Mental Health Charities
  • Eating Disorders Services
  • The Department of Health

As well as providing valuable experience, the elective placement also gives students the opportunity to experience a different field to the pathway they are studying. This helps students to develop their skills in caring for people with different health needs, allowing them to understand the challenges in differing fields of nursing.

As an alternative to the four week elective placement, students are also given the opportunity to apply for a 12-week Erasmus placement in Europe with one of our partner institutions.



The 2016 Guardian University Guide ranked us 5th for nursing in the UK, while our 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. Mental health nurses are the largest group of staff working in mental health services 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 recognised 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 £21,909 up to £28,462. 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 £26,302-£35,225) and Band 7 Specialist Nurse (salary range £31,383-£41,373).*

In 2015, 100% of first-degree graduates in the Division of Nursing who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,785 with the highest being £27,000.** 

*Based on NHS pay scales, April 2016.

**Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on 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 any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and 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.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

Changes to the funding and financial support of students beginning nursing, midwifery or physiotherapy courses were announced in the government Spending Review in November 2015. From 2017/18, new students will no longer receive NHS bursaries and will need to take out maintenance and tuition loans like other students. For current details please visit and the Council of Deans of Health website. For an independent view on student finance see Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. As well as passing all modules on the programme, students must meet accrediting body requirements showing they have attended mandatory sessions, met practice outcomes and completed necessary practice hours.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

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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