Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
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BN Nursing Studies

UCAS code: B700

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Health in Social Science

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing BN Nursing Studies

The Bachelor of Nursing (BN) with honours programme reflects global, UK and Scottish perspectives of healthcare. The transfer between health environments and the acute primary care interface is key to understanding the health needs of different populations.

Throughout this programme, you will be introduced to a range of inpatient and community placements and other health-related learning experiences.

Nursing and Midwifery Council education standards

This programme adheres to the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) education standards. These standards are designed to embrace the range of nursing practice. This will help prepare you for the dynamic healthcare environment of the 2020s and beyond.

The Bachelor of Nursing with honours degree prepares you for the evolving healthcare landscape. You will gain key skills in:

  • critical thinking
  • teamwork and leadership
  • the ability to innovate and work in interdisciplinary settings
  • clinical skills and proficiency across the required range

Upon graduation, you will be eligible for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as an adult nurse.


The programme combines theoretical and skills learning within the University (50%) with practice learning experiences (50%). The equal weighting of theory and practice is a defining feature of this degree structure and is required by the NMC.

There are three strands of the curriculum which lead you from Year 1 to Year 4, building on previous learning as part of a spiral curriculum.

In Year 1, you will study:

  • life sciences
  • research skills
  • social sciences

Then, these areas build in complexity and depth into Year 2 and later in the programme.

The honours option courses in Years 3 and 4 allow you to personalise the programme. You can follow your particular interests in different care contexts, approaches or conditions.

You will develop clinical skills working in the clinical skills laboratory, in nurse-led groups and in a programme of inter-professional learning with medical students.

Practice learning is integral to the programme and you will learn in a range of practice settings including:

  • community
  • care homes
  • acute hospital and specialist services

Student support

Student support at the University of Edinburgh is excellent and includes:

  • a personal tutor system
  • a University wide student support infrastructure
  • accessible academic staff
  • personalised support in the practice learning environment


This programme is validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). All students must complete annual declarations that they are of Good Health and Character to meet NMC requirements to continue on programme.

Achievement of the required clinical and academic outcomes leads to eligibility for registration with the NMC as an adult nurse.

The description of content provided below is for guidance only; course names and content may be updated.

Year 1

Years 1 and 2 provide an introduction to the evidence base for nursing. This includes:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • nursing care
  • mental health
  • technical innovations in healthcare
  • sociological and psychological aspects of healthcare
  • approaches to research

In addition to the compulsory courses, you will also choose two option courses from subjects across the University during Year 1.

Year 2

You will continue the introduction to the evidence base for nursing.

Year 3

You will develop leadership skills and deepen your understanding of the evidence base for nursing. You will also develop your critical thinking abilities and clinical decision making.

You will choose two honours option courses in Years 3 and 4, learning as a mixed group of Year 3 and 4 students. This allows you to personalise your programme and pursue nursing courses which address your own disciplinary interests.

Your skills continue and develop with further inter-professional opportunities.

Year 4

The final year allows you to work on a topic of your choice to produce an honours dissertation.

Dissertation work is supported by close academic supervision.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2023/24)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in the Central Campus area of the University.

You will have access to:

  • teaching and learning facilities
  • libraries
  • computer labs

Clinical skills teaching takes place at the Chancellor's Building Clinical Skills Centre, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.


Clinical practice placements are provided by NHS Lothian and NHS Borders.

You should expect to be placed across these two health boards during your programme. You will work with a suitably prepared supervisor and assessor on placement.

Study abroad

There are potential opportunities to complete a clinical placement abroad in Year 3.

There is also an opportunity for two students to apply for a semester-long exchange with an Australian university in Year 3.

What are my choices for going abroad?

How will I learn?

All nursing programmes in the UK are 50% theory and 50% practice. The courses you take in this programme have both theoretical and clinical practice elements.

You will learn through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • clinical skills sessions
  • problem-based learning
  • reflective diaries
  • group work
  • computer-assisted learning

You will also undertake learning in practice learning environments during clinical placements in each year.

How will I be assessed?

We use a range of assessments including:

  • coursework
  • multimedia presentations
  • group work
  • group presentations
  • exams
  • clinical practice profiles

This programme has progression points at the end of each academic year where you must demonstrate clinical competence as well as academic excellence. This is jointly assessed by a Practice Assessor and an Academic Assessor. This is in line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards for Nurse Education and the Standards for Students Supervision and Assessment (2018).

Career prospects are excellent for nursing studies graduates from the University of Edinburgh.

Our graduates have gone onto a range of clinical settings in both community and hospital contexts, specialising in areas such as:

  • intensive care
  • oncology
  • theatres
  • accident and emergency
  • voluntary sector organisations

You may choose to undertake further study for a Master's degree or PhD and go on to develop your career in areas such as:

  • higher education
  • research
  • management
  • policy development

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 665 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English and Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: Mathematics and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics at 4.

Additional requirements

Some prior experience of working with people is advisable. Admission to this degree includes an interview process. Further details on the process will be sent to candidates shortlisted for interview.

Fitness to practice

There is fitness to practice guidance for people who wish to become nurses, we strongly advise you to make yourself aware of this before you apply. Please consult the Higher Educational Occupational Physicians/Practitioners (HEOPS) website for fitness to practice guidelines for this degree.


Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 7.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 25 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 185 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 70 in each component.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

Health check

All students must undergo hepatitis B immunisation, TB status and occupational health check before starting the degree. Students will also need to meet any NHS Scotland vaccination requirements.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BN Nursing Studies

Additional costs

If you are eligible for a SAAS bursary, you should be able to reclaim travel expenses incurred during clinical placements. Those who are ineligible will personally bear the cost of travel and accommodation related to clinical placement.

Check if you are eligible for a SAAS bursary

In Year 3, there is usually an opportunity to undertake a single semester exchange with La Trobe University, Australia. Exchange students may be responsible for additional costs such as:

  • visa costs
  • immunisation
  • travel costs
  • living costs

In Year 3, you will also undertake an elective clinical placement, either abroad or elsewhere in the UK. Students associated with this placement are responsible for:

  • visa costs
  • immunisation
  • travel costs
  • living costs

Students from the rest of the UK and overseas, whose fees are not paid by the Scottish Government, will be liable for the cost of the following mandatory items:

  • uniforms
  • occupational health appointments
  • membership fee for the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding