Learning Disabilities Nursing MSc

Why choose this course?

If you're looking to make a positive difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities, and already have an undergraduate degree and experience in health and social care, this masters course is for you. You'll become a registered learning disabilities nurse in two years.

This course prepares you for a career in person-centred professional practice across a variety of health and social care settings. You will learn how to enable design and evaluation of care for people with learning disabilities and their families. You will be challenged to develop skills in gathering, analysing and synthesising evidence to ensure health inequalities and social isolation are confronted and resolved.

You'll study the factors that affect people's health and wellbeing, the health inequalities in our society and how we can improve health outcomes for people with a learning disability and autistic spectrum conditions (ASC).

You'll explore the management of complex conditions across the lifespan, from children to the older person and those with dementia, or other mental or physical health needs.

Through simulations, and on placement, you'll work collaboratively with service users. Placement providers include South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust, Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust, Great Ormond Street, The Children's Trust, and The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability.

This course is designed for a small cohort of students, where you'll benefit from individual learning and support. You will be taught by our dynamic teaching team which includes leading researchers and experts in learning disability nursing from practice and the Department of Health. Our students are highly sought after and receive multiple job offers before their course is complete.

NHS Training Grant 

Nursing students on pre-registration courses from September 2020 will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year which they will not need to pay back, subject to eligibility criteria. For more information please visit the NHS Business Service Authority.

UCAS code Mode Duration Attendance Start date
B764 Full time 2 years Classroom based and clinical placements September 2024
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston is No.1 in London and No.6 in the UK for nursing and midwifery (Guardian University League table 2022).
  • Our expert academics are involved in research and shaping the future of learning disabilities nursing nationally and our nursing students have been finalists in the Student Nursing Times Awards from 2012 to 2022, with Jessica Ball winning Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities in 2022.
  • You will work directly with individuals with learning disabilities, their family/carers, as well as actors with learning disabilities from the Baked Bean Theatre Company, in our simulation suite.

What you will study

This course will share learning with adult, child and mental health nursing students, where you can develop your skills in supporting people with a learning disability across the lifespan.

Topics covered include factors affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals in our changing and diverse society, addressing health inequalities and promoting improved health outcomes for people with a learning disability.

Year 1 modules (parts one and two)

Year 2 modules (part three)

Year 1 introduces the foundations of nursing and healthcare. You will study the role of the learning disability nurse and the diverse needs and contexts of people with learning disabilities. At the end of Year 1, you will be offered an opportunity to undertake a national or international placement.

Core modules

Foundations of life sciences for graduates

15 credits

This module is a core requirement for all students on the MSc Nursing course. It explores the foundations of human anatomy and physiology, including the body's systems, mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis, genomics and human development across the lifespan. Selected pathophysiology will be introduced in relation to commonly encountered health conditions and students will also begin to develop their knowledge of pharmacological concepts relating to nursing. This will provide students with key underpinning knowledge which will facilitate the exploration of person-centred assessment and care later in the programme.

Establishing the fundamentals of nursing care

30 credits

This module is a core requirement for all students on the MSc Nursing course. It introduces students to the fundamental principles of nursing and person-centred care, the determinants of health and well-being, compassionate communication and contemporary health policy. It enables the student to develop critical knowledge, skills and professional attitudes for the delivery of safe and effective person-centred care of individuals and their families or carers across a variety of settings. Students will begin to establish a sense of their nursing field identity but also that of other fields in order to promote effective interdisciplinary and integrated care.

Assessment and care planning in learning disability nursing

30 credits

This module focuses on assessment and care planning as part of the nursing process. Students will examine critically health inequalities and the impact on people with a learning disability across the lifespan. Students will apply person centred inclusive approaches to assess and plan care with people with learning disabilities, and their families and care workers, within legal and ethical frameworks. The skills and knowledge for assessment and planning will be explored critically within a framework of work place culture, utilising evidence based models.

Collaborative working for health and well-being in learning disability nursing

30 credits

This module explores the knowledge and skills necessary to implement effective holistic and collaborative care for people with a learning disability. The student will learn the importance of reasonable adjustments and health improvement strategies at individual and local levels to enable delivery of safe person-centred care. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to support people with a learning disability in making choices about their health and care and to facilitate equal access. Interdisciplinary working and current frameworks will be explored for delivering person-centred care. A range of evaluative techniques to measure clinical outcomes will be examined.

Introduction to professional practice

15 credits

This module will prepare the student for their role in practice. The focus is to introduce a range of nursing procedures to enable students to provide skilled, evidence-based, person-centred care to people at any stage of life who may have a range of physical, mental, cognitive or behavioural health conditions. It is a generic module where all fields of nursing are engaged with core nursing procedures as identified by the NMC Standards of Proficiency for Registered Nurses (NMC, 2018).

Developing professional practice

30 credits

This module will develop the skills taught and practised in the introduction to professional practice in Year 1. Students will be able to assess, plan and rationalise the nursing care they provide for people in health and social care and community settings. The emphasis will be on holistic person-centred care covering physical, psychological, social and cultural care. It will look at evidence-based, person-centred care being delivered inter- and intra-disciplinary.

In Year 2 you will explore the management of complex conditions across the lifespan (e.g. children, transition, adulthood and the older person) and the analysis and application of research and evidence base. You will also be prepared for your transition to registered nurse.

Core modules

Safe and effective quality care in learning disability nursing

30 credits

This module will provide the learning disability nursing student with the theoretical knowledge and skills required for their future role as a qualified learning disability nurse when contributing to risk monitoring, quality care provision and optimised service improvements. The student will learn to manage and prioritise clinical actions, participate in clinical audit activities for quality and service improvements and learn to avoid compromising quality care using evidence-based knowledge and experience from practice. Regulations essential for maintaining safety at work and in different care environments will be covered. Students will learn about collaborative interdisciplinary working, whilst collectively developing effective improvement strategies. Some sessions will be shared across fields as they are core for all fields.

Coordinating the care of people with learning disabilities with complex health care needs

30 credits

This module will provide the student with the underpinning knowledge and skills required for their future leadership role in coordinating and managing the complex needs of people with a learning disability across a range of organisations and settings. The module explores the complex role of the learning disability nurse, working as a specialist, to enrich the quality of life of people with learning disabilities. Experts from lived experience will be involved in the learning and teaching, supporting students through a range of complex case studies and current socio-economical and workforce challenges. The student will build on their knowledge of partnership and collaborative working and examine the cultural, political, psychosocial and technological influences on nursing care, resource management and finances.

Leadership in learning disability nursing

30 credits

Navigating the transition from student to a professional practitioner who is skilled at leading teams is critically important to the delivery of safe, effective and high quality health care. This module is designed to prepare the student for professional nursing practice by expanding their knowledge and skills to enable them to be an accountable and compassionate leader within the health and social care system. It focuses on leadership, team working, and performance management and enables learning disability nursing students to reflect on their transition to registered practice and build the evidence base for a career development portfolio. Some sessions will be shared across fields as they are core for all fields.

Advancing professional practice

30 credits

This module advances the skills taught and practised in Year 1 in order to prepare students for their transition to working as a registered nurse. The module focuses on the assessment and management of patients with complex health care needs, working in partnership with other health care professionals. Students will integrate their clinical and communication skills with evidence based knowledge to become clinically proficient and confident nurses. It is a generic module where all fields of nursing learn with and from each other.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A health- or science-related degree at 2.2 or above, completed in the last five years. Health and science-related degrees could include health studies, psychology, physiology, biology, social sciences, or related studies.
  • A minimum of 650 hours of health- or social care-related experience undertaken in the 12 months prior to your application. Applicants will be asked to complete an RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) claim form to demonstrate this experience. This, along with a testimony, is a condition for entry to the programme.
  • You must have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above (or grade C or above for GCSEs taken before 2017), including English language and maths (and a science subject is preferred), or equivalent qualifications, together with evidence of academic study, ideally within the last five years.

UCAS personal statement

The UCAS personal statement must include:

  • how you have researched the profession of nursing;
  • examples of how you have worked with vulnerable people or worked in teams where you have developed skills which may be relevant to nursing;
  • how you have gained insight into the course e.g. open days, speaking to other people; and
  • your personal qualities which you feel are related to nursing.


Non-native speakers who do not have the equivalent of GCSE English at grade 4 (formerly grade C) or an equivalent (e.g. Functional Skills Level 2 Literacy) require an Academic IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent overall and no element below 6.0.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Additional requirements

  • All suitable applicants are required to attend an online interview. This includes a series of short value-based questions, tasks or scenarios.
  • Admission is subject to occupational health screening and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check including checks against the Adult and Child Workforce Barring lists if you are offered and accept a place on the course.

Covid-19 vaccination requirement

The Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Pharmaceutical Council and Social Work England strongly encourage everyone eligible to be fully vaccinated against Covid 19 to keep yourselves and your community safe.

We are aware that some placement providers may require their staff and students to be fully vaccinated for some clinical areas. The University position is to strongly recommend everyone eligible to be fully vaccinated for health and care courses.

You can book your vaccinations here.

You can read information about Coronavirus vaccines here.

Teaching and assessment

We offer a range of innovative and flexible approaches to teaching and learning which includes:

  • classroom-based learning
  • simulated practical exercises
  • case based learning
  • clinical placements
  • self-directed learning
  • individual and group working
  • research
  • online resources.

You will also benefit from the support of a personal tutor, peer group learning and a range of web-based learning materials and online discussion forums.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking and preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS – the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Year 1 (part one and two)

Year 2 (part three)

Year 1 (part one and two)
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 207 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 812 hours
  • Placement learning including skills: 875 hours
Year 2 (part three)
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 160 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 630 hours
  • Placement learning including skills: 796 hours

Year 1

  • 57 % of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity (including placement learning).

Year 2

  • 60% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity (including placement learning).

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods include; essays, exams, presentations and reports and clinical skills assessed in our simulation suites and by practice supervisors and practice assessors in practice placements.

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Year 1

  • 40% coursework
  • 40% practical exams
  • 20% written exams

Year 2

  • 75% coursework
  • 25% practical exams

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Who teaches this course?

Our academic team of highly skilled nurses, lecturers and researchers are known for innovation in teaching and learning. Our award-winning simulation suites provide you with unrivalled opportunities to develop your skills in caring for patients and service users through highly realistic simulations and role play. You will also have opportunities to learn with and from other health and social care students.

Course fees and funding

2024/25 fees for this course

Home 2024/25

  • MSc full time £9,250

International 2024/25

  • MSc full time £18,100

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MSc full time £9,250

International 2023/24

  • MSc full time £16,200


Full-time students qualify for the same fee loan and living costs support as undergraduate students starting full-time higher education courses by accessing loans from the Student Loans Company.

Visit our Fees and funding page to find out about the student funding options available to help you fund your postgraduate studies.

In addition, to support you while you are undertaking the clinical placement element of your studies, the government is providing non-repayable grants. The Learning Support Fund administered through the NHS Business Services Authority makes available: 

  • £1,000 Child Dependants' Allowance 

  • up to £3,000 for exceptional hardship 

  • reimbursement of additional travel and accommodation costs over normal daily travel to clinical placements. 

Information on NHS bursaries can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website
Please note, you cannot apply for a pre-registration masters qualification in the same profession that you are already registered in, for example, if you hold a BSc Nursing in Adult Nursing, you are unable to complete an MSc Nursing in Mental Health. 

NHS Training Grant 

Nursing students on pre-registration courses from September 2020 will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year which they will not need to pay back, subject to eligibility criteria. For more information please visit the NHS Business Service Authority.

Discounts for Kingston University alumni

Kingston University is pleased to offer a 10% discount on full-time and part-time postgraduate degree course tuition fees (including PGCE courses) to our alumni. Visit our Alumni discount page to find out more.

International students

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.


Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residence. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Uniform and equipment

We provide you with a uniform. You will need to purchase appropriate shoes (£20-£60) and a fob watch (£5-£20) for practice. If you want additional uniform items, they are available for purchase.


Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.


Placement expenses for travel and accommodation may be reimbursed by NHS Bursaries where, for example, the requirement exceeds that of attending university; or requires additional accommodation to that of the usual term time location. These expenses may need to be covered initially by the student before any applicable reimbursement is received. Please note: EU and international students may not be eligible for support for travel and accommodation.

DBS check

The University pays for the processing of the application which is £51 but students are expected to pay a small fee (approximately £7) to the Post Office to get their ID documents verified and £13 per year for subscribing to the Update Service. This subscription allows universities and potential employers to view any changes to students' DBS.

Occupational health

You will need to fill out an Occupational Health Form. In some cases, we will require extra information and may ask you to get your GP to complete a routine screening form. All GPs have their own policies on charging fees for completion of these reports. The minimum fee recommended by the BMA is £30. Some GPs will not charge you for completion of the form but some GP surgeries are unable to make exceptions and will charge you the standard rate for their practice (in some cases this can be £50 or more). Neither the Faculty nor Occupational Health will be able to reimburse students for fees charged by their GP.

The majority of the required vaccinations should be free from your GP or via the NHS. Our Occupational Health Service will see you in the first two weeks of the course to ensure you have obtained the necessary vaccinations and will undertake any vaccinations/screening tests you have missed. Neither the Faculty nor Occupational Health will be able to reimburse students for any fees charged by their GP or other vaccination providers for vaccinations incurring a cost. If you are being charged for a vaccination we would suggest that you wait until you start the course where you will be able to obtain the vaccination at no cost to yourself.

Membership and professional fees

Professional body membership fees whilst on course are approximately £10. Nursing and Midwifery Council registration fees, once qualified, are currently £120 for the year.


Kingston University's Kingston Hill campus offers you modern facilities and include well-equipped laboratories where you can practise within a safe environment.

Our nursing students are taught by the Simulated Learning and Clinical Skills team within clinical, community and practice health settings.

Our Nursing Simulated Learning and Clinical Skills Centre facilities include a simulated ward area with a medication room, clinical classrooms, one of which has an immersion suite for fully immersive simulated learning scenarios in different settings. The areas are set up with an audio-visual system so skills and simulations can be recorded for group debrief and self-assessment.

Within our facilities, students take part in award-winning innovative simulations with role players and full body manikins that provide unprecedented opportunities to acquire, develop and maintain the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours needed for safe and effective patient care.

After you graduate

Once qualified, you will have a range of employment opportunities in leading NHS and independent organisations. Graduates have gained employment in areas such as:

  • Acute or primary care liaison nurses
  • Community learning disability nurses
  • Specialist nursing (e.g. Epilepsy, behaviours that challenge)
  • Nurse therapists
  • Senior managers and leaders of the profession
  • Nurse consultants (learning disability).
After you graduate


This degree confers both an academic award and a professional qualification in nursing. On successful completion of the programme, you will be recommended to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for professional registration.

Links with the health sector

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.