SWAP Access to Nursing SCQF 6 (study from anywhere) NC

What is special about this course?

Our SWAP Access to Nursing course is exactly what you will need if you are thinking of a career in nursing or care.

If you would like to train in the health industry but lack the necessary qualifications, this could be the course for you.

Access to Nursing is part of the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP) and is specifically for people who have been out of formal education for at least 3 years (see entry requirements for more details). It prepares adult returners for entry into Higher Education and can lead to a place at college or university.

Health care is provided in settings such as nursing homes, residential homes, hospitals and resource centres for people with learning disabilities. The demands for a skilled health care workforce are increasing.

This course provides a range of topics both theoretical and practical related to working in this sector.

Care workers must operate from a good ethical value base and so you will study the principles underpinning the National Occupational Standards and National Care Standards. The programme will allow you to meet the professional standards required for registration with the Scottish Social Services Council.

The following universities will consider applications from SWAP Access to Nursing students to their degree programmes:

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Robert Gordon University

University of the Highlands and Islands

University of the West of Scotland


Entry requirements

  • Experience of working in a care setting is desirable but not essential
  • Good communication skills and a real interest in working with people

Additionally, the criteria for entry to this SWAP (Scottish Wider Access Programme) course are:

  • Out of education for at least 3 years and your highest qualification is National 5, or
  • Out of education for at least 5 years and your highest qualification is Higher.

Preparation for higher education

Understanding of mental health and mental illness

Working as a team in a care setting

Health promotion

Understanding the needs of the older person

Caring for people with dementia

Care Higher

  • Care Human Development and Behaviour
  • Care Social Influences
  • Care Values & Principles
  • Exam

Human Biology Higher 4 credits (evening class)

  • Human Cells
  • Physiology and Health
  • Neurobiology and Immunology
  • Exam


Internet connection and a suitable device with headphones, microphone and camera (minimum spec) is required. Please email us if you have any concerns about connectivity or equipment.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Online

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis. 

Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers, students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning.

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:
• posting your idea in a discussion forum,
• completing a quiz,
• practising a task, activity or idea
• watching a video or reading,
• discussing and working on a solution with another student,
• researching and gathering information,
• completing an assignment or project-based task.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

Your connected learning will take place in an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students. We have ten college centres and there may be an option to study some of the time from your local centre. 

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Study from anywhere including your local campus or centre

Start date



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


Students may qualify for bursary, EMA or childcare funding. Please contact your local college centre or Student Services for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

The following universities will consider applications from SWAP Access to Nursing students to their degree programmes:

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Robert Gordon University

University of the Highlands and Islands

University of the West of Scotland

Visit SWAP to find out more about your course progression options

Is there more information available online?

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You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

The SWAP course has enabled me to get back into education after 13 years. It has allowed me to gain the qualifications to go further into the field of Nursing and has also set me up to use my abilities to apply myself to a university degree. I have really enjoyed studying; it has given me a focus and taken me a step further towards becoming a nurse. I have enjoyed being involved with the classes, feeling a sense of achievement from completing course work and being supported by the wonderful college team. I would highly recommend the SWAP course. It is a package to help you into the career you want. It will refocus your abilities to prove to yourself that you can achieve your goals. The most important thing for me was proving to myself that I am capable if I put my mind to it, and that it’s never too late to apply yourself. This course was a crucial part of my career path. I plan to go on to university to study Adult Nursing.

Robert MacNeil  

Apply for SWAP Access to Nursing SCQF 6 (study from anywhere) NC

I want to start in 2023/24

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI North, West and Hebrides. UHI North, West and Hebrides operates 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 age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.