Studying nursing

This page provides an overview of the things to consider if you are thinking about applying to train as a nurse, what you can expect during training and your next steps after qualifying.

Nurses usually train in one of the following four fields of nursing: 

A small number of universities run ‘dual field’ degrees, where you can study two of the above fields.

 community nurse with car boot

Applying to become a nurse

The first step to becoming a nurse is to take a course approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). You can search for NMC-approved courses (including dual field degree courses) using our course finder.

Applications for full-time nursing courses are made through UCAS. For part-time courses, contact individual universities to find out their application procedures. Which? University has some good tips on writing personal statements.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for nursing degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria, but you are likely to need at least two (usually three) A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications, plus supporting GCSEs including English, maths and a science (usually biology or human biology). Contact universities directly to find out whether qualifications equivalent to A levels or GCSEs are acceptable.

Entry is competitive. Courses often specify preferred or essential A level or equivalent subjects, such as one science (eg biology) or social science (eg psychology). Some universities offer courses with a foundation year for those without the necessary entry qualifications.

If you already have a degree in a relevant subject, you can often get recognition for this (a process called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning - APEL), enabling you to do the course in 2 rather than 3 years. Our coursefinder lists these 'accelerated' courses for for graduates.

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