Nursing (Mental Health) BN

Gain the skills to progress your career in mental health nursing and see the benefits that your care can have on patients and families


Explore the rewarding and complex study of mental health and develop the skills required to practise nursing in a compassionate and recovery-focused way.

Taught by experts in a friendly and supportive environment, you’ll put theory into practice in our state-of-the art Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre, and participate in work placements across the Lothian and Borders area in hospital and community settings. Work placements make up 50% of the course content.

This dynamic, forward-looking three-year course aims to produce effective and skilled practitioners. It also offers a combination of theory and practice with opportunities for you to exercise some choice over what you study, including the option of an international placement.

You’ll gain the team working, personal and decision making skills needed to demonstrate your eligibility for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council including:

  • Professional values
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Nursing practice and decision making
  • Leadership, management and team working abilities

We have a 82% satisfaction rate for our Nursing (Mental Health) course (National Student Survey, 2022).  

People talking in the shelter.

Mode of Study:



3 years

Start date:


UCAS code:




Study Abroad:


Course details

The three-year degree shares common theory modules with other fields of practice and includes shared input on research, leadership and quality development.

You'll concentrate on key mental health topics including communication and therapeutic skills, understanding and working with users and carers in mental health services and knowledge of legal and ethical practice.

There is also a strong emphasis on recovery, positive mental health, values-based practice, user and carer involvement and mental health promotion.

This course allows you to specialise in mental health nursing, providing both an academic qualification and the vocational training to become a registered nurse, underpinned by key themes:

  • Communication, interpersonal and therapeutic skills
  • Working in partnership with service users, carers and colleagues
  • Respecting diversity, practising ethically and challenging inequality
  • Developing reflective practitioners – with skills in critical thinking, evidence-based practice and life-long learning
  • Leading, monitoring and developing care
  • Promoting positive mental health

Additional mandatory costs

Year 3: Students are expected to pay for the registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, £120.

  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    Your learning experience will be supported by: lectures, tutorials, group work, skills simulation classes and work placements.

  • note and pen


    Academic writing, including care plans, completing presentations and reports and assessment in clinical placements.
  • briefcase

    Work placement

    Work placements make up 50% of the course content. These placements will be in acute hospital settings and a variety of community environments.

  • study abroad

    Study abroad

    Volunteering opportunities are possible during the longer summer holidays in year 2.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Caring for Self and Others
  • Assessing Community Health and Patient Wellness
  • Practice Learning Experience 1 and 2 

Year 2

  • Assessing Need and Delivering Care in Mental Health Nursing
  • Recognising and Responding to Altered Health in Mental Health Nursing
  • Practice Learning Experience 3 and 4 

Year 3

  • Managing Complex Care in Mental Health Nursing
  • Leading in Health and Social Care Teams
  • Practice Learning Experience 5 and 6



Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Nursing (Mental Health)? 

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Admission to the programme is also dependent upon a satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) check. This will be conducted as part of the induction week. The cost of the PVG check will be paid by the University. 

Selection Test 

Part of the selection process for entry to the programme of your choice will include a computer based Confident Caring Assessment (CCA) where you will be given a short video and related scenario with questions. This is an assessment of the attributes expected of a nurse/ midwife, not your clinical knowledge and skills. It is designed to assess the qualities needed to work as a nurse/ midwife and the proficiencies outlined in the:  

Nurses Standards of proficiency  

The Code and watch these short videos

It presents a series of work-related situations, and you will be questioned about how you would respond. All applicants are required to sit the CCA. 

If you require adjustment for a learning support need, please get in touch by emailing before your selection event.


Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBC preferably to include English or a Literary subject* and a Science subject**. National 5 grade C in Maths OR Applications of Maths. For those who do not have Higher English and a Higher Science subject, National 5 English and a Science at grade C will be required.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BCC preferably to include English or a Literary subject* and a Science subject**. National 5 grade C in Maths OR Applications of Maths. For those who do not have Higher English and a Higher Science subject, National 5 English and a Science at grade C will be required.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

  • BC preferably to include English or a Literary subject* and a Science subject**
  • GCSE grade C/4 in Maths
  • GCSE grade C/4 in English and a Science (or Double Award Science) required for candidates who do not have these subjects at A Level.

BTEC (QCF) National Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades MMP (Merit, Merit, Pass) in any subject*
  • GCSE English, Maths and a Science at grade C/4
  • *Recommended subjects: Health and Social Care, Applied Science, Sports Science, Health Science

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma

  • Minimum grades DM (Distinction, Merit) in any subject*
  • GCSE English, Maths and a Science at grade C/4
  • *Recommended subjects: Health and Social Care, Applied Science, Sports Science, Health Science

Irish Leaving Certificate (first awarded in 2017)

  • H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level preferably to include English or Literary subject* and a Science subject**
  • For those who do not have English, Maths and a Science subject at Higher level, grade O3 at Ordinary Level will be required.


  • Pass in any subject with grade C in the graded unit for Year 1 entry. For the subjects below, the National 5 requirements differ. For all other HNC's, National 5 grade C in Maths, English and a Science is also required.
  • Care and Administrative Practice/Healthcare Practice (No additional National 5 grades required)
  • Social Care, Social Services, Social Sciences, Childhood Practice, Early Education and Childcare (National 5 grade C in Maths and a Science also required)
  • Applied Science (National 5 grade C in English and Maths also required)

QQI Level 5 Pre-Nursing Studies

  • Minimum of 6 Distinctions must be achieved overall. Distinctions must also be achieved in the Communication Unit and the Anatomy and Physiology Unit.
  • O3 in Ordinary Level Maths in the Irish Leaving Certificate or Maths passed as part of QQI Level 5 also required.

T level

  • Pass in any subject with grade C or above in the Core component.
  • GCSE English, Maths and a Science subject also required at grade C/4.

Access Courses

Please note the following points about local Access to Nursing courses offered by Further Education Colleges for those interested in Nursing and Midwifery courses at Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University has Partnership Agreements with 4 local Further Education Colleges – Borders, Edinburgh, Fife and West Lothian Colleges for entry to Adult, Learning Disability, Child and Mental Health Nursing.

Well over 100 students study each year, on appropriate preparation to nursing and midwifery courses, at our Partner Colleges.

All students attending Access to Nursing courses are required to pass the internally assessed graded units with overall profile grades BBC for entry onto the Adult, Learning Disability, Child and Mental Health Nursing programmes.

Midwifery Courses

Students on Access to Nursing courses are not considered for the Midwifery course.

Students from the Rest of the UK

Pass Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 credits overall with a minimum of 18 credits at Pass and 27 credits at Merit.

English, Maths and a Science subject must be achieved at Level 2/3 within the diploma. 

Previous Nursing Students

Please note that students who have already studied a Nursing degree are unlikely to receive funding for a second Nursing degree.

Mature students

Adequate and appropriate previous (and recent) study is essential. Please contact if you are unsure whether or not you would be eligible to apply. Relevant work experience will be considered alongside recent study. It may be necessary for those with limited qualifications to undertake an Access course or other appropriate courses/studies in a Further Education setting.

Subjects required

*Literary subjects include: English/English Literature, History, Modern Studies, Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies/Christian Theology, Psychology, Geography, Sociology, Health and Social Care, Law

**Science Subjects include: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, PE (only accepted as a Science subject if studied at Higher level)

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test. The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS 7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in each component, excluding Writing which requires 6.5).  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £15,160 £16,680
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.

*Students should apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding.
Further guidance can be found here


Nursing students grouped around a 'patient' mannequin

What can you do with a Nursing Mental Health Degree? 


By studying mental health nursing at Edinburgh Napier University, you will be able to provide practical recommendations and solutions to promote patients’ recovery through the knowledge you have gained.  You will have developed effective interpersonal communication skills which are required within mental health nursing, enabling you to deliver care to those in hospitals and the community as a registered mental health nurse. On completion of your degree numerous opportunities will become available such as work within a hospital setting, in community units, in child and adolescent mental health services, in dementia services, in prison services, within forensic psychiatry and drug rehabilitation, in third sector organisations or research settings to name a few.



What does a Mental Health Nurse do?


As a mental health nurse, you will build therapeutic relationships with your patients after identifying their requirements in terms of mental health support. You will have high professional standards, leadership and decision-making skills, and be able to make links to areas such as physical and mental health in planning and delivering care.  


Daily tasks you might carry out in this role include:  

  • Promoting positive mental health to your patients through nursing practice
  • Championing equality and diversity and challenging stereotypes and stigma in mental health
  • Work to address the physical health inequalities experienced by people who have a severe mental illness
  • Diagnosing mental illnesses and creating a care and treatment plan
  • Delivering and evaluating care
  • Administering medication and adjusting dosages.
  • Assess people experiencing a mental health crisis, and working with multidisciplinary colleagues to plan care and support, including inpatient and community-based treatment Increasing quality of life in patients with a mental illness. 
  • Keep and update medical records.  
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