School of Nursing and Midwifery

BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health)

Mental health nurses have a unique and profound impact on the lives of the people they care for, building and maintaining therapeutic relationships across all aspects of people’s lives. You'll gain the clinical and communication skills required to support the individual within their own recovery process. You'll develop the knowledge and experience to work within community, primary and acute care settings, and gain the confidence to help clients take the first steps to changing their lives.

You will focus on developing your interpersonal skills and the importance of building of therapeutic relationships. You’ll also focus on developing the practical and effective skills of relationship building with service users. You’ll have a balanced learning experience with a wide and innovative range of teaching and assessment methods both in academic study and in practice. Your time with us will enable you to work with a range of allied health professions and other fields of nursing.

Thumb medicinecampaignbanner

First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.


Faces in the crowd by .shyam. Courtesy of flickr.

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Rebecca Richards:

"Do it, but know why you want to: you’ll need that when you’re up all night, or stressed out. It’s not an easy course; it challenges and changes you in a lot of different ways, so you have to want to be there."

Read more from Rebecca in her case study.

Key features

At Plymouth University the mental health nursing course:

  • Emphasises the need for both interpersonal and technically skilled use of therapeutic conversations in supporting people to live the best lives they can on their own terms.  
  • Is strongly focused on developing your interpersonal skills and the importance of building of therapeutic relationships. The teaching team have a shared ethos that these activities are central to mental health nursing.
  • Is focused on the practical and effective skills of relationship building with service users; to that end we teach a range of evidence based approaches to both assessment and treatment.
  • Has been developed through strong relationships with service user organisations whose input helps the creation, delivery and assessment of values-based practice.
  • Offers a balanced learning experience with a wide and innovative range of teaching and assessment methods both in academic study and in practice. Equal importance is given to theory and practice. Your time with us will enable you to work with a range of allied health professions and other fields of nursing.
  • Includes clinical placements across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, designed to maximise your range of experiences and clinical skills.

We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2018 return showing that 93 per cent of students agreed that staff were good at explaining things and 91 per cent of students agreed that staff made the subject interesting*.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you'll be introduced to the course philosophy and perspectives on mental health. You'll learn about the concepts and theories common to all fields of nursing, and develop your skills in effective communication, collaborative working and professional practice. Your theoretical knowledge will be strengthened during two supervised practice placements.

    Core modules
    • MHN401 Communication and Therapeutic Engagement Skills

      This module aims for students to develop basic, person-centred communication skills enabling students to engage effectively with individuals and their families utilising a range of collaborative interpersonal skills and therapeutic frameworks that can be applied in health and social care.

    • MHN402 Introduction to Mental Health

      This module will introduce mental health and disorder, and discuss the biological, psychological and social factors influencing mental health from birth to death. It will identify appropriate multi professional interventions and skills to promote recovery and wellbeing.

    • MHN404 Introduction to Management and Leadership

      This module provides an introduction to the Care Programme Approach (CPA) and care coordination. It will consider how leadership, management and team working fits within a changing work environment. The link between the individual, the organisation and the process will be examined in relation to the needs of mental health service users.

    • NRS403 Ways of Knowing

      To introduce and engage students with key teaching and learning strategies to enable identification and development of the skills necessary to become confident academic citizens as an integral part of the BSc Nursing programme.

    • NRS405 Biology for Nursing Practice

      This module will prepare students to understand key human body systems and how they relate to fundamental elements of nursing care.

    • NRS406 Skills and Practice for Nursing

      This module introduces the student to healthcare practice and provides the opportunity to develop the core skills that are central to, or are a prerequisite for, clinical practice.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you'll learn skills to undertake effective collaborative assessment and understand how to react to clients’ distress. You'll develop your personal and professional skills in order to enhance your critical thinking and work in a safe, evidence-based way. You'll also look at the impact of mental health from the perspective of service users and carers, and explore policies that shape service delivery.

    Core modules
    • MHN202 Mental Health Policy in Practice

      This module introduces students to the stepped care model of mental health and the variety of settings in which mental health services are delivered. Students will explore how current legislation and policy imperatives inform the delivery of services and client care. Methods of collaboration and recovery will be highlighted alongside an appreciation of their evidence base.

    • MHN203 Lived Experience

      This module will introduce students to experiences commonly encountered in mental health services by individuals, and their families and/or carers. The module will enable effective collaborative communication and reflective skills as well as knowledge of a range of resources to enhance well being, recovery and putting values into practice using value based frameworks.

    • MHN205 Practice (1)

      This module develops the student's competence, knowledge and mental health nursing skills in working with people with a range of mental health problems. It will ensure safe practice and completion of the competencies required at NMC progression point 2.

    • MHN206 Medication Management

      Introduces students to the knowledge and skills required for comprehensive assessment of a range of mental health problems; Examines a range of pharmacological interventions; Considers biological basis of mental health problems and effects of a range of medications including mode of action, therapeutic effects and side effects; Practices therapeutic skills for working collaboratively with service users for promoting informed choice and supporting adherence; National guidance and legal issues also addressed.

    • MHN207 Assessment and Formulation of Common Mental Health Problems

      This module will enable students to gain basic competence in evidenced based problem level assessment and to develop required 'core conditions' \ 'common factors' competencies. It will also provide an understanding of the incidence, prevalence and presentation of severe and enduring mental health problems (SEMI).

    • NRS204 Knowledge and Skills for Evidence-Informed Decision Making (1)

      The focus of the module is on developing students' knowledge and understanding of the application of research-based evidence to nursing practice. The module is based upon the premise that knowledge and understanding of key research designs is an essential pre-requisite of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM).

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you'll develop skills to deliver an effective range of interventions for clients experiencing complex needs. Your research skills will be strengthened through an opportunity for extended study on a mental health topic of your choice. You'll be able to apply your theoretical knowledge and understanding in practice, ensuring you'll be fully capable of a practitioner status.

    Core modules
    • MHN301 The Autonomous Practitioner

      This module will provide you the opportunity to practice as a capable and autonomous practitioner. You will be able to acknowledge your achievement. You will explore responsibility, accountability, leadership and management strategies within the context of contemporary mental health provision. You will undertake a final assessment of their practice and theory.

    • MHN303 Practice (2)

      This module develops the student's competence, knowledge and skills in a range of key therapeutic approaches for working with people who have serious mental illness or complex health needs. It will ensure safe practice and completion of the competencies required for entry to the NMC register.

    • MHN304 Psychosocial Interventions to Meet Complex Mental Health Needs

      This module develops knowledge and skills in a range of key therapeutic approaches for working with people with serious mental health problems or complex needs, and appropriate service approaches.

    • NRS301 Management, Leadership and Transition to Professional Practice

      This module critically explores the concepts of leadership, management and professional practice and how these influence the health and social care arena.

    • NRS302 Knowledge and Skills for Evidence-Informed Decision Making (2)

      This level 6 module focuses on (i) Extending knowledge of use of secondary research-based evidence in the form of systematic reviews and clinical guidelines; (ii) developing skills in critically appraising a body of evidence and constructing a literature review; (iii) identifying and developing practice-focused research questions.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


5 GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above to include Mathematics, English, and Science. Please note the institution will also accept Functional Skills Level 2 (Numeracy) as an equivalent qualification to the GCSE Mathematics qualification.

Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application. If you do not have this GCSE profile please contact the Admissions Team directly on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email and they will be happy to advise you further.


UCAS tariff
Including 64 points from two A levels, excluding general studies.

28 overall to include 5 at Higher Level preferably in science/psychology. English accepted within - if Advanced Level = 4+ (A1) or 5 (A2/B) - if Standard Level = 5+ (A1) or 6 (A2/B) - if overseas and not studying English within IB – must have IELTS at 7.0 overall with a score of at least 7.0 in each element.



Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. science, health, nursing, and combined science) with at least 45 credits at level 3, 33 at merit/distinction level to include 15 level 3 credits in science/social science (psychology/sociology).

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DDM must be health/science related.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered, please contact

Extended entry requirements

  • In addition to the above, evidence of academic study within the last five years is required.
  • Please note we don't accept Key Skills level 2 in place of GCSE English or mathematics.
  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this course.
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C or above, you'll have to achieve an IELTS or equivalent qualification at the grades stated below.
  • IELTS - Overall average score of at least 7.0, with a score of at least 6.5 in each element.
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. Applicants must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further.
  • English language requirements.
  • For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Further information

Deferred entry

Unfortunately we cannot permit deferred entry. However, if you have a query please refer to an experienced admissions administrator who will be able to explain the UCAS application process in more detail

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact

If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Opportunities for postgraduate study in mental health

Our MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Mental Health Practitioner) is a clinically-focused specialist programme that will equip you with enhanced mental health assessment and intervention skills.

With your new knowledge, you’ll be able to effectively support people who are suffering from mental health problems in their recovery journey.

Find out more about the MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Mental Health Practitioner)

Your say

My practice placement experiences have given me an excellent insight into working lives of nurses and other health professionals who specialise in the area of mental health.

Melissa Greener, past student

Find out more about what Melissa has to say

Rebecca Richards - BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) graduate

The 24/7 library was invaluable. The library staff were massively helpful and I couldn’t have got through it without them. Never be afraid to ask for help. I am dyslexic and have been supported every step of the way, but I had to say yes to that help.

A passion for her patients has driven Rebecca Richards to change national policy.

Learn more about Rebecca Richards


Fifty per cent of your time will be spent learning on placements

You'll gain a great range of experience by going on placements throughout the South West.

Find out more about placements

Study sessions for students by students: Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS)

To complement your formal learning we offer regular sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment

If you are a first or second year take the opportunity to study in a relaxed environment, along with other students on the same programme.

Find out more about how PALS can benefit your studies


*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.