BSc Learning Disabilities Nursing


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“My main reason for choosing to come to UEA was the combination of a university with a high academic reputation, a brilliant campus environment and a course that will help me make a real difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities.”

In their words

Matthew Webb, Learning Disabilities Nursing graduate


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Learning Disabilities nursing is a fantastic career choice if you are committed, compassionate and keen to support and work in partnership with individuals of all ages, from children and young people, to the elderly. It’s a wonderfully rewarding profession, focused on helping people with Learning Disabilities maximise their potential, maintain their health and wellbeing, and – crucially – promote an increase their life expectancy. And through your theory and practice experience you’ll learn about the vital role a Learning Disabilities nurse plays in addressing issues such as social injustice and dealing with a complexity of health needs.

Study for a Learning Disabilities Nursing degree at UEA and you’ll benefit from service user contact from the very outset, plus a personal mentor to guide you throughout. Just two of the reasons we’re ranked fifth in the UK for nursing (The Complete University Guide 2019).


With the NHS Constitution at its core, our Learning Disabilities Nursing degree provides rigorous training and fantastic placement opportunities – and it’s fully-approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

As a qualified Learning Disabilities nurse, you’ll provide advice and support to help people navigate the many physical, mental and social challenges that they and their carers face. You’ll also work to ensure that people with Learning Disabilities experience equal and equitable access to services in order to meet their needs.

Our three-year BSc Learning Disabilities Nursing combines 50/50 theory and practice to equip you with the specific skills and experience you’ll need to take on both essential nursing practice and the more specialist areas intrinsic to Learning Disabilities nursing. As with our other nursing courses, you’ll learn alongside students from other areas of healthcare. And you’ll be taught about the importance of social inclusion and empowerment – key factors in the life of anyone with a Learning Disabilities.

Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to play a pivotal role within a multi-professional team. You’ll also provide a valuable and important contribution to enhancing the lives of people with a Learning Disabilities, as well as their carers.

Highlights of Learning Disabilities Nursing at UEA

  • Wide range of placements including community settings, hospitals and specialist care units
  • Regular group work with other health and medicine students
  • Opportunity to link theory and practice with enquiry-based learning
  • 50% theory, 50% practice – the best way to prepare for your career
  • Award-winning facilities, including our skills laboratories
  • Elective overseas placements
  • A highly supportive culture

Course Structure

Our Learning Disabilities Nursing degree features two academic modules and clinical placements in each of its three years. Our learning programme combines small group teaching, lectures and self-directed study, typically scheduled between 9am and 7pm. Clinical practice placements, however, are designed to reflect the typical working patterns of a qualified nurse, and will include a minimum of 75 hours on night duty.


You’ll have access to placements in a wide variety of settings, using and developing your skills and knowledge in a clinical environment under professional supervision. You’ll work closely with adult patients, clients and their families. This will give you the confidence you’ll need to launch your career as Learning Disabilities nurse after graduation. Due to the nature of healthcare environments, you’ll also experience 24hr and seven-days-a-week work cycles, which can mean working nights and weekends.

By the end of your course you will have completed the number of assessed placement hours required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for professional registration.

Teaching and Learning

Our degree programme employs a range of learning methods, designed to support your ability to link nursing theory to nursing practice. Teaching will include large group lectures and smaller group-based activities, such as seminars, tutorials and workshops, to encourage peer-to-peer learning.

We’ll provide you with access to educational resources including presentations, workbooks and posters, as well as digital platforms such as virtual classrooms and online learning resources. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn directly from people who have experienced healthcare services.

One of our key aims is to promote your ability to learn autonomously and in partnership with others, including the wider healthcare team.

Independent study

We’ll encourage you to read – and engage with – a wide range of sources to inform your development. You’ll have access to resources to support your learning and to enable you to develop an effective approach to self-directed study.


You’ll be assessed using a range of methods, which have been carefully chosen to reflect your ability to apply the relevant theory to practice.

With guidance, you’ll build a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your progression and reflect both your both theoretical and clinical skills. You’ll also need to maintain a portfolio throughout the course, to demonstrate your learning and competency in clinical skills.

Other assessment strategies include written assignments, unseen examinations, case studies, practical examinations and group presentations, plus a literature review, which should illustrate your deeper understanding of the relationship between the theory and practice of nursing.

While on clinical placement, you’ll complete a nursing attributes assessment and you’ll write up your reflections of the placement experience.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year

Towards the end of your second year you’ll have the chance to undertake a three-week elective placement of your choosing, either in the UK or overseas. You’ll spend your time observing healthcare practice, making it a fantastic opportunity to purse a particular interest that might not normally be covered within your course.

Elective placements are fully self-funded, but we can put you in touch with organisations that will help you plan your experience.

After the course

As a UEA Learning Disabilities nurse, you’ll be in huge demand with ever-expanding career options. Through your practice placements you’ll gain the practice time needed to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Which means that, as soon as you graduate, you’ll be ready to get to work making a real difference to people’s lives, working in challenging yet rewarding environments, such as:

  • Community environments
  • Residential settings
  • In-patient settings
  • Charities
  • Schools

Career destinations

  • UK NHS Health care providers
  • Private organisations
  • Non-statutory organisations
  • International nursing opportunities
  • Research Institutes
  • Higher Education Institutes

Course related costs

You can find information regarding additional costs associated here

Teaching and Assessment

You will experience different assessment methods, which have been carefully considered to reflect the importance of being able to apply the relevant evidence base to practice. You will maintain a portfolio of evidence and with guidance and support, you will be expected to build a sound evidence base demonstrating progression, reflecting on your learning both theoretical and clinical skills. Other assessment strategies are utilised, such as written assignments, unseen examinations, case studies, practical examinations, group presentations and a dissertation of 10,000 words in order to illustrate deeper understanding of the relationship between the theory and practice of nursing.

Whilst in clinical placement you will complete various learning outcomes, a nursing attributes assessment as well as writing reflections based on your placement experience. You will also maintain a Skills Development Profile throughout the course to demonstrate your learning and competency in clinical skills.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module will allow you to explore the health needs of a diverse population. Underpinning theory will take account of individual physical, psychological, social and spiritual health needs. Recognition will be given to the importance of working with families, carers, and support networks to address people's needs. Key themes within this module will include communication, common physical and mental health problems, children and young people, dealing with emergency situations. This module will provide you with the underpinning knowledge related to the nurse's role in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. If you are studying the Adult Nursing pathway you will consider the philosophy and policy underpinning contemporary adult services. You will learn the underpinning knowledge and skills relating to building relationships with people in physical and/or mental distress in a range of settings. You will explore the power imbalances between professionals and people experiencing physical and mental health problems. Knowledge will be developed to enable the recognition of the early signs of illness in individuals of all ages, accurate patient assessment and an understanding of the prompt and appropriate management of patients who are either acutely ill or have the potential to become so. Through teaching and learning activities you will be required to demonstrate a willingness to actively consider the significance of and factors affecting their own physical and mental wellbeing and the importance of this for the therapeutic use of self. There will be an emphasis on the value and need for clinical supervision in adult practice. For those following the Children's nursing pathway, you will explore health policy and legislation related to the health of children and young people. You will gain the knowledge and skills that will enable you to communicate effectively with children, young people and their families. You will be introduced to family centred care and the importance of this in the nursing of sick children. You will explore the effects of hospitalisation on children, young people and families and will begin to understand the value of therapeutic play. If you are studying the Learning Disability Nurse pathway, you will explore the philosophy, health and social policy underpinning the provision of services to individuals with learning disabilities. You will develop the knowledge and skills that will enable you to communicate effectively with individuals who have a learning disability, their families and carers. Through teaching and learning activities you will demonstrate the importance of promoting the autonomy, rights and choices of individuals with learning disabilities. For those following a mental health nursing pathway, you will explore the philosophy and policy underpinning contemporary mental health services. You will gain the knowledge and skills relating to building relationships with people in mental distress in a range of settings. The module will include exploration of the power imbalances between professionals and people experiencing mental health problems. Knowledge will be developed in relation to factors which can lead to deterioration of mental health including trauma and abuse. Through teaching and learning activities you will be required to demonstrate a willingness to actively consider the significance of and factors affecting your own mental wellbeing and the importance of this for the therapeutic use of self. There will be an emphasis on the value and need for clinical supervision in mental health practice. Depending on the pathway you are studying you will be allocated to a practice learning experience. You will return to School during the placement for some one-day simulated practice to enhance skills development. In the first eight weeks blended and shared learning approaches support you to meet the module outcomes. During week 9 you will engage in simulated practice to further prepare, prior to the week 11 practice experience. You will be supported in further developing your self-awareness, using support systems to recognise, manage and deal with your own emotions.




This module introduces you to the four fields of nursing. With an emphasis on the acquisition of essential nursing skills, you will undertake mandatory training in preparation for your first clinical placement and explore nursing care from both biological and psychological perspectives. Heavily focused on developing person-centric care using values such as communication, dignity, care and compassion, this module has the core attributes of nursing at its heart. It will introduce you to the values and evidence base that underpin contemporary nursing practice, encapsulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code (2015). With a focus on the development of self-awareness for effective nursing practice, you will begin to develop and harness skills of lifelong learning such as reflection. You will explore key concepts including therapeutic relationships, professional boundaries, promoting health, clinical governance, interprofessional learning and systematic approaches to nursing.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


You will explore and apply the concept of empowerment and health promotion in nursing practice. There will be exploration of the impact of illness and disability on people's lives across the life span. The assessment of nursing needs and planning of interventions continues to be a key theme. The skills and knowledge related to identifying changes in health status, health crises and coping strategies form a key part of learning. An emphasis on therapeutic relationships continues in the context of empowering relationships. Inter-professional learning (IPL2) commences in this module. You will learn the importance of the nurse's role in empowerment and health promotion with individuals who have a learning disability. You will develop the knowledge and skills required to make all information accessible to and understandable by individuals with a learning disability. There will be an emphasis on working in partnership with individuals, their families and carers with a focus on a person-centred approach.




This module explores the unique needs across the lifespan of individuals living with a long-term condition. Using a strengths based approach you will explore the adjustment needs of people, including families and carers, living with long term conditions to enable them to function to their full potential. Key concepts and content will include communication, social inclusion, reasonable adjustments, legislation, capacity, pharmacology, reflexivity, health and social policy, and end of life care. The learning objectives of this module are to: #Explore the holistic needs and expectations of individuals living with a long term condition; #Promote critical thinking and problem solving, utilising a systematic approach; #Investigate and critique the contemporary evidence base that underpins nursing practice; #Present and critically discuss evidence that is applied to/ in practice, in both the class and practice environments.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module will facilitate your increasing autonomy with regard to theory and practice learning whilst supporting your transition to degree level studies. Theory and practice experience focuses on developing your ability to prioritise the requirements of people with complex needs. Building on previous skills a focus will be on effective communication in diverse and challenging situations. Themes will include influencing others, managerial strategies and the effectiveness of the interprofessional team with the option to attend Inter-professional Learning conferences. You will continue to work in both multi-field and field specific study groups. You will learn primarily in field specific groups and your placements will all be field specific. The theory and practice experiences will focus on developing your ability to prioritize and manage the requirements of people with complex needs. Building on previous knowledge and skills this semester will have a strong field-specific focus and the learning issues will be increasingly challenging. During the final year of the programme, you will also be expected to be an increasingly independent learner use self-directed study time to enhance your learning in relation to the module outcomes. Your preparation for writing your literature review will be supported by taking part in seminars and a reading week. Building on previous learning and progression within this module Learning Disabilities students will acquire the knowledge and skills to enable them to respond therapeutically to individuals with a learning disability who have complex behaviour. This will include working with people with a dual diagnosis and others in receipt of forensic services. Content will include that relating to working with people in community and forensic settings that may display behaviour that challenges and the current legal and professional guidelines as well as the evidence base supporting alternative approaches.




This module is about#. (100 words maximum) #students exploring their role in relation to the enhancement of nursing practice and service delivery. The emphasis will be on the knowledge and skills of a resilient nurse. Key themes will include change management, service improvement, conflict management and decision making in complex situations. Students will #consolidate and review the knowledge and skills gained throughout the programme in relation to their field of practice #be expected to contribute to the management of practice learning environment #use the knowledge gained throughout the programme to act as a resource regarding best practice to members of the wider interprofessional team. The learning objectives of this module are to consolidate and review the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the programme in relation to their field of practice. Contemporary legislation and policy is considered in the light of their existing knowledge and experience, with an emphasis on future autonomous practice. Self-management in complex and challenging situations is a key theme. They are expected to contribute to the management of their practice learning environment and use the knowledge they have gained throughout the programme to act as a resource regarding best practice for all members of the interprofessional team. During this final module of the programme, the students are expected to be an independent learner, using self-directed study time to enhance their learning in relation to the module outcomes. Their preparation for future practice will be further supported by participation in EBL and devising a Service Improvement Project.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

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Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB
  • International Baccalaureate 31 points
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC
  • Irish Leaving Certificate BBBBBB or 2 subjects at H2 and 4 subjects at H3
  • Access Course Pass with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3 in a Health, Care or Science subject
  • BTEC DDM in a Health, Care or Science subject
  • European Baccalaureate 70%

Entry Requirement


We look for applicants to have a clear understanding of the profession ideally with relevant voluntary or paid work in health care, an interest in people, a strong academic attainment and a broad academic base.

You are required to have 5 GCSEs at a minimum of grade 4 or grade C including English Language/Literature and Mathematics.

We are able to consider the following qualifications instead of GCSE Mathematics or English Language for this course:

- Functional Skills Level 2 English*

- Functional Skills Level 2 Mathematics

- Essential Skills Wales L2 Communication*

- Essential Skills Wales L2 Application of Number

- Essential Skills Northern Ireland L2 Communication*

- Essential Skills Northern Ireland L2 Application of Number

*We are not able to accept these qualifications for Tier 4 Student Visa purposes.

Please note that we are not able to accept Adult Numeracy and Literacy, Key Skills, City & Guilds or Access to HE credits in lieu of GCSEs or Functional Skills Level 2.

General Studies, Critical Thinking, Public Services and AS-levels are not considered.

Applications are encouraged from those with non-traditional qualifications. Applicants with the following qualifications are required to demonstrate GCSEs at grade 4 or grade C in English Language/Literature and Mathematics, or the Functional Skills/Essential Skills qualifications listed above in English and Mathematics.

Access to Higher Education Diploma in a Health, Care or Science subject Pass with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3
Bachelor Degree (hons) 2.2
CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education (Early Years Educator) B
CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development, or Children and Young People's Workforce, or Health and Social Care (including Technical Level) B
Certificate of Higher Education 55%
City & Guilds Advanced Extended Diploma in Health and Care (Health or Care pathway) Distinction
Diploma of Higher Education 55%
Foundation Degree in a Health, Care or Science subject 60%
Foundation Year in a Health, Care or Science subject 70%
Open University (60 credits) in a Health, Care or Science subject 55%


We do not consider Apprenticeships, NVQs (any level) or Work-based Level 3 Diplomas (previously NVQs) as meeting the minimum academic entry requirements, although these can be used as evidence of recent study. We will also not consider an applicant who has an academic fail from a health based degree programme, including where an exit award has been achieved.

Due to competition for places on this course, meeting (or being predicted to meet) the minimum academic entry requirements is not a guarantee of selection for interview.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

IELTS: 7.0 overall (minimum 7.0 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Review our English language equivalences here.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

Pre-sessional English at INTO UEA

English for University Study at INTO UEA


Of the applicants who pass the initial screening stage, the strongest will be invited to interview.

The interview lasts approximately 40 minutes and follows a multiple mini interview format across four stations. When applicants enter the interview room, they will find a series of four 'stations' to circulate through, spending approximately 7 minutes at each. Interviews explore a range of issues, including the applicant's suitability for the profession and whether the applicant holds the NHS values as reflected in the NHS constitution. Please note that we do not disclose interview questions.

Further information regarding the interview day can be found here.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year. We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry and to contact directly to discuss this further.

Special Entry Requirements

We prefer applicants to demonstrate evidence of recent formal academic study within 5 years of the start of the course.  This is to ensure they are equipped to succeed on this academically rigorous course. 

If you have not studied for an academic qualification within the last 5 years, and particularly where your previous study does meet our entry requirements, do contact our Admissions office ( 

We want to hear from you to assess whether your work, life or previous educational studies are suitable evidence for demonstrating your motivation, potential, knowledge and ability to study the course.  We want you to succeed and an application and offer will only be considered where we believe that an applicant has the potential to complete the course with a good final degree classification. The Admissions Office can also give you advice on further study, if required, that can help you make a future application to the course.

If a qualification is pending, results will need to be officially verified by the UCAS deadline of 31st August for September starters. Successful applicants will be subject to a satisfactory occupational health check, an enhanced  Disclosure check (formerly CRB), two satisfactory references and eligibility for NHS funding.



Alternative Qualifications



Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

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EU Students

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Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Service prior to applying please do contact us:

Undergraduate Admissions Service
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Please click here to register your details via our Online Enquiry Form.

International candidates are also actively encouraged to access the University's International section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515