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Degrees in nursing

Pre registration nursing degree courses are available on a full and part time basis at a variety of higher education institutions (HEIs). This pages gives an overview of the options available.

Full time degree courses

There are full-time nursing degree courses in all four branches of nursing: adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities. Full time degree courses are three years in length, and are offered by higher education institutions across England.

Pre registration nursing degree programmes provide both an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised nursing practice.

Pre-registration nurse education programmes take place in higher education institutions. Degree programmes begin with a common foundation programme (CFP) which provides a general introduction to nursing, in particular it develops your observational, communication and caring skills. The CFP also includes an introduction to the four branches of nursing and to maternity care.

Supervised nursing practice is 50% of the programme and takes place in both hospital and community settings. The programmes are three years in length, beginning with a 12 or 18 month common foundation programme (CFP) followed by an 18 or 24 month branch programme in one of the four nursing branches: adult, mental health, learning disabilities, or childrens nursing.

Masters degree in nursing studies

Pre registration nursing masters degree programmes provide both an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised nursing practice.

Supervised nursing practice is 50% of the programme, and takes place in both hospital and community settings.

Masters degree programmes can be up to four years in duration, and typically begin with an 18-month common foundation programme (CFP), followed by study in one of the four nursing branches: adult, children’s, learning disabilities and mental health.

Applicants should, however, contact the universities directly for more information about length, content and the nursing branches offered.

Part time degree courses

There are part time nursing degree courses in all four branches of nursing: adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities. Part time degree courses are four years in length.

Pre registration nursing degree programmes provide both an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised nursing practice.

Part-time pre-registration programmes in nursing are offered by some higher education institutions (HEIs). These programmes are intended for staff who are currently working in the NHS – usually as assistant practitioners (or an equivalent level), and have been seconded/supported by their employer to complete the course. 

Anyone planning to take a part-time course should speak with their line manager and training department at their employing trust. HEIs will need to be confident that anyone undertaking a part-time programme has the appropriate academic ability to cope with the demands of the course.

Accelerated degree courses

A number of programmes exist for graduates that hold a relevant degree. What constitutes as relevant, will depend upon the higher education institution (HEI) offering the programme, but could, for example, be a health-related or biology-based degree.

Shortened programmes lead to registration in adult, children’s, mental health or learning disabilities nursing.

Programmes may lead to the award of diploma, postgraduate diploma or a masters degree. This will depend upon the individual university.

Accelerated programmes are normally a minimum of 24 months in length, this being six months of the common foundation programme (CFP) and 18 months in the relevant branch programme.

This article was originally published by NHS Careers