Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2 years †

UK/EU fee

9,250 per year (2018/19)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

This course is underpinned by the desire to deliver kind, compassionate nursing care. It is a two year, full-time degree and supports those with a prior degree (2:2 or above) to become a registered mental health nurse at an accelerated pace. You will also need prior work experience in a service user context, allowing you to demonstrate the skills that underpin professional nursing registration. Your prior experiences will contribute to the learning opportunities within the course and together these will provide eligibility to register as a mental health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), as long as you meet the NMC’s requirements.

We are proud to support the workforce needs of the local region - our course is delivered in the context of the local health care environment and we aim to support our students to practice as qualified nurses locally. By studying this course you can be confident that you will meet the standards and competences contained within the NMC Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education (NMC 2010). The Postgraduate Diploma/MSc Nursing is an intensive course and you will need commitment, motivation and a desire to succeed. The programme holds high expectations that you are engaged and ready to be an independent learner and that you are able to meet the theory and practice hours required by the NMC that reflect a full time programme of study.

A significant amount of time in practice will be spent working alongside qualified nurses, applying theory to practice to develop key clinical skills and the ability to work as a professional in practice. Throughout the course you will experience a wide variety of practice learning environments across the Derbyshire region. These practice environments include hospitals; community settings; private, voluntary and independent sectors. Whilst on placement you will be required to experience a full range of shift patterns relevant to the practice environment you are placed in.

You will engage in high fidelity simulated practice within the university and also be expected to engage in clinical supervision. Both of which will enhance and support your development as a confident and competent practitioner.

What you will study

The course is delivered over two academic years; however it is separated into three equal parts called stages.

You will complete a range of modules to develop the fundamental knowledge and skills for safe, effective nursing practice where the interests of people using, or needing nursing services, are put first. These modules provide the foundation for you to develop a caring professionalism where you can be trusted in the care you provide.

A person-centred approach to care is fostered through in-depth evaluation of care across the life span for a range of service users with acute and long term conditions. Independent inquiry and critical evaluation skills will be fostered to underpin an evidence-based approach.

In addition to this, you will be asked to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of individuals and society by engaging in service improvement and enterprise in health care. If you choose to undertake an extended independent piece of work (Independent Scholarship module) this will facilitate the enabling of research, innovation and further embed evidence-based practice. 

You are eligible to register with the NMC following successful completion of the six 20 credit compulsory modules.

You will study modules such as:

  • Knowledge and Skills for Professional Nursing Practice 
  • Care Across the Lifespan in Mental Health Nursing
  • Research Skills for Evidence Based Practice
  • Complex Care Delivery Across the Life Span in Mental Health Nursing
  • Leading and Managing Innovation, Improvement and Enterprise in Nursing (Mental Health)
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Principles of Long Term Condition Management
  • Developing Positive Approaches for People Living with Dementia

At the end of academic year one you will be invited for academic counselling regarding whether you wish to undertake the Independent Scholarship module. If you choose to study Independent Scholarship (60 credits) you will begin this module at the start of the second academic year.

  • Independent Scholarship

If you complete your two year full-time course and gain the full 180 credits you will be awarded the MSc Nursing (Mental Health).

However, if you finish the two year full-time course with a Postgraduate Diploma Nursing (Mental Health) (having completed 120 credits) you will be invited to complete the remaining 60 credits, to achieve a full MSc, as a part-time student, when it is anticipated you will be employed as a registered nurse. At this time you may either undertake the 60 credit Independent Scholarship module or the 60 credit Preceptorship module. The preceptorship module is a year-long module to facilitate the structured transition of newly qualified practitioners into practice. During the module you will consolidate learning, maintain competency, develop decision making skills and further expand your role as an accountable health care professional.

How you will learn

A range of learning and teaching strategies will be used including lectures, workshops, self-directed work, tutorials and online materials.  Robust online resources will also be available to support your learning as you progress through the course.

A key characteristic of this course is the use of simulation in each stage to prepare you for practice. Simulation will use case scenarios to increase confidence and competence in both clinical and interpersonal skills in a safe environment. 

There will be a range of Inter-Professional Learning (IPL) activities within the academic setting. During these activities you will engage in learning with both undergraduate and postgraduate health and social care students. 

You will be required to construct and maintain a professional portfolio that illustrates an understanding for continuing professional development and lifelong learning. This portfolio will help to demonstrate safe and effective practice encouraging you to reflect on how you demonstrate the standards set out within the Code (NMC 2015). As an NMC registrant you will be required to renew your registration every three years. The portfolio you develop on this course will therefore provide you with the tools you need to support your re-validation in the future.

Within practice learning environments this course adopts a hub and spoke model. A hub refers to a practice learning experience that lasts for the duration of the programme stage you are in. A spoke refers to a secondary learning experience when you will step out of your hub area and return to the hub upon its completion. Spoke experiences 'add value' to existing learning opportunities in the hub to enable you to achieve the required standards and learning outcomes. This model helps to ensure that practice learning and assessments are not fragmented.

Practice experiences range from three to 12 continuous weeks. In addition, you will have the opportunity of an elective experience in the final stage of the course. While in these practice environments you will engage in 24 hour and seven day care. All student nurses are supernumerary during practice learning. Supernumerary means that you will not be contracted by any person or body to provide nursing care as part of your course. However, you are expected to engage fully in the care provided by the health care team, as directed by your mentor.

Who you'll meet

Sam Chapman is a senior lecturer and qualified as a RMN in 2003 in Birmingham and worked in the heart of Birmingham in acute inpatient services for a number of years both on a mixed gender unit and a female only unit. Here Sam looked after people with chronic and acute MH problems such as Schizophrenia, depression & suicidal ideas, psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorder. During this time Sam completed and was awarded a Specialist Practitioner Award by the NMC in Mental Health Studies and qualified with a first class honouree degree. From her studies and practice Sam developed a particular interest in working with people who hear voices and continued to use develop this into acute services.  Following this, Sam went on to work in an Assertive Outreach Community Team which focused its attention on people with severe and enduring mental health problems including substance misuse and those who were considered ‘difficult to engage’ in services. Sam trained in phlebotomy and was responsible for the physical monitoring of appropriate blood counts for all patients. More recently Sam has worked clinically in secondary schools, working closely with and supporting young people through difficult times using health promotion and public health models and educating young people to enable them to develop skills that promote and enhance their mental health.

Heather Brundrett is a senior lecturer and programme leader for the BSc (Hons) Nursing Adult programme. Heather has worked as a mental health nurse since 1986 in a range of mental health services including those for older people, acute mental health difficulties, drug and alcohol problems, forensic and enduring mental health difficulties. Heather is a trained cognitive behavioural psychotherapist and has experience of using this approach to help people with anxiety, depression, anger difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder and substance misuse. Heather also has a role as an external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes at another UK university, and is a reviewer for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dissemination Centre

How you'll be assessed

During this course you will be assessed in both theory and in practice. Theory will be assessed through a range of formative and summative activities. The aim of formative assessment is to monitor the progress of your learning within a module and to generate feedback that can be used by lecturers to improve their teaching and by you to improve your learning. Summative assessments may be Pass/Fail or weighted to indicate how this assessment will contribute to the overall grade received for the module. A range of assessments are used in this course including seen and unseen exams; individual and group presentations, and more traditional course work such as assignments and reports.

Whilst in practice you are required to complete an Ongoing Achievement Record (OAR). The OAR is evidence that you have met the required standards and competences of nurse education. You will be assigned a mentor who will work with you at least 40% of the time and who will be responsible for the assessment of your practice.

Entry requirements

You will need:


Work Experience

*you must be working within a contractual relationship this can be educational, employment or voluntary

**you must demonstrate you were working in a setting where you have personally supported the health and/or wellbeing needs of service users

In addition:

Please note: Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, please contact the programme team to discuss if you have any queries about your education/work experience.

Interview Information

Fees and funding

2018/19 Fees (August 2018 - July 2019)

  Full-time Part-time
UK/EU £9,250 per year N/A
International N/A N/A

This course will now be eligible for funding via the Student Loans Company under the same terms and conditions as undergraduate tuition fee and maintenance loans. Please see the following webpage for more information. This course is currently not eligible for any further discounts on fees, such as the post graduate discount.

Additional Fee Information

Additional financial support is available from the NHS for this course. Please see their webpage for more information.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


By completing the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc Nursing (Mental Health) you will eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a registered nurse, as long as you meet the NMC’s requirements. With this registration you will be able to work in the NHS or private, voluntary and independent sectors.

Within the course you will have the opportunity to develop interview skills, engage in career counselling, explore career development, including the advancing role of the registered nurse and other health care professionals.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

3 years

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees


Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees


Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.