Nursing BSc

UCAS code : B740 Adult Nursing; B760 Mental Health Nursing
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

If you are 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 or Western Isles of Scotland leading to professional registration as an Adult or Mental Health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  Our BSc in 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 be able to experience nursing care in different hospital and community settings and to study at our Department of Nursing and Midwifery in Inverness (Adult and Mental Health Nursing) or Stornoway (Adult Nursing only). Our students may also have the opportunity to undertake international exchanges.

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 and Western Isles of Scotland
  • Internationally acknowledged academics
  • Exciting placement opportunities in a wide range of hospital and community settings
  • Possible international exchange opportunity
  • Possible opportunities to meet and work alongside student nurses from oversees
  • Innovative teaching and learning approaches
  • Student centred and student focused curriculum


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

Entry requirements

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. 

Entry requirements:

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grades BCC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above OR
  • College access course e.g. NC Health and Social Care Level 6 plus one higher at grade C or above OR
  • Access to Nursing with a pass and CCB in the profile OR
  • Relevant HNC/HND with a pass OR
  • SVQ Level 3 pass in a care-related subject (or equivalent) plus 2 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • Completion of foundation apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare plus one higher at grade C 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 (C or above) or equivalent


  • National 5 or Intermediate 2 at Grade C or above in Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics OR
  • Standard Grade (grade 3 or above) OR
  • GCSE (C 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 (C 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 - Grade B in Reading, Listening and Speaking and Grade C+ in Writing (if you sat your test before August 2018); from September 2018 onwards: 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.

All successful applicants are subject to a Disclosure Scotland (PVG) check. This will show all spent and unspent criminal convictions. Previous criminal convictions need not exclude you, but all convictions must be declared on your application.

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

Year 2 - DipHE

Modules for both degrees are:

  • Clinical practice 3
  • Clinical practice 4
  • 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 nursing practice 2

Mental health nursing studenst 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?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, you will study online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will have an online induction week at the start of the course. Face-to-face teaching, including health and safety and clinical skills sessions will be introduced as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing. This also applied to placement activities from semester two.
  • 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. The programme uses a range of teaching and learning experiences including lectures, seminars, small group work, clinical skills 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 across NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles. 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 alwys supervised by an appropriate person. Throughout the programme students will learn what it is like to work within the NHS and with integrated care teams, developing clinical knowledge, skills and confidence as a key member of the multi-professional healthcare team.   

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 may include night shifts, 12-hour shifts and weekend shifts; these shift patterns may 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
  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Stornoway

Start date

  • September

Our campuses in Inverness and Stornoway provide students with one of the most unique and picturesque settings to gain a degree in the UK. The Department of Nursing and Midwifery is based at the Centre for Health Science near Raigmore Hospital, in Inverness and the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.  Nursing students undertake the adult nursing degree in Inverness or Stornoway and mental health nursing degree in Inverness.

The Centre for Health Science is home to world leading healthcare research.  Our academics at both campus sites are recognised for excellence in teaching and learning and their work is internationally recognised for being innovative and ground-breaking.  We provide a supportive and friendly environment to learn and develop professional nursing skills. Simulation labs help to facilitate state-of-the-art clinical skills teaching.  The Centre for Health Science library and Western Isles Hospital library provide access to the most current and up-to-date resources.


Student normally domiciled in Scotland or European Union/EEA (excluding the rest of the UK), with a term-time address in Scotland:

Currently, Scottish/EU students who meet the residency criteria and have not previously studied nursing (or midwifery) will have the full cost of their tuition fees covered. If you are not sure of your residency eligibility you should contact the Students Awards Agency for Scotland.

Self-funding Scottish/EU students will pay £1820 per year ( The Home-Scotland/EU fee rate is set by the Scottish Government and will be confirmed by March 2020).

Rest of the UK Students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply :

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £8,000 £9,000

Students from the rest of the UK can apply for tuition fee and living cost loan from their home funding body.

International students

This course is not currently available for international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK. For students living in the UK and assessed as international fee status, the following fees will apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £12,800 £13,200

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


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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What our students, graduates and staff say

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 2021

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.