Bachelor of Nursing (Hons)(Learning Disabilities)

Do you want to support the wellbeing and social inclusion of people with learning disabilities? Learning disability nurses care for people of all ages with a learning disability and work in partnership with individuals, supporters and family carers to provide specialist healthcare. They promote their autonomy, rights, choices and their social inclusion in the health care system.

This three-year Learning Disability Nursing degree combines theory and practice in an innovative way, to focus on the care of people with learning disabilities. Successful completion of this nursing degree will allow you entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register as a qualified nurse.

Study Mode 2017 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 3 Years September Pontypridd
Study Mode 2018 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 3 Years September Pontypridd

You’ll develop key skills and knowledge in communication, sensitive human interaction, anti-oppressive practice, positive behavioural support, health assessment and promotion, mental health, safeguarding, advocacy, teaching, professional issues, counselling and management.

Your studies will be based in our state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Centre. Role-play scenarios will prepare you for clinical practice and allow you to develop a wide range of practical skills that will prepare you for life as a learning disability nurse.

You will study a mixture of Generic (Adult, Mental Health and Child) and Learning Disability Nursing modules over three years. This means you will have the skills to provide a basic level of care to all groups and specialist care for learning disability groups.

USW Learning Disabilities Nursing students can also undertake the BTEC Professional Diploma in Positive Behavioural Support (PBS), which is fully funded by WEDS. PBS is strongly advocated in guidelines for supporting people with behaviour that challenges, so this is a valuable qualification to have, in addition to your professional qualification as an RNLD and your BN (Hons) degree.


Year One

  • Citizenship and Inclusion
  • Bio-psychosocial Aspects of Health and Well-being
  • Fundamentals of Care and Professional Practice
  • Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

Year Two

  • Developing Nursing Skills
  • Learning Disability: Health Across the Lifespan
  • Assessing and Meeting Needs in Partnership

Year Three

  • Leadership, Management and Professionalism in Practice
  • Enabling Practices and Therapeutic Relationships
  • Meeting the Complex Needs of People with Learning Disabilities


The Learning Disabilities Nursing degree lasts a minimum of 42 weeks. Supervised practice placements are an integral part of the programme.

The course is split up into 50% theory and 50% practice. Each academic year is split into three terms. In term one you will study in a 10-week block in University (theory) followed by an 8-week block in clinical practice. In term two through to term eight you will study 6-weeks theory in University followed by 6-week block in clinical practice. In term nine you will spend 12 weeks in clinical practice. The clinical placements are based in our local health boards: Cwm Taf University Health Board; Aneurin Bevan University Health Board; Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board; Hwyel Dda University Health Board and Powys Teaching Health Board.

You will have practice opportunities across a wide range of healthcare settings, developing key skills that will enhance your employability. Please note that holidays are fixed and non negotiable for the duration of the nursing course.


You will be assessed using various methods. Whilst on placement you will be assigned a mentor who will assess your achievements of the Practice Learning Outcomes.

The theoretical component, will involve written assignments, case studies, examinations, role play, development of health promotion and communication tools, computer based medication dosage calculations and a clinically based reflective assignment. In your final year you will undertake a dissertation. The theoretical and placement components each account for 50% each of your overall marks.

Institution Code


The University of South Wales is an NMC Approved Education Institution (AEI).


As part of your studies you will use our state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Centre facilities.


The academic teaching team includes Professor Ruth Northway, the first professor of learning disability nursing in the world, Rachel Morgan and Victoria Jones who leads USW’s innovative TRAC initiative.

Entry criteria below detail typical offers. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Additional requirments include

Two satisfactory references, a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check (additional cost applies, no offences are considered spent) and a satisfactory medical are part of the entry requirements.

Applications taken for only one branch of Nursing/Midwifery or Social Work.

Applicants are required to attend an interview. You will have to demonstrate awareness of the role of nurses and show your commitment to the degree. All interviews take place at our Glyntaff Campus.

Please read this information for nursing applicants for further guidance on how you can meet the entry criteria and advice on the application, interview and decison making process.

Typical A-Level Offer

BBB to exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade B and BB at A Level to exclude General Studies

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Distinction Merit

Typical IB Offer

32 points to include 17 points at Higher Level to include Maths and English.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Science/Maths/Health Care/Nursing Diploma. Must complete 60 credits overall with at least 45 at level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Of the 45 credits at level 3, you will need a minimum of 24 Distinctions, 18 Merits and 3 passes.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: Five GCSE passes A-C must include Mathematics and English language

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: £9000
  • Full-time International: £11900

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are significant additional costs either obligatory or optional these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £57.2
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service £13.0
Whilst optional it is strongly recommended signing up for this service especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to persue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note the service has to be joined within 19 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Essential Information

Read before you apply

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Admissions statement

There is an opportunity to study and practice abroad in a number of countries during your second year. This will enable you to gain an understanding of different health care systems.

Learning disability nurses could work in local healthcare trusts, private providers as well as educational, charitable and voluntary providers. Graduates could also work abroad in New Zealand and in the Republic of Ireland.

For more information on the role of a learning disability nurse visit the NMC website and read our essential guide.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.