Nursing (Mental Health Nursing)

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

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Award Title

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 course scored an impressive 90% for Overall Student Satisfaction in the 2020 National Student Survey. Also, Abertay ranked in the top three Scottish Universities for Student SatisfactionAnd in the Guardian Good University Guide for 2021, Abertay ranked 3rd in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching, and 8th in the UK for overall student satisfaction.

This mental health nursing degree will provide you with a thought-provoking and contemporary study programme, 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 a reflective, self-aware and person-centred 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 degree is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and leads to registration as a Mental Health Nurse. 

Virtual Open Day October 31 2020

We aim to immerse you in student life here at Abertay and give you a true feel for our courses and our amazing academic community.

Open Days are busy, fun and full-on. And Virtual Open Days online are new to all of us, so we will make sure you know what to expect, and how you can prepare for the event.

It's a day full of talks and videos about student life. Find out all about Abertay at our virtual Open Day on 31 October 2020.



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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 (standard entry) ABBB
Higher (minimum entry) We may make you an offer at the minimum entry grades if you meet the criteria. Find out if you're eligible for minimum entry (see below). BBC
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.

Why our course is different

Mental health is a relatively new topic. Every day, every year, there's more and more research and more understanding of the various mental health conditions, and how it effects patients.

Student placements begin in the first term of year one, so you will be out on placement and start learning on the job right away. 50% of learning happens in the university, and 50% happens in practice.  That's a big difference right from the very start.

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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Entry Requirements by Country

Discover whether you're eligible for entry and learn more about the country-specific qualifications you need to study at Abertay.

Find out more

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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 (2019/20)

Interpersonal Skills for Mental Health Nurses (MHN101)

The importance of effective communication and interpersonal skills in healthcare. Learn a range of strategies and interventions used in mental health nursing. Module content: Building partnerships and therapeutic relationships; Using a range of communication skills and technologies; Understanding the potential impact of self on communication; Responding to the person; Reflection.

Physical Health and Well-Being (MHN104)

The role of the mental health nurse in the delivery of physical health care and the promotion of well-being. Module content: Determinants of health; Common problems, their care and treatment; Promoting health and wellbeing; Lifestyle change: areas for intervention; Referral to specialist services; Long term conditions and self-management.

Introduction to Mental Health Nursing (MHN103)

The role and responsibilities of the mental health nurse in today's mental health system. Module content: Role the MHN and the student; MHN and other disciplines; History of the profession; The National Midwifery Council; Challenges facing the profession; MHN as an academic discipline.

Mental Health Nursing (MHN102)

A lifespan approach outlining organisation, common mental health problems and the consequent problems of living experienced at different life stages. Module content: 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.

Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology (MHN105)

Introduction to the human body focussed on structure, organisation and function. Learn about 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. Module content: Anatomy of the human body and body systems; Body and function; Basic biological processes; Common problems.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 1 (MHN106)

The skills to successfully undertake first year practice placement and progress to year two as specified by the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) 2010. Module content: The Code, local and national policy and legal frameworks; Person centred care; Patient and personal safety; Record keeping; Core skills.

Public Health (MHN205)

Public health and policy, public health priorities in Scotland, key issues in the field and approaches to addressing these issues. Module content: Public health; Theoretical concepts and public health; Health policy; Key issues in public health.

Evidence-Based Practice (MHN202)

Build on knowledge and skills developed in evidence based practice (EBP) and focus on the development of EBP as a concept and the practical skills of finding and using evidence in both academic work and clinical practice. Module content: Drivers for EBP; Finding , retrieving and making sense of evidence; Strategies for appraising evidence; Facilitators and barriers.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 2 (MHN206)

Preparation for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) through development of competence in the practice environment. Develop the skills and professional behaviours required to meet the second progression point criteria of the NMC Standards for pre-registration nursing education. Module content: Safe practice; Person centred recovery focussed care; Values based nursing; Legal and ethical issues; Reflective practitioner; Clinical skills.

Mental Health Nursing : Acute Care (MHN201)

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. Module content: Presentation of acute mental health problems; Care and treatment needs of acutely mentally ill people; Policy and legislation relevant to acute and forensic men; Mental health needs of forensic service users.

Nursing Older People (MHN203)

The key issues in nursing older people. Module content: Contemporary issues in elderly care; The social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing; Proactive and anticipatory care; Health improvement; Health issues.

Professional Issues 1 (MHN204)

The notion of rights and how legislation seeks to protect and enable treatment for the most vulnerable groups in society related to the nurse's roles and responsibilities. Module content: Legislation; Protection of vulnerable adult groups; The nurse's role in safeguarding; Ethical issues.

Professional Issues 2 (MHN301)

Key professional issues for the registered nurse. Learn about the professional accountability and responsibilities that accompany professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Module content: Legal and professional issues; Performance and ethics; Decision making; Health promotion and quality improvement; Leadership, collaborative working and managing change; Professional development.

Mental Health and Older People (MHN305)

Knowledge and skills to support older people experiencing mental health conditions. Module content: Understanding the policy context and evidence base; Understanding mental health conditions and older people; Therapeutic and outcomes focused approaches; Successful ageing: environment, design and technology; Ethical and legal considerations.

Mental Health Nursing Practice 3 (MHN306)

This is the final practice module of the programme by the end of which you should be practising at the level expected of a newly qualified registrant. Consolidate learning to date by developing your areas of strength and through addressing areas for development. Module content: Patient safety; Effective practice; Interpersonal skills; Legislative frameworks and ethical practice; Leadership and management; Reflective practice; Clinical skills.

Pharmacology and Medicines Management (MHN302)

Pharmacology and the relevant principles of medicines management to ensure the safe administration of therapeutic substances. Module content: 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 (MHN304)

Further develop the skills required to use evidence in the clinical practice environment. Module content: Evidence based practice; Appraising evidence; Promoting and developing practice; Quality improvement.

Leadership (MHN403)

Leadership specifically in relation to health and social care. Introduction to the concept of leadership, leadership theories and styles to help lead change and instigate team building. Module content: Principles and processes of leadership; Management of Change; Team building; Leadership and the practice concept; Reflection.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MHN405)

The principles and methods of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Ethical, professional and personal issues arising from the application of CBT theory and methods in practice. Module content: Theoretical perspectives in CBT; Principles of CBT practice.

Project (MHN402)

Undertake a literature review in an area of interest within nursing. Module Content: Research skills - Interpreting data, advanced search strategy skills, critical thinking and evaluation, ethics, research methods,topic identification; Nature of literature reviews - Critical writing skills, evaluation and synthesis of research,presentation and organisational skills; Literature searching - Use CINAHL and other relevant databases to identify a body of literature for review.

Collaborative Working in Health and Social Care (MHN401)

Learn to link theory with practical applications within community-based practice. Module content: Introduction to community working; Partnership and multidisciplinary working; Assessment of need; The relationship between leadership and management; Inclusive framework for health in the community; Mixed economy of care.

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 2019 programme document - BSc (Honours) Nursing (Mental Health Nursing) (2018 document available here).

Programme Fees

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year. Fees are normally funded through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for eligible students.

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. 


We offer a range of scholarships to help support your studies with us.

As well as Abertay scholarships for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and international students, there are a range of corporate and philanthropic scholarships available. Some are course specific, many are not. There are some listed below or you can visit the Undergraduate scholarship pages.

Abertay International Scholarship

This is an award of up to £12,000 for prospective international undergraduate students.

Abertay rUK Scholarship

This is a £9,200 award for prospective undergraduate students applying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Mental Health Nursing - Funding

Funding arrangements for nursing students are different to other courses.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £1,000 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Explore our Dundee campus facilities

Abertay is conveniently located on a city centre campus, with all of its buildings within a quarter of a mile of each other. Shops, recreational facilities and the main bus and train stations are a short walk away.

Our Campus

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Why Abertay?

We're proud of our students and graduates, and we believe there's no better place to study if you're looking for a degree that helps you stand out as an exceptional candidate in an increasingly competitive job market.

Why Abertay

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Come to an Open Day

An Open Day is your chance to get an up close experience of the University and the city. You’ll come away with all the information you need about us and the courses you’re interested in.

Open Day

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Living in Dundee

Dundee is a city of contrasts. It's vibrant and cosmopolitan, but also friendly, compact and affordable. The first UK city to be awarded UNESCO City of Design status, Dundee has a rich history of innovation and creativity, and, in recent years, has become a hub for the digital industries.

Living in Dundee & Scotland

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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 PhD programme. 

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.

All of this provides you with 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)).

Get inspired

Meet some of our Nursing (Mental Health Nursing) graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

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Leah Hosie

MbR Mental Health Nursing, 2018/BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing, 2014

Find out more

A picture of Kate White. She's wearing a white jumper and is looking happy.

Kate White

Kate works in a specialised dementia unit caring for people with dementia who display challenging and complex behavioural needs.

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A photo of Kieran McGurk standing by a river

Kieran McGurk

Kieran is a Mental Health Nurse at Murray Royal Hospital.

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Ready for more? Take the next step

Come to an Open Day

Book now to see for yourself our city centre campus, talk to lecturers and engage with current and past students.

Get Prospectus

Our latest undergraduate prospectus is a great read if for those looking to start at Abertay in 2019.

Find out How to Apply

Learn everything you need to know about applying to study with us from UCAS deadlines to entry requirements.

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