Nursing BNurs - Mental Health

Start date
3 years (42 weeks per year)
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

Annual tuition fees for 2022/23 are:
£9,250 (UK) 
More details on fees and funding

Taught at the University of Birmingham's Medical School, at the heart of one of the UK’s largest healthcare regions, the BNurs Mental Health Nursing course provides you with many opportunities to gain experience treating patients from a wide range of different backgrounds and cultures.

With the need for mental health nurses growing to help ensure the wellbeing of patients and the public, our course has been specifically designed to provide students with the required knowledge and skills to succeed in mental health nursing practice.

Delivered in partnership between the university and renowned Birmingham healthcare organisations, this course prepares you for safe and contemporary practice and future employment as a registered mental health nurse.

You will learn about a range of topics specific to mental health nursing, as well as covering biological, pharmacological and social sciences, nursing theories, systems, processes and an advancing range of nursing skills that enable you to lead, manage and deliver effective person-centred care. You'll also study medicines management including the completion of safe drug calculation.

Empathy is an important skill for all nurses to have however, it is absolutely essential within mental health nursing practice. Students must have empathy with how patients, caregivers and the public experience healthcare and knowledge of how this is evaluated and continuously improved is a key component of the course. Emphasis is placed on developing your ability to research and study both independently and with colleagues and to reflect and reason systematically in a critical and evidence based way. 

Birmingham is ranked 11th in the UK for Nursing in the Complete University Guide 2022.

Read our Nursing FAQ's

First Year (Foundation year)

The first year of the BNurs Mental Health Nursing course is designed to develop your understanding of holistic healthcare and nursing practice with people across the lifespan in each of the fields of practice.

You will share learning with students from all fields of practice and undertake placements and simulated practice experience with children, adults and the elderly. As well as examining these areas through study and simulated practical skills, you will gain invaluable practical experience by completing a number of placements which expose you to different populations and fields of nursing practice.

You'll study the key principles of nursing practice and nursing skills underpinned by relevant biological, pharmacological, psychological and social sciences and will gain an appreciation of the health and social needs of people and their families. You will also study core clinical skills and develop your academic and digital skills in order to gain an understanding of professional practice. The design of the course means that you may apply to change your field of practice at the end of the first year if you feel you have made a wrong choice, subject to availability.

Second Year

The second year of the course will be tailored more towards mental health nursing practice. You will develop your clinical nursing, communication, health promotion and managerial knowledge and skills further including studying modules specific to mental health nursing. These will build on the biological, pharmacological, and psychological and social sciences knowledge gained in the first year in relation to therapeutic nursing and practice. There are also further core modules shared between all students that will develop your health communication and promotion and clinical decision making including the study of research, management and evidence-based practice. You will also undertake field specific clinical placements in mental health nursing which may be spent 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. These may include citizenship experience such as voluntary contribution to an organisation as part of your professional development. 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, The Philippines, Thailand, Tanzania, Greece, Canada and the USA. The elective, whether in the UK or Internationally, enables you to experience differences in culture and environment, develops your leadership and independence, and may also enable you to gain exposure to a nursing career or alternative clinical practice environment, healthcare system and language.

The experience will benefit you as a Registered Nurse and future nursing leader and allows you to inform a personal area of interest related to your future career and nursing practice. 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.

Third Year

During the final year of the BNurs Mental Health Nursing course, you will be prepared for your transition from student nurse to a registered nurse. This year is made up of three modules and practice placements, two modules are shared with other nursing field students and will focus on your leadership and management development as well as your research and use of evidence. A mental health nursing specific module integrates and builds on year one and two prior learning to develop your ability to undertake in-depth assessment, diagnosis and related clinical decision making in your field for people requiring complex nursing care. Medicines management and future readiness to undertake a postgraduate prescribing programme will form part of this module and will facilitate final completion of the complete range of communication skills and nursing procedures required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2018).

Your mental health nursing clinical placements may be in hospital and/ or community settings and it may be possible to select a placement for your final management experience in line with your first employment as a registered nurse.


Your nursing practice is continuously developed and assessed throughout the programme by specially prepared supervisors and registered nursing assessors using the region wide Midlands, Yorkshire and East Practice Assessment Document (MYEPAD). At the University of Birmingham, you will have the opportunity to practice nursing in some of the country's leading healthcare foundation trusts gaining experience of a range of nursing environments and care settings including home, community and hospital settings in the Birmingham, Solihull and West Midlands area.

Throughout the BNurs Adult Nursing course your skill development will be supported through the simulated practice setting in the University. You will therefore 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 nursing students, practice supervisors and assessors. Lecturers from the University of Birmingham provide dedicated practice preparation and mid placement sessions to help you make the most of the practice experience. After each placement you are given the opportunity to evaluate your experience and this plays an important part in the ongoing quality assurance of the placement learning environment. Each year you will have a named academic assessor with responsibility for oversight of your overall progress and achievement.

Mental Health field of practice placements

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.

"This has been an unbelievable place to learn Nursing.There's so much opportunity to work with a diverse range of patients”

Rory Fisher, 3rd year Nursing

Why study this course?

  • The common first year maximises your learning and experience of holistic nursing and different healthcare environments.
  • You will benefit from our enquiry based and research intensive learning and teaching strategy to develop reflection and confidence in your future professional development.
  • Clinical skills and simulation teaching culminates in clinical assessment and simple diagnostic skill development and knowledge to support your postgraduate prescribing preparation.
  • Our strong partnership agreements lead to effective placements in Birmingham NHS Trusts.
  • Teaching on the course is delivered in the Medical School meaning you benefit from inter-professional learning opportunities studying alongside students studying medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy. This prepares you for working in today's interdisciplinary healthcare teams.
  • You will be supported to develop leadership and citizenship beyond the planned programme including opportunities for a elective/ civic engagement experience.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs


Modules in the first 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 placements in each of these fields of nursing practice.

  • 40 credits - Essential Nursing Care
  • 40 credits - Principles of Nursing
  • 40 credits - Health and Wellbeing

Modules in the second year

You will develop your clinical nursing and managerial skills further whilst studying clinical modules specific to mental health nursing and core modules which support your development as a nurse, these include the study of evidence-based practice and healthcare in a social economic and political environment. You will also undertake 3 clinical placements specific to mental health nursing practice over the course of your second year, in hospital and community settings.

Core modules

  • 20 credits - Promoting Health and Self-Management
  • 30 credits - Clinical Decision Making
  • 40 credits - Therapeutic Nursing Care in Mental Health
  • 30 credits - Evaluating Nursing Care in Mental Health

Modules in the 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 will also study 2 clinical modules specific to mental health nursing and learn about leadership in nursing, along with completing a research dissertation.

Core modules

  • 40 credits - Leading and Managing Nursing in Practice
  • 40 credits - Research Methods
  • 40 credits - Assessment, Diagnostics and Decision Making in Complex Nursing Care

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2022. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


 We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

  • UK : £9,250

Visit our tuition fees page for more information.


How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

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

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
Not accepted, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of your offer

All applicants must meet in full both the GCSE and Level 3/higher qualification entry requirements for the Bachelor of Nursing programme. The only exception to meeting the GCSE requirements in full applies to some Access applicants, please see the relevant section below for more details.

Please note previous academic study will be considered when assessing the suitability of applicants for interview.

GCSE requirements: 

5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject. We do not accept level 2 equivalents e.g. BTEC, Key skills

Preferred subjects and grades:

Biology, Psychology or Sociology A level, and two others. Welsh Baccalaureate at grade B can substitute one of the A Levels.

Edexcel Level 3 extended project:

From 2016 a grade A in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is accepted in addition to 3 A Levels (of equivalent level 3 qualifications). You would be made a variable offer e.g. BBB or BBC plus A in the EPQ.


BTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care or Applied Science accepted. Grades required - DDD
BTEC Diploma considered on a case by case basis when combined with an A level (typical offer DD plus B)
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma considered on a case by case basis when combined with an A level 

You must also meet in full the GCSE entry requirements for the programme (see above).

CACHE Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma

A CACHE Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care is accepted with a minimum of grade B overall. You must offer a minimum of grade B in each of the mandatory units: Anatomy and Physiology for health and social care and research skills for health and social care as well as a minimum of grade B in pharmacology (optional unit).

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

32 points with 3 subjects at higher level graded 5, 5, 5. You must also meet in full the GCSE entry requirements for the programme (see above).

Access to Higher Education (Health or Science):

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. Access courses must have been completed within the last two years to be valid. You must meet the GCSE entry requirements in full for the programme (as above). However, if it is more than 5 years since you took your GCSE’s and you also have 2 years full time paid work experience in health and social care, you are only required to have GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at grade C or above.

Graduate Entry Requirements:

Bachelor degree minimum 2:2 or Masters or PhD. You must also meet in full the GCSE entry requirements for the programme (see above).

If you already have a degree, and experience working in social care, why not consider our MSc Nursing programme, which leads to nursing registration in 2 years.

International students:

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

Read our Nursing FAQ's

In 2014, the School 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.

Work Experience

For applicants applying for study in 2021 we are aware that work experience and voluntary placements have been cancelled. Although this is not necessarily a requirement, it can be beneficial for your development and may well enhance your application, therefore if you have been able to complete any voluntary placements either before this, or have been able to volunteer remotely in any capacity, please do detail this on your UCAS form.

We want to reassure you that if you are unable to gain experience of work in a healthcare setting because of the impacts of COVID-19 you will not be at a disadvantage in our selection processes. We're considering very carefully all of the implications of COVID-19 on our admissions processes and we will provide updated guidance as soon as we are able. 

We recognise that experience in a healthcare setting can provide you with a great deal of insight into the profession you aspire to join. This can help you to decide if a career in a caring profession is right for you and also help you to identify the skills you need to develop. In the absence of face-to-face experiences, it is important that you use other means to gain an understanding of the work and challenges faced by healthcare staff. Reports on the present situation in the national media highlight that healthcare staff are working under great pressure. You must recognise, however, that this situation is unprecedented and an understanding of a more routine life in healthcare can be gained using on-line resources.

Some resources are listed on our 'Support for school and college students applying for healthcare degrees' webpage.

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.

Pathways to Birmingham programmes

The Pathways to Birmingham (P2B) programmes offer Year 12 and 13 students an insight into higher education and professional career routes, and support students throughout the university application process.

If you successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme and apply to the University of Birmingham, you will receive special consideration from admissions tutors. If your application is successful, you will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham - the standard offer and a Pathways to Birmingham offer. The Pathways to Birmingham offer is typically two grades below the standard offer, as advertised in the prospectus. Pathways to Birmingham students are also eligible for enhanced funding.

Find out more about Pathways to Birmingham.

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 - further information can be found on our Health and Immunisation Forms page
  • Clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), previously known as Criminal Record Bureau. (CRB) checks. You will receive an email from our central admissions team regarding DBS checks approximately 2-3 weeks after you have firmly accepted your place on the course. This email will contain further instructions, next steps and advise of the deadline for submitting your DBS application. Please be sure to check your junk/spam folders for this email before contacting us
  • 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 
  • 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.

At Birmingham, you’ll learn from learing experts in world-class settings, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.

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. Throughout your studies, you will have access to Nursing SCRIPT, an eLearning programme to support your knowledge acquisition around medicines management and optimisation. 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.

Teaching staff for this course

Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

For more information about staff in the school, their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest, visit the School of Nursing staff profile page.

Student support

You will have access to a comprehensive support network that will assist and help you to deal with any problems that arise throughout your studies.

In addition, the Student Services Centre, which based in the Medical School on main campus, offers many services from drop in sessions for advice and guidance, referral to internal and external services and support regarding extenuating circumstances.

You’ll also be assigned a personal tutor for the duration of your time with us. Your personal tutor will be an academic staff member that teaches on the Nursing course.  If there are particular areas where you need support you will be able to address this with your tutors.

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.

Contact Hours

Through all three years of the BNurs degree you will mainly be taught in study and practice placement blocks – spending 50% of your time in each . You are required to attend all sessions on your university timetable, and you will need to engage in all digital, directed and independent study throughout the course. In practice you are supernumerary, but to facilitate your learning you will work alongside your clinical supervisor(s) and normally include the range of hours that nurses work in that placement area.

In the placement setting 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 supervisor and registered nurse assessor. 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.

Assessment Methods

As a Nursing student, you will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through exams, coursework assignments, placements and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs).

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 three 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.

Throughout the programme there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. The personal tutor who is based in your school or department can help with any academic issues you encounter.

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.

Take 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.

Our unique careers guidance service, Careers Network, offers a specialised team 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).

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