Nursing (Top-Up) BSc (Hons)

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If you are applying for the January 2020 intake, click apply now.

Course starts: 13 January 2020Apply now

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'Top-up' a registered nurse qualification to a full honours degree in one year of study. Underline your advanced clinical expertise and professionalism. Enhance skills that allow you to meet a wider range of challenges.

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This course is designed to top-up a registered nursing qualification. 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.

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.

Nursing Student

Why us?

  • Winner of Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Post-registration) at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2018
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • ‘Top-up’ is a registered nursing qualification to a full honours degree in one year of study
  • Our Nursing courses were ranked 1st overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Nursing courses were ranked 3rd in the UK for Assessment and Feedback, 1st in the UK for Retention and Progression, and 1st in the UK for Employability in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey

Course structure

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.

Modules on this course include:

Level 5 (Bridging modules):

  • Research Methods (20 credits)
  • Theory and Practice in Healthcare (20 credits)

Level 6:

  • 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)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

  • We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.
    Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

    • Embase: A complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
    • PsycARTICLES: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 2,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Covers a broad range of science areas
    Library Services - sciences
  • This course is based in the Sciences Complex in our City Campus, which has benefited from multi-million pound investment in modern facilities.

    IT facilities 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.

    The Sciences Complex
  • Map and directions


The University of Sunderland offers modern and well-equipped facilities at our Sciences Complex.

Entry requirements

You will be required to be a registered nurse with a recognised regulatory nursing organisation and hold a Higher Education Diploma Level Nursing qualification (NQF Level 5). 

We accept students who have studied a certified nursing course leading to the award of Registered Nurse, and for international Registered Nurses who also hold a Licence to Practice.

The course takes into account both accredited and experiential learning and therefore if you have undertaken either of these courses, you would have the opportunity to apply for accreditation of prior achievement: 120 credits at Level 4 plus 80 credits at Level 5. You would be required to enter the course at Level 5 and would undertake a ‘bridging’ course, which would equip you with a range of transferable skills. The bridging course enables you to obtain the necessary further 40 credits at Level 5 to allow progression to Level 6.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

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

Fees and finance

2019/20 fees:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU and studying full-time
  • £11,500 if you are from outside the EU and studying full-time
  • £6,935 per 120 credits for part-time study

2020/21 fees:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU and studying full-time
  • £12,000 if you are from outside the EU and studying full-time
  • £6,935 per 120 credits for part-time study

Please note that part-time study is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


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).

Meet the students

  • Studying Nursing at the University of Sunderland has been the best choice I have ever made.
    Lu Ai Yen, MSc Nursing case study

    Lu Ai Yen

Meet the team

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