Mental Health Nursing - September 2014 entry

BA (Hons) - single

A-level: grades BBC or equivalent, including a science, with a preference for Biology or Human Biology.
Clearing places for some of our courses may require grades of ABB or higher at A-level and certain equivalent qualifications. However, there may still be Clearing opportunities for applicants with different grades on other courses.

This course is run by the Department of Clinical Health Care

This rewarding and challenging BA (Hons) course in Mental Health Nursing can be taken either by pre-registration or post-experience students. It aims to develop you to become a skilled, sensitive, confident and responsive mental health nurse. 

Oxfordshire is highly regarded for the quality of its mental health services, and this practice-based course will give you the opportunity to work in the full range of hospital and community settings. 

Why choose this course

  • Our course will help you develop your skills in therapeutic communication and your understanding of the uniqueness of individuals and the ways in which people experience mental health problems.
  • The course is practice-based so that your learning is enhanced by the reality of practical experience.
  • Oxford is a great place to live and work
  • We continue to be commended by external auditors for the quality of our education.
  • We offer excellent teaching facilities and students rate the quality of the teaching highly. The teaching is strengthened by the regular involvement of service users and expert clinicians from practice.
  • Student satisfaction with the quality of the course is consistently high with students commenting on supportive and available university and practice staff.
  • All of our students find employment after graduation with the majority choosing to take jobs in the local NHS Trust.

This course in detail

The course is practice-based and you will have the opportunity to work in the full range of hospital and community settings where people with mental health problems are supported or cared for.

During the course you will undertake both course-specific and multiprofessional modules.

  • The core mental health modules allow you to develop your clinical competence, knowledge and skills. You will learn to communicate effectively and therapeutically, and develop your understanding of people with mental health problems.
  • The multiprofessional modules introduce you to psychological, sociological, biological and cultural perspectives on health. A range of clinical work, with multidisciplinary teams of nurses, doctors, clinical psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists, will help you to integrate theory with practice and achieve your learning goals.

You will also explore current developments in mental health nursing from a basis of professional practice, self development and age-related care. If you are following the BA (Hons) course, you will also complete a dissertation. This will be an enquiry into an aspect of mental health nursing you wish to explore in depth.

The post-experience route is BA with credit exemption for Year 1 and individual APEL, as appropriate. In other years, you will undertake a core year of practice and study following a pre-course learning period. If you are already a registered nurse on parts 1, 5, 8, 12, 14 or 15 of the NMC register, this route will enable you to attain a second registration and an academic award.

Study modules

Courses are regularly reviewed, so the module list you are offered may vary from that shown here. For some modules (Partnerships I, II and III) you will be taught alongside students on other health care courses to enable you to develop your understanding of multiprofessional working within health and social care.

Note: although there is some scope for flexibility, module choice is restricted in the pre-qualification course owing to the demands of the professional requirements for registration.

Year 1

The course explores a wide range of issues relevant to mental health nursing practice. Modules include:

  • Introduction to Person Centred Care (double)
  • Professional Practice Experience I
  • Partnerships I: Using Evidence in Professional Practice
  • Applied Social Science for Health and Social Care
  • Development of the Human Body and Mind
  • Life Science for Health Care Professionals
  • Developing Person Centred Care (double)

Years 2 and 3

Compulsory modules include:

  • Professional Practice Experience II, III, IV and V
  • Mental Health Nursing with Adults of Working Age (double)
  • Mental Health Nursing with Older Adults
  • Partnerships II: Developing Effective Working Practices
  • Partnerships III: Managing Collaboration
  • Biological Basis for Human Behaviour
  • Child and Family Mental Health
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Mental Disorder Services
  • Forensic Mental Health Nursing in All Age Groups
  • Psychological Approaches within Mental Health Nursing
  • Consolidation of Mental Health Practice (double)
  • Research Awareness and Critical Appraisal (compulsory for BA/BA Hons)
  • Nursing Dissertation (double, compulsory to achieve honours)

Optional modules (one module may be counted for pre-qualification students; up to five may be counted for post-qualification students) include:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Personality and Individual Difference
  • Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour (Theory)
  • Health and Social Care Elective
  • Independent Study

Work placements

A wide variety of clinical placements will be undertaken in each year of study, in both community and in-patient settings. These areas will reflect different age groups and the specialities available in the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Work with adults across the age range, children and families, longer-term support of adults, and specialist settings such as forensic work, complex needs, eating disorders and research may all be experienced. Placements will also offer the opportunity to experience care in larger urban areas as well as in rural communities.

Most placements will offer full-time experience in practice while others will be in parallel with study in the university.

We offer a range of support mechanisms, both within the university and the placement area, to support you through your programme of study. While on placement, you will be supported by a named member of staff known as a mentor, as well as a link lecturer from the university. Students find the placement experience both stimulating and well-supported.

We have a dedicated Practice Education Unit that provides administrative and academic support for placement learning/practice education for all its pre-qualifying courses.

Study abroad

Some students can add an optional acceptable module, the Health and Social Care Elective. This is a self-organised and self-funded placement anywhere in the world lasting a minimum of two weeks.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

  • In health and social care, no professional group works in isolation. At Oxford Brookes you will share your learning with students in areas such as midwifery, occupational therapy, social work and the many other health care subjects that we teach. This is a key component of the course as it is essential in developing your teamwork skills and your understanding of the other roles you will encounter in practice.
  • We offer a very friendly and supportive environment in which to learn, and we consistently receive very high satisfaction ratings for student support and learning resources in student surveys. All our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning and are strongly focused on encouraging you to attain your full potential as a lifelong learner.
  • IT plays an increasingly important role in health care courses and an extensive range of learning resources can be accessed through the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle), an online repository of lectures, handouts, information and learning exercises.
  • Various teaching and learning methods are used, including project work, experiential workshops, seminars, interactive lectures, role play and projective techniques, as well as tutorial support. Tutorial groups are used to further support learning.
  • Practice experience makes up half the course and will enable you to observe and participate in care, providing you with the opportunity to integrate practice and theoretical components and to develop and demonstrate the required competencies.

Approach to assessment

Mental health nursing theory is assessed through coursework, which includes case studies, case reviews, project reports, essays and seminar papers. The practice element is assessed through the use of clinical competencies which record course learning outcomes achieved during clinical placements and enable you to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council competencies to practise all essential skills for entry to the register. Simulated clinical examinations are also used.

Learning outcomes

When you have successfully completed the course, you will be able to:

  • deliver high quality care to all, underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of nursing practice
  • deliver complex care to service users in their field of practice using a range of standard or innovative techniques
  • act to safeguard the public and be responsible and accountable for safe, person-centred, evidence-based nursing practice, demonstrating an ability to act autonomously
  • act with professionalism and integrity and work within agreed professional, ethical and legal frameworks and processes to maintain and improve standards
  • practise in a compassionate, respectful way, maintaining dignity and well being and communicating effectively
  • act on an understanding of how people’s lifestyles, environments and the location of care delivery influence health and well being.

Key facts


Department of Clinical Health Care

Course length

Full-time: 3 years; 5 years by mixed mode. Post-qualification: 15 months with individual credits
Part-time: 7 years maximum (limited part-time places available)

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road

Start date

September 2014 or September

UCAS code and Key Information Sets

Fees / Funding

Tuition fees

Home / EU full-time on-campus fee: Students from the UK and EU will have their fees paid by the NHS, even if they have previously received public funding for higher education. Please read our financial help leaflet (in the downloads section on the right) for more information.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see funding for Undergraduate students from the UK and EU

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

A-level: grades BBC or equivalent, including a science, with a preference for Biology or Human Biology.
Clearing places for some of our courses may require grades of ABB or higher at A-level and certain equivalent qualifications. However, there may still be Clearing opportunities for applicants with different grades on other courses.

IB Diploma: 30 points, minimum 8 at higher level

  • 2 AS-levels will only be accepted in place of one full A-level.
  • Access course:  45 credits at Level 3, including 12 with merit and 24 with distinction. Of the merit and distinction grades, 12 Level 3 credits must be in Biology/Human Biology. Also, 15 credits are required at Level 2 (to include 12 Level 2 credits in Maths if a GCSE/O-level at grade C or above has not previously been achieved).
  • BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Distinction, Merit.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: BBBCC at Higher Level.  You should also have Maths, English and a Science subject at Grade C1 at Ordinary or Higher Level.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: 5 passes at grade C or above, including Mathematics, English Language and a science subject

For post-experience BA:
  • NMC registration parts 1, 5, 8, 12, 14 or 15.
  • a secondment to the course may be possible for adult, learning disability and children's nurses working for the local NHS Trusts or the armed forces.
  • applicants need to have been working in an NHS clinical area that gives them experience of clients with mental health needs for at least six months before enrolling on the course.


All applicants will be screened for fitness for practice and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

Prospective students will be interviewed by representatives from both the university and local NHS Trust.

English language requirements

An IELTS score of 7.0 (minimum score of 6.5 in each component) is required, in addition to any of the above, for ALL applicants whose first language is not English.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Part-time/post-experience: apply direct to the university.

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Student experience

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxfordshire is highly regarded for the quality of its mental health services and you will have the opportunity to work in the full range of hospital and community settings where people with mental health problems are supported or cared for.

Support for students studying Mental Health Nursing

There is a good range of support mechanisms for students, including:

  • academic advisers, who will facilitate your academic development
  • student support co-ordinators, who provide a drop-in service for questions about any aspect of student life, covering both academic and personal welfare.

The university’s support services include Upgrade, which provides advice on study skills such as planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations, research, and preparing for exams. They also give advice on statistics and maths.

There is a dedicated Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, mental health problems and medical conditions. The service's staff offer advice and support on a range of issues, including physical access, funding, alternative assessment arrangements and liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

Specialist facilities

We have excellent teaching facilities, including a 280-seat lecture theatre, fully networked computer rooms and dedicated clinical skills suites. Our simulation resources include a well-equipped movement laboratory.

We also have excellent library resources, accessible both through the web and through a range of locally based facilities on university and NHS sites.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

After graduation

Professional accreditation

The course meets the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards of education and the requirements for the professional award.

Career prospects

Employment prospects are excellent after course completion. All our courses aim to prepare you to be lifelong learners and there is a wide range of courses available at Oxford Brookes for continuing professional development (CPD).

Our most recent graduates have gone on to work in a variety of local mental health settings as well as further afield in areas as diverse as acute adult admission wards, child and adolescent mental health services and eating disorder services.

Further information about nursing careers is available here.