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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1-2 years

UK fee

£5,250 (2023/24)

International fee

£5,250 (2023/24)

Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start dates

September, January, May



Online course description

Please note that due to the popularity of this online course we urge you to apply early to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

Course Highlights

This part-time online Nursing Studies (top up) degree is intended for Registered Nurses, from the UK or overseas, who already hold a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Nursing Studies and wish to top up that qualification to a full BSc Honours degree. If, however, you are a Nursing Associate, this programme will not enable you to become a Registered Nurse and you should contact the lead where you studied your Foundation degree nursing associate programme or the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care for advice.

If you do not have a Diploma, Advanced Diploma or meet the academic entry requirements but are still registered and in practice as a nurse, you may be eligible to complete our online Certificate of Credit in Health and Social Care Studies to gain 20 credits to achieve a level 5 qualification and academic skills that will allow entry onto the online BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies Top-Up degree programme, providing you meet all additional entry criteria.

Accredited by the RCN

This programme has been accredited by the RCN Centre for Professional Accreditation until 19 December 2023. Accreditation applies only to the educational content of the programme. Whilst you will be able to apply your learning from this programme to your practice area this programme does not have any practice-based learning.

The University of Derby's accreditation with the RCN is based on the quality of the programme content however does not confirm the competence of practitioners completing the programme.

An innovative and research-informed curriculum to prepare you for the future of nursing

This long-established course has recently been revalidated to refresh and modernise the curriculum to align it with current health care practice and policy and to prepare nurses for the expanding nature, complex and ever-changing landscape of nursing.

With an internationally focused and research informed curriculum, the course aims to develop practitioners who can demonstrate a critical, evidence-based approach to practice. It seeks to develop you within your area of expertise as a practitioner who can demonstrate critical competence in clinical practice care, clinical practice leadership and clinical practice development.

The practical application of this online course allows you to develop transferable skills effectively that can be applied directly within your care setting. You’ll develop valuable skills to help you identify and propose recommendations to enhance service delivery and provision of care and engage in critical reflection on clinical practice reflective of contemporary nursing practice.

The learning materials have been updated to ensure you meet the requirements to practice safely and effectively, and to allow you to demonstrate good practice and knowledge whilst gaining transferable skills to help you provide, lead and coordinate care that is compassionate, person-centred, and evidence-based, when it’s needed most.

93%agree that teaching staff are good at explaining things**National Student Survey 2023
96%agree that as a result of the course, believe they are improving their career prospects**University of Derby Survey 2022
94%agree that they feel that they are achieving to their academic potential**University of Derby Survey 2022

An online course designed by nurses, for nurses

This course is developed by experienced Nurses of varying backgrounds bringing expertise and innovative practice into the development of our modules and delivery of the teaching. Furthermore, they understand the balance between practise and personal life commitments.

Our range of innovative teaching materials give you a varied and enjoyable learning experience and our expert online tutors will support you all the way. Our modules are taught by registered nurses with experience in the field, so they will be able to support the application of learning into practice helping you to create future focused, evidence-based care. Modules are designed to stretch and challenge you to consider your role in the development of forward thinking and innovative healthcare practice.

Throughout the course, you’ll deepen your understanding of key concepts in healthcare such as disease prevention, health promotion, patient -centred care and evidence-based practice. Through a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, you will enhance your critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and decision-making skills, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

Online study is ideally suited to the nursing profession. It gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. Course modules operate within a fixed trimester, but you can choose to study during the day, in the evenings or at the weekend. Live lectures, evening classes and weekend workshops are hosted virtually, and all live sessions are recorded so you can watch them back in your own time. You’ll be able to engage in discussion and debate with fellow students via the discussion forums and threads.

Tailor your course with module options suited to your practice

The course features an array of optional modules so you can tailor your studies around your practice and professional interests. Module options include clinically focused modules such as respiratory diseases, care of the palliative patient, diabetes, infection prevention and control, maternal and family health and children and young people's perspectives in health, as well as professional modules such as education, teaching supervision, leadership and management, implementation of health and clinical research or public health.

NMC revalidation and CPD for nursing

If you are preparing for Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation, you’ll also be aware that you need to complete 35 hours of CPD which needs to include 20 hours of participatory learning. Completing this programme not only provides you with these CPD hours but enhances your practice with the module content and assessments specifically designed to help you apply your theoretical learning to your clinical practice.

Enhance your nursing professional development plan (PDP)

This online course will also allow you to integrate personal development planning (PDP) into your workload. Opportunities throughout the online course for PDP are included through the application of learning materials to current practice within health and social care, as well as the use of critical reflection within modules. This online course will incorporate a variety of skills that will enable you to develop critical evaluation, appraisal, and reflection skills in relation to your clinical practice defining you as an evidence-based practitioner who is up to date with the current nursing theories and practices. The course content will be contextualised, allowing you to take the skills forward into clinical and academic practice.

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

If you have a Diploma in Nursing Studies, then you will need to choose four optional modules over the course of your study, as well as the Independent Study (double module).

If you have an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Studies, then you will only need to choose one optional module, as well as the Independent Study module (double module).

Please note: due to high demand, some modules may be subject to a cap in the number of students who can be enrolled per trimester. This is particularly likely to be the case for the Minor Injuries, Care of the Surgical Patient, Advanced Concepts in Palliative Care and Public Health: UK and International Perspectives modules.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

2 nurses talking bedside with clipboard

Online BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top up) degree Q&A: March 2024

Thursday, 21 March 2024 11.30 - 12.30

If you're interested in joining the online BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (top up) degree course and wish to find out more, join the live Q&A to hear from Rachel Spink, Programme Leader, and get your questions answered.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

This course is delivered entirely online through our virtual learning environment and student portal where you can access the course materials, learning content and study resources, the online library, your university email account and virtual student community spaces.

Lecturers will work with you to support your discussions and answer any questions. This support will be through written discussions within the module learning spaces as well as regular live sessions to help you consolidate your learning, support you with your assignments and help you with any questions.

Through Develop@Derby, you will be able to access a resource package of live and recorded sessions covering things such as critical writing and reading, researching and referencing.

Pace of study

The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. This includes time to review your learning materials but also time to plan and complete your assessment within the module.

If you opt to undertake the accelerated study plan whereby you will study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Should you decide to study on the accelerated rate you should ensure that you have the capacity to fully engage with your studies and achieve the best grades and final award. If you choose to study on the accelerated rate, you will need to balance approximately 40 hours of study per week alongside your professional and personal life and commitments.

It may be useful to consider studying one module at the standard rate of study before deciding whether to then increase to the accelerated rate of study.

Interprofessional Learning

Interprofessional learning is at the heart of this course and interprofessional working, a key theme throughout. You’ll hear from lecturers and guest lecturers from a variety of clinical and professional backgrounds to enhance your learning as they share and discuss topical agendas, their research impact and professional expertise. Additionally, you will study alongside students from around the world and from a wide range of nursing contexts as well as health and social care and allied health professionals on your modules all sharing unique experiences and creating rich learning and networking opportunities. The course aims to develop your ability to work collaboratively within interprofessional teams to create and implement innovative solutions to complex healthcare challenges.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

Rachel Spink sitting at a table

Rachel Spink
Programme leader

Lecturer in Nursing, Rachel Spink, has a wealth of experience in her career as a Registered Nurse Orthopaedics, Research Nurse, Practice Nurse, District Nurse, Health Visitor, Specialist Public Health Nurse, Nurse Prescriber and mentor for pre and post registration students.

View full staff profileView full staff profileExplore all staff on this courseExplore all staff on this course

Get a taste of the course content

Our Nursing Studies BSc (Hons) Top-Up course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster

Entry requirements

You'll need all of the following:

*If you have an International Nursing qualification or Pre-Diploma Nursing Qualification and depending on your level of experience working as a registered nurse, it may be possible for you to join the BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top Up) degree upon passing our Certificate of Credit in Health and Social Care Studies. See details below.

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements (or equivalent level in OET).

We may accept other equivalent English Language qualifications with supporting evidence so please provide full details with your application.

Find out more about our English language requirements

What if I have a pre-Diploma or an International Nursing Qualification?

You may still be eligible for the BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top Up) degree if you have a pre-Diploma qualification (eg RGN, RMN, RSCN, RNLD, EN) or if your international qualification (diploma or degree) in Nursing does not equate to UK Higher Education Level 5. This is subject to meeting the following requirements:

If the above applies, and you have ten years or more experience as a registered nurse, the programme leader may be able to admit you onto the course subject to seeing evidence of this on your application form.

Alternatively, there is an access route at level 5 (Diploma level) which requires you to successfully complete the Certificate of Credit in Health and Social Care Studies to gain entry to the BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top Up).

The Certificate of Credit in Health and Social Care Studies is a 20-credit standalone module which is completed over one ten-week trimester. The short course is designed to help you to develop your professional development skills as well as your academic skills at level 5, preparing you for study at level 6 (degree level). You’ll learn to engage in self-assessment, evaluation and reflection whilst producing a continuous professional development (CPD) plan to enable you to be an effective practitioner in today’s complex health and social care environment.

Whether you apply direct for the Certificate of Credit in Health and Social Care Studies, or are offered a place on the 10 week course as a condition of entry to the BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top Up) degree, please be advised that it is additional study and does not offer any exemptions to the BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top Up) degree.

Fees and funding

2023/24 for new entrants

Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
If you have a Diploma (UK/EU/International) £875 6 £5,250
If you have an Advanced Diploma (UK/EU/International) £875 3 £2,625

2024/25 for new entrants

Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
If you have a Diploma (UK/EU/International) £875 6 £5,250
If you have an Advanced Diploma (UK/EU/International) £875 3 £2,625

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from two payment plan options:

*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.

Undergraduate funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to meet the cost of tuition fees.

If you are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.

If you already hold an honours degree, and you are looking to re-skill or up-skill, you may still be eligible for a loan to study this course.

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Graduates of this course will be equipped with the skills needed to design, implement and evaluate evidence-based care, driving improvements in the quality of care provided to patients. You will be able to lead healthcare teams, manage resources effectively and advocate for patients and their families.

The course aims to produce degree-qualified registered nurses who are capable of leading change within the healthcare sector, improving the standards of patient care and making a positive difference to the lives of those you serve.

You will gain competency in leadership, management and research that will enhance skills which are adaptable and support clinical practice. This places you central to innovative and contemporary nursing within Health and Social care.

On completion of your BSc Hons in Nursing Studies, you have the opportunity to progress to for example a Masters in Nursing Studies, available to study online.

An Honours degree will help you to compete in a contentious market, particularly when applying for international positions. It does not affect your NMC or provide access to other parts of the register but will broaden your horizons, improving your self-confidence and competences in teaching and mentoring work colleagues.

Utilise our Careers and Employment Service​

Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.

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Helping Phil emigrate to Australia

Online student Phil Richardson set his sights on emigrating to Australia. For him gaining a degree would help him to achieve his goal.

Read Phil's storyRead Phil's story

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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