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Degrees in nursing

Degrees in nursing

Pre registration nursing degree courses are available on a full and part time basis at a variety of universities.

Full time degree courses

There are full time nursing degree courses in all four branches of nursing:

Full time degree courses are three years in length and offered by universities across the country.

However, some universities offer dual branch courses in two areas of nursing. For example adult and mental health nursing, or adult and children's nursing. These courses are usually 4 years in length.

Pre-registration nursing degree programmes provide both an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised nursing practice.You'll spend the academic side of your degree in a university. The programmes begins with a general introduction to nursing, in particular looking at your observational, communication and caring skills.

Supervised nursing practice is 50% of the course and takes place in both hospital and community settings.

You'll find all nursing degrees on our coursefinder.

Masters degree in nursing studies

Pre-registration master's degrees provide an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised nursing practice. Supervised nursing practice is 50% of the programme and occurs in hospital and community settings.

Masters degree programmes can be up to four years in duration and you would usually choose one of the branches of nursing when applying for the course. However, applicants should contact universities directly for more information about the degrees offered.

Part time degree courses

Other than being four years in length, the part time degree courses are very similar to the full-time degree.

However, they are intended for existing NHS staff, usually as an assistant practitioner (or equivalent), and seconded/supported by their employer to complete the course. 

Anyone planning to take a part-time course should speak to their line manager and training department at their employing trust. HEIs will need to be confident that anyone undertaking a part-time programme has the appropriate academic ability to cope with the demands of the course.

Recognising previous learning in theory and practice

Previous theoretical and practice learning can be used to meet some of the programme requirements enabling completion in a shorter time. Previous learning is mapped to the programme standards and requirements using a process known as accreditation of prior (experiential) learning (APEL).

Up to one third of a three year programme can be accredited in this way - the actual amount being determined by each individual university.

Examples of previous learning might include relevant degree or other studies, or relevant practice experience in a nursing or related discipline. What constitutes as relevant, will depend upon the university offering the programme, but could for example, be a psychology, health-related or biology-based degree.


Applications to nursing programmes are made through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). They are made the autumn of the year before the course starts.

Applications for courses are normally forwarded to UCAS between 1 September and 15 January.Applications received between 16 January and 30 June will be considered as late applications. Any applications received after this period will be subject to clearing.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
New Barn Lane
GL52 3LZ

Tel: 0871 468 0 468
Website: www.ucas.ac.uk