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BSc (Honours) Adult Nursing

If you’re already working as a healthcare support worker/healthcare assistant and would like to train to become a nurse (adult nursing), this unique practice-based qualification is for you. It enables you to stay in work while you study – provided you have the support of your employer, who sponsors you throughout. Please note you cannot fund this study yourself. On successful completion of your studies, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as a qualified nurse.

Key features of the course

  • A balance of theory and practice delivered through work-based and distance learning
  • Develops effective evidence-based practice and underpinning knowledge in an inter-professional and interdisciplinary environment
  • Addresses the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements for entry to the nursing professional register. 

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Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Time limit – 7 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
For details see Am I ready?


To register for this qualification, please refer to the entry requirements and contact us (online registration is not available).

Next start date Sep 2015 - Registration closes 13/08/2015
Credit transfer: apply by 16/07/2015
Credit transfer: apply by 20/08/2015

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Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits (equivalent to one year's full-time university study). Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stages 2 and 3.

If you have little or no knowledge or experience of studying, you may prefer to start your studies with an Access module as an additional preparatory stage.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

Stage 1 provides you with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to reach progression point 1 (NMC requirement). You’ll examine the experience of giving and receiving care in a wide range of healthcare settings, and explore how to maintain the relevance of your practice in an ever-changing healthcare environment.

Compulsory modules (120 credits)

  • An introduction to health and social care (KYN101)

    Part of our Common Foundation Programme in nursing, this lively introductory module develops practical caring skills and prepares you for further study towards your diploma.

  • Enhancing your healthcare practice (KYN117)

    Part of our Pre-registration Nursing Programme, this practice-based module explores promoting health and healthcare practice; develops practice-based skills; and allows you to apply your learning to your practice.

Stages 2 and 3 (240 credits)

Stage 2 includes some specialist study of human biology, and explores caring for people with acute and long term conditions, giving end of life care and promoting healthy lifestyles – engaging critically with a range of perspectives. Stage 3 develops the understanding and skills you need to manage, innovate, lead and critically review practice; contribute to the work of the multidisciplinary team; and ensure that service users receive compassionate, person-centred and evidence-based care.

To read more about the Stage 1, 2 and 3 modules that make up the BSc (Honours) Adult Nursing (Q73), you can download and print a prospectus extract. For more information on all the qualifications available in Health and Social Care, request a prospectus.

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Adult Nursing degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

Compare this course

Entry requirements

You can only be registered for this degree if your employer has ensured that you meet the entry requirements specified by the NMC for entry to pre-registration nurse education. You must be working in healthcare practice in a caring role where mentors are available, and your study must be paid for by your employer. We offer places on the programme following a selection process (please note that this degree is not available in Wales). All shortlisted applicants will be invited to a face-to-face interview as required by the NMC. You must meet the NMC entry requirements listed below. In addition, the interview will assess the alignment of your personal values with those set out in the following documents:

The current NMC entry requirements include:

  • literacy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in English)
  • numeracy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in Maths)
  • good character, evidenced through self-declaration, an enhanced criminal disclosure, and two references – one of which must be from your current employer
  • good health, evidenced through self-declaration of health status, occupational health screening, review of previous sickness and absence record, and two references – one of which must be from your current employer.

This qualification is only offered by the University in association with partnering employers.

How to apply: If you’re interested in this qualification and meet the entry requirements above, or if you are an employer looking to develop your staff, please visit for information on how to apply.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will normally mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Read about how some of our students have fitted OU study into their lives, then find out if you have enough time to study by completing our time planner.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including children and young people, health, law, management, psychology and social sciences.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

This unique practice-based qualification is offered by the University in association with partnering employers. You must be sponsored by your employer to join the programme, and your employer or sponsoring organisation pays the fees. So, if you’re interested in becoming a student, please share this information with your line manager and encourage them to get in touch with us.

Disabled Students' Allowances

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) help with additional study costs that result directly from your disability or specific learning difficulty.

Allowances are not means-tested and may go towards specialist equipment (such as an adapted computer), non-medical study support (for example, a sign-language interpreter; a note-taker or a dyslexia support worker) or other related expenses. You can also apply for help with study-related travel costs that directly result from your disability.

You may be eligible for a DSA if you’re studying at least 30 credits towards an OU undergraduate qualification that lasts for more than one year.

For further information, visit our Services for disabled students website.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.
An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

In addition to meeting the NMC competencies the practice learning part of this degree develops skills that are highly valued in the labour market – including critical analysis, numeracy, literacy, communication, team working, problem solving/solution finding, ICT proficiency, leadership, management and innovation.

Career relevance

The learning outcomes for this degree course have been mapped to (and fully comply with) the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards for pre-registration nursing programmes, and to subject benchmarking statements for Nursing. On successful completion of your studies, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as a qualified nurse (adult nursing).


On graduating from the BSc (Honours) Adult Nursing, you’ll be eligible to apply for entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • Adult nurse
  • Health visitor
  • Learning disability nurse
  • Mental health nurse
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Midwife
  • Paediatric nurse
  • Paramedic
  • Practice nurse
  • Practice manager
  • Counsellor
  • Further education lecturer
  • Health service manager
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Health promotion worker.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.