Students and service users in a group session.


Nursing (Learning Disabilities)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Nursing and Midwifery
Glenside Campus
Three years, one intake in September at Glenside Campus
Study abroad:
Programme leader:
Bethany Kruger
Key fact:
The practical focus of the course, our local connections and strong employer links mean many graduates receive more than one job offer.

Page last updated 6 March 2019


Why study learning disabilities nursing?

Working in a variety of settings, including specialist and community services, and people's homes, learning disabilities nurses provide focused health support to people of all ages and learning disabilities.

It's a challenging but rewarding career. You can make a real difference to your patients and their families and play your part in improving access to healthcare, wellbeing, social inclusion and quality of life.

Why UWE Bristol?

BSc(Hons)/BSc Nursing (Learning Disabilities) is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which means you can register as a learning disabilities nurse with them when you graduate.

With work-based training built in, and outstanding onsite facilities, you'll learn the theory of good nursing practice, and study the subjects that underpin it.

Taught by an enthusiastic team of experienced learning disabilities nurses, you'll develop strong inter-professional and interpersonal skills, together with a real understanding of what it means to have a learning disability or be a family carer.

The course has a strong practical focus, incorporating

person-centred learning, with use of our advanced, inter-professional Simulation Suite.

Engage with people with learning disabilities, family carers and practising nurses on placements, in class and online.

You'll spend about half your time on placements in NHS hospitals, or with employers in the independent health and social care sector.

There's also the chance to develop and apply your skills working abroad.

Where can it take me?

You'll have exciting career opportunities open to you in lots of areas.

Learning disabilities nurses are in demand across the UK across fields such as neurology, epilepsy, acute physical and mental healthcare, as well as specialist services for people with learning disabilities.

You could work in hospitals, in the community for the NHS, in the prison service, or for private or voluntary sector employers.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You will study:

  • Communication in a Diverse World
  • Physiology and Pharmacology for Nursing Practice
  • Appreciating Evidence for Practice
  • Building Positive Relationships with, and Services for, People with Learning Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities Nursing Practice 1.

Year two

You will study:

  • Service Improvement - a Collaborative Approach
  • Evidence Based Practice for Nursing
  • Health Needs of People with Learning Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities Nursing Practice 2
  • The role of the Learning Disabilities Nurse in public health promotion.

Final year

You will study:

  • Learning Disabilities Nursing Dissertation
  • Leadership in Learning Disabilities Nursing 
  • Learning Disabilities Nursing Practice 3
  • Teaching and Learning in Learning Disability Nursing Practice.

Plus, one optional module from:

  • End of Life Care
  • Worldwide Nursing
  • Evidencing Work based learning
  • Independent study.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We use a mix of lectures, seminars, skills development, simulation, online activities, service user and carer-led sessions and student-led presentations, to develop your skills and get you ready for practice.

Central to nursing theory and practice, you'll also study biology, psychology, sociology and information technology, as applied to health and social care in different settings.

Develop the inter-professional and interpersonal skills that are essential to building effective relationships with people with learning disabilities, families and colleagues, in a multidisciplinary, multi-agency setting.

Develop your expertise in healthcare systems, nursing management, and health, wellness and illness. Explore the latest research and evidence-based practice.

Get support and guidance from academic staff and during your placements from qualified nursing staff.

You'll take responsibility for your own learning, using online and distance learning materials in all modules.

Acquire skills in self-directed and independent study, and research skills you can take with you into your career.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year

Making connections

Take part in our annual South West Learning Disabilities Conference, to learn about best practice from the region and open up employment opportunities.

Study time

During the academic part of the course, you'll study full time between 9:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.

The course includes some online learning and distance learning. Some of this is timetabled in the hours above and some needs to take place within an agreed time period, so is flexible. The amount of online and distance learning increases over your degree. 

Placements are a mix of office hour placements and shift work, including some nights and weekends.


We'll assess you using a mixture of essays, care studies, practical assessments, project work and timed examinations on known topics.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). You can register as a learning disabilities nurse with them when you graduate.


With two work placements each year, you'll spend half the course applying your knowledge and building professional skills in the workplace.

We have excellent links with employers throughout the South West, and placements are normally split between NHS roles and positions in private or voluntary sector organisations. You'll get a broad range of practice experiences and be in a strong position for future employment.

Your personal mentor will advise, counsel and give you feedback on your progress during your placement.

Details of placements throughout the year:

Year one - 19 weeks placement:

  • Mid-January to mid-March (nine weeks)
  • Mid-May to late July (ten weeks)

Year two - 22 weeks placement:

  • Mid-November to late February (Christmas AL) (11 weeks)
  • Mid-April to end July (11 weeks)

Year three - 24 weeks placement:

  • Early September to mid-November (ten weeks)
  • Mid-March to late June (14 weeks, including 1 week annual leave)

International opportunities

Our links with services for people with autism in Croatia mean you can go on a two-week placement there, to experience learning disabilities nursing outside the UK. We also offer 12-week placements in Finland and Norway through the Erasmus scheme. 

Study facilities

Benefit from outstanding facilities to support your studies.

The Glenside campus library is one of the best healthcare libraries in the country, and has a huge selection of books, journals, audio-visual materials and specialist health and social care software packages.

Demonstrate and practise your professional skills in our advanced Skills Simulation Suite.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Our graduates go on to work with both adults and children with learning disabilities across a large range of settings and services.

You could work in an NHS specialist community team, primary care team, inpatient services, acute services or a wider multi-field nursing team.

You could work in the private or voluntary sectors as part of a specialist team supporting people with complex needs, such as head injury or dementia care.

You would also work as a specialist health facilitator, or go into prison healthcare, or short-term break, mental health or person-centred services.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Read about Kirstie's experiences of studying Learning Disability Nursing at UWE Bristol.

Hear Becca's story about studying Learning Disability Nursing at UWE Bristol.

See also:

Nursing and Midwifery Council

About the NHS Constitution


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year473
OH/Medical assessment - ONLY charged for missed appointments.30

Supplementary fee information

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.

If you are a UK student you may be entitled to living cost support.

For more details please see our guidance on NHS funding for UK students or our guidance on NHS funding for EU students.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 120
  • GCSE: For all applicants, a minimum of five subjects at grade C/4 or above to include English Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement:

    If your first language is not English, you should have a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with a minimum of 7.0 in all sections of the test. Full details of this language test can be obtained from the British Council. Please note the University's published list of alternative English Language qualifications does not apply to this course.

  • A-level subjects: Grade C or above in a Science or Social Science subject. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken on to full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Specific subjects: Subjects that meet the science/social science requirement for this course: Biology, Applied Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Design and Technology: Food Technology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geographical Science, Geology, Health and Social Care, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Applied Science, Science (Biology route), Science (Chemistry route), Science (Physics route), Science in Society, Sociology, Sport and Physical Education, Sports Studies.

    For further information and advice on acceptable science/social science subjects please email

  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a Science or Social Science subject.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 30 level 3 credits at merit, of which 15 credits must be in a Science or Social Science subject.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum grade of 5 in a higher level science or social science subject

Entry requirements

We are unable to accept applications from international students (overseas fee status)

Please note we do not accept deferred entry applications for this course.

We require evidence of recent assessed academic study within the last three years.

We recognise the individual nature of each application and our typical offer should be viewed as a guide. UWE Bristol welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. We will consider evidence of your relevant personal, professional or educational experience where it demonstrates an ability and potential to succeed on the course. Please include details of any relevant experience in your application. However, you still need to meet the GCSE English and Maths requirements, and should have evidence of recent study in a science/health-related subject area recognised as equivalent academic level by the University.

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for the Health Professions Foundation Year which can qualify you for the full degree.

Recruitment for this course is informed by Health Education England's Values Based Recruitment Framework. The purpose of this framework is to ensure that we recruit students whose individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution.

Read more about entry requirements.

Offer Types

If you have not received your exam results, your offer from us will be conditional and will be subject to you achieving the tariff points/grades required for your course.

If you have already satisfied the academic entry requirements of your chosen course, you are likely to be made an unconditional offer. Please note that we will only make unconditional offers if you have already achieved your qualifications.

To make sure our applicants are academically prepared for when they start their studies here, we do not make unconditional offers to those that are still studying their Level 3 qualifications (such as A levels, BTEC, Access or equivalent). We hope that this will encourage our applicants to value their academic achievements as much as we do.

Additional selection criteria

As well as meeting the academic entry requirements, you should meet the following selection criteria:

Completing the application form

We will be looking for applicants committed to Learning Disabilities Nursing. You should clearly demonstrate this in the 'personal statement' section of the application form by saying why you want to study Learning Disabilities Nursing and sharing any relevant work experience that you have gained to date.

Health assessment/declaration/vaccinations

You must be in good health and up-to-date with your routine immunisations e.g. tetanus, diphtheria, polio and MMR. If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a questionnaire and must be prepared to undergo a medical examination.  You will also be required to confirm your status in respect of a number of infectious diseases and immunisations (tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, varicella, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV antibodies) and be prepared to have all required vaccinations. If your vaccinations are not up-to-date this will affect your ability to continue on your course. If you have any concerns with regards to vaccinations please raise this at the point of application.

Disclosure of Criminal Background

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. If you are offered a place, you must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a Disclosure Application Form. All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

Selection Event

If shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection event where you will undertake a group activity and individual interview. On successful completion of all of these criteria, you will be offered a place.

We encourage applications from all those interested in nursing or midwifery. Nursing and Midwifery are both physically and emotionally demanding professions and UWE Bristol positively implements the principles of the Equality Act 2010.

Students on nursing or midwifery courses are expected to engage in the full range of clinical duties whilst on placement, which constitutes half of the course. As a student on a professional nursing or midwifery course, you must be mindful of the requirement in the NMC code of Practice 2015, which states that registered nurses must maintain the level of health needed to carry out our professional role.

Offers of places are subject to occupational health clearance and you will be expected to disclose pre-existing and historical health conditions. If you register on a professional course, you will have to meet specific requirements related to the need to demonstrate certain knowledge, skills and competencies required by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies. These cannot be compromised. In considering Reasonable Adjustments, these will be taken into account when agreeing what adjustments are possible.

How to apply

Watch our video for top tips on writing a healthcare personal statement and download our health and social care personal statement guide.

UCAS Extra: We welcome applications through UCAS Extra for this course between 25 February and 4 July 2019. We aim to give you a response to your application within 21 days.

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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