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Nursing (Top-Up) BSc (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course is designed to top-up a registered nurse qualification (e.g. RGN, RMN, RN, RNMH, RSCN). On successful completion, you will have an honours degree that underlines your advanced clinical expertise and professionalism.

During your time at the University, you’ll be taught by an enthusiastic team of skilled professionals. All members of the team have at least one specialist area of both clinical and teaching expertise. They are also actively involved in healthcare research and consultancy work.

All learning is underpinned by evidence-based practice that promotes the development of high-quality health care provision. There is a strong emphasis on relating nursing theory to clinical practice.

Degree qualifications are becoming increasingly vital for moving up to senior positions and our graduates have a strong record of career progression. The course is carefully structured to enhance skills that allow you to meet a wider range of challenges. We work hard to ensure you have all the support that you need to build your confidence and professionalism.

If you are an international student, please be aware that successful completion of this Nursing Top-Up course will not make you eligible to work as a nurse in the UK. In order for you to work as a nurse in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC). 

Watch staff and students talk about Nursing at the University of Sunderland:

Course content

Modules on this course include:

  • Research Methods (20 Credits)
  • Theory and Practice in Healthcare (20 Credits)
  • Evidence-Based Practice (20 Credits)
  • Management of Care (20 Credits)
  • Preparation for Mentorship (20 Credits)
  • Law and Ethics in Healthcare (20 Credits)
  • Dissertation (40 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use various methods of teaching including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, independent learning and group work.

Each module involves an element of assessment using methods designed (where appropriate) to support professional development in clinical practice.

To find out more about how modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

This course is based in the Sciences Complex in our City Campus, which has benefited from investments totalling many millions of pounds. Teaching takes place in multi-media classrooms with state-of-the-art resources for learning.

IT facilities at the University are excellent with hundreds of workstations available as well as wireless internet access. If you have any computer problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

University Library Services

The University boasts a collection of more than 430,000 books with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Each year the University invests around £1 million in new resources.

Learning environment

Sunderland offers a vibrant learning environment with an international dimension thanks to the presence of students from around the world. At the same time, the University is fully plugged into relevant industry organisations, with strong links and an exchange of ideas and people.


Dale Building

Sciences Complex, City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

International students are required to be a registered nurse with a recognised regulatory nursing organisation in their country of origin and hold a HE Diploma Level Nursing qualification (Level 5). 

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

2016/17 entry

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £8,750 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,500 if you are an International student

2017/18 entry

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Given the increasing emphasis on degree level qualifications for nurses, this course is a valuable stepping stone towards more senior roles and greater responsibility. Recent graduates from this course have gone on to develop their nursing careers both within the UK and in other countries.

This Nursing course gives you more flexibility to move between different types of nursing jobs. Interests can and do change over time. This qualification helps ensure that you are always in demand and can work where you like. 

Like all our courses, this course has a strong emphasis on real-world learning that equips you to deliver and achieve more in the workplace. The course content is backed up by additional extracurricular opportunities that further contribute to broad lifelong learning.

International applicants 

If you are an international student, please be aware that successful completion of this Nursing Top-Up course will not make you eligible to work as a nurse in the UK.

In order for you to work as a nurse in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC). 

Student jobs, volunteering and paid projects (earn while you learn) 

Our Careers & Employability Service (CES) advertises a variety of opportunities to earn money while you study. 

Volunteering positions in local organisations, charities and community groups can help you to help other people while learning about your strengths and what you can offer. Past opportunities have included working with children and the elderly, conservation work and sporting activities. 

CES also advertises details of paid part-time and vacation work in areas from call centre and retail work through to telesales and marketing and promotion and more. 

Opportunities to work with companies on flexible, paid, part-time projects in areas such as IT, design, law, media, HR and event management, to name a few, are available too. These projects are a great chance to gain valuable work experience.


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience:

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

For full details, please see our Employability page.


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, workshops, seminars and case studies. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance. 

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet him/her in agreed timetabled sessions throughout the year, both individually and within a group. 

Personal Tutors are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course and extra-curricular activities. They can also point you towards more specialist support, such as student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers and Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications. 

Extra-curricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extra-curricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"We ensure graduates leave with the core skills and expertise that will make them highly employable."

Kathryn King

Kathryn King - Academic

Programme Leader, Nursing (Top-Up) BSc and Nursing MSc

"We ensure our graduates leave with the core skills and expertise that will make them highly employable. As a result many of our graduates go on to gain management positions in a variety of health settings.

"Feedback from our students is very positive and we actively listen to suggestions on how to modify what we offer. Our success is reflected in the amount of word-of-mouth recommendations we get from students.

"Many of our students are from overseas, thanks to our relationships with countries such as India, China, Nigeria, Singapore and Malaysia, and to reflect this we have an excellent international support network in place.

"Sunderland is unique in the sense that there is a large degree of support built into each programme and a range of options and opportunities to choose from.

"This ensures that all our students successfully achieve their potential and leave with the expertise and confidence they need to achieve and fulfil their individual aspirations."

"Wonderful lecturers have been tremendously supportive to me throughout my course at Sunderland."

Lu Ai Yen

Lu Ai Yen - Student

BSc (Hons) Nursing (Top-Up)

"Nursing has always been my passion and studying Nursing at the University of Sunderland has been the most brilliant choice I have ever made.

"I come from a small town in Malaysia and have always dreamed of coming to a prestigious overseas university to further my studies.

"I cannot believe that I am right now living in my own dreams, studying my dream course in one of the top Universities in the UK.

"I have been blessed with wonderful lecturers who have been tremendously supportive to me throughout the course.

"Nursing is a challenging course, but with the guidance of my lecturers, helpful staff and the rich resources provided, not only did I overcome the barriers, my enthusiasm towards the course increases day by day. For this reason I chose to continue my studies to Masters level.

"I am enjoying this course so much that I might even consider staying at the University of Sunderland and continuing to study for a PhD!"

Apply for this course

This course has two start dates: January and September. The application process is different depending on when you want to start the course. 

Applying for the September start 

To apply for the course that starts on 15th September, you need to apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Order a prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

Applying for the January start 

To apply for this course, download the Course application form (.pdf). Information on how to complete the form and where to send it can be found on the form.

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Programme Leader for specific questions about the course:

Kathryn King
Tel: 0191 515 3050

Contact the Student Helpline for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name Nursing (Top-Up)
Classification BSc (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 23 January 2017
18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £See entry requirements page
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

Please see Entry requirements page

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