NCUK Guide to Study Nursing in the UK


The Perfect Start To Your Nursing Career 

Caring for others and making a real difference in people’s lives means a career in nursing can be incredibly fulfilling. If you’re interested in a nursing career, the United Kingdom offers excellent opportunities, especially for international students. Here, we look at what it takes to study nursing, how you can become a nurse and the qualifications you need to start a career in nursing in the UK. 

Studying Nursing Abroad as an International Student

If you want to pursue a nursing career in the UK, you have various options available. One of the most popular is NCUK’s International Foundation Year qualification, designed to provide you with the necessary academic preparation to progress to a nursing degree.

It offers a range of science-based subjects, including biology, chemistry and health science modules, specifically to prepare students for nursing degree courses. Once you’ve successfully completed the International Foundation Year, you can undertake an undergraduate nursing course at one of NCUK’s University Partners across the UK. Taking this pathway to your nursing career gives you not only a seamless transition into the right degree program but also provides a supportive learning environment and access to excellent academic resources.


How Long Do Nursing Courses Last?

Nursing programs in the UK vary depending on which qualification you’re studying, ranging from a Diploma at just two years to a Master’s Degree which would take five years in total. The actual duration may vary slightly depending on the institution and the specific program, so it’s worth checking with your chosen university.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Nurse in The UK?

There are specific qualifications and requirements you need to meet to be a nurse, the most important being a degree approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the regulatory body for nursing in the UK. 


The most common study routes include:

Bachelor of Nursing (BN)

This three-year undergraduate degree program prepares you for a career as a registered nurse. It combines both theoretical knowledge and practical placements to develop essential nursing skills.

Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Nursing

A two-year program that also leads to registration as a nurse, focusing on gaining the necessary clinical skills and knowledge required for nursing practice.

Master’s in Nursing (MN)

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, you can take a Master’s Degree in Nursing. It typically takes two years to complete and provides a more in-depth understanding of nursing theory and advanced practice.

How Difficult is it to Become a Nurse in The UK?

Becoming a nurse takes dedication, hard work and a genuine passion for the profession, and the study programs can be demanding both academically and emotionally with a balance of theoretical knowledge and practical application. However, many universities in the UK offer excellent nursing courses with experienced faculty members dedicated to guiding and supporting you, and once you’ve qualified and become a registered nurse, you’ll find wide-ranging career opportunities to choose from.

Find out more

You can find out more about the nursing courses available here, or to talk to the NCUK team directly about starting your nursing career simply click here.