A Guide to Mental Health Nursing Courses

Mental health is one of the most pressing issues that today’s society faces. With more and more people living with mental health and its related problems, the care of these people becomes increasingly harder and demanding. The education of mental health nurses is integral to the treatment of mental health issues. As a mental health nurse, you will help patients through their treatment and recovery, as well as supporting their families and friends.


An undergraduate degree in mental health nursing will give you a foundation level knowledge of nursing, alongside the specifics needed for mental health nursing. You will be given opportunities to develop your nursing skills, through both theory and practical learning. The professional practice you gain will ensure that you are fully prepared to enter the workplace once you have qualified.

Your course will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as technical and practical sessions. You will be required to participate in a clinical work experience placement, to aid your professional development and give you a chance to practice skills you have been taught.


Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise throughout your degree. This specialisation may influence where you work in the future. Common specialisations include:

  • Public Health
  • Complex Mental Health Needs
  • Occupational Health
  • Psychosocial Interventions

If your degree course requires you to write a dissertation in your final year, this will give you the chance to further explore and research an area of interest to you.

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study, as well as your specific degree. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Nursing (BNurs).

As well as your degree title, you will also need to be a registered nurse in order to practice. For example, in the UK you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Most degree courses will be designed so that they meet the standards needed.

Studying Mental Health Nursing at University

You can study Mental Health Nursing at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.

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Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, a degree in mental health nursing will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.

On successful completion of your degree, you can either choose to seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for a mental health nursing degree will depend on where you choose to study. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others may consider previous relevant work experience.

For a healthcare degree, it is likely that you will have to submit a personal statement, as well as attending an interview. In the UK, you will also have to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services check.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their mental health nursing programmes.

  • UK – 6.5 IELTS
  • US – 3.0 GPA

Funding Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly at each institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Career Options

The most popular destination for graduates of mental health nursing is to work within the healthcare services as a nurse. You might choose to work in a mental health or psychiatric ward in a hospital, in the prison services, in the armed forces, or in a specialist psychiatric hospital. Your wide range of transferable skills will mean that you can gain employment in a variety of fields and areas.

Top Courses in Mental Health Nursing

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