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A Guide to Nursing Courses

Nurses are an integral part of healthcare, be it private or state-funded. Without nurses, the healthcare systems would be considerably less efficient and caring. They are focused on caring for individuals and their families, as well as the wider communities, in order to attain, maintain or recover health and quality of life. Nurses work alongside the doctors, midwives and medical practitioners to ensure that every patients needs are being met, providing care before, during, and after any procedures.


The content of an undergraduate degree will depend on what type of nursing course you choose to study. You will have options to study adult nursing, children’s and young people’s nursing and mental health nursing, among others. Whichever degree course you choose, you will be given a foundation knowledge of nursing, along with many opportunities to develop your nursing skills. A nursing degree will be focused on both the theory and practical application of your knowledge, making sure that you are fully prepared to enter the workplace after successfully completing your degree.

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 likely be required to participate in a clinical practice placement, which will aid your professional development and improve your clinical skills.


Once you have chosen the type of nursing you wish to work in, you might be given the opportunity to specialise throughout your degree. This specialisation can influence the specific are of nursing you choose to pursue. Common specialisation options include:

  • Intensive Care
  • Occupational Health
  • Chronic Health Conditions
  • Emergency Care
  • Acute Mental Health

When you are taking part in your clinical placement, you will be able to experience what it is like to work as a nurse in a work environment, which will not only improve your practical skills, it might also help you to decide on your career path.

Accreditation and certification

The accreditation awarded for a nursing degree will depend on where you choose to study, as well as your specific course. Generally, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or a Bachelor of Nursing (BNurs). Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you may be able to gain postgraduate awards, either at a university, or through your workplace.

As well as your degree, you will need to be a registered nurse in order to gain employment in healthcare. The specific registration or licensing needed will be individual to your country, so make sure to check with your institution for more details. Some degree courses will be designed to prepare you for registration or licensing.

Timeframe and further studies

Typically, you can expect an undergraduate degree in nursing to take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.

Once you have completed your nursing degree, you can choose to either 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 master or PhD, or a graduate certificate or diploma. As a nurse, you will be expected to continuously improve and update your knowledge and skills. Healthcare is an ever adapting sector, so your commitment to continuing education is vital.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a 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. It is likely that you will be required to submit a personal statement, as well as attending an interview, for admission onto a nursing degree.

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

  • UK – 7.0 IELTS
  • US – 3.0 GPA

Funding your studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary from institution to 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 common destination for nursing graduates is to work within the healthcare sector as a nurse. You might work in public or private healthcare settings, but there is a constant demand for nurses. You could work as a school nurse, or perhaps work as a nurse in a residential home. The wide range of skills you gain throughout your degree will mean that you would be able to find work in many different fields. These skills include adaptability, effective communication, organised and flexibility.

Degrees in Nursing Masters in Nursing

Highlighted courses in Nursing

Nursing Care Bachelor Degree

New Vision University Georgia

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Nursing Studies - Top Up BSc (Hons)

University of Derby Online Learning, University of Derby United Kingdom

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Veterinary Nurse BSc

University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice Slovakia

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Nursing (Children’s) BSc (Hons)

University of Derby United Kingdom

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Nursing Assistant UG:Diploma

International Career Institute United Kingdom

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Nursing - After Degree BSc

University of Alberta Canada

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Master of Nursing Practice (Pre Registration) MNurs

Western Sydney University Australia

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View all courses in Nursing

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