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BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health)

This person-centred course will teach you how to deliver care which is culturally sensitive and effective.

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

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This fascinating course will equip you with the skills to emerge as an engaging and competent mental health nurse.

‌The ability to develop a therapeutic relationship with your clients is an important part of mental health nursing and we will show you how to do this effectively. You will learn specific communication skills and interventions to enable you to help people with mental health problems. These people may experience a variety of physical symptoms and forms of mental health distress and you will leave the course able to deal with this full range of issues.

As a mental health nurse you will work with social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and doctors and you will also be encouraged to engage with third sector and service user organisations. You will work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to community units, GP surgeries and clients’ own homes.

You will help people of all ages from children through to older adults and from a variety of backgrounds. Your clients may be experiencing difficulties including anxiety, depression, anorexia nervosa, substance misuse or psychosis.

As a mental health nurse you will have considerable independence in planning and delivering care, while at the same time being a key player in a multi-agency team.

As a 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 develop your knowledge and skills as well as confidence in your role as a mental health nurse.

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


After completing this degree students will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the professional regulatory body for nurses and midwives in the UK.


State of the art facilities

Including a Clinical Simulation Unit which looks just like a hospital ward

Clinical partners

We've partnered with Health and Social Care providers across North Yorkshire to produce this course

Taught by experts

Staff are active in research and your teaching is informed by the latest developments

Course content

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. As a nursing student at the University of York you will engage in various practice communities across healthcare and education in order to facilitate your 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, while 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.

Modules of study you will undertake will include:

  • Individual and Public Health: you will learn about concepts and determinants of health, wellbeing and disability, health inequalities across populations, relationships between health beliefs and health behaviours, and nurses' contribution to improving public health
  • Fundamental Communication Skills in Nursing: you will evolve micro-skills for therapeutic communication and development of empathy
  • Co-operative Learning Group (CLG) 1 - Exploring Patient/Client Experience: you will understand the life experiences of a client, and consider how this relates to your own understanding and nursing practice and how literature might contribute to this
  • Nursing Practice Experience 1
  • Professional Identity: you will address the impact of media representations and policy on the nursing identity, and the role of professional regulation, registration and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Promoting Quality and Safety in Healthcare: you will study the political context and whole systems approach to quality improvement and reducing risk, reasons for the occurrence of adverse events in healthcare, and nurses’ responsibilities in promoting the best interests of clients and their families
  • CLG 2 - The Good Nurse: understand what makes you a good nurse (regarding knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviours) with reference to observations from practice, relevant nursing theorists, philosophers and governing bodies
  • Nursing Practice Experience 2

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will begin to focus your work around mental health 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 Mental Health field of practice

  • Core Values, Knowledge and Skills for Mental Health Nursing: you will examine the impact of mental health problems, and look at professional relationships which are person-centred, effective, non-discriminatory and culturally sensitive. You will examine different theoretical perspectives (eg biological, psychological and social paradigms), systematic, holistic, collaborative assessments of needs or risk and recognition of strengths and abilities of individuals
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health: you will understand the ‘Being with’ range of therapeutic interventions (eg voice hearing, distressed thoughts, anxiety) and the influence of the ‘care’ environment on individuals suffering with mental health distress
  • Complex Presentations in Mental Healthcare: learn about complex care needs including self-damaging behaviours such as self-harm or substance misuse, the relationship between mental health and substance use, and motivational approaches.

Year 3

Working within mental health 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 Mental Health field of practice

  • Principles of Effective Care Delivery: you will be introduced to organisation and service delivery models, engage with the current impact of policy on services, and explore inter- and intra-professional relationships within multidisciplinary teams (including clinical supervision).

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Apply person and family-centred approaches to nursing care through shared decision making.
  • Engage in reflective practice and with awareness of a variety of health related agendas such as professional standards and ethical and legal frameworks.
  • Analyse complex clinical situations through developing self-directed, independent learning and engaging in Communities of Practice.
  • Raise standards of care through developing knowledge and understanding of the evidence base underpinning nursing and contemporary healthcare practice.
  • Improve healthcare delivery within a rapidly changing healthcare arena by becoming an effective change agent across professional boundaries.
  • Lead the delivery of care within a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and with resilience to manage competing priorities.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International

Additional costs

Costs for uniform provision and Occupational Health Screening and Disclosure and Barring Service checks will be met by the Department for the academic year 2017/18. Students applying for courses later than this should refer to the Departmental webpage for up to date Fees and Finance advice.

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

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 complete pattern of shifts, including nights and weekends, early and late shifts.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars360 hours300 hours288 hours
Placement516 hours516 hours612 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.


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 bed ward complete with a range of equipment for you to practice on, to community bedrooms and living rooms. These allow you to develop your nursing skills in a safe environment. 

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Health Sciences, which is based on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in Alcuin college, with some additional teaching at various other locations on Campus West.

You will also undertake practice placements as part of this course. The placements will be assigned by the department and you will be supported by a link lecturer and practice mentor. These practice placement experiences will cover a range of nursing and healthcare settings from hospital, community and private and voluntary sector. They can be across the whole of the North Yorkshire region. You will have to fund travel costs to placements, although you may be eligible for some travel cost reimbursement. Please see our frequently asked questions page for more information.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams17%0%17%
Practical exams33%58%25%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Careers and skills

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 multidisciplinary team

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

Three A levels at grades BBB. Please note we do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking as a subject choice. Preferably with two A levels from academic subjects, such as:

  • 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.

GCSEs You must already hold GCSE English Language, Maths and Science (at Grade C/4 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.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass 60 credits with at least 45 credits achieved at Level 3. You must achieve 24 level 3 credits at distinction and 21 level 3 credits at merit. At least 15 level 3 credits should be in science subjects. We will not normally consider applicants who have progressed to an access course within three years of taking A levels and failing to achieve the necessary grades for entry to the programme.
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDM BTEC National Extended 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
European Baccalaureate 75% overall average
International Baccalaureate 31
Irish leaving Certificate H3,H3,H3,H3,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers SQA Highers (without AH): AABBB, SQA Advanced Highers + Highers: BB + BBBBB
Other qualifications

English language


Students recruited from outside the UK must have previously completed the International English Language Testing (IELTS) and have a minimum score of at least seven in all areas.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Please note that international students are not currently eligible to apply for this course.

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