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A Guide to the Best Universities for Nursing in the UK

When you’re considering going to uni, you want to know which are the most reputable universities. Whether you’re looking for an incredible science university, or the best unis for sport, or a creative arts hub, you want to be assured that you’re laying solid foundations for a successful career in your chosen field.

One of the most popular courses in the UK is the nursing degree. With good reason too - nursing courses offer great formation and fantastic career prospects.

Our selection of nursing unis in the UK are accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which means that students can pursue a nursing career upon graduation. In fact, according to the QS World University Rankings for nursing, 8 of the top 100 nursing universities are British

Here is a guide to some of the best universities for nursing in the UK.

1. University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh offers what is possibly the best nursing course in the UK.
It’s a four year Bachelor of Nursing with Honours and one of the longest - standing university courses for preparing graduate nurses.

Edinburgh has a long tradition of preparing graduate nurses, and the BA Nursing programme reflects global, UK and Scottish healthcare practices.

The course strikes a 50-50 balance between theory and practice through a range of inpatient and community placements. You’ll learn critical thinking skills, and develop an ability to work across a range of interdisciplinary settings using varied clinical skills.

Throughout the course you’ll benefit from a personal tutor system and personalised support while on placement.
Once you graduate, you can apply for qualified nurse status, or go on to study some of the best post-graduate nursing courses available at Edinburgh.

2. University of Manchester

Next up on our list of the best universities for nursing in the UK is the Uni of Manchester. Its nursing course has produced some of the country's leading nurse practitioners, researchers and policymakers.

At the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, you’ll benefit from innovative teaching and learning methods, while gaining wide-ranging clinical experience through practical learning with trusts that offer specialist services.

You will also have the opportunity to learn about national and international practice by going on a learning experience in another UK location, or abroad.

Manchester Uni also has a reputation for being one of the best nursing unis in the UK.

In the latest Research Excellence Framework, Manchester came first in the UK for research in the category of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy.

The uni was also ranked 5th in the world and 2nd in the UK for Nursing (QS World University Rankings 2021), and over 94% in full time employment with 15 months of graduation.

3. King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the oldest and most highly reputable universities out there, and if you’re looking for the best universities for nursing in the UK, there’s nowhere better than KCL.

In fact, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery was the world’s first school of nursing. It has four departments: Child & Family Health; Midwifery; Adult Nursing; and Mental Health Nursing.

This university offers some of the best maternity nurse courses, taught at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, and there are opportunities to participate in placements in some internationally-recognised London hospitals.

4. University of Southampton

Another contender for the best nursing course in the UK is the three-year BN (Hons) Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Southampton.

It combines a good balance of theory and practice, as well as hospital placements and experience in community settings.

The university’s fantastic facilities allow for more practical skills development through the interactive skills lab and patient simulator, and you can plan your own nursing development experience in either the UK or overseas.

5. University of Nottingham

Amongst the best unis for mental health nursing in the UK is University of Nottingham, with its globally-recognised School of Health Sciences.

The BSc (Hons) Nursing degree offers Mental Health specialisation, as well others in Adult and Child healthcare.
Some of the best post-graduate nursing courses are on offer here, with the MSc Graduate Entry Nursing degree being ideal for those who already have a degree and want to start a career in nursing. 

To complement your theoretical knowledge, you’ll take a series of placements as preparation for any challenges you’ll face as a qualified nurse.

6. University of Birmingham

One of the top nursing unis in the UK is Birmingham University, where the nursing course focuses on psychological, biological, and social sciences, combined with clinical modules related to your practice area. 

At Birmingham you get the chance to experience nursing and healthcare in various placement settings in one of the largest healthcare regions in the UK. 

You’ll reap huge benefits from inter-professional learning under the watchful eye of established doctors, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Their expertise and guidance will help prepare you for a successful career in nursing, in the modern setting of interdisciplinary healthcare teams.

7. Cardiff University

Ranked in sixth place for Best Nursing Course in the UK,  Cardiff offers six nursing courses including the Adult Nursing course.

Cardiff is a truly international university, welcoming students from over 130 countries, so you’ll make some useful contacts and forge enriching friendships.

The university also has partnerships with over 200 institutions worldwide, meaning you’ll benefit from those connections and receive a world-class nursing formation.

8. University of Liverpool

The School of Health Sciences at Liverpool is home to various undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

The courses are taught using a combination of theory and practice, in order to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the challenges of being a nurse.

You’ll participate in placements, as well as having practical sessions in an actual nursing setup as part of the course. You even have the option to  work abroad to learn about different healthcare systems and practices.

9. University of Glasgow

The BN (Hons) programme at the Uni of Glasgow lasts for four years and is equally divided between theory and practice.

You’ll learn a range of sciences while developing clinical care skills on placements in hospitals and community settings.

As the course goes on, the learning takes on a holistic and integrated approach to the assessments as you advance your knowledge and skills in person-centred case studies.

You’ll learn all the skills required to supervise nursing students, preparing you for any challenges on your clinical placements, and setting a firm foundation for your future career as a nurse.

10. University of Sheffield

The Adult Nursing course at the University of Sheffield provides you with all the latest research, policy and practice in adult nursing, as well as the clinical skills to qualify for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional register as an adult nurse.

You’ll take clinical placements at one of the university’s partner hospitals, communities and primary care services. You can even decide which of the placement locations suits you best, so that you have the most positive student experience possible.

The course is half practice and half theory, with all the theory you learn put to the test not only on placement, but also at the university’s purpose-built simulation facility. The facility features mock clinical ward areas, resuscitation suites, simulated theatres, simulated homes, teaching rooms and a fully equipped filming studio.

As you can see, there are some strong contenders for the best universities for nursing in the UK. Wherever you decide to study, we’re sure you’ll choose the best nursing course for you. Enjoying your studies, thriving on placements, and coming home to our modern, stylish student accommodation, you’re sure to have the best student experience possible.