Nursing BSc

Course code : B740 Adult Nursing; B760 Mental Health Nursing

What is special about this course?

If you're looking for an exciting and rewarding career, nursing could be for you.

The University of the Highlands and Islands offers you the opportunity to undertake a nursing degree in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, leading to professional registration as an Adult or Mental Health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Our BSc Nursing Programme is an innovative programme that combines the best of teaching, technology, simulation and practice experience to prepare you for an exciting career in nursing.

You will experience nursing care in a range of different hospital and community settings and you may have the opportunity to undertake some time on an international elective experience.

Your programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills to gain entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register as a nurse. The primary purpose of the NMC is protection of the public. It does this through maintaining a register of all qualified nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses eligible to practise within the UK and by setting national standards for their education, training and conduct.

The aim of the programme is to support your development into a confident and competent nurse, who can provide effective, compassionate care in a range of care settings. You will have the opportunity to develop skills of critical reading, appreciation and analysis, numeracy and literacy.

For more information, come and see us at our open days.

Special features

  • Academic qualification (BSc) and gain NMC registration
  • Opportunities to experience and learn about nursing practice in a diverse range of contexts, including island, urban, remote and rural settings
  • Dynamic career opportunities within Scotland, the UK and beyond
  • Study in the heart of the beautiful Highlands of Scotland or in the Western Isles 
  • Internationally acknowledged academics
  • Exciting placement opportunities in a wide range of hospital and community settings across the NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles areas
  • Innovative teaching and learning approaches
  • Student centred and student focused curriculum


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

Important: Please click here to read our FAQ sheet for information about applying to this programme.

This programme is aimed at school or college leavers and mature entrants who have the desire and aptitude to care for patients, carers and their families. 

All applicants must satisfy the entry requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, including evidence of literacy and numeracy, for entry to pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes (NMC Circular 03/2008, revised 2010 Standards). All applicants will need to demonstrate this with acceptable qualification awards in both English and Maths.


Entry requirements:

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grades BBC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above OR
  • Access to Nursing with a pass and BCC in the profile OR
  • HNCs: Healthcare Practice preferred, although any health/science-related HNC will be considered, plus SQA National 5 English and Maths (grade C) / Intermediate 2 (grade C) / Standard (grade 3) / GCSE (grade 4), or equivalent OR 
  • SVQ Level 3 pass in a care-related subject (or equivalent) plus 2 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • Completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare plus one Higher at grade B or above

You must also have the below qualifications to gain entry to this course:


  • National 5 or Intermediate 2 at grade C or above OR
  • Standard Grade (grade 3 or above) OR
  • SQA Communications 3 OR
  • GCSE English Literature or Language (grade 4 or above) or equivalent


  • National 5 or Intermediate 2 at grade C or above in Mathematics, Applications of Mathematics or Lifeskills Mathematics OR
  • Standard Grade (grade 3 or above) OR
  • GCSE (grade 4 or above) or equivalent

Additional desired requirements:

  • Human Biology, Biology, or a science subject: National 5 or Intermediate 2 at grade C or above; or Standard Grade (grade 3 or above); or GCSE (grade 4 or above); or equivalent

Recognised European or international equivalent qualifications are considered. If English is not your first language, you must have evidence of your English language skills. All non-UK students must have one of the two options below:

  • IELTS at 7.0, with writing element at 6.5 or above and all other elements at 7.0 or above
  • OET - a score of 350 or above in Reading, Listening and Speaking and a score of 300 or above in Writing
  • Please note that English language tests need to have been taken no more than two years prior to the start date of the course

Qualifications over 5 years old are considered on an individual basis

As part of the recruitment process, selected applicants will be invited to a compulsory interview day which is designed specifically for entrants to nursing. Full guidelines will be provided in advance of the interview day including required preparation for the event. It will be helpful for you at that stage to be familiar with the Nursing and Midwifery Code.

This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage.

All successful applicants must be passed fit by Occupational Health. This will require a questionnaire and also a personal visit to the Occupational Health Department in addition to and on a separate occasion to the interview day.

Evidence of your digital and technological literacy will be determined by successful completion of your online application.

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

There are two programmes available - Adult Nursing and Mental Health Nursing. In the first year all students complete the same modules:

  • Foundations in science, skills and practice for nurses 1
  • Introduction to professional practice 1
  • Clinical practice 1
  • Foundations in science, skills and practice for nurses 2
  • Introduction to professional practice 2
  • Clinical practice 2

Year 2 - DipHE

Modules for both degrees are:

  • Clinical practice 3
  • Clinical practice 4a
  • Clinical practice 4b
  • Developing professional practice 1
  • Developing professional practice 2
  • Enhancing knowledge and skills for nursing practice 1

Adult nursing students will also study:

  • Enhancing knowledge and skills for adult nursing practice 2

Mental health nursing students will also study:

  • Enhancing knowledge and skills for mental health nursing practice 2

Year 3 - BSc

Modules for both degrees are:

  • Transition to professional practice 1 and 2
  • Clinical practice 5a, 5b and 6

Adult nursing students will also study:

  • Assessment and management of complex care needs in adult nursing 1 and 2

Mental health nursing students will also study:

  • Assessment and management of complex care needs in mental health nursing 1 and 2

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • You will study the theoretical basis of nursing practice plus behavioural, social and biological sciences applied to health. Emphasis is placed on the importance of competence in clinical nursing practice combined with in-depth knowledge and evidence-based decision-making skills
  • We aim for excellence in teaching and learning, and use a blended approach to learning. The programme incorporates a range of online and face to face learning experiences including lectures, seminars, small group work, independent learning, clinical skills teaching, and simulation. Theory and research-based practice are integrated in the classroom and the clinical setting. Student-centred learning is central to our core education philosophy and our teaching methods encourage and support self-development and professional and personal awareness through reflection on experience. You will be assessed by a range of methods including examinations, essays, reports, presentations, clinical skills assessments and assessments of practice
  • The practice element of our course is afforded equal status to the theoretical work and practice placements are undertaken in a range of placement settings. During clinical practice students are supernumerary (not counted as part of the workforce numbers), although they are expected to participate in all appropriate levels of care delivery and are always supervised by an appropriate person 
  • The programme starts with an induction week and attendance at the full induction week is mandatory for all students
  • The programme does not follow a standard academic year: holidays are at fixed times each year and cannot be changed

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 3 years @ 37.5 hours per week                 

This is a full-time programme that consists of 50% theory and 50% clinical practice. During clinical practice allocations it is expected that all students will undertake an average of 37.5 hours of prescribed clinical practice each week. Students are required to experience a variety of shift patterns which will include night shifts, 12-hour shifts and weekend shifts; these shift patterns will usually be undertaken within a system that provides 24-hour, 7 day a week care.

Where can I study my course?

  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Inverness - based at Centre for Health Science
  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Stornoway - based at UHI North, West and Hebrides

The Department of Nursing and Midwifery has two campuses: one, within the Centre for Health Science near Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, home to world-leading healthcare research; and the other, based at UHI North, West and Hebrides, in the beautiful setting of Stornoway. 

Start date

  • September


Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.


Scottish students who meet the residence criteria may be eligible for the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary, a non-repayable, non-income assessed bursary. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be able to apply for additional allowances. Further details are available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

Authorised clinical placement expenses for accommodation and travel are reimbursed on receipt.

Students from the rest of the UK should apply to their home funding body for living cost loans. 

What can I do on completion of my course?

The majority of nursing graduates entering employment find roles within the NHS, the public sector, as well as with private healthcare providers and the voluntary sector. Following successful completion of your programme you will have a choice of practising as a nurse, going into a specialist or leadership role, undertaking further study, taking up research opportunities or teaching.

Career prospects are excellent with significant opportunities for further professional development and specialisation. A UK registered nursing qualification is recognised in many countries around the world, and therefore provides potential opportunities for travel and work abroad.

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the undergraduate BSc in Nursing programme once successfully completed to a Masters and PhD Programme within the university.

Is there more information available online?

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It may sound daunting to go into full time education, especially when it’s three years training but it passes before you know it. It’s been the best decision I’ve made regarding my career. 

Angela Reid is in her third year of the BSc Adult Nursing at our Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Stornoway campus.

If you have reached a crossroads in your life and you want things to change, entering (or returning) to education is a fantastic way to start that change. Put simply, if you want to do a different job, you’re going to need different qualifications. So, get busy! The geographic spread of this university makes further and higher education more accessible to those living in the more isolated parts. You don’t even need qualifications to begin with; start with an access course and work your way up the academic ladder until you want to step off.

Thomas Rose is studying full time on the BSc Adult Nursing at our Department of Nursing and Midwifery in Stornoway.

I worked in a local nursing home and enjoyed caring for the residents; that was when I knew I wanted to be a nurse. On my course placements I have watched small surgical procedures and post mortems being performed, and spent time in a learning disability unit, a mental health high dependency unit, and in maternity and intensive care units. I have also spent time with the ambulance service and diabetic, pain and Macmillan nurses. Once I graduate, I would like to work in a hospital as a staff nurse.

Nikki Goldby is studying BSc Adult Nursing at our Department of Nursing and Midwifery in Inverness

Apply for Nursing BSc

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2023

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.