Nursing BNurs

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Undergraduate degree course/programme Nursing BNurs B700

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Taught in a Medical School at the heart of the UK’s largest healthcare region, the BNurs Nursing programme provides you with plenty of opportunities to gain experience treating patients from a wide range of different backgrounds and cultures. 

You will experience inter-professional working alongside pharmacy, medicine, dentistry and physiotherapy students on a course which involves 50% academic and 50% practical study, in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2010) Standards for pre-registration nursing education. 

The foundation year allows you to gain broad experience in Adult, Mental Health and Child and Public Health clinical settings, before expressing a preference about the field of nursing practice you wish to study in years 2 and 3. 

In 2014, the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) showed that 95% of our students were satisfied with the teaching on this programme and 92% satisfied with the overall quality of our programme.

Course fact file

UCAS code: B700

Duration: 3 years (42 weeks per year)

Places Available: 125

Applications in 2014: 1845

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September 2015. Students are required to attend Induction week.


nursing-injectionWith a thorough grounding in concepts of health derived from the study of the biological and social sciences, professional studies and communication skills, you will develop the professional disciplinary knowledge and understanding of your preferred field of practice of nursing (Adult, Mental Health or Child). This is underpinned by the acquisition of the professional leadership and research skills you will need to practice and manage evidence-based person centered care as a Registered Nurse.

First year (Foundation year)

The first year of the programme is unique in that it provides you with an introduction to the theory and the practice of Adult, Mental Health, Child and Public Health Nursing. As well as examining these areas through academic study, you will gain invaluable practical experience by completing 3 seven week placements in each of these fields of nursing practice.

The focus is on health and through the study of the biological sciences, core clinical skills, professional studies, research and health care psychology; you will gain an appreciation of the physical, psychological and social needs of patients and their families.

On completion of the first year, you express a preference for the field of nursing practice you would like to study in Years 2 and 3. The fields of nursing practice offered are: Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Child Nursing.

Please note your preferred field of nursing practice cannot be guaranteed, as commissioned places in some fields are limited. So accepting a place at the University of Birmingham is on the basis that you are prepared to be flexible.

Second year

You will develop your clinical nursing and managerial skills further whilst studying clinical modules specific to your field of practice and core modules which support your development as a nurse, these include medicines management, research, social policy and professional development. There are 3 seven week field specific clinical placements in hospital and community settings in your second year.

At the end of the second year you have the opportunity to undertake a 4 week elective experience, either overseas or in the United Kingdom. (UK) In the UK electives can be arranged in hospices, prisons and other specialist units. International electives can be in health care settings in any continent of the world. Examples of countries where students have visited recently include Australia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Greece, Canada and the USA. The elective enables you to experience differences in culture, clinical practice, healthcare systems and languages, which will benefit you as a Registered Nurse when caring for people from different backgrounds. It also gives you the opportunity to further develop your self-confidence and organisational skills, through arranging your own elective experience with the support and guidance of academic staff.

Listen to our podcasts on nursing students experiences on electives

Third year

In the final year you will extend your academic, managerial and clinical skills in order to be able to work as a safe, compassionate, effective and autonomous practitioner upon qualifying as a Registered Nurse. You study 2 field specific clinical modules and 2 core modules on cultural diversity and leadership in nursing, along with completing a research dissertation.

There are 2 five week field specific clinical placements in hospital and community settings. At the end of the course there is an 8 week ‘Leadership in nursing’ placement, followed by a 4 week ‘sign off’ placement. The ‘sign off’ period is when you work with a ‘sign off’ mentor who will assess your proficiency and will ‘sign off’ the completion of the practice part of your programme, confirming that you have achieved the standards of competence required for entry to the NMC register.

Why study this course

nursing-students-masksThe University of Birmingham is a research focused institution and this shapes the curriculum of the Bachelor of Nursing (BNurs) degree. The Department of Nursing has formed a partnership with local NHS trusts and we are working closely to ensure that the Bachelor of Nursing is up to date and clinically focused. Both academic and clinical staff at all levels work together, to ensure the programme is patient focused and meets your learning needs.

The theory and practice of nursing are studied in the context of cutting edge research in the University and on clinical placements in a variety of NHS and non-NHS health care organisations, in the vibrant multicultural city of Birmingham. This rigorous programme will appeal to you if you are looking for a degree which demands a high level of commitment and intellectual attainment, leading to a rewarding career as a nurse.

Our degree programme is distinctive in that it provides you with experience of nursing in Adult, Mental Health and Child and Public Health clinical settings in Year 1, before making a decision about the field of nursing practice you wish to study in Years 2 and 3. This ensures you are able to make an informed choice about becoming an Adult, Mental Health or Children’s Nurse.

The Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Birmingham incorporates an international focus including a 4 week elective experience which you can arrange overseas. This experience will provide you with knowledge and skills which will be beneficial in your future career working as a Registered Nurse in the UK or in any other country in the world.

In the 2013 National Study Survey, we scored a 96% ‘overall satisfaction rate’ from the University of Birmingham final year Bachelor of Nursing students.


You will be continually assessed on clinical placements and be supported by a Registered Nurse mentor who has undertaken a NMC approved mentor preparation course. At the University of Birmingham, you will have the opportunity to practice nursing in some of the country's leading healthcare trusts ranging from primary care, to acute care and also tertiary centres of excellence in the Birmingham and Solihull area. You will undertake a range of diverse and exciting clinical placements, gaining a variety of experiences with a wide range of client groups, under the guidance of skilled clinicians.

In order to maximise your learning experience on clinical placements, practice placement teams organise teaching sessions, student forums and provide on-going clinical support for mentors and nursing students. Clinical link tutors from the University of Birmingham also provide support and guidance for students and mentors, facilitating student forums on clinical link tutor visit days and visiting placement areas regularly.

Adult field of practice

You will have placements in hospital settings, with the opportunity to work in medicine, surgery, accident and emergency, critical care, rehabilitation and older adults. In the community you will work in hospices, intermediate care and with district nurses and other specialist healthcare professionals. More information on placement areas can be found on the following websites:

Student comments from adult clinical placements in 2013:

‘It offers a wide range of clinical skills at an appropriate level for a first year. Students are encouraged to visit other wards including the surgical theatres. The Practice Placement Manager is very involved with the student experience and was swift to try to resolve problems that arose. Every Monday the students are provided with a training session – I think this is an excellent help for students.’

‘The knowledge and clinical skills I gained will be invaluable in the future, as I got the chance to observe things that unqualified nurses rarely have the opportunity to experience e.g. following a patient from admission, watching their pre-operative assessments, watching the operation and discharging them. The staff on the ward were kind and supportive, as were most of the clinical staff in the adjoining theatres.’

‘I really enjoyed this placement, it was the most challenging but I enjoyed every shift, my mentor was great and all the nurses I worked with were friendly and helpful.’

Mental Health field of practice

You will have the opportunity to work with children and adolescents through to older adults with mental health problems. You will work in community, residential and hospital settings, gaining a wide range of clinical skills. More information can be found on the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust website:

Some student comments from mental health clinical placements in 2013:

‘Excellent team employing a variety of treatment methods from varying schools including holistic medicine (massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and aromatherapy) cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT) solution focused therapy (SFT) and medical approaches. Each Friday afternoon was set aside for a teaching session delivered by an outside speaker or by a member of the multidisciplinary team with a particular specialty.’

‘My mentor was fantastic. I felt integrated within the team and felt I had an important role. The placement was enlightening and has helped me make my decision to branch into mental health.’

Child field of practice

Your placements will focus on the child and their family; you will work in local nurseries, communities and hospitals, as well as the internationally renowned Diana, Princess of Wales, Children's Hospital. More information can be found on the following websites:

Some student comments from child clinical placements in 2013:

‘There were many varied opportunities for learning. The conditions and surgeries required were so varied there was always something new to learn. Staff were friendly, approachable and had a great team spirit, welcoming students easily into the team and supporting my learning at all times.’

‘The opportunity to care for the most seriously ill children using advanced technological equipment. The staffs knowledge and skills were the most advanced I have worked with; therefore I have learnt the most on this placement throughout my student career. Even though the environment can be emotionally draining, my mentors really took the time out to support me.’


Year 1

  • Anatomy and physiology for nursing (20 credits) 
  • Core clinical skills (10 credits) 
  • Developing as a health professional (10 credits) 
  • Health psychology in nursing (10 credits) 
  • Principles of nursing (40 credits) 
  • Public health: children and families (20 credits) 
  • Research 1 (10 credits)

Year 2

Core modules

  • Medicines management (20 credits) 
  • Principles of research in nursing practice (10 credits) 
  • Professional development (20 credits) 
  • Society, policy and practice (10 credits)

Adult field of practice

  • Acute Adult nursing (20 credits) 
  • Long-term conditions (Adult) (20 credits) 
  • Principles of assessment in Adult Nursing (20 credits)

Mental Health field of practice

  • Assessment, framework, and interventions in Mental Health (20 credits) 
  • Nursing older people (20 credits) 
  • Principles of Mental Health Nursing (20 credits)

Child field of practice

  • Children staying healthy (20 credits) 
  • Children's planned care (20 credits) 
  • Principles of Children's Nursing (20 credits)

Year 3

Core modules

  • Cultural diversity in nursing (20 credits) 
  • Research methods (40 credits) 
  • Leadership in nursing (20 credits)

Adult Field of practice

  • Care of the critically ill Adult (20 credits) 
  • Supportive care for Adults (20 credits)

Mental Health field of practice

  • Promoting Mental Health recovery and wellbeing (20 credits) 
  • The effective practitioner (20 credits)

Child field of practice

  • Long term conditions and supportive care for children (20 credits) 
  • Children’s critical care (20 credits)

This is the module list for 2014, however the programme continues to evolve and you should check the website regularly for any changes for next year.

Fees and funding

The Department of Health funds your tuition fees, so we can only accept applications from those considered as home fee status. If you are not sure whether you have home fee status, please find out more about eligibility for home fee status.

All students on the Bachelor of Nursing are eligible for an annual non-means tested grant of £1000; please go to for further details.

You can also apply to NHS Bursaries for a means-tested bursary. Watch the NHS student bursaries BOSS account guidance video on YouTube  

Please note that even if you are not eligible for a means tested bursary, you must apply to NHS bursaries otherwise your course fees will not be paid.

Useful resources:

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

General Studies: not accepted, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of your offer

GCSE requirements: 5 GCSEs are required which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject, two GCSEs must be at grades A*-B and 3 at grade C or above.

Number of A levels required:  three

Typical offer: ABB

Preferred subjects and grades: Biology, Psychology or Sociology A’ level, and two others.

Edexcel Level 3 extended project: is not accepted because it cannot be used against a grade offer e.g. ABB. However, in personal statements and at interview we encourage candidates to refer to the skills they have acquired whilst undertaking the extended project and how these would be beneficial on a degree programme.

Edexcel/BTEC Diploma: Health and Social Care or Science preferred, minimum level DDM

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34 points with at least 4 at standard level in English and Mathematics (if not offered at GCSE grade C or above).

Access to Higher Education (Health or Science preferred): 60 credits with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3 including 30 at distinction, 15 at merit (to include study of Physiology or Biology) and 15 credits at level 2.

All Access applicants must have GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at grade C or above from 2015 onwards.

You must meet the GCSE entry requirements in full, unless it is more than 5 years since you took your GCSEs and you also have 2 years’ experience working in health and social care.

Graduate Entry Requirements: Bachelor degree minimum 2:2 or Masters or PhD.

International students: We can only accept applications from those considered as home fee status.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

Additional information:

During 2014, the Department of Nursing has also reviewed its screening and selection processes to ensure that they are mapped against the NHS Values within the NHS Constitution. This work complies with the requirements of Health Education England’s  ‘National Framework for Values Based Recruitment’ which was published in October 2014 and includes a Case Study on work undertaken by the Department of Nursing at the University of Birmingham, which can be accessed on  Page 91 of this document.

Due to the large number of applications for the Bachelor of Nursing programme, shortlisting takes place prior to candidates being invited to attend for a face to face interview. Shortlisting is based on consideration of your:

  • Personal statement 
  • Actual or predicted grades 
  • Reference

Both within your personal statement and at interview, we are looking for evidence of the following:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • A clear understanding of the University of Birmingham Bachelor of Nursing programme 
  • Enthusiasm for a career in nursing and having a desire to make a difference within healthcare 
  • Understanding of what a nurse does and the values and personal qualities that make a good nurse 
  • Skills and knowledge gained when undertaking relevant work experience or voluntary work 
  • Experience of working in a healthcare setting or experience of being a carer or a service user 
  • Knowledge of current national issues within nursing and healthcare 
  • Skills acquired whilst undertaking Edexcel level 3 extended project 
  • Capacity for independent study 
  • Awareness of equal opportunities and cultural diversity

Please be aware that meeting the minimum requirements for entry, does not guarantee you an interview or an offer of a place on the programme.

Disability and dyslexia advice and support

The University of Birmingham has a positive view of what candidates with disabilities can achieve as future healthcare professionals and we take seriously our obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that all students with disabilities can successfully complete their studies. All applicants will be assessed up to and including the interview, based on the criteria outlined above regardless of any disability. If you declare a disability we will invite you to work with us together with the disability team, clinical colleagues and specialist services to explore how best we can support your studies. Find out more about disability and dyslexia advice and support at the University of Birmingham.

Realising Opportunities programme

Realising Opportunities (RO) is a unique collaboration of 12 leading Universities, working together to promote fair access and social mobility of students from under-represented groups. Students are supported through a coherent programme of activities designed to raise their aspirations to progress to research intensive Universities.

Applications through UCAS to RO Partner universities from participating students will be given additional consideration with the potential to receive an alternative RO offer from many Partners.

Find out further information at the Realising Opportunities website. Ask your school or college if they are involved in this programme.

Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme

The Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme is designed to help students from families and communities in the West Midlands who have little or no experience of Higher Education find out about what studying at University involves.

A2B applicants:

  • Receive an offer 2 grades lower than the standard offer e.g. BBC 
  • If you achieve the standard offer grades, then you are eligible for an annual £1200 scholarship. This is awarded in addition to any other bursary or grant you are eligible for. 
  • Complete an on-line study support module and an assignment which is marked by the University

Find out more about the scheme and eligibility to apply at the Access to Birmingham website.

Conditions of offers and programme requirements

If you do decide to accept a place at the University of Birmingham you are required to comply with the following:

  • Achievement of the academic requirements for entry to the Bachelor of Nursing 
  • A satisfactory health declaration, including evidence of appropriate immunisations and Occupational Health clearance if required 
  • Clearance from theDisclosure and Barring Service (DBS), previously known as Criminal Record Bureau. (CRB) checks.  
  • You sign and adhere to the ‘University Code of Professional Practice and Fitness to Practice’ thereby agreeing to certain levels of conduct, behaviour and health whilst studying on the Bachelor of Nursing programme. Details of which will be forwarded with an offer letter. 
  • On commencement of the course, provide original copies of academic certificates and photo identification. These will be photocopied and kept on your personal file, in order to comply with NHS fraud requirements 
  • Accept that your preferred field of practice choice at the end of Year 1 cannot be guaranteed 
  • Agree to travel to clinical placements in hospitals and the community, in the Birmingham and Solihull area 
  • Agree to undertake shifts including early morning, afternoon, evening and night duty on week days, weekends and bank holidays, both within hospitals and community settings 
  • Comply with uniform and infection control policy on clinical placement 
  • Holidays are fixed and not negotiable, students have 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter and 6 weeks in the summer

International students:

We can only accept applications from those considered as home fee status.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

nursing-learning-teaching As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

The approaches to learning and teaching you will experience include lectures, small group teaching, student led seminars, e-learning, and simulated practice in clinical skills labs. This combination of learning activities will enable you to develop the in-depth knowledge necessary to be a skilled nurse. This is supplemented by independent study which helps you to take progressively more responsibility for your own learning, which will continue after you complete your degree course. Nursing is a dynamic and rapidly changing profession, and so continuous professional development to keep up to date with new developments is essential.

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Along with the University based study, 50% of the programme is undertaken in clinical placements. In these settings you will work in a range of teams and apply your University studies to practice. You will have the opportunity to develop your clinical and leadership skills with the support of a Registered Nurse mentor. A mentor is a qualified nurse who has undertaken further training in order to help students learn about nursing. This blend of practice based and academic learning underpins the programme and focuses on the key elements of professional practice. The University of Birmingham has excellent links with a variety of local NHS trusts, ensuring that we can provide the best opportunities for your clinical training.

Our facilities

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses state-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity. 

Our facilities ensure that students receive the best possible learning experience by working in a modern environment. Among our most recent developments include a refurbishment of the Medical School foyer, Barnes library and Wolfson Centre for Medical Education.

Explore our facilities and take a tour by moving around our 360-degree panoramas:


Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.


Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

On graduation and qualification you will have a highly regarded degree and eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to practice as a Registered Nurse. Our graduates are highly valued and the majority seeking nursing positions have secured employment or pursued further career-related training on completing the programme. Many of our graduates stay in the Birmingham area and work in the NHS, others move on to take up appointments in the UK and overseas. There are many varied career opportunities for nursing in clinical practice, management, research and education. Extensive restructuring in nursing as a profession and within the NHS means that a good career structure is now in place.

Have a look at our alumni profile pages to see what some of our students have gone on to do after completing their Bachelor of Nursing programme.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Professional accreditation

Satisfactory completion of the Bachelor of Nursing programme provides you with the eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Registered Nurse. (Adult, Mental Health or Child).