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Nursing courses

If you want a course where you study the physical, psychological and social needs of patients and their families and then learn to apply this knowledge through practical community and hospital based placements, then nursing could be for you. Nurses provide a vital role in a front-line health care team and you can specialise in adult, child, mental health or learning disability nursing.

Studying nursing at university

Example course modules

  • Health issues and ethics
  • Work-based learning
  • Personal development
  • Developing skills for practice
  • Managing complexities in care delivery
  • Introduction to epidemiology
  • Planning care for the adult patient
  • Global health and sustainability
  • Developing therapeutic approaches and practice
  • Introduction to health and wellbeing

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 90%
    Male : 10%
  • Mature : 70%
    School leaver : 30%
  • Full-time : 75%
    Part-time : 25%

What students say about nursing

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Biology or another science

Useful to have

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
This is the subject with the most degree graduates in 2012 - over 14,300. We'll always need nurses in this country, so it's no surprise to see that the very large majority of nursing graduates go on to become nurses, and that starting salaries are pretty competitive. There are lots of different specialties to choose from (including midwifery), and the most common by far is adult nursing, but the typical end result for graduates is the same – they go on to become nurses (or midwives). That’s not to say that you can’t do anything else. Some nursing graduates get other jobs - usually, but not always, in health or caring professions, or management.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Nursing and midwifery professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Health service manager
  • Paramedic
  • Care home manager

Other real-life job examples

  • Adult nurse
  • Children's nurse
  • Mental health nurse

What employers like about this subject

Studying for a degree in nursing will help you to develop skills in patient care, in case assessment and handling, and in multidisciplinary, clinical team-working. Other useful transferable skills that a nursing degree can provide include communication, time management, adaptability, problem-solving, and leadership. Nurses tend to work in hospitals, but can also work for GP practices, in clinics, for schools or universities, in the Armed Forces, in social or residential care homes and in the leisure industry attached to hotels or cruise ships.