Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (Mental Health) BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (19 months)

Chelmsford, Cambridge

May, October


If you’ve successfully completed a foundation degree in nursing or a related subject and you are working in a Mental Health setting, complete your learning with a full honours degree to become a Registered Mental Health Nurse with a full honours degree. Study while you work, with no tuition fees.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description
One of the top 10 UK universities for nursing
Nursing Times
31 August 2016


All our nursing courses are required to be approved by the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), you’ll be eligible to apply for registration with them when you graduate. We work with employers to make sure you gain the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through your placements.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Therapeutic engagement in mental health nursing
    We’ll develop you as a therapeutic practitioner, championing the acquisition of skills and knowledge around therapeutic engagement and evidence based interventions within mental health care across the life course. You’ll engage with service users and their carers in care planning and contemporary therapeutic interventions. You’ll learn that interventions need to be timely, appropriate and responsive to maximise the benefits and promote on-going recovery. You’ll explore how practice-based evidence can both challenge and assist clinical decision making. You’ll learn about role of the nurse in supporting and maintaining growth and change in people recovering from a range of mental health symptoms and conditions. We’ll support you to develop advanced skills in person–centred care You’ll consider therapeutic strategies/interventions and psychoeducation for people living with mental health problems in relation to complex conditions such as, dementia, long term mental ill health, child and adolescent mental health issues, perinatal mental health and people with Learning Disability and Mental Health services. We’ll enhance your competence in planning recovery focused care.
  • Developing Mental Health Nursing Practice 2
    In this practice module you’ll consolidate the learning that took place in the theory module, as well as develop your communication and physical skills from previous placements. Practice learning will be in a mental health setting where you’ll be working alongside a person experiencing mental health distress and take a whole person approach. Mental health service users also experience physical illness and you’ll be expected to care for patients with these needs. Managing seizures, tracheostomy care, IV fluid management, venepuncture and cannulation, neuro-observations, cardiac monitoring and surgical care are amongst some of the skills that you’ll practise in the skills lab. You’ll be supported to practise with increased confidence as you progress through your placement and will have the opportunity to work alongside health care teams and Practice Supervisors who will support you in developing new knowledge and skills. You’ll be supported by Practice Supervisors and assessment will be undertaken by a Practice Assessor who will maintain contact with an Academic Assessor (an academic staff member from ARU). Confirmation will be required that you have actively participated in care (with minimal guidance) and are performing with increasing confidence and competence.
  • Nurses as Future Leaders
    We’ll encourage you to develop and realise your role as an accountable and responsible practitioner, embracing the role of leading and managing the planning and organisation of high-quality, multi-disciplinary care. Develop your skills of self-awareness, self-compassion, emotional intelligence, resilience, team building, motivating and coaching others as you learn to lead teams. These mechanisms will ensure that you begin to develop a sense of professional identity and values. You’ll consider clinical decision making and the tools to support this, techniques to resolve conflicts and manage complaints. You’ll explore root cause analysis to support practice- based decisions and quality assurance mechanisms such as, clinical governance, standard setting, and the use of audits. Supporting patient safety, you’ll learn the importance of whistleblowing, and highlighting and responding to poor and sub-standard practice. You’ll be supported in interview preparation technique and developing a professional profile and Curriculum Vitae, in preparation for applying for your first job as a qualified nurse.
  • Leading and Co-ordinating Care with Confidence
    We’ll support your transition to an autonomous practitioner in readiness for joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register. You’ll practise with increased confidence and competence as you progress through your placement and will continue to have the opportunity to work alongside health care teams and practice supervisors. You’ll continue to practise and develop your communication and relationship skills, and a range of physical skills. You’ll enhance your skills around accountability, professionalism, assessment and care planning, providing and evaluating care, leading and managing nursing care, working in teams and improving safety and quality of care. By the end of your final placement, you’ll supervise and teach a junior learner/colleague in practice and organise and manage the care for a group/caseload of people with complex care needs. You’ll also complete a summative Medicines Management Assessment.
  • Undergraduate Major Project: Becoming an Independent Practitioner
    You’ll be supported to transition from student nurse to a qualified practitioner, ready to face the challenges in the modern health care setting. This involves adjusting to a new and challenging role, accepting additional and different responsibilities and further developing the complex skills required of a registered nurse. To improve the patient experience is one of the most rewarding aspects of a nurse’s role and requires insight, leadership, and understanding of evidence, resources, teamwork and planning. You’ll have the opportunity to review a wide range of literature to seek evidence to improve the patient experience and propose a plan for an innovative service improvement. Your service improvement plan will evidence consideration for any physical, human and financial constraints associated with the development that you have explored. Through this you’ll demonstrate intellectual flexibility and creative capability, in readiness for employment in the health care environment.
  • Medicines Calculations for Safe Practice 3
    Patient safety is at the heart of nursing and it is a requirement of the professional regulator (the Nursing and Midwifery Council) that by the point of entry to register, nurses must demonstrate competency in numeracy skills in the safe administration of drugs (NMC, 2018). This includes being competent in basic medicines calculations relating to: tablets and capsules, liquid medicines, injections, and IV infusions. Safe Medicate is an online learning and assessment package focusing on medicines calculations. A professional requirement of the course is that you become proficient in medicine calculations. You’ll undertake this online medicine calculations module which offers the opportunity for unlimited practice related to a variety of medicine calculations. You’ll be required to undertake a minimum of six formative assessments prior to the summative assessment. When you take your exam in your third year, you’ll be required to get a pass mark of 100%.


To make sure you’re developing the skills and knowledge needed for professional practice, we use a range of assessment methods. These include essays, presentations, exams, case studies, project work and assessment of practice competencies in the clinical setting. We know feedback is essential for your progress and our lecturers take pride in giving you clear guidance on how to improve your expertise.

You will also be required to undertake an End Point Assessment (EPA) to complete your apprenticeship. This comprises two professional discussions, each to test your knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) against specific domains taken from the NMC Platform for registered nurses. These are:

  1. Being an accountable professional
  2. Promoting health and preventing ill-health
  3. Assessing needs and planning care
  4. Providing and evaluating care
  5. Leading and managing nursing care and working in teams
  6. Improving safety and quality of care
  7. Coordinating care

Successfully passing the EPA indicates that you have met the qualification requirements to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Mental Health Nurse.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Degree apprenticeships are funded by your employer and the Government


Entry requirements

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Essential requirements:

  • Employment in a suitable healthcare environment on a permanent contract of at least 30 hours per week (ideally 37.5 hours per week)
  • Foundation Degree in Nursing, Assistant Practitioner (Nursing) or Health and Social Care, or equivalent Level 5 qualification, from which up to 180 credits can be applied as Accredited Prior Learning (APL)*
  • Level 2 separately certificated qualifications in Maths and English, eg GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). Functional Skills or Key Skills**

* You will be expected to demonstrate evidence of currency of knowledge and development if your Foundation Degree was completed more than three years previously.

** Applicants currently working towards a Level 2 qualification in either English or Maths may apply on the basis that they have gained the qualification prior to the start of the course.  Any pending exam dates must be indicated on the application form.

All successful applicants must pass an interview where you will be expected to demonstrate appropriate values for health care and insight into your chosen field of nursing.

All applicants will be required to complete an APCL / APEL portfolio to ensure mapping to the Degree top-up to professional requirements and ARU’s modules. If you are not transferring directly from a Foundation Degree with ARU, you will also be required to complete a Safe Medicate exam.

Registered Nursing Associates will be asked to complete additional field-specific theory to meet the entry requirements of this Degree Apprenticeship which may involve the study of a ‘bridging module’. This will extend the Degree Apprenticeship and therefore increase the funding drawn.

If you are intending to top-up your Higher Apprenticeship qualification, you will not eligible to start the Degree Apprenticeship course unless the ESFA has received confirmation that you have successfully completed your EPA for the preceding Apprenticeship.

You must supply these before you can be registered on the course:

  • An Enhanced DBS for the Adult and Child Workforce, signed up to the online update service (ARU will fund new applications if you cannot provide this)
  • Occupational Health clearance from your employer
  • Line Manager confirmation of support

Studying during COVID-19

Due to the national lockdown all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the majority of our apprenticeship courses are being delivered online only using our established online learning systems. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however the University remains committed to delivering teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment for those that are on campus.

National lockdown (from 5 January 2021)

View the impact of the current restrictions.

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