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BSc Nursing (Mental Health)

Why we're great

  • Many of our staff work with local NHS Trusts and other local agencies.
  • Our focus is on producing nurses with empathy as well as technical skill.
  • Much of your study is spent in clinical settings, working alongside nurses and other professionals.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: B760
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Southend Campus
Based in: Health and Human Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £17,150
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: B760
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Health and Human Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £17,150
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Live chat

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About the course

As many as one in three people in the UK have issues with their mental health at some stage of their life. Nurses who specialise in mental health, a complex and demanding area, work with GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, and others, to help care for patients with mental illnesses.

As a mental health nurse, you focus on the therapeutic relationship with those with mental ill health, and with their families. You provide the support and treatment to meet their physical, psychological, social, mental and spiritual care needs. More than anything else, mental health nursing requires empathy, to care about the people you are working with.

Unlike many of the older, traditional nursing schools, at Essex you receive a fresh, contemporary and relevant nurse education programme, integrated into a University that is one of the UK's top ten research institutions. You work with local organisations to ensure that you gain the best experience possible during your time with us, and studying alongside other health professionals means that you also have the opportunity to gain expert knowledge from them.

There are four main types of pre-registration nursing degree – child, learning disabilities, adult and mental health. At Essex we specialise in adult and mental health nursing courses at both undergraduate and Master’s level; for a full list of the courses available, and information on all of the routes into Nursing available at Essex including our Return to Practice course, please see our department pages.

Placement Opportunities

Half of your studies will be spent working in clinical settings – for example, in a ward, a health centre or in client’s homes. You will be working alongside nurses as you practise and perfect your skills.

Placements are based in NHS, private and voluntary settings throughout Essex. Essex covers a large area (3,465 sq km /1,300 sq miles), so clinical placements will normally be allocated to one area for the whole of your course, either in the SE Essex, SW Essex, W Essex, Mid Essex or NE Essex areas. Given the size of the county, all of these areas may require some traveling to placement.

During your time in placement you will work shift patterns equivalent to a 37.5 hour week. This includes early shifts, late shifts, night shifts, weekend and bank holiday working.


You can choose to study this course at either our Colchester campus or our Southend campus - and your placements will correspond to the campus you choose. Colchester students will have placements in north Essex, while Southend students will have placements in south Essex.

Professional accreditation

Our course has been designed for those who wish to learn the science and art of Nursing with a focus on mental health. This programme balances the study of the clinical skills of nursing with academic study at degree-level. Developed in consultation with nurses and service managers, it offers a modern approach to nursing in line with NHS aspirations for patient-centred care.

Successful completion of the programme leads to admission to the Professional Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as a “Registered Mental Health Nurse”, along with a BSc honours qualification.

We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students, underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.

We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS, but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard and as such we expect that anyone who has any aspect of their work which ultimately cares for others, will aspire to uphold these values.

For us, involving not only our students but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non NHS professionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you extending your education through offering you an additional year abroad at no extra cost for 2017 entry.

The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course. We have a broad range of partners in countries worldwide; destinations include Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand!

Studying abroad will allow you to gain a fresh perspective on the world and its different healthcare systems. You will have first-hand insight into other cultures and develop independence, adaptability and cultural awareness; putting yourself in an advantageous position when entering the global market.

On admission to our four-year BSc Nursing course, you will be inducted onto the study abroad programme by our dedicated team who prepare you for your time abroad. Our Essex Abroad team are with you every step of the way, providing finance workshops, pre-departure support and contact during your time away.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School is that many of our staff work with local NHS Trusts and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice.

We specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health and social care policy and practice and related fields. We also host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Human Sciences is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend campus.

We have purpose-built nursing skills labs in both our Colchester and Southend campuses. We offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials.

Your future

Successful completion of our BSc Nursing (Mental Health) Work-Based Learning, leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the Professional Register as a “Registered Mental Health Nurse” allowing you to practise as a nurse in the UK.

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Example structure

This work-based learning pathway teaches you the same content as our BSc Nursing (Mental Health), but is organised differently, so that you continue to work in your usual employment while spending 15 hours a week as a student to work towards your BSc (Hons).

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.

Year 1

This module will focus on the development of personal organisation and management skills for both academic and practice environments. Study will focus on personal development skills such as communication, self-awareness, reflection and boundary setting. The module will be delivered in lectures alongside a variety of group work and interactive learning.

This module will provide students with an introduction to biopsychosocial function to develop knowledge, understanding and analysis of altered psychological and physiological functioning of the individual. Students will undertake placement in a relevant practice environment alongside lectures, online learning and personal study. This broad range of learning styles, perspectives and data sources will help further progress knowledge and skills.

A combination of lectures and two placements (a 2 week placement and an 8 week placement) will help to improve competence in relation to knowledge and skills in the delivery of compassionate care in mental health nursing. This introduction to delivering a professional nursing service will also be made up of tutorials, workshops and independent study.

Students will gain a thorough introduction to delivering a professional nursing service that evidences compassion and care in mental health nursing. Students will undertake two placements, one 2 week placement and one 8 week placement, alongside lectures and independent study.

The majority of this course is spent in clinical practice which will culminate in a pass or fail assessment.

Year 2

This course will require students to complete a scrapbook portfolio, focused on examining a chosen health challenge and using evidence gathered from a wide range of sources. Students' learning will be self-directed with some seminars facilitated by personal tutors. Undertaking this course will enable learners to consider health need analysis, and the development and evaluation of health promotion strategies.

This module consists of assignments which you have to complete in Year 2 as part of a Portfolio in order to progress to Year 3. You have to meet four Learning Outcomes in order to successfully complete the module: Outcome 1 is to evidence correct documentation of your practice assessment; Outcome 2 is to evidence completion of all mandatory training activities for Year 2; Outcome 3 is to complete an Insight workbook on Maternity Care; Outcome 4 is to submit a 1,000 word reflective essay on two Year 2 placement experiences.

This module is an introduction to appraising evidence and research used in the basis of clinical decision making. In this module students will develop a research proposal in a clinical area of their choice. Learners will practice their time-management skill and learning through structured e-learning, to allow them to develop existing expertise in research.

Students will take this module alongside a suitable acute mental health care placement to put into practice the knowledge and skills acquired. This module extends the recovery model to crisis episodes, the relapse of symptoms, risk assessment and management of periods of acute inpatient care.

This project based module explores the topic of service improvements in health care settings. Learning will mostly be self-directed, with one to one tutorials for supervision, which will culminate in the submission of scrapbook portfolio focused on a self-selected service improvement topic, which includes gathered evidence from a wide range of sources.

The majority of this course is spent in clinical practice which will culminate in a pass or fail assessment.

Final year

As a registered nurse in a clinical setting, you will be required to manage a variety of resources such as people, time and physical supplies. The aim of this module is to equip you with the skills required to see the wider picture and prepare you for this role as a leader and manager of nursing care.

Having been introduced to the idea of research in earlier modules, you will now have the opportunity to engage with the research process further and develop your experience by planning a short project to prepare a research proposal.

The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of the Care Quality Commission standards and the impact of related regulatory changes on your work, so that you are able to promote and deliver safe and effective practice within current NHS governance frameworks.

The aim of this module is to ensure that you can demonstrate you are fit for practice and have the skills, knowledge and attitude required to enter the Register. You will also need to demonstrate your understanding of the big issues in mental health care and in relation to future service provision within the UK .

This module consists of assignments which you have to complete in Year 3 as part of a Portfolio in order to graduate. You have to meet four Learning Outcomes in order to successfully complete the module: Outcome 1 is to evidence correct documentation of your practice assessment; Outcome 2 is to evidence completion of all course hours and completion of a ‘Self-declaration of Health form’; Outcome 3 is to complete an Insight workbook on Learning Disabilities; Outcome 4 is to submit a 1,000 word reflective essay on two final year placement experiences.


  • Lectures inform you of the most important topics, with classes allowing you to consolidate your learning through discussion
  • We work closely in partnership with the NHS and the independent health sector to provide placement opportunities
  • Modules have their own accompanying webpages on Moodle where you can download relevant readings, power-points, podcasts and YouTube clips, and contribute to online discussions


  • You will be assessed through presentations, coursework and assessments of practical settings
  • You will also undertake two written exams, one in year one and the other in year two

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBC
GCSE: Mathematics and English Language C

BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD (in relevant subject)

NHS Constitution and Values

As part of the selection process, students will be expected to demonstrate effective communication skills alongside good knowledge and a clear understanding of the scope of work that a nurse is required to undertake as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Interview and tests

Our BSc Nursing (Mental Health) course is available at both our Colchester and Southend campuses, and you'll need to apply to one or the other. If your application is successful, and we are able to invite you to an interview, the campus you have selected is where your interview will take place. We are unable to offer an interview or consider you for the same course at both campuses. Contact our undergraduate admissions office for further information.

If you’re shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited onto campus. As part of your visit you will complete a literacy and numeracy test. If you successfully complete this you will then have an interview on the same day. Offers for the course will only be made after a successful interview.

The interview and test will form part of the wider day where you will also be able to tour the campus, meet our academics and students and ask any questions you might have about studying with us.

Visit us

Open days

Our Southend Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have two undergraduate Open Days (in June and October). These events enable you to discover what our Southend Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Southend Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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