Nursing (Mental Health Nursing)
BSc (Hons)

Join Scotland’s only undergraduate Honours-level nursing degree with a sole focus on mental health.

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Degree Classification

BSc (Hons)



Why study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing?

Join Scotland’s only undergraduate honours-level nursing programme with a sole focus on mental health. This degree is grounded in a commitment to recovery as a guiding principle, with a strong focus on the delivery of research-informed, person-centred care.

This mental health nursing degree will provide you with a thought-provoking and contemporary programme of study, carefully crafted to equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience you need to practice as a mental health nurse.

Get set to explore a fascinating range of topics, including physical health and wellbeing, anatomy, physiology and human biology, as you take a journey to become an experienced recovery focused practitioner.

Throughout your degree, you’ll enjoy a consistently high level of support from a team of tutors and lecturers from a variety of clinical backgrounds, some of whom continue to work in practice. This is complemented by practitioners and colleagues from counselling and nursing.

This programme is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and leads to registration as a Mental Health Nurse. 

Your Journey Starts Here

This mental health nursing programme is modern, dynamic and forward looking, committed to shaping well-rounded graduates committed to providing excellent mental health care in what can be a challenging, but also very rewarding work environment.

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and 4 Nursing staff standing around the bed

Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must attend for interview and, if successful, must undergo health screening and criminal records checks. Enrolled students are required to make an annual declaration of good health and good character. The University must affirm this declaration before registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is possible.

English and Maths

All applicants must have passes in English in one of the following: National 5 C and GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.  National 5 ESOL is accepted in lieu of National 5 English.

Where English is not the first language, applicants require IELTS at 7.0 (with no band less than 7.0) or equivalent.

All applicants must have passes in Maths/Lifeskills Maths in one of the following: National 5 C and GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.


Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher ABBB
A-Level BCC
Irish Highers H2H3H3H3
International Baccalaureate 29 Points
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Applied Science, Health & Social Care
SWAP Access ABB Access to: Nursing, Humanities & Primary Education, Life
HNC/HND Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined below, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules. 

Key Modules (2017/18)

Interpersonal Skills for Mental Health Nurses (MHN001)

This module emphasises the importance of effective communication and interpersonal skills in healthcare. Students are introduced to a range of strategies and interventions used in mental health nursing.

Mental Health Nursing (MHN002)

A lifespan approach outlining organisation, common mental health problems and the consequent problems of living experienced at different life stages. Module content includes: organisation of mental health services; major theoretical models of mental health problems; problems of living; approaches and strategies; health needs of those with learning disability; diagnostic categories.

Introduction to Mental Health Nursing (MHN003)

An examination of the place of mental health nursing in relation to other fields of nursing and other disciplines, its specific contribution and some of the challenges it faces. Provides students with an understanding of the role, remit and responsibilities of the mental health nurse.

Physical Health and Well-Being (MHN004)

An exploration of the role of the mental health nurse in the delivery of physical health care and the promotion of well-being. Module content includes: determinants of health; common problems, their care and treatment; promoting health and well-being; areas for intervention; referral to specialist services; long term conditions and self-management.

Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology (MHN005)

An introduction to the human body focussed on structure, organisation and function. It develops an understanding of the structure of the human body, the different body systems and their functions, the role of biological processes in human life, and identifying potential problems which might arise when body systems or biological processes fail or become disordered.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 1 (MHN006)

Provides students with the skills needed to successfully undertake first year practice placement and progress to year two as specified by the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) 2010. Module content includes: the code, local and national policy and legal frameworks; person-centred care; patient and personal safety; record keeping and confidentiality; core skills for nursing.

Mental Health Nursing : Acute Care (MHN007)

An exploration of the issues relating to the acute presentation of mental health problems, considering the journey of care the person might make from the initial emergence of mental health problems within the community, through the admission process into hospital based care.

Evidence-Based Practice (MHN008)

This module builds on knowledge and skills developed in evidence based practice (EBP) and focusses on the development of EBP as a concept and the practical skills of finding and using evidence in both academic work and clinical practice.

Nursing Older People (MHN009)

An overview of the key issues in nursing older people. Module content includes: contemporary issues in elderly care; the social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing; proactive and anticipatory care; health issues such as dementia and frailty; health improvement such as nutrition, exercise and alternatives to institutional care.

Professional Issues 1 (MHN010)

An examination of the notion of rights and how legislation seeks to protect and enable treatment for the most vulnerable groups in society. Module content includes: legislation; protection of vulnerable adult groups; the nurse's role in safeguarding; ethical issues.

Public Health (MHN011)

Provides an understanding of public health and policy, public health priorities in Scotland, key issues in the field and approaches to addressing these issues. Module content includes: defining and determinants of public health including inequalities; theoretical concepts of public health; contemporary Scottish health policy; key issues in public health.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 2 (MHN012)

Provides students with preparation and practice experience to meet the second progression point for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Module content includes: safe practice; person-centred recovery focussed care; values based nursing; legal and ethical issues; models of reflection; clinical nursing skills.

Professional Issues 2 (MHN013)

An exploration of the key issues for the registered nurse to prepare students for professional accountability and responsibilities that accompany professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Pharmacology and Medicines Management (MHN014)

Students are enabled to develop their understanding of pharmacology and the relevant principles of medicines management. Module content includes: numeracy skills and drug calculations; legal frameworks; ethical considerations; partnership working with patients and their carers; safe administration of therapeutic substances; patient group directions.

Evidence-Based Practice 2 (MHN015)

Provides students with an enhanced understanding of evidence-based practice. Module content includes: evidence-based practice; appraising evidence; promoting and developing practice; quality improvement.

Mental Health and Older People (MHN016)

Provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to support older people experiencing mental health conditions. Module content includes: the policy context and evidence base; mental health conditions and older people; therapeutic and outcomes focussed approaches; the environment, design and technology for successful ageing; ethical and legal considerations.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 3 (MHN017)

The final practice module of the programme, by end of which the students should be practicing at the level expected of a newly qualified registrant. Module content includes: patient safety; effective knowledge and practice to ensure patient safety and care; interpersonal skills; legislative frameworks and ethical practice; leadership and management; reflective practice; clinical nursing skills.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MHN029)

An overview of the principles and methods of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This module explores the ethical, professional and personal issues arising from the application of CBT theory and methods in practice.

Collaborative Working in Health and Social Care (MHN019)

Provides students with an insight into the complex, multi-disciplinary team working and links theory with practical application through community-based practice.

Project (MHN020)

Students are provided with the knowledge needed to critically analyse a topic of interest and undertake a literature review within the field of nursing. Module content includes: research skills; the nature of literature reviews; literature searching.

Leadership (MHN021)

An introduction to the concept of leadership, leadership theories and styles in relation to health and social care. Module content includes: principles and processes of leadership; management of change; team building; leadership and the practice concept; reflection.

How the Course Works


Learning and Assessment 

You’ll be taught by an enthusiastic and committed team of teachers, researchers and practitioners with extensive experience, and you’ll learn through a combination of lectures, practical classes, tutorials, independent study and online learning.

This is combined with clinical practice placements with NHS Tayside or NHS Fife, which provide valuable experience and the opportunity to put theory into practice through a process of mentoring, and the development of an ongoing achievement record.

Mental health nursing skills are developed through small group work, interactive, and reflective practice. In addition, you’ll benefit from the use of our interpersonal skills and clinical skills training suites.

Assessment types are varied to test a breadth of skills. This includes reports, reflective portfolios, essays, presentations – both oral and posters – appraisal of research, exams, class tests and case studies.

Performance on practice is assessed via placement reports.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BSc (Honours) Nursing (Mental Health Nursing)

Programme Fees for 2019

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

International Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 


Rest of UK Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

International Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from international countries (outside of the EU) to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

In addition, we offer a range of corporate/philanthropic scholarships shown below, which are available to all students to support your studies with us. 

The Lothian Family

A £5,000 award for undergraduate students with financial or social difficulties which may prevent them from studying at Abertay.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £500 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Mental Health Nursing - Funding

Funding arrangements for nursing students are different to other courses.

Career opportunities

A mental health nursing degree is a great springboard for exploring opportunities in mental health and clinical areas – and this programme makes you extremely mobile. Graduates from this programme can go anywhere and the options are endless.

For example, you can go on to a career working in:

  • Community and hospital settings in the NHS
  • The private and third sectors caring for older people, children and adolescents
  • Substance misuse, acute care and forensic settings

There are also opportunities for further study on our masters and PhD programmes. Careers in research and education are also possible if you were to go on to further study.

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and a male Nurse is listening to patients chest via the use of a stethoscope

Industry Links

We have strong links with people who have experienced mental distress and with those who provide informal care. Both groups contribute to teaching. In addition, we work closely with the local Health Boards, who provide practice placements and mentors for students, as well as specialist teaching.

You’ll complete approximately 20 weeks of practice in each of the first three years of the course, and are required to work across the Tayside and Fife region in a diverse range of settings.

This degree offers the option for a part-time paid work contract during Year 4, which provides an invaluable opportunity for networking and potential employment after you graduate.

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and 2 Nursing staff administering medication via a drip


Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

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Leah Hosie

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Programme Leader - Mental Health Nursing

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