Entry requirements (children's nursing)

This page has information on the entry requirements for children's nursing.

University course

Typically you'll need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4/C or above (possibly in English language or literature and a science subject), plus two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications, such as a T level or BTEC. Some universities may ask for three A-levels or equivalent. 

If you already have a degree, you might be able to study for a postgraduate qualification through an accelerated programme

Each university sets its own entry requirements so you should check the universities you plan to apply to. You can find children's nursing courses on our Course finder.

Alternatives to A-levels

Alternative qualifications to A-levels include:

  • A relevant T level
  • Access courses, eg Access to Nursing
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma qualifications
  • Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
  • OCR Cambridge Technicals
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

You may need a certain level for example a merit or distinction in the case of BTEC.

In some cases it is possible to combine academic qualifications with vocational qualifications. For example, an A-level and a BTEC qualification. 

Before starting any course, always check with universities to ensure that it would be accepted for a children's nursing degree.

Financial support while studying at university

If you're eligible, you'll receive at least £5,000 a year towards your studies while at university. Your personal circumstances may mean you could receive more. And the good news? You'll never have to pay it back

Other routes into children's nursing

Nursing degree apprenticeships are offered by some employers. There will also be increasing opportunities for current healthcare support staff to apply for nursing associate apprenticeships which could lead onto nursing degree apprenticeships. 

Want to learn more?

  • Applicants to child nursing degrees must demonstrate evidence of literacy and numeracy. This includes evidence of being able to:

    • read and comprehend English or Welsh
    • communicate clearly and effectively in writing, including using a computer
    • accurately manipulate numbers as applied to volume, weight, and length, (including, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, use of decimals, fractions, and percentages).

    If you have a disability, the above can be met through the use of reasonable adjustments.


  • Any relevant previous learning you have could count towards your pre-registration nursing course. It’s up to each university, but you may be able to do a shortened course (up to one year shorter) if your previous learning is considered relevant.

    Examples of previous learning might include a relevant degree, such as a health-related or biology degree, or relevant practice experience in a nursing or related discipline.

    Accelerated programmes can also be found on our course finder by searching for 'accelerated' programmes.


  • You will have to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to take up a place on a pre-registration nursing programme. You must confirm on your university application that you agree to a DBS check. If you have a criminal conviction or a police caution, this will not automatically bar you from working in the NHS. Any relevant circumstances will be considered for any conviction.

    You’ll also be required to have a Protection of Children Act List check before you begin your clinical placement if your programme involves regularly caring for or being in sole charge of children.


  • Universities must be satisfied that applicants to programmes are of good health and character to be considered a safe and effective nurse. If you have a particular health problem that may affect your ability to work or study, or if you have any questions about health requirements, contact the university to which you plan to apply.

    More information is available from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


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