UCC Undergraduate courses

Mental Health Nursing

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Mental Health Nursing

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H5, 4 x O6/H7, Maths, Lab Science. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2021: 455

  • CAO Points Range

    2021: 455-544

Course Outline

On completion of the BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing, you can apply to register as a Psychiatric Nurse to NMBI, the profession’s regulatory body.

The course will provide you with excellent opportunities to develop knowledge and skills relevant to professional Psychiatric Nursing practice, including independent and critical thinking, and problem solving. It will enable you to deliver nursing care that is up-to-date and based on the best current evidence.

This four-year full-time degree course is offered in partnership with the Health Service Executive (South) (HSE).

With a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing, you will be ready to start work as a qualified psychiatric nurse in a variety of clinical settings immediately after graduation. 

The broad aim of the course is to promote your personal, intellectual and professional development to meet the role dimensions of a qualified practitioner of Mental Health Nursing. 

Each year, you will study modules in both theory and clinical practice. Clinical practice modules require you to be in supervised clinical practice in hospital, community and other healthcare settings for 35 hours per week for a number of weeks each year.

Theory modules include both nursing, and biological and social science modules, some of which are core (shared with students from other nursing/midwifery branches), while others are discipline-specific (taken by Mental Health Nursing students only).

In Year 4, you may also take some elective modules.

Year 1 modules

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

NU1026 Academic Writing, Information Technology and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

NU1032 Fundamental Knowledge and Skills for Nursing Practice (10 credits)

NU1040 Infection Prevention and Control for Nursing and Midwifery Practice 

NU1042 Developing Hope-Inspiring Relationships and Psychology for Health Care (10 credits)

NU1043 Recovery - Theory, Concept and Principles (10 credits)

NU1045 Creative Therapies and Self Awareness Skills for Mental Health Nursing 

NU1049 General Nursing Practice (10 credits)

SC1015 Sociological Concepts for Nursing  

Year 2 modules

Pharmacology and Medication Management for Nurses and Midwives; Research for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery Care; Recovery - Working with People through Crisis; Therapeutic Relationships - Communication and Self-Swareness; General Health Care for Adults with Menatal Health Problems - Applied Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology; Social Justice and Mental Health: Combating Discrimination, Labelling and Stigma; Skilled Menatl Helath Nursing Practice.

Year 3 modules

Health Promotion and Primary Health Care in a Mental Health Context; Mental Health Nursing: Politics, Policy and Practice; Developing Hope-Inspiring Relationships when working therapeutically with Individuals in Groups; Recovery - Working with Children and Young People with Mental Health Problems; Recovery - Working with the Older Adult with Mental Health Problems; Skilled Mental Health Nursing Practice.

Year 4 modules

Research for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery Care; Recovery - Working with Vulnerable Populations; Leadership and Therapeutic Team Working Skills in a Mental Health Setting; The Profession and Discipline of Psychiatric Nursing; Elective module: Skilled Mental Health Nursing Practice.

In Year 4, you will take a number of theory modules at UCC in semester one (before Christmas). In semester two (after Christmas), you will undertake a 36-week paid internship with your parent health service provider (HSP). 

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.


Course Practicalities

Theory modules

These comprise lectures, seminars, workshops, clinical skills training, experiential learning sessions, field visits, and protected study time. These modules are taken at the university during blocks of study weeks throughout each year of the course.

Clinical practice modules

These require you to be in supervised clinical practice in hospital, community and other healthcare settings for 35 hours per week for a number of weeks each year. In semester two (after Christmas) of Year 4, you will undertake a 36-week paid internship with your parent HSP. 

Garda Vetting and Infectious Diseases Policy

Fitness to Practise

This programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – full details may be found here.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment including essays, projects, seminar presentations, assessment of clinical skills and learning, in-class tests, self- and peer-assessment. Students are assessed by expert clinical nurses while on their clinical placements.

Who teaches this course

The majority of lecturers and instructors have a professional background in Mental Health Nursing. Biological and social science lectures are taught by experts in those areas, some of whom are also qualified nurses/midwives. 

Why Choose This Course

The BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing course at UCC is a highly sought-after course, as evidenced by the consistently high points required for entry to the course.

We can offer you a wide variety of clinical placements across a number of university hospitals and community facilities, representing all of the major psychiatric specialties.

We can also offer opportunities to study abroad and have a large suite of postgraduate courses available to our graduates to facilitate further study needs.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

The School of Nursing and Midwifery at UCC participates in a number of international research and educational programmes which afford you the opportunity to undertake part of your BSc studies abroad. Currently we have links with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Netherlands, France, England, and the U.S. Study abroad opportunities in other countries is also a possibility.

Skills and Careers Information

The course aims to provide you with sound clinical nursing skills (and the supporting knowledge base) necessary for starting your professional career as a Mental Health Nurse. These skills will be further developed through clinical experience and further study at postgraduate and in-service levels.

You will develop sound therapeutic interpersonal skills and self-awareness, as well as skills in independent thinking, problem solving, and analytical and clinical decision-making, as well as fundamental research utilisation and application skills.

On graduation, you may seek employment as a Psychiatric Nurse. Psychiatric Nurses work in a wide range of areas, including hospitals and community mental health facilities.

Traditionally, Irish nurses are highly regarded by other countries, enhancing work opportunities abroad, in particular in the UK, Canada, Australia and the US.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab Science
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7

Mature applicants

Mature applicants can apply to the CAO (www.cao.ie) by February 1st or late application by 1st May 2021.  In order to be eligible for application, they must be successful in an assessment test.  Registration for the test opens on the NMBI website on the 22 April 2021 and closes on 28 April at 1pm.  Registered applicants can take the test anytime during the testing window 22-28 April.  NMBI will provide further information about the test on its website in advance of the test.   

Further information is available on the NMBI website.

Non-EU applicants

Please see the International Education Office website.

FETAC applicants

FETAC requirements can be found here.

Garda clearance

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on the programme. It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries or residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there.

Fitness to Practise

Commencing with the 2013/2014 intake, this programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy — full details may be found here.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Non-EU applicants

Please see the International Education Office website.

Non-EU Applications

Non-EU applicants must apply online: How to apply pages for international students.

*All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact