Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse - Mental Health) PGDip – 2021 entry

Key information

Start date: October 2021

Full-time: 2 years

Why choose this course

Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, background or other factors. On our PGDip Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse - Mental Health) course, we’ll teach you the skills you need to meet this challenge and help patients improve their health and the quality of their lives. Through our hands-on clinical approach to teaching, we’ll shape you into a modern nurse that can deal with a complex range of needs, while upholding the highest standard of provision for your patients.

By choosing to study with us, you’ll become part of a multidisciplinary team, get access to simulation suites to practise real scenarios, learn directly from healthcare professionals and service users, be supported by clinicians while on placements, and begin your journey towards an enriching career as a Mental Health Nurse. This course is ideal if you're looking to retrain and already have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject with experience working in a healthcare environment.

Our nursing courses are ranked top 5 in the UK by both the Complete University Guide 2021 and The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020. On successful completion of this course, you’ll have the academic requirements needed to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), to work as a Mental Health Nurse.

Five reasons to study nursing

Read more

What you will study

You’ll develop your decision-making and leadership skills, and will gain an interesting perspective into how psychosocial, spiritual, ethical and legal influences have an impact on the way patient care is provided. You’ll be exposed to a variety of mental health clinical practice experiences where you’ll learn interpersonal engagement and assessment strategies to use with service users, and how to effectively provide care when patients are in crisis.

You’ll study topics, including clinical leadership, cognitive therapies, management of physical and mental health challenges, post-traumatic responses, and psychosocial interventions.

By the time you graduate, you’ll be an efficient mental health practitioner, equipped to advocate and meet the needs of patients and their families impacted by mental health difficulties.


Our facilities have recently undergone a multi-million pound investment, giving you access to the latest industry equipment including our Clinical Simulation Centre, consisting of two large wards, an operating theatre, a community flat and an ambulance bay. Here you’ll get to practise real scenarios using lifelike mannequins and actors as patients, assessing mental health and comorbid physical health challenges, fitting cannulas, checking for heart murmurs, monitoring breathing and much more. You’ll also take your Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) here, which assess your clinical skills including therapeutic engagement, holistic assessment and care planning.

As one of our students, you’ll also get exclusive access to our independent clinical learning room. The room is set up each week with the necessary equipment required to practise the techniques you’ll be learning.

Teaching staff

We have a clinical-led focus to our teaching, ensuring everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to an NHS care setting. Our lecturers are all practising healthcare professionals working in the NHS, and many are active researchers, using their findings to help shape the future of the sector. You’ll also be taught by a multidisciplinary team of guest lecturers, made up of local doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers and service users.

Throughout your placements, you will have an educational supervisor, who is a senior clinician. They will guide you through you experience and feed into your evidence portfolio.

Clinical placements

You’ll spend half of your training in clinical placements, allowing you to develop your knowledge, skills and practice within healthcare settings, under the supervision of qualified practitioners.

Previous students have completed their placements in the NHS, with private healthcare organisations and with charities. These have been across several settings, including hospitals, residential homes and out in the wider community.

Your placements may take place across Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, and these are divided into localities. For the duration of your course, you’ll typically be allocated one placement locality. The localities for this course are:

This locality covers East Sussex and West Sussex, including Chichester, Brighton and Hove and Haywards Heath. You’ll be placed with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides care to people of all ages across Sussex who have mental health problems, learning disabilities or an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

The Trust is home to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Chalkhill Hospital, a facility that treats children and young people (aged 12-18) experiencing emotional difficulties, mental health problems and eating disorders. The Hospital operates a day clinic and has a small inpatient ward.

The Trust also provides community services through their crisis resolution and community mental health teams. This care is delivered in people’s homes or at local assessment and treatment centres, community clinics, GP surgeries and community hospitals.

Areas of expertise in the Trust include:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • Alcohol misuse 
  • Anorexia 
  • Anxiety 
  • Autism and Asperger syndrome 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Body dysmorphic disorder 
  • Dementia 
  • Depression 
  • Eating disorder 
  • Enduring or long-term mental health conditions 
  • Hoarding  
  • Learning disabilities 
  • Neuropsychiatric conditions 
  • Neurological conditions 
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder 
  • Offending behaviour 
  • Personality disorder 
  • Phobias 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Postnatal depression 
  • Psychosis 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Self-harm 
  • Stress.

This locality covers the entirety of Surrey and north-east Hampshire, including Aldershot, Farnborough and Guildford. You’ll be placed with the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the leading provider of health and social care services for people of all ages with mental health difficulties and learning disabilities in Surrey and north-east Hampshire. The Trust also provides drug and alcohol services in Surrey and Brighton.

Care is provided for people of all ages in community settings, hospitals and residential homes, with an emphasis on providing local treatment and support close to people's homes.

The Trust operate:

  • Addiction services  
  • Eating disorder services  
  • Forensic services  
  • Prison mental health in-reach 
  • Psychological services.

Professional recognition

PGDip - Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse (mental health).

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

Our course is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), giving you the academic requirements needed to register to work as a Mental Health Nurse once you’ve graduated. 100% of our graduates from this course go on to full-time employment or further study.*

Our alumni can be found working for NHS trusts across the UK, with recent graduates working for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the UK and is home to a diverse range of roles in hospitals, practice surgeries, people’s homes and the wider community. There are also specialist areas that nurses occupy, such as in care homes, schools, mental health agencies, hospices, in the military and in industry. Visit the NHS Careers website for further information.

*Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016-17.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps. 

Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:


Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the Academic Hive. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:2 in a relevant UK honours degree, or a recognised equivalent international qualification.

GSCE English, Science and Maths at grade C or above.

Applicants are also required to have at least 16 weeks of paid work experience in a healthcare role. This must have been obtained within 1 year of starting the course.

All of our offers will be made subject to a health screening and DBS checks. Occupational health services are provided by The Robens Centre on behalf of the University of Surrey.

This is a regulated course that requires declaration of criminal convictions at the application stage, please visit our criminal convictions webpage for more information.

View entry requirements by country

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall with 7.0 in each element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process


Admissions staff will review the information provided within the personal statement and reference to assess applications for evidence of academic ability, insight and motivation. Personal statements should be comprehensive, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and selection day. 


Applicants successful at the shortlisting stage will be required to attend an interview conducted by University academics, assisted by staff from clinical practice areas. Applicants selected to attend one of our interview days will be sent detailed guidance on the interview with their invitation. Interviews will be conducted in the format of multiple mini interviews (MMIs).

Credit transfer

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Start date: October 2021

Full-time - 2 years

UK To be confirmed

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.

Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2021-22 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
  • If you are on a two-year full-time Euromasters or MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme.
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements. 

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check: The University will meet the cost of one DBS check, completed at the start of each new student’s programme or earlier where applicants indicate they have a conviction in their application. The DBS check is a programme requirement: it is mandatory that the DBS process in completed and the student is approved to attend before they can start placement. Applicants offered a place on the programme will be contacted to complete the online process by the deadline specified. The process is not completed until all original documentation has been approved by an appointed DBS approver. This can be completed in advance of Applicants starting their programme using main branches of the Post Office, where there will be a £6 administration fee.

How to apply

You can apply for this programme through UCAS, with the programme code 5Y91. Apply via UCAS.

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy* provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21.  Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Kate Granger Building

Our health sciences, nursing and midwifery courses are taught at the Kate Granger Building (30 Priestley Road), on the Surrey Research Park.

Additional information

Some modules on this course will be taught on Stag Hill campus.

University of Surrey Admissions
Contact Admissions Team

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH