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Bachelor of Nursing (Mental Health) Autumn Intake (BN)

  • UCAS code: B762
  • Next intake: September 2020
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

Why study this course

Join a School that is ranked 1st in Wales and 8th in the UK for Nursing by The Times Good University Guide 2020.

Mental health nursing is a diverse, challenging and rewarding career with people at its heart. Validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) our programme provides you with the skills and knowledge to become a registered Mental Health Nurse within 3 years and offers you the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.

You will offer help and support to people of all ages, their families and carers. The role is diverse, and care can be offered in a variety of situations including hospitals, homes and community settings. Whilst a key role of the mental health nurse is to form therapeutic relationships it is important that you are also able to use effective communication strategies to demonstrate compassionate, creative and critical mental health care that focuses on recovery.

The programme content emphasises the holistic components of individual mental health recovery, acknowledging the importance of maintaining health and the wider psychological and social impacts of personal wellbeing.

You will specialise in mental health nursing from the start of the programme, with an integrated learning strategy meaning you will also study alongside students of other fields. Sharing your ideas between disciplines will broaden your perspective on health care and help to sharpen your focus on your own field. Inter-professional learning (IPE) is a key component of the programme.

We have a highly equipped Clinical Simulation Suite which enables you to learn in a realistic ward, community, home and emergency simulations, meaning you can safely practice and develop essential skills to develop your confidence before going into placement. We also have dedicated mental health communication booths where you can develop your practical skills.

You will spend 50% of your time in clinical practice, working alongside experienced practice supervisors in hospitals, community and other specialist mental health care team provisions. A varied placement experience undertaken across the three years of the programme will allow you to integrate academic theory with clinical practice and gain insight into the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification. Our clinical placements reflect the work of the mental health nurse in supporting people from all age groups when they experience the impact of mental health problems.   

You will be taught by motivated and knowledgeable lecturers in the field of mental health nursing who are influencing healthcare across Wales and beyond through engagement and research. This is demonstrated by our School receiving 1st place in the UK for research environment in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF). You will be allocated both a personal tutor who will offer you pastoral support and an academic assessor who will support your professional development during the programme.

On successful completion of the programme you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Mental Health Nurse. With this registration, you can work in a range of healthcare settings, both in the United Kingdom and abroad and join the nursing workforce of the future

Above all else, we strive to ensure that you are ready for the next step in your career and the many opportunities that await you. That’s why 100%* of our nursing students are in employment or further study after 6 months of graduating (*DHLE and HECSU).  


Distinctive features

The Complete University Guide 2019 ranked nursing at Cardiff University in the top 10 in the UK, based on student satisfaction, entry standards, student-staff ratios and graduate prospects. Here are some of the key features of why we think our programme will make you the best mental health nurse you can be:

  • Nursing is a very ‘hands on’ degree developing both theoretical and practical skills and our blended approach to learning combines face-to-face teaching with online resources and practice placements;

  • Our programme is validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC);

  • You’ll have the option to choose a fully funded place on the programme.  A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available for this programme providing you agree to work in Wales for two years after qualifying;

  • During year two, there is an opportunity for you to undertake a placement learning opportunity in a different environment, either within the UK or overseas;

  • We have highly-equipped skills laboratories in our Clinical Simulation Suite which enable you to learn in in realistic ward, community, home and emergency simulations. Lifelike simulations mean you can safely practice and develop essential skills, developing your confidence and expertise before going out into placement;

  • Opportunity to learn and practice in our specially designed communication booths, this can touch on emotive areas that reflect the real world of mental health nursing practice;

  • You’ll be studying at a Russell Group University which supports a strong research profile and evidence-based learning;

  • The School provides courses recognised by the UK Health and Care Professions Council in occupational therapy, operating department practice, physiotherapy, diagnostic radiography and imaging and radiotherapy and oncology. It also provides pre-registration courses in nursing and midwifery. This contributes to a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education not available at many institutions;

  • 100% of our mental health nursing students are in employment or further study after 6 months of graduating (UNISTATS).


Where you'll study

School of Healthcare Sciences

Our courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to embark on a professional healthcare career.

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  • Telephone+44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Entry requirements


Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDD in early BTEC Early Years / DDM in National Diploma. Other relevant BTEC National Diplomas may be considered.

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.

Find out about our Schools' admissions criteria, offer guarantee scheme, changes to programmes and translating your documents.


Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 7.0 in all other subskills.


At least 100 with a minimum of 22 in writing and 25 in all other subskills.

PTE Academic

At least 70 overall with a minimum of 62 in writing and a minimum of 70 in all other communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

III: at least a Merit in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Four GCSEs grade C/4 including Maths and a Physical Science.

If you are successful in both academic and non-academic assessment you may be invited to attend a multiple mini interview.

In addition, before enrolling on your programme, you will be required to complete an Occupational Health Questionnaire, attend any subsequent appointment(s), and receive all of the necessary vaccinations to undertake clinical placements safely.

Widening access: 

We recognise the benefits that a diverse and talented student community can bring to the future of health care. Our School is dedicated to promoting widening access to a wide-variety of groups traditionally under-represented in higher education and encourage applications from all backgrounds.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL):

There are circumstances where we are able to consider prior relevant learning. Recognition of prior learning can occur for up to 50% of the programme where this learning is capable of being mapped to the programme outcomes. Please contact the School of Healthcare Sciences for more information.

You will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required. If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000 None

Learn about our tuition fees

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

You will be responsible for meeting the costs of obtaining an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate as a requirement of your application. In addition, applicants are advised that there may be travel and accommodation costs associated with periods of practice placement. Students are provided with a uniform for placement; however, you will need to meet the cost of appropriate footwear. 

If you choose to take the practice opportunity overseas in year two this must be funded by yourself and should you choose to travel abroad for placement there may be additional vaccination costs.

Course specific equipment

You will not need any specific equipment.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This a three-year full-time programme consisting of 4600 hours of study, with each academic year divided into two semesters; autumn and spring. There are four core modules in each academic year, these include a portfolio module in each year which is largely taught and assessed in practice and a final year dissertation module. The programme is structured as a spiral curriculum, where modules build on each other with increasing complexity and detail in the teaching, thereby increasing the depth and range of topics learnt. There are assessed practice placements within each academic year. Students must successfully complete 360 credits and pass each of the practice placements in order to achieve the award of a Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) (Mental Health) and be eligible to apply for professional registration with the NMC to practice as a mental health nurse.   

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

There are four compulsory modules in year one and two clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year.

Year two

There are four compulsory modules in year two and three clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year.

Year three

There are four compulsory modules in year three and two clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year. The last practice learning opportunity in the programme is 12 weeks, and this is where a judgment about the students’ achievements of the required competencies for safe and effective entry to the NMC register will be made.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

Traditional face-to-face learning strategies such as lectures, workshops and seminars will be complemented by interactive online opportunities and resources designed to enhance your overall learning experience and enable you to acquire the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are a requirement of mental health nursing practice. You are also afforded valuable opportunities to learn from the authentic voices of service users and carers who contribute to the programme as experts by experience. 

Within the clinical environment you will be supported by practice supervisors and practice assessors as you progress towards achieving Nursing and Midwifery Council proficiencies.  In the academic setting you will also be allocated an academic assessor who will review your Professional Assessment Document (PAD) throughout the year to the point of progression to the following year of study. To support learning in practice you will also undertake simulated activities and scenarios in a purpose-built simulation suite. This will allow you to develop, practice and consolidate skills in a safe environment.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor who is a member of the academic staff group and a qualified mental health nurse. You will be encouraged to arrange meetings with your Personal Tutor throughout your time on the programme, during which you can access pastoral support and reflect on your overall progress. Personal Tutors will also assist in signposting you to other sources of support such as the School and Programme Student Disability Contact and University-wide services including Student Support and Wellbeing and the Academic Skills and Mentoring Team.

Welsh-speaking Personal Tutors may be available to students whose preference is to access support through the medium of Welsh. The Programme Manager, Module Leads and Academic Assessor can support you in relation to your overall experience as a student of the programme, including any feedback or concerns you might have.

The School also works in partnership with Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to provide opportunities for Welsh speaking students who wish to study aspects of the programme through the medium of Welsh and the possibility of a yearly scholarship. You also have the option to learn Welsh through our Welsh for All programme where courses are designed to fit around your academic commitments and are free of charge.

During practice placements, you will be supported by Practice Supervisors and a Practice Assessor who will facilitate your learning and prepare you for in-point clinical assessments. A dedicated Placement Support Team will also be available to you, alongside formal mechanisms and procedures, to support your learning and progress and address any issues or problems that may arise. The placement team will attempt to source Welsh-speaking supervisors or bilingual placement learning opportunities and, if available, Welsh-speaking named contacts from the academic setting upon request.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The learning outcomes for this programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin and inform nursing practice and the importance of adherence to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code.
  • A sound knowledge of body systems, anatomy, physiology, genomics and human development underpinned with relevant theory and applied to health and illness.
  • A critically evaluative approach to the socio-political factors and relevant policies that influence individual, local, national and global health, wellbeing and illness and inform decision making in practice.
  • An in-depth understanding of the core principles and values that underpin collaborative practice in health and social care, including how the role of the mental health nurse contributes to interdisciplinary working in ensuring the provision of high-quality, person and family-centred services.
  • A sound appreciation of regulatory and professional body standards concerning, continuing professional development and reflective practice, leadership, research and evidence-based care in order to develop, deliver and evaluate safe, high quality family and person-centred mental health nursing care.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Proficiency in the selection, analysis, synthesis and critical evaluation of information from a wide range of sources, drawing logical and reasoned conclusions in the formation of sound decisions and professional judgements.
  • A creative and innovative approach to problem-solving in the academic and practice environment, including imaginative thinking and the development of effective solutions and ideas that will enhance health outcomes and peoples experience of mental health nursing care.
  • Proficiency in contributing to a professional knowledge base through the selection, justification and application of ethically-sound research design and methods and the identification of effective dissemination strategies.
  • Enhanced professional reflective and reasoning skills that promotes critical review of care provision and wider organisational values and practice.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate: 

  • Established professional values and behaviours in keeping with professional body expectations as described in the NMC Code.
  • Effective and appropriate collaborative working practices with users of services, other team members and partners, drawing upon enabling, empowering and consultative approaches and valuing diversity of experience and perspectives.
  • Promotion of individual and person-centred safety and wellbeing through prioritising their legal rights, best interests and needs using effective risk assessment and risk management.
  • Sound assessment and reasoning skills in identifying and planning appropriate, evidence-based interventions and care delivery, respecting the rights, culture, spiritual needs and preferences of the individual, family members and significant others and evaluating effectiveness.
  • Advocacy and leadership in promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in preventing ill health and recognition of a need for organisational change and service improvement.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Active engagement in continuing personal and professional development underpinned by critical reflection and a commitment to developing resilience and lifelong self-directed learning skills.
  • Enhanced communication skills and an ability to teach, supervise and motivate others, drawing upon leadership skills in identifying methods and strategies for effective team working and high-quality service delivery.
  • Effective prioritisation and management of time, working within given resources throughout the problem-solving process and assuming leadership, responsibility and accountability for management and development of self and others.
  • Accurate record-keeping and responsible engagement with a range of digital technologies to communicate and collaborate with others and produce documentation that conveys and justifies actions.
  • Application of the core professional beliefs and values of professional conduct, accountability, risk management and duty of candour.





Careers and placements

Career prospects

The career options for mental health nurses are varied and plentiful.

Mental health nurses are usually based in hospitals or in the community, as this is where the majority of mental healthcare is offered. If you work in a residential setting, you may do shifts and provide 24-hour care.

Within a hospital you might work in a psychiatric intensive care unit, a psychiatric ward, an outpatients unit or a specialist unit dealing with eating disorders.

In the community you could work at a GP surgery, prison, community health care centre, residential centre or in patients’ own homes.

As a School of Healthcare Sciences we are proud that 100% of our mental health nursing graduates are in employment and/or further study six months after graduating (UNISTATS).

Types of Jobs:

  • Mental Health nurse - promoting and supporting a person’s recovery and enabling them to have more involvement and control over their condition, you’ll play a vital role in a multi-disciplinary team in a community or hospital setting.

  • Advanced nurse practitioner – a role for nurses who have done extra training and academic qualifications to be able to examine, assess, make diagnoses, treat, prescribe and make referrals for patients.

  • Research nurse - crucial to delivering research. You’ll provide and deliver high quality patient care, deal with data collection, follow-ups, patient groups and industry.

  • Ward manager – you’ll provide leadership and visibility at ward level important to the delivery of safe, high-quality care to patients.

  • Consultant nurse – you’ll ensure that nurse departments are following legal constraints and protocol.

  • Lecturer - becoming a nurse lecturer could offer you the opportunity to make sure the next generation of nurses are competent and confident in the practice setting.


All nursing students must complete a minimum of 2,300 hours of supervised and appropriately assessed clinical practice at the end of the programme (NMC 2018).  The programme includes 7 blocks of full-time placements which will enable you to apply and build upon the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you will have acquired in the academic setting.

The development of your inter-professional team-working skills, leadership of care and staff will be a key focus of placement learning across the three years.  Our placement providers are primarily situated in health and social care settings across South East Wales, although students may also have an opportunity to pursue non-traditional placements in the private and third sectors. During the scheduled placement period in year 2 there will be an opportunity for you to arrange a self-funded Placement Opportunity Local or Overseas (POLO).  

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