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Exclusive: Best and worst UK universities for nursing, as rated by students


Data analysis by Nursing Times has revealed the best and worst university nursing courses, based on student satisfaction levels.

Nursing Times has looked in detail at the results of this year’s National Student Survey for nursing courses, finding that Teesside University scored the highest and Brighton University the lowest in England (see table below).

“An outstanding feature of our courses is the successful collaboration with NHS, primary care trusts and social services”

Marion Grieves

The analysis shows that 97% of nursing students at Teesside said they were satisfied overall with the quality of their course, closely followed by Keele University, with 96% of students reporting that they were satisfied with their programme.

The University of Bradford scored 95%, while Coventry University and the University of West London both achieved a 94% rating.

In comparison, the five universities in England scoring the lowest were the University of Manchester, with 73%, Staffordshire University, University Campus Suffolk and the University Of Southampton – all scoring 70% – and the University of Brighton, which achieved a 66% rating (see table below).

The ratings were calculated from an overall survey of all final-year undergraduate students by combining the number of people who said they either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” they were satisfied with the quality of their course overall.

Universities with the lower scores told Nursing Times they were confident they would improve next year.

“The reasons for the low scores in nursing can be attributed to a range of factors including changes and challenges in our placement management systems”

Dr Nigel Thomas

Dr Nigel Thomas, dean of the faculty of health sciences at Staffordshire University, said the results were “disappointing” compared to previous years, and that problems with managing placements were partly to blame.

“The reasons for the low scores in nursing can be attributed to a range of factors including changes and challenges in our placement management systems,” he said.

“In addition, nursing courses are based in our Stafford and Shrewsbury campuses, which in the last year have been subject to a significant period of refurbishment,” he added.

The University of Southampton’s dean of health sciences, Professor Mandy Fader, told Nursing Times it had been carrying out work over the past year to understand what parts of the programme students found most challenging, which had led to some improvements in other areas of the survey.

“The faculty is currently undertaking a detailed analysis of this years’ results, and we will continue to work closely with students to address their concerns and ensure that they have the best possible experience of nurse education,” she said.

At the University of Suffolk, the head of the department of nursing studies noted it had scored 84% in the previous year.

Following feedback from recent cohorts, the university had “invested in additional teaching resources” and “put in place a range of strategies to enhance the student experience”, said Paul Driscoll-Evans.

Those universities with the best results put their success down to a variety of reasons. These included courses being designed alongside healthcare provider organisations, users and carers, the availability of learning resources such as simulation technology, and structured support systems with tutors.

“University of West London has recently invested over £50m, developing ultramodern campuses”

Charmagne Barnes

Marion Grieves, dean of the school of health and social care at top-scoring Teesside, said: “An outstanding feature of our courses is the successful collaboration with NHS, primary care trusts and social services, giving our students hands-on, practical experience and skills, which are in great demand from potential employers.”

Keele University’s director of undergraduate programmes, Dr Patricia Owen, and nursing programme lecturer, Cath Hill, said: “Because our core values focus on student development as person-centred graduate nurses, we provide innovative, thoughtful and structured support systems. These include focussed personal tutor systems and support with engaging with learning and teaching.”

Meanwhile, Charmagne Barnes, dean of the college of nursing, midwifery and healthcare at the University of West London, said: “Our students benefit from a fantastic range of high-tech learning resources, to support their development in both the university and practice.

“UWL has recently invested over £50m, developing ultramodern campuses in Ealing and Brentford and next month, we are opening our second state-of-the-art simulation centre in Reading,” she added.

Across the 55 universities in England offering nursing courses, the average score for student satisfaction for nursing programmes was 85%.

However, in Scotland the average score was 88% across its 11 universities, with Queen Margaret University Edinburgh scoring 100% satisfaction and the University of Glasgow 97%.

Among the five universities in Wales running nursing courses, Wrexham Glyndwr University scored the highest with 96% and Cardiff University the lowest with 76%.

Northern Ireland has two nursing course providers, one of which scored above average and the other below. Queen’s University Belfast was rated 92% and Ulster University 82%.

The full findings for all university courses covered by the 2016 National Student Survey – now in its eleventh year – were published earlier this month.

The annual survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI and funded by the National College of Teaching and Leadership, Health Education England and the four UK higher education funding bodies – the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.

  • Nursing Times thanks the Higher Education Funding Council for England for its help with analysing the survey data.

UK results for nursing courses in the National Student Survey 


Teesside University — 97%

Keele University — 96%

University of Bradford — 95%

Coventry University — 94%

University of West London — 94%

Edge Hill University — 93%

Manchester Metropolitan University — 93%

The Open University — 92%

University of Northampton — 92%

Anglia Ruskin University — 91%

University of Liverpool — 91%

Buckinghamshire New University — 90%

University of Wolverhampton — 90%

Birmingham City University — 89%

University of Birmingham — 89%

University of Bolton — 89%

University of Chester — 89%

University of Essex— 89%

University of Huddersfield — 89%

University of Northumbria At Newcastle — 89%

University of Worcester — 89%

University of Central Lancashire — 88%

University of Sheffield — 88%

City University London — 87%

The University of Hull — 87%

University of Derby — 87%

University of Greenwich — 87%

Liverpool John Moores University — 86%

Middlesex University — 86%

Oxford Brookes University — 86%

University of East Anglia — 85%

Canterbury Christ Church University — 84%

De Montfort University — 84%

Bournemouth University — 83%

University of Leeds — 83%

University of Lincoln — 83%

University of Plymouth — 83%

Leeds Beckett University — 82%

University of Cumbria — 82%

University of Salford — 82%

University of Hertfordshire — 81%

University of Surrey — 81%

University of the West of England, Bristol — 79%

London South Bank University — 78%

Kingston University & St George’s University of London — 77%

King’s College London — 76%

University of Bedfordshire — 75%

University of Nottingham — 75%

University of York — 75%

Sheffield Hallam University — 74%

University of Manchester — 73%

Staffordshire University — 70%

University Campus Suffolk — 70%

University of Southampton — 70%

University of Brighton — 66%



Queen Margaret University Edinburgh — 100% 

University of Glasgow — 97% 

University of Dundee — 95% 

University of Edinburgh — 92% 

University of the Highlands and Islands — 92%

University of the West of Scotland — 91% 

University of Stirling — 89% 

University of Abertay Dundee — 88% 

Glasgow Caledonian University — 80% 

Edinburgh Napier University — 80% 

Robert Gordon University — 70% 



Wrexham Glyndwr University — 96%

University of South Wales — 93%

Swansea University — 87%

Bangor University — 80%

Cardiff University — 76%


Northern Ireland

Queen’s University Belfast — 92%

Ulster University — 82%


Readers' comments (8)

  • Interesting seeing manchester and King's score so low. I've heard from students that these courses are far too academic and social science based, so I'm not surprised. I'd feel frustrated too if I wanted to learn the knowledge based for nursing yet had to do endless essays deconstructing the meaning of caring.

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  • To the anon above, having gone to King's and then transferred to a less 'academic' university, I can't say there was much of a difference between the material taught at the uni's. If you look at the compulsory module's studied on the university websites, you'll find every nursing course is social science heavy. The biggest difference I found between the two uni's was the support I received. At my second uni, teachers were more willing to meet up and discuss assessments, I felt I got to know them on a more personal level and this made them so much more approachable. And while I had issues with King's, they do offer a thorough academic understanding of the courses covered but the uni intake is massive as is a lot of other of the other more academic university intakes, and this creates a big problem when you don't have enough teachers to provide more individualised learning.

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  • These are for Adult nursing only. As ever the other field get forgotten

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  • Having experienced Brighton as a post grad student with years of experience, I am not at all surprised. Though I was lucky with my tutorials, many fellow students struggled alone

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  • Can they please start doing individual branch tables for these types of things again...
    The lack of stats did make choosing my course for this september quite tricky!

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  • As a student within university of south wales, I whole heartedly agree, the support we get is second to none, cardiff uni students, get no support, as they deem themselves to be the best! As they are part of the Russell group. .... well think again cardiff, obviously something isn't working.

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  • Teesside trained and proud. It was a tough, demanding course, but the support from academic staff to both students and practice mentors was and is excellent. I felt prepared for qualifying.

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  • There are THREE nursing education providers in Northern Ireland - the Open University as well as Queen's and UU. The above average score for the OU matches that for Queen's - both in the top 10

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