Access to Nursing Studies

Access to Nursing Studies at the University of Stirling is an entry route to study a degree in Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing or Paramedic Science at Stirling. The course is for anyone living in Scotland who has few or no formal qualifications and has been out of full-time education for more than three years.

While there is no Midwifery degree course offered at the University of Stirling, previous students have used the Access course to gain a place on the HNC Healthcare Practice at Forth Valley College, which offers a route to Midwifery.

Key facts

Applications are now closed.

Start date: August 2024
Duration: Two semesters
Mode of study: Part-time
Delivery: On-campus and online classes on Monday and Thursday evenings
Class time: Two 3-hour classes each week
Independent study: 6-10 hours each week

Fees and funding

Course fee: £575 (2024-25)

SAAS part-time fee grant may be available - find out more on the SAAS website.

Course details

Access to Nursing Studies is the only part-time course in the Forth Valley area allowing direct entry to a Nursing or Paramedic Science degree.

The course offers a supportive learning community where you will gain the necessary academic and numerical skills as well as essential scientific knowledge needed for degree study.

As an Access student, you will have full entitlement to all the Student Services and campus facilities offered to our undergraduate students.

Who is eligible for the Access to Nursing Studies course?

This course is open to anyone who has not studied at university level before and does not have enough entry qualifications and experience required to apply successfully for undergraduate study. Students should have been out of formal education for a minimum of three years.

We welcome applications from all students including: 

  • Care experienced students
  • Young or adult carers
  • Members of the armed forces community including those currently serving in the armed forces and service leavers/veterans
  • Refugee and asylum seekers
  • Disabled students - adjustments for disabled applicants, including those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, can be put in place before the course starts. Please contact the Course Director for more information.

Entry requirements

To apply for the Access to Nursing Studies course, you must upload your current CV and a short personal statement explaining why you want to take the course. In your statement, you should detail any voluntary or paid experience you've had in a health or care setting. If you don't have any experience, tell us why you want to become a healthcare professional.

Our admissions team will review your application. If we decide that Access to Nursing Studies is the right course for you, we will then ask you to complete a short written task.

Students wishing to take the Nursing route should be compliant with the Code of Conduct for Nurses, including criteria relating to criminal convictions. Email our admissions team at if you have any questions or concerns about this.

Mathematics requirements

You need to be confident about studying maths at SCQF Level 5 and data skills at SCQF Level 7.  You must have one of the following:

  • Core Skills Numeracy at Level 5 or Nat 5/Nat 4 mathematics/ Standard grade (3) mathematics.
  • Relevant work or life experience, which gave you confidence with numerical tasks.

If you are not confident about studying maths, we recommend you contact the adult learning department within your local authority area to ask about opportunities for increasing your level of numeracy qualifications before applying for the Access to Nursing Studies course.

For information about adult learning in the Forth Valley area you can contact:

Please email if you have questions about your qualifications or experience.

Course structure and content

Everyone will study six modules in the Access to Nursing Studies course. Each module is equivalent to 10 Credits (SCQF).

In Semester 1 all modules are mapped to SCQF level 5 or 6, and in Semester 2 all modules are mapped to SCQF level 7.

During the course, everyone studies two Learning Strategies modules. These modules cover knowledge and skills crucial to becoming a successful university student. These include:

  • Effective time management
  • Critical thinking
  • How to do research
  • Essay and report writing
  • Effective learning methods
  • How to develop your knowledge to perform well in presentations, class assessments, assignments and exams
  • How to use the library effectively
Semester  Modules
Semester 1, August - December

Learning Strategies 1 (SCQF Level 6)

You will learn about, discuss and practice a range of study skills, particularly related to academic writing. All Access students take this module, allowing you to work alongside and learn from students interested in studying a wide range of subjects.

Mathematics (SCQF Level 5)

This module is ideal for anyone who has previously found maths challenging. There are plenty of resources to assist your skills in mathematics. The workshop style approach to the classes and the friendly atmosphere enables students to learn in a supportive environment. 

Introduction to Science (SCQF Level 6)

The module covers basic areas of biology with a focus on the structure and function of living cells, basic life processes and body systems. You will gain confidence in taking assessments with plenty of online resources to support your learning, in addition to face-to-face classes on campus. You will also apply scientific knowledge to complete a short assignment.

Semester 2, January - May

Learning Strategies 2 (SCQF Level 7)

This online module focuses on key areas for developing independent study in preparation for studying an undergraduate course at the University of Stirling. The topics include:

  • Reflective and critical thinking and writing
  • Reading and evaluating journal articles
  • Finding and referencing academic texts
  • Using the library and reading lists 

Data Skills (SCQF Level 7)

This module gives you the opportunity to improve your basic statistical and mathematical skills needed for our Nursing and Paramedic Science degrees. 

Human Biology (SCQF Level 7)

The module looks at some biological processes including reproduction and fertility, diabetes and blood sugar, autoimmunity, and control of disease. You will engage with case studies and research a topic in more depth.

Courses dates and times

There are two semesters:

  • Semester 1 - Starts mid-August to the first week in December
  • Semester 2 - Starts in the second week in January to mid-May

Classes are taught on Monday and Thursday evenings from 18:30 to 21:30.

Most classes are taught face-to-face on campus in Stirling. We also have some online classes, allowing you to gain confidence with the University’s virtual learning environment, Canvas. 

You must attend two 3-hour classes and undertake 6-10 hours of independent study each week. Attendance is mandatory from the start of the course. Do not book holidays during semester time and set time aside each week for independent study.

We follow the Stirling Council schools calendar for mid-term breaks (this differs from the rest of the University).

The course starts with a mandatory online Welcome Week. During Welcome Week, you will attend Welcome Night where you will meet your lecturers and find out about the University’s support services for students. You will also have an online induction meeting where you will begin familiarising yourself with Canvas, the University’s virtual learning environment.

In June, there is a Celebration of Success evening at the end of the course. Family and close friends are invited to come along and join in the celebration of your achievements. We also give out our Access Achievement Awards, including the prestigious Jim Bradley Award, to students who have succeeded highly and contributed greatly to our learning community.

Teaching and assessment

The course offers a blend of in-person teaching and online learning. Coming onto campus for classes will help you to become familiar with the facilities and start to feel like you are a part of our Stirling community. You will gain valuable experience of studying with other students online via Canvas, becoming fully prepared for contemporary university life. 

Classes, whether online or in-person, are opportunities to question, debate, discuss, and learn individually and in groups. 


Access to Nursing Studies course offers you opportunities to practice and gain confidence in taking a wide range of assessments, preparing you for university life. This includes essays, multiple choice tests and short answer questions. During class, you will also be able to discuss questions with your lecturers and other students in a supportive environment. 

All subject modules include more than one assessment, allowing you to demonstrate your progression within that subject. There is also a final assessment in early December and early May.

What equipment do I need for the course?

  • A laptop or desktop computer. A computer is essential for attending classes online and working on your assignments. Study will not be possible via mobile phones or tablets.
  • WiFi access. A reliable WiFi signal is essential. When on campus you will have access to free University WiFi.
  • Headphones and webcam. You must have headphones and webcam to hear and see your lecturer and the other students when attending classes on-line.

If you have problems in accessing the necessary technology and/or WiFi, and live in the Stirling Council area, you can contact their Digital Inclusion team at for advice and assistance. The University also has a free laptop loan scheme.

We recommend that you find a quiet space for study. It's important that you have time for study without any distractions. You may make use of local council libraries, or the University library and study areas.


The University of Stirling is ranked Top 5 in Scotland for Nursing

(Complete University Guide 2023)

Progression to a Nursing or Paramedic Science degree at Stirling

To pass the Access to Nursing Studies course you will need to:

  • Gain an average of at least 50% across the modules
  • Fulfil the attendance and assessment requirements for each module
  • Attend an interview with the Nursing Division 

Successful students will be offered a place on a Nursing undergraduate degree, Adult Nursing or Mental Health Nursing, at the University of Stirling. There is also the opportunity to study the Paramedic Science degree.  

Since 2019, more than 90% of students who successfully completed the Access pathway, were offered a place on a Nursing degree at Stirling.

Due to the smaller number of places available, it is more competitive to gain a place on the Paramedic Science course. Please contact the Admissions team at for further information. 

The University aims to offer you a place on your chosen course, but it may not always be possible. However, if you successfully complete your Access course, you will be offered some choice of courses, with the University aiming to offer you a place as close as possible to your chosen degree.

The Access to Nursing Studies course also offers progression to Forth Valley College’s full-time HNC in Healthcare Practice, which allows direct entry to the 2nd year of Stirling’s Nursing degrees, as well as routes into Midwifery (which Stirling does not currently offer).

Student stories

Jon Feeney
Jon Feeney
BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
Studying a nursing degree can be a significant undertaking, but trust me when I say it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done and definitely worth it!
Read Jon's story
Julie Albiston
Julie Albiston
United Kingdom
BSc Adult Nursing
I never thought it would be possible for me to go to university due to finishing school with only my standard grades. I was quite happy in my job, but I felt there was something missing, a sense of purpose. With the Access course, I was able to get into Adult Nursing degree and work towards my desired career as a nurse.
Read Julie's story

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Access courses please email You can also contact Dr Sarah Galloway who is the Course Director.

Please email our Admissions Team at if you have specific questions about your qualifications or entry requirements.