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 or contact our Nursing Admissions team.

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
  • Draft timetables are usually made available to you 6 weeks prior to the start of theory blocks, allowing time to plan and schedule personal commitments
  • Exciting placement opportunities in a wide range of hospital and community settings across NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and some within the Moray area of NHS Grampian
  • 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 NMC requirements of numeracy and literacy skills sufficient to meet programme outcomes (NMC 2018). All applicants will need to do this with acceptable qualifications in English and Maths, or successful completion of pre-course learning as instructed by the University. 


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 BBC 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
  • SCQF Level 6 Health and Social Care pass with BBC grade profile 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 UHI House
  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Stornoway - based at UHI North, West and Hebrides

The Department of Nursing and Midwifery has two campuses: one within UHI House, 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


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following applies:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Those 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 students will pay £1820 per year (The Home-Scotland fee rate is set by the Scottish Government).

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:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £9,250 £9,250

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:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £15,360 £15,996

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding undergraduate students for continuous 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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Nursing is what I’ve always wanted to do and knowing the fantastic reputation that UHI has for delivering an exceptional nursing programme, I was never in any doubt that I’d stay local and study here. The huge variety of placements in different clinical environments, have provided some unique learning opportunities and I’ve been able to work alongside specialist nurses, advanced nurse practitioners and consultants, which has helped me learn much more about their respective areas of expertise.

Darryl studied the BSc Nursing at UHI's Centre for Health Science, Inverness.

Studying at UHI has been genuinely life changing. Not only have I been supported to become a registered nurse, but they also encouraged me along my entrepreneurial journey to developing my own healthcare product. Not only have they helped me test my idea in a research project, but the innovation department have supported and connected me to get my product to where it is now!

Roma studied the BSc Nursing at UHI's Centre for Health Science, Inverness.

I chose UHI as I wanted to study nursing in a rural context and found that staff at UHI were warm and friendly. I wanted to contribute something meaningful to someone else’s life and I love the mental stimulation of academic study. I have had placements in Stornoway and Wick, and this along with the course will help me prepare to be a community nurse. Lecturers are supportive and approachable- the best thing about UHI is the friendliness and approachability of staff. I would say to do it! If you are determined, then anything is possible.  

Louise is studying the BSc Adult Nursing at UHI House, Inverness. 

Apply for Nursing BSc

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

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.