Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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.

Throughout the programme, students engage in practice learning and experience placement time in a range of community and inpatient settings.

Furthermore, you are able to explore community nursing and third sector organisations, as well as undertaking a virtual placement which allows you the opportunity to explore a community and profile the health needs of a locality.

Within the hospital setting, students engage with varied learning environments. This can include:

  • admission to hospital
  • emergency care
  • critical care
  • rehabilitation
  • surgical and medical wards or services

As students develop, they also enjoy time attached to specialist services such as research teams, advanced practitioners, education team and hospital outreach services.

Unique placement opportunities

Towards the end of Year 3, you will have the opportunity to embark on a four-week clinical elective placement in the UK or abroad. This opportunity will allow you to either explore global perspectives or develop your understandings of diverse nursing practices in the UK.

There is an additional opportunity for two students in Year 3 to undertake a single semester exchange with La Trobe University in Australia.

Nursing and Midwifery Council education standards

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

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 adapt
  • clinical skills and proficiency

Upon graduation, and meeting the necessary requirements, 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 with practice learning experiences. The equal weighting of theory and practice is a defining feature of this degree structure and is required by the NMC.

Life sciences, research skills, and social sciences are the three core strands of your studies. Between Year 1 and Year 4, you will build upon these as part of a spiral curriculum.

The honours option courses in Years 3 and 4 allow you to personalise the programme by allowing you to 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. The programme consists of inter-professional learning with medical students and those in other professions.

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

  • community
  • care homes
  • acute hospital and specialist services

Student Support at the University of Edinburgh

As a student with us, you will have a named Student Adviser. They will be your first point of contact for advice and support, including general questions about your studies, student life, wellbeing and challenging circumstances.

We have a number of specialist health and wellbeing services and resources for students. Course organisers and teaching teams provide specialist subject-related guidance.


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

Year 1 provides an introduction to the evidence base for nursing. This includes:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • nursing care
  • sociological and psychological aspects of healthcare
  • familiarisation with academic skills, literature searching and referencing

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

You will undertake your first practice learning both virtually and in person over the summer period.

Year 2

Year 2 continues the introduction to the evidence base for nursing, adding complexity to the understandings. This includes:

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

You will undertake practice learning in mental health and adult services during Year 2.

Year 3

Year 3 allows you to develop leadership skills and deepen understandings of the evidence base for nursing. Core and option courses enhance critical thinking abilities and clinical decision making.

You will choose two honours option courses in each honours year, learning as a mixed group of Year 3 and 4 students. This allows you to personalise programmes of study and pursue nursing courses which address personal disciplinary interests.

Skills teaching continues and you will learn how to supervise and give feedback to learners in preparation for nursing roles post registration. Practice learning continues with a specialist attachment, further clinical placement and an individually organised elective.

Year 4

The final year is the culmination of the your learning. Clinical skills learning is complete and you will spend the year adding value with interprofessional experiences in simulation and preparations for registration and future employment.

You will again choose two honours option courses addressing personal disciplinary interests.

The Dissertation course allows you to work on a topic of your choice to produce an honours dissertation. This is supported by close academic supervision.

Practice learning continues with a virtual placement focusing on supervision skills and an extended period in final placement.

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 (2024/25)

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.


Placement will provide you with the invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an area of particular interest and further develop your capacity for personal and professional development.

Clinical practice placements are provided by NHS Lothian and NHS Borders. You will be placed across these two health boards during your programme. You will work with a suitably prepared supervisor and assessor on your placement.

Clinical practice placements are an integral and compulsory part of the programme. As such, they extend the academic year beyond the typical university calendar.

Towards the end of Year 3, you have the opportunity to embark on a four-week clinical elective placement in the UK or abroad.

There is an additional opportunity for two students in Year 3 to undertake a single semester exchange with La Trobe University in Australia. 

These unique elements of the programme will enable you to broaden your cultural horizons by developing your understandings of diverse nursing practices and global perspectives.

Study abroad

There are potential opportunities to complete a clinical placement abroad in Year 3. There is also an opportunity for two students to take part in a semester-long exchange with an Australian university in Year 3. There is an application process for this opportunity.

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
  • simulation

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 assessments

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 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: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 73 with at least 73 in each component. We do not accept 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

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 70 with at least 70 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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 have to pay travel and accommodation costs 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 may also undertake an elective clinical placement, either abroad or elsewhere in the UK. Students are responsible for any costs associated with undertaking the elective placement. This can include:

  • 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 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