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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Nursing (Mental Health) (BSc)

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

UCAS code


Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

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. 

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. 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. 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 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).

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 complete 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 multidisciplinary team

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

The minimum entry requirements for our degree course are:

  • A level grades BBB
  • You should 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 our 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 who failed 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