• 14 May 2020
  • 13 min read

Top Nursing Universities UK

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder - Nurses.co.uk, Socialcare.co.uk, Healthjobs.co.uk, Healthcarejobs.ie
  • 0
  • 13357

Complete UK Nursing University Guide. An A-Z of every nursing course for 2020-2021. Plus our guide - How to choose the right nurse training for you.

Updated 14th May 2020

Topics covered on this page

A-Z of universities offering nursing courses

Footer notes about the directory

The impact of Covid-19 on UK nursing degree courses in 2020

Which UK university is best for nursing in 2020?

Tips for researching nursing courses

Choosing a university for nurse training - introduction

Think about how you like to learn

Research the course

Consider your extra-curricular needs

Entry requirements for nursing courses

Tips for school-age students considering nursing

Make sure you carefully consider the location of the university

Attend Open Days

Consider the reputation of an institution, but be aware of bias

Conclusion

A-Z of universities offering nursing courses

Anglia Ruskin University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Bangor University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

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Birmingham City University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Cardiff University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Coventry University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Keele University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Liverpool John Moores University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Manchester Metropolitan University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Northumbria University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Oxford Brookes University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

Swansea University

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Bolton

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

University of Bradford

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Chester

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

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University of Derby

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of East Anglia

Courses offered:

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Edinburgh

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

University of Essex

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Glasgow

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

University of Huddersfield

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Leeds

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of Liverpool

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

University of Northampton

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of South Wales

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of West London

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

University of York

Courses offered:

• Adult Nursing

• Children’s Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

Footer Notes

If you’re considering a career in nursing you will need a degree in the area / branch you wish to practice.

The good news is that you’re spoilt for choice. Universities and higher education institutions in every corner of the UK offer nursing courses – and here, we’re providing a comprehensive list of them.

Below is a brief summary of University Course education.

Branches of nursing

Broadly, you’ll find that institutions offer courses that cover one or all of the following specialisms (branches) of nursing:

• General / Adult nursing

• Mental Health Nursing

• Learning Disability Nursing

• Children's Nursing Midwifery

In our list we’ve kept things simple and just spelled out which specialisms are covered – to make this directory simple to navigate.

The impact of Covid-19 on UK nursing degree courses in 2020

Covid-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives – and nursing degrees are no different.

It’s recently been announced that NHS England wants to increase the number of nursing degree places on offer annually.

This is in response to the fact that the NHS Health Careers website has seen a 220% increase in traffic since the pandemic began.

Clearly, there is growing interest in nursing careers as a result of Covid-19 – and the supply of courses needs to match demand.

But how are existing students being affected?

Currently, students beginning their course in 2020 and many first-year students are being instructed that much of their course will be completed virtually.

Additionally, many clinical placements will be delayed.

Meanwhile, second and third-year students are actually seeing their clinical placements increase, in reaction to frontline shortages.

Nursing unions and the NMC are actively working on how this can safely continue, and how Nurses will be fairly remunerated.

There is also some discussion over whether tuition fees will be temporarily scrapped for students who have helped to fight the crisis.

This is, however, a situation that is changing rapidly.

Anyone applying now, planning for the future or soon to start their course should pay careful attention to announcements made by the NHS – and keep in close contact with their universities.

Which UK university is best for nursing in 2020?

Rating UK universities is difficult, for many reasons.

It’s often suggested that official rankings are biased, and that there’s no easy way of defining what constitutes the ideal university to study nursing.

After all, for many Nurses, one of the most influential factors would simply be location

However, prospective students are still eager to know what the top 10 universities for studying nursing are, according to the latest studies and surveys.

So, according to the Guardian’s well-respected league table, here are the current top 10.

These are calculated from a survey which assesses everything from course and teaching satisfaction, to student/staff ratios and ongoing career success:

1. University of Edinburgh

2. University of Liverpool

3. University of Glasgow

4. Coventry University

5. University of Portsmouth

6. Keele University

7. Swansea University

8. University of Manchester

9. Northumbria University

10. University of Birmingham

Take all of this with a pinch of salt, of course.

Nurses have never been more in demand, so wherever you study, you’ll have every chance of having a long and successful career.

Tips for researching nursing courses

When you proceed to find out more about a particular course or university, you’ll notice that the names of the courses vary.

As a guide, here’s what some of the acronyms mean:

• BN or BNurs = Bachelor of Nursing

• BSc = Bachelor of Science

• BA = Bachelor of Arts

• BMid = Bachelor of Midwifery

Every institution has their reasons for naming their course slightly differently, but all tend to lead to the same result – you, qualified, within your chosen field.

When viewing universities and courses in more detail, you’ll also come across acronyms like FDS or FDA (foundational courses) and MSc (a Master’s level degree).

These courses tend to relate to studies undertaken before or after an undergraduate degree.

The majority of courses will last three years, but some will last four.

Some will also be offered on a part-time or ‘short course’ basis – and some even offer more work-based options or a year abroad.

Choosing a university for nurse training - introduction (by Lauren Young, Learning Disability Nurse)

The following will set out some things you may want to think about while choosing your nurse training course.

There are several routes into nursing, which will be covered in another article.

On successful completion, all of the routes will lead to you becoming a fully qualified, registered nurse in your chosen specialism.

If you have carefully considered all of your options, and are happy university is the right choice for you, you may find this article useful.

Below I have listed some things to consider.

Due to everyone having their own circumstances and priorities, they are in no particular order of importance.

Think about how you like to learn

The course itself... What you will be devoting three years’ of your life, hard work, and finances towards.

Yes it will give you a valuable qualification when you successfully complete it. But it should also work for you.

Are you an exam lover, or do you prefer essays?

Do you like small classroom learning, or lecture halls?

Two hundred other students on your course, or something smaller?

If you are unsure, try making a list of all the things that are important to you.

This will give you a starting point for your research.

Some of the answers will be on the university websites about the course.

For others, you may have to visit the university.

Or you could email the admissions tutor.

Some courses have webchats or virtual Open Days.

Research the course

Look at what the course will actually teach.

Is it what you expected, or does just thinking about the content bore you?

The module titles might look great, but actually be pretty standard stuff wrapped up in fancy labels.

Due to nursing courses being regulated by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council), there will be standard content that all courses must adhere to.

Some might incorporate extras though.

It is also important to check which branch of nursing you apply for.

The main ones are child, adult, mental health, and learning disabilities.

You can also study dual courses, which can be any of these combined – or even one branch of nursing combined with social work.

These courses are often extra work, but you emerge as a dual qualified health professional.

Consider your extra-curricular needs

Maybe you have a passion outside of nursing.

Would your chosen course fit around hobbies or family life?

Obviously a university course is time-consuming, and giving up some free time is unavoidable.

But if this is important to you, explore your options.

Does one course have more self-study time than the other, which you could fit around your life?

Try to talk to current or past students and see if anyone has similar circumstances, and ask how they did it.

If you really can’t find any students to talk to at Open Days or other events, try looking online.

Forums such as the Student Room (thestudentroom.co.uk) are popular for these types of questions.

Look beyond the course.

Each university has clubs, societies, and sports.

If this is important to you, have a look what’s on offer.

Again, think about how much time you will have to devote to these while studying.

The learning methods will differ between courses.

If all the courses you would like to apply to require 3000 words essays – but you’re not confident on your writing skills – check out the other facilities.

Many university libraries have sessions specifically to help you brush up on study skills (like essay writing, for example).

Maybe they have an excellent tutorial system you could benefit from.

Entry requirements for nursing courses

Like any other course, each university has their own entry requirements specific to the course.

Maybe you are expecting to do really well in your A-levels, and would like a university which reflects this.

Or perhaps you are studying via a different route, so need a course which would accept alternative qualifications.

All of this information can be found on the individual university course websites, or via UCAS (www.ucas.com).

If you are unsure whether your qualifications would be accepted, you can email the course admissions tutor and ask.

Their details should be on the course website.

If you don’t meet the entry requirements, again it is always worth contacting them in case they would be willing to consider other factors.

Personal circumstances might have impacted your grades and qualify you for special consideration, or you might have exceptional experience which would be valuable.

Try to emphasise how you would be an asset to the course, and be positive about your attributes.

Tips for school-age students considering nursing

You may still be at school and thinking ahead for college.

If you have a particular course in mind, but have not yet started your A-levels or further learning yet – or are thinking about returning to education – you may still be welcome at Open Days.

Some universities welcome you to general Open Days, others may have specific information events for younger participants.

Failing this, you can always email the admissions tutor for more information on which A-level or access courses would be the most advantageous, and minimum grades they would be looking for.

Of course, this does not guarantee you a place on any future courses.

But it may be helpful to know if you are wondering what to aim for.

Make sure you carefully consider the location of the university

Depending on your priorities, you may feel like a university chooses you rather than the other way round.

Perhaps due to family or other commitments, you cannot leave the area and there is only one university which does the course.

Location is often a major factor for other reasons, including expense, accommodation, and already knowing the area.

Maybe you are hoping to complete placements at local places you know and love.

Location convenience is as valid a reason as any to look into going to university in your hometown.

Be aware you’re not selling yourself short, however, if the nearest university is giving you pause for thought.

There may be other options, such as a better course a short commute away.

Sometimes, a university has placement areas that are far away from the university itself.

If you need to stay local, but don’t want to attend your nearest course, look at the next closest university.

Where are their placements?

Is the course done on that campus, or is it on a campus nearer to you?

Unless you already know, it can be surprising how far and wide different campuses are for the same university.

Attend university Open Days

Similarly, even if moving is not an issue for you, be careful to note exactly where your lectures will be.

Open Days are very important here, as they give you a chance to visit the lecture halls, classrooms, and ground themselves.

Sometimes, university Open Day tours show an example of their facilities.

This is a great way of getting to know their standards and what to expect.

However, they might also show you the nearest lecture hall.

What if your actual lectures are a walk away up a big hill every day, or there is no parking, or limited facilities for people with disabilities?

They might show you their newest facilities, are the older ones still okay?

Check out all of these things if they could be an issue for your personal circumstances, before you commit to the course.

Consider the reputation of an institution, but be aware of bias

A major time in the university world is the publication of league tables.

These can be found in newspapers, The Complete University Guide (www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk) and similar websites, as well as international rankings.

They are useful as a guide, however do look out for bias and how they are measured.

For example, American rankings tend to favour American universities.

Some rankings allow you to look at just your subject area, which can be useful when you know what you would like to study.

Another factor to consider is whether the university you are considering has been in the news recently, negatively or positively. Would this affect your course?

In extreme circumstances, would it affect your future employment prospects?

Pay particular attention if by some chance, it was about your future course not meeting certain standards – although this is highly unlikely.

Universities themselves are also grouped into different types.

The Russell Group is made of 24 self-selected public research institutions, and can be found on their website at www.russellgroup.ac.uk.

They are known for outstanding research and teaching standards, as well as having links with the public sector and business.

You may have heard the term polytechnic, or former polytechnic.

There is a lot of snobbery in the university world, usually unfairly, towards former polytechnics in contrast to, for example, the Russell Group.

Polytechnic universities focussed mainly on vocational subjects, such as engineering, town planning, and law.

They also focussed on nursing, which you may want to consider when choosing your course.

It is debateable, but often former polytechnics are high in league tables for nursing – possibly due to having a history and experience of teaching the course.

Certainly employers look favourably on students from these universities.

Nursing is very in demand throughout the country, in all specialities, from all universities.

You can look at the employability of people from these courses via the league tables, sometimes called graduate prospects.

Information on individual course websites usually also give an indication of what percentage of students were employed in a relevant sector six months after graduation.

Conclusion

Try not to be put off by one or two imperfections on the course – the university may have things in place which cancels these out.

Many things in life are about compromising, and this is no different!

Think about your priorities, and look for university courses which tick the majority of boxes for you.

Hopefully this article has given you some things to think about, helping you decide what you would like to look for in a university course.

Overall, university should be about working hard, meeting new people, and having a great life experience.

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder - Nurses.co.uk, Socialcare.co.uk, Healthjobs.co.uk, Healthcarejobs.ie

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded this and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder - Nurses.co.uk, Socialcare.co.uk, Healthjobs.co.uk, Healthcarejobs.ie

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded this and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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