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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Nursing (Learning Disability) (BSc)

Overview Ranked as 'outstanding' for practice experience in a recent NMC audit, this dynamic course prepares you to work with people with learning disabilities across a range of settings.

UCAS code


Typical offer

BBB but many other qualifications are acceptable so please contact us to discuss your requirements (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

‌You can apply for this course through UCAS Extra (

Our course will develop your understanding of the life issues that influence the health of people with learning disabilities. We will teach you methods which will enable you to analyse and evaluate the provision of services for these clients, whilst all the time maintaining a collaborative approach. A key feature of your practice experience, and what makes this course different to many others is our adoption of 'individual-led practice'. This way of working means that you are able to develop significant and meaningful working relationships with the people you will be caring for, over an extended period.

As a nursing student in the Department of Health Sciences you will experience the benefits of a large multidisciplinary department offering a broad range of taught and research courses, combined with extensive practice experience in the health and social care field.

With a combination of tutor support, mentor guidance in placements and excellent teaching facilities we can help you get the very best out of your time in York ensuring that you will developing your knowledge and skills as well as confidence in your role as a children’s nurse.

Our innovative course uses various teaching methods from lectures and group work, to presentation and simulation based education. We use the latest technology in our state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Unit. This is a series of rooms which replicate a number of areas where you could work including a fully-equipped four-bedded ward complete with a range of equipment for you to practise on, to community bedrooms and living rooms. These allow you to develop your nursing skills in a safe environment. 

To find out more about learning disability nursing follow the links below.

Course content What you’ll study


York is a research-intensive Russell group university. Our stimulating and supportive nursing course will enable you to become a self-directed and independent learner. You will gain intellectual independence to enable you to contribute and challenge theory and practice. Nursing students at the University of York engage in various practice communities across healthcare and education in order to facilitate intellectual and professional development. A key feature of our course is its ability to enable you to promote best practice through a service improvement project and develop a personal philosophy for nursing.
You will develop the personal and professional skills required to become adept at delivering high standards of patient and family-centred care, whilst promoting individual and community health and well being. You will learn about the nature and causation of disease and disability, specific client problems and nursing interventions.
You will do most of your learning on this course out in practice. Your practice experience will cover the whole of the region and you will work with our partners across York NHS Foundation Trust, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, as well as other practice providers. You will benefit from a wide range of experiences in different localities and practice settings, from coastal towns to rural communities.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will spend a total of 24 weeks in practice and will be based in a wide variety of settings throughout the region. This may include residential and nursing homes, acute and critical care, primary care and community health.

Study you will undertake will include:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will begin to focus your work around learning disability nursing. You will start to develop a deeper, more critical understanding of nursing and of your role as a partner in relation to others. You will be encouraged to consider your role within the context of different healthcare settings and alongside other health and social care disciplines.

Shared modules

Modules specific to the Learning Disabilities field of practice

  • Person-Centred Communication: Issues impairing communication for people who have a learning disability, (person-centred) communication and assessment and intervention strategies, understand impact of own values and beliefs and organisational structures and systems upon person who has a learning disability.
  • The Health Needs of People who have Learning Disabilities: Role of the learning disability nurse in meeting health needs (in primary and secondary health services), legislation and best evidence underpinning health care, health action planning and health facilitation, provide accessible health related information, range of therapeutic interventions.
  • Understanding and Supporting People whose Behaviour Challenges Others: Organic/environmental/psychological causations of behaviour, potential communicative function of behaviour, person centred approaches and interventions, behaviour that challenges others, contemporary methods of service delivery.

Year 3

Working within learning disability nursing, you will concentrate on the acquisition of specialist knowledge and skills. The focus will be on your professional development as an accountable practitioner and leader and you will be introduced to increasingly complex and challenging problems. Practice in your final year will provide an opportunity to prepare for your role as a registered nurse. During this year you will also have the chance to undertake a short elective placement which may be elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

Shared modules

Modules specific to the Learning Disability field of practice

Study abroad

There are a number of study abroad options at York: 



Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

Our focus is on making your learning relevant to your nursing practice.

Teaching staff will help and support you to develop your skills. You will learn via lectures, seminars and working groups. Cooperative learning groups (CLGs) are used as a way of integrating you into the nursing community by developing your professional identity. You will stay in the same CLG for the whole of your course.

You will undertake a variety of practice experiences that will help to build and shape your knowledge and skills. These experiences could be anywhere within the region. You will work with a diverse range of people from different cultures who live in a variety of environments.

You will be attached to an experienced mentor who will help to guide and assess your practice and knowledge and who will also be a source of support and reassurance. You will also have a link lecturer from the University to ensure you receive continuous support.

Practice experience will be gained over the full 24 hours; you will be required to work a full pattern of shifts, including nights and weekends, early and late shifts.


You will be assessed throughout the course in both theory and practice elements. You will have to successfully complete all areas to be able to progress.

A variety of assessment methods, including presentations, essays, reports, simulated scenarios and examinations will be used. You will be given individual written assessment feedback for every piece of assessed work with the exception of closed examinations. You may also be given verbal feedback either on a one-to-one basis with an academic member of staff or as part of a group exercise.

Your practice experience will be assessed by your designated mentor who will be able to observe you develop confidence and skills throughout your placement experience.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

Students from the Department of Health Sciences have an excellent record in achieving immediate employment after completion of their course. Most go into careers with NHS trusts in the region and in other areas of Northern England as well as other NHS organisations in the UK.

Typical first posts are as band 5 staff nurses in the NHS, although some do go into employment in social care and independent sector organisations.

Career opportunities

  • practice nursing
  • district nursing
  • health visiting and public health
  • research nurse
  • ward nurse
  • theatre nurse
  • high dependency nurse
  • nurse consultant
  • lecturer in nursing
  • modern matron
  • clinical nurse specialist
  • clinical educator
  • chief nurse
  • liaison nurse.

Transferable skills

  • The ability to work within partnerships
  • Self directed, independent learning skills
  • The ability to facilitate change and service improvement
  • The ability to reflect on practice
  • The ability to lead care within a wide multi-disciplinary team

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

The minimum entry requirements for our degree course are:

  • A level grades BBB.
  • You must already hold GCSE English Language, Maths and Science (at Grade C or above) or equivalent qualification at the point of application. Applicants undertaking GCSE resits or commencing an equivalent qualification after application will not be considered. You must hold these qualifications at the time of applying unless they are incorporated within your programme of study. Students studying GCSEs alongside other qualifications will not be considered until the GCSEs are complete and awarded. See – GCSE and Equivalent Qualifications (PDF , 307kb).

For other equivalent qualifications, please see entry criteria (PDF , 211kb). If you do not have the necessary entry requirements, but are passionate about following a career in nursing, then visit our different routes into nursing page.

A-levels and GCSEs

A levels


Please note we do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking as a subject choice. Two A levels are preferred from:

  • Maths and Higher Maths/Statistics
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geography/geology
  • History
  • Languages (modern/classical)
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Law/politics
  • Economics
  • Religious studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Philosophy
  • Theology
  • ICT

Other subject choices may be judged on an individual basis, dependent on the content studied and assessment methods.


You must already hold GCSE English Language, Maths and Science (at Grade C or above) or equivalent qualification at the point of application. Applicants undertaking GCSE resits or commencing an equivalent qualification after application will not be considered. You must hold these qualifications at the time of applying unless they are incorporated within your programme of study. Students studying GCSEs alongside other qualifications will not be considered until the GCSEs are complete and awarded.

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers

  • SQA Highers (without AH) - AABBB
  • SQA Advanced Highers + Highers - BB + BBBBB

BTEC Extended Diploma

  • BTEC National Diploma - DDM
  • QCF BTEC Extended Diploma - DDM
  • BTEC National Diploma in early Years or BTEC National Certificate in early Years (Theory and Practical) - DDD 

Cambridge Pre-U

  • Cambridge Pre-U Diploma - Pass with M2 in three Principal Subjects / Global Perspectives

Access to HE diploma

  • 60 credits with at least 45 credits achieved at Level 3. You must achieve 15 level 3 credits at distinction and 30 level 3 credits at merit. At least 15 level 3 credits should be in science subjects. We will not normally consider applicants who have progresssed to an access course within three years of taking A levels and failing to achieve the necessary grades for entry to the programme.

International options

European Baccalaureate

  • 75% overall average

International Baccalaureate

  • 31

Irish leaving certificate

  • H3,H3,H3,H3,H3,H3

Country specific qualifications

English language


  • 7.0

Other acceptable English language qualifications.

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions