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Start your career as a mental health nursing professional

The BSc Mental Health Nursing course provides you with the knowledge, skills, practical experience and confidence to allow you to become a mental health nursing professional.

Understanding what factors contribute to psychological or neurological health issues is one of the most complex and fascinating fields of healthcare. As a mental health nurse you can start your career working independently or as part of a multi-disciplinary team to treat complex health and mental health needs, with a recovery-focused approach.

Our course is 50% work-based learning, so you’ll be spending a significant amount of time putting what you’ve learnt in lectures into practice in a real-life clinical environment.

Upon graduation, you will achieve registration as a Registered Nurse in mental health with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Placement Opportunities

Work-based learning makes up 50% of the BSc Mental Health Nursing and you will spend time on placement with our local healthcare partners:

  • NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  • NHS Highland
  • NHS Lanarkshire
  • NHS Dumfries
  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Placements will typically be made available close to your place of study, although there will be a requirement to work in other locations throughout south-west Scotland.

Study Abroad

Study abroad is extremely beneficial to personal and professional development and research has shown that worldwide employers value graduates with intercultural awareness and global competences.

In year 2 you will have the option to take part in a study trip abroad, typically lasting 3-5 days in total. During year 3 you will have the option to study abroad and gain credit towards your degree at one of our 80 university partners

Placements will typically be made available close to your place of study although there will be a requirement to work in other locations throughout south-west Scotland.


of all UWS students in work and/or further study 6 months after graduating

The Future of Dementia Care

Here at UWS our nursing students and staff are playing a key role in developing the future of dementia care.

There are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this figure is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025.

By focusing on experimental learning, we make sure that you will be rights focused, confident and compassionate when dealing with this condition.

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience.

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Year 1

  • Scottish Highers:BBC (or BC plus UWS ‘First Steps into Nursing’)plus English and Maths at National 5 / Intermediate 2 / Standard Grade credit level 
  • A levels:BC plus Maths, English Language and English Literature at GCSE level 
  • Irish Leaving Certificate:H3 H3 H4 plus English and Maths at Ordinary Level 
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme: Access to Nursing: BBB 
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC:Healthcare or Social Care preferred although any HNC will be considered 
  • FETAC: Complete and pass Level 5 

All applicants must satisfy the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) entry requirements for pre-registration adult nursing education. This is to ensure applicants have good health and good character sufficient for safe and effective practice as Registered Nurse in mental health. 
Entry is also dependent on the outcome of the following screening process: 

  • personal interview 
  • health Screening 
  • membership of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

  • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
  • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
  • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Course details

Students undertaking the BSc Mental Health Nursing will develop knowledge, skills and practical experience to become a Registered Nurse in mental health with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) upon graduation. The degree will also foster an interest in continuous professional development and the importance of keeping your knowledge and skills up-to-date and in line with current best practice.

Year 1

In year 1 you will receive a broad introduction to mental health nursing, understanding the inter-relation of physical and mental health and the importance of treating the person, not just the illness.  You will develop knowledge and clinical practice through modules in foundations of life and social science, introduction to nursing, fundamental skills and foundations of health. In addition you will complete modules which focus on your own area of specialism. 

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 14% 
  • Independent study: 56% 
  • Placement: 30% 



  • Exam: 17% 
  • Practical: 33% 
  • Coursework: 50%

Year 2

In year 2 you will complete modules on applied skills, care of vulnerable people, nursing for recovery, mental health, and skills in mental health nursing. You will also spend time enhancing your clinical skills on placement.  

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 12% 
  • Independent study: 32% 
  • Placement: 56% 



  • Exam: 17% 
  • Practical: 58% 
  • Coursework: 25%

Year 3

In year 3 you will develop your knowledge, decision-making and practical skills as you develop the professional standards required for registration as a Registered Nurse in mental health. You will study modules in fitness for practice, strategies for mental health and research evidence and practice.  You can also specialise in an area of personal interest such as: 

  • dementia 
  • forensic services 
  • child and adolescent mental health 


As well as spending time on placement you will undertake an individual research project on a related topic of your choice. 

In year 3 you will also have the opportunity to take part in our annual Mental Health Student Conference, which brings together UWS Mental Health Nursing students, academics and mental health professionals to share best practice and showcase your work to the sector. In recent years the Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland and the Scottish Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health have delivered keynote speeches at this event. 

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 10% 
  • Independent study: 35% 
  • Placement: 55% 



  • Practical: 33% 
  • Coursework: 67%

Teaching & Assessment

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, practical workshops and guided laboratory work. 

There will also be group work, literature reports and research projects in order to ensure our degrees provide a strong set of additional skills, such as presentational and communicative skills. 

Our nursing degree uses a variety of assessment methods. The below list provides a guide to the types of assessment methods you can expect: 

  • Written examinations 
  • Written reports 
  • Coursework 
  • Practical assessment

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

Course Structure (17/18)

Career prospects


Upon completion you can register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Registered Nurse in mental health. Most graduates use their registration to become Staff Nurse working in a hospital or community setting. Job opportunities are excellent and graduates can expect a good starting salary and career prospects. For students interested in working abroad this degree enables you to work in the rest of the EU, some states in the USA and Australia.

Further Study

Upon graduation you could undertake further study at UWS including MSc Nursing, MSc Vulnerability and MSc Mental Health Practice. There are also opportunities to study Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at postgraduate level. Other topics for study at undergraduate and postgraduate level include acute mental health, personality disorders, dementia care and child protection.

Undergraduate Tuition Fees

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2017/18

Scottish & EU

£1,820 per year of study

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 per year of study

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 per year of study

International (Non-EU)

£12,300 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.

In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.

You can also find additional information in our Undergraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as an undergraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at undergraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at undergraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.


All UK and EU applicants for undergraduate study, not applying through an agent or partner, must apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS codes for UWS

  • Institution name: UWS
  • Institution code: U40


If you are applying from a non-EU/EEA country for entry to one of our Bachelor’s degree courses in September, and have not applied already via UCAS, or have not applied to another UK university, then you may apply via our dedicated online application system.

For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide.

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.


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Course Enquiries Team



Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

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Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.