Learning Disabilities Nursing (pre-registration) MSc

Study level: Postgraduate
Nurse engaged with a young patient getting her blood pressure taken

This new MSc course offers graduates from a range of backgrounds the opportunity to enter the nursing profession in two years. You will explore the value of people with learning disabilities as equal citizens and people who have a real contribution to make to your development as a caring professional nurse in this field of practice.

Year of entry



Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



2 years full-time

Course code


Start date

January 2024

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Course overview

This accredited Learning Disabilities Nursing (Pre-registration) MSc course offers graduates from a range of backgrounds the opportunity to enter the Learning Disabilities Nursing profession in two years.

You will explore the role of people with learning disabilities and the valued contribution that they make as equal citizens, examining the support that you can provide to ensure that their lives are valued and that they are given the best possible opportunities to live their best lives.

  • The course aims to ensure that knowledge and skills acquisition will allow you to provide effective support for individuals with learning disabilities, including profound and multiple disabilities within healthcare and educational settings.
  • You will be enabled to apply a wide range of creative interventions to facilitate quality care in varying settings, allowing service users to experience valued and fulfilled lives across their lifespan.
  • This two-year postgraduate course leads to eligibility to register as a Learning Disabilities Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (additional costs may apply).
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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

This innovative programme is designed to equip you with the hands-on clinical and care skills to prepare you to practise autonomously and compassionately. You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide effective person-centred approaches, and to build effective therapeutic relationships across the lifespan, with the individuals who you support as well as their families, carers and social groups.

  • The course is aimed at individuals with a prior undergraduate degree and evidence of experience in health and social care. Previous undergraduate degrees may include (but are not limited to) health-related disciplines, psychology, criminology or sociology degrees. Those with non-health-related degrees must demonstrate extensive experience in the clinical health and social care sector. It is also suitable for existing nurses looking for dual qualification.
  • Designed to challenge you to develop high standards of person-centred care, skills in coordinating complex care, clinical, legal and ethical decision-making, leadership and mentoring, the course is complemented by research and evidence-informed practice and independent project work which is focused on, and promotes, service improvement.
  • You will have the opportunity to study and develop specialist skills in communication, comprehensive health assessment, equality and diversity, and issues related to professional practice. This includes the study of complex health needs, profound and multiple needs, care packages and therapeutic approaches to service users with learning disabilities.
  • The course will facilitate you to lead in the implementation and coordination of positive behavioural approaches, adapted mental and physical health interventions and additional clinical specialism including the provision of care in forensic and secure environments. You will be equipped with the necessary theory-practice skills in trans- and multi-disciplinary assessment, which is at the core of best practice. This course requires individuals with excellent communication skills and a person-centred and empathetic approach to those with healthcare needs.
  • Clinical placements2 are integral to the Learning Disabilities Nursing MSc, accounting for 50% of the course. This includes clinical practice in a range of healthcare settings (organised by the university) and practice learning with local practice partners. Learning Disabilities Nurses work in collaboration with individuals with learning disabilities and with a range of other health professionals to provide a multidisciplinary approach to person-centred care. You will complete placements across four practice modules in a variety of settings such as community teams, respite care, secure service provision, autism services and other services relevant to learning disabilities nursing. Practice assessment is divided into three parts which build on proficiencies required to become autonomous nurse practitioners.
  • Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, including additional physical and mental health needs in people with learning disabilities, adapted therapeutic approaches, forensic issues in the learning disabled population, positive approaches to behaviour management and other contemporary issues. Your studies will focus on the needs of populations, individuals, related health and nursing services with an emphasis on using research to enhance and improve services for people with Learning Disabilities. You will be encouraged to act as a champion for the service users you work with and support their diverse needs.
  • You will study in the multi-million-pound Alison Gingell Building, which provides facilities4 for teaching and research, featuring an operating theatre, mock wards, critical care settings, community housing and other real life nursing environments relevant to practice.
  • Upon successful completion, in addition to eligibility for NMC registration, you will also graduate with a Chartered Management Institute (CMI)* accredited1 qualification in Global Professional Development and have the opportunity to apply to become a member of the CMI.

Accreditation and Professional Recogition

This is course is recognised by the following professional bodies:

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Nursing and Midwifery Council

The course is currently fully accredited1 by the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the 2022/23 intake and, providing you also meet the NMC requirements, on successful completion you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (additional costs may apply).

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The course currently includes the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited module, Leading Strategic Change through Creativity and Innovation. Upon successful completion of the module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost. Further details can be found on the Professional Development module homepage.

Nursing at Coventry University

We have an excellent reputation for the quality of the education provided to trainee and qualified nurses.

Learn why you should study with us
We have an excellent reputation for the quality of the education provided to trainee and qualified nurses.

What you'll study

The practice component considers the knowledge base that underpins person-centred care delivery/management, and the range of skills required to care for individuals with specific psychosocial and learning disability-related problems.

All modules are mandatory.

The delivery of theory components is through a range of modules which focus on extending your knowledge and cognitive skills, providing you with a sound critical, analytical and reflective approach to person-centred care delivery.



  • Optional

  • The development of evidence-informed and evidence-based care from a solid research base is essential to the science of nursing care. The module content is organised to demonstrate the use of evidence within nursing and healthcare practice - for example, in governance policy/guidelines - and how they affect everyday nursing practice. The background understanding of how research is used to develop the evidence base for contemporary nursing practice will be examined by applying research principles to a clinically relevant action research project.


  • The module aims to enable you to develop skills in identifying and assessing existing conditions in individuals with learning disabilities, as well as screening for factors predisposing persons to ill health and the issues presented in assessing people with learning disabilities. You will be able to critically apply healthcare assessment skills used in nursing across the lifespan to formulate a person-centred plan of care.


  • Decision-making in nursing requires an evaluation of many complex factors, and in conjunction with a wealth of health-related information, the nurse needs to have the cognitive skills to use this knowledge to underpin decisions about the care of the individual with Learning Disabilities. This module aims to assist you in developing strategies for advanced decision-making in the context of person-centred care. The module content will be organised around a variety of subjects to include the professional, legal and ethical responsibility and other subject-theory domains that influence advanced decision-making.


  • Upon completion of the module, you should be able to critically apply person-centred therapeutic interventions used in the care and support of people with learning disabilities across the lifespan. The focus of the module will include the critical application of knowledge across a range of therapeutic interventions using a holistic approach. Current policy documents that drive the enhancement of health care interventions will underpin the module content.


  • As part of your placement modules, you will be expected to contribute to the health of the local community throughout the course during practice placements where you work approximately 40 hours a week. You will provide a range of nursing care to people across the lifespan, and in a variety of care settings.


  • This module introduces you to the foundations of nursing practice in the workplace. The experience will provide you (under supervision) with learning opportunities which will begin to develop the professional values, attitudes and behaviours required to deliver safe and effective, holistic, person- and family-centred care.


  • This module provides further opportunity for you to review and deliver nursing practice in the workplace. This experience will enable you to demonstrate and promote professional values, attitudes and behaviours required to provide safe and effective holistic person-centred care. The module is underpinned by the NMC Future Nurse Standards of Proficiency for Registered Nurses (2018); and Realising Professionalism: Standards for Professionalism and Education (2018) for nursing and midwifery. Although the module is generic the content and assessment will be developed and applied to the differing fields of nursing. It will provide you with learning opportunities in the workplace to practice nursing and to develop the capabilities identified within the collaborative framework.



  • Compulsory

  • In the healthcare environment, Learning Disabilities Nurses provide care and support to people with learning disabilities and associated complex physical and mental health co-morbidities across the lifespan. Complex care necessitates treatment from multi-professional services and service user involvement in the care management and care delivery. The module aim is to facilitate students in developing the necessary knowledge and proficiency to coordinate and manage person-centred care in the multidimensional healthcare setting. The module content will include a critical review of the current policy and legislative documents that drive, influence and enhance the coordination of complex care.


  • This module aims to give you a practical and theoretical understanding of how coaching and mentoring is used in a range of settings in different organisations and sectors. You will typically have the opportunity of working with other students - across disciplines or from a variety of workplace settings - to facilitate an appreciation of how different sectors approach coaching and mentoring and how it is possible to learn from each other to come up with novel approaches. As part of this module, you will devise a coaching and mentoring plan and consider how its impact may be evaluated. Alongside coaching and mentoring, you will study the principles and practice of strategic leadership. The topics of leadership and management, leadership styles and issues such as empowerment and trust will be considered. In particular, you will consider how leadership can set or influence an environment in which coaching and mentoring can flourish. The module will engage you in wide-ranging debates and problem-solving exercises using examples from organisations, small businesses, communities and the third sector.


  • This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the interrelationship between law and ethical healthcare practice, related to the British legal system. You will explore the areas of contention which may include, but are not limited to, disagreement with caregivers, treating patients with impaired decision-making, dignity in care, assisted suicide, end-of-life/Advanced directives, controversial interventions or other. You will be equipped to recognise and manage the ethical challenges relating to your practice, as well as individuals’ legal and ethical rights in the context of healthcare and wellbeing across a range of care settings.


  • The module is the culmination of the programme and enables you to bring together your learning into one independent, self-directed workplace project. The aim is to produce a project that will explore service redesign, current practice-based problem/issues, policy implementation, initiatives or innovations which will impact upon or transform patient care. The project is a service improvement plan or business proposal which addresses an aspect of workplace practice. Individual student supervision is provided to offer guidance on the right choice of project and advice on all stages of the project.


  • At the end of year two, at the final progression point, you should be deemed to be proficient in practice when you have successfully achieved the NMC (2018) practice competencies, signed off by an assessor. You will work 40 hours a week, and the cumulative evidence must demonstrate that you are safe and effective in practice at the end of the course.


  • This module provides you with further opportunities in the workplace to enable you to work more independently with less direct supervision in an increasingly proficient and confident manner in your delivery of quality, holistic, person- and family-centred care. It will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate through your practice your potential to become an autonomous practitioner. The module is underpinned by the NMC Future Nurse Standards of Proficiency for Registered Nurses (2018); Realising Professionalism: Standards for Professionalism and Education (2018) for nursing and midwifery. Although the module is generic the content and assessment will be developed and applied to the differing fields of nursing. It will provide you with learning opportunities in the workplace to practice nursing and to develop the capabilities identified within the collaborative framework.


  • This module aims to provide you with opportunities to practice the proficiencies identified for registration as a nurse which are stipulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2018). This includes demonstrating your capability to lead the delivery of patient care autonomously and role model what constitutes best practice to others, positively impacting on the culture of care environments. The module is underpinned by the NMC Future Nurse Standards of Proficiency for Registered Nurses (2018); and Realising Professionalism: Standards for Professionalism and Education (2018) for Nursing and Midwifery. Although the module is generic the content and assessment will be developed and applied to the differing fields of nursing. It will provide you with learning opportunities in the workplace to practice nursing and to develop the capabilities identified within the collaborative framework.


How you'll learn

A range of teaching and learning methods are employed in the Learning Disabilities Nursing MSc programme, including lectures, clinical simulation, seminars, workshops, tutorials, practical clinical work in a practice setting and work-based learning. The teaching and learning activities are intended to engage you with the relevant theory and facilitate understanding of the module content, to question and formulate ideas and perspectives on the subject material, in preparation for assessment.

You will have support in preparation for the assessments from a variety of sources. These could include your module leaders or a subject specialist in the library resources on the course-web platforms. Furthermore, you will also have support from practice educators in the clinical placement areas which are an integral part of this programme.

In addition to the teaching and learning methods, a key learning feature of this course is independent study. This means you will take the initiative and responsibility for working through the learning material and make decisions on how to collate, manage and present the information for your assessment.

Teaching contact hours 

This is a full-time course and you are expected to attend for a minimum of two and a half days each week during term time. There are four practice modules which equate to six placements throughout the two-year course; these modules are mandatory, and attendance is a necessity to meet the practice hours requirement for NMC registration.

You must pass all modules to meet the eligibility requirement for professional registration with the NMC.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


All assessment methods are aligned to the Learning Disabilities Nursing MSc programme objectives, and the learning outcomes of each module reflect the programme objective.

Assessment methods include:

  • Critical appraisal essays
  • Presentations
  • Viva voce
  • Reports
  • Practice assessment
  • Dissertation

A Practice Assessment Document (MYEPAD) and Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) enable you to provide evidence for the acquisition of the core clinical nursing skills and field-specific skill.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants for Pre-registration MSc in Learning Disability Nursing should ideally hold a good honours degree of 2:2 or above in a health-related subject
  • However, applications with other degrees and relevant care experience will also be considered on an individual basis. Non-UK degrees will be accepted if healthcare related and accompanied by a 'Certificate of Comparability' which you can obtain from www.enic.org.uk.
  • As the MSc in Learning Disability Nursing is a two-year course, there is a requirement to demonstrate completion of 460 practice hours in relevant health/care settings through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process to meet the NMC standard of nursing education of 2300 practice hours. The RPL process will credit students for 460 hours to meet the stated NMC criteria. Applicants will be supported in the RPL process.*

*Care is defined as activities that include washing, dressing, feeding or toileting of an individual, as well as nursing intervention procedures. Care encompasses meeting the physiological and psycho-social needs of the physically ill, mentally ill, and disabled people of all ages, in all healthcare and other community settings. This can be undertaken in a formal workplace environment, or informally in the family setting. Please contact the admissions tutor if you are unsure whether your experience meets the requirements above.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 Tuition fees

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £9,250 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Our multi-million-pound Alison Gingell Building provides facilities4 for teaching and research, featuring hospital wards, critical care settings, operating theatre, community housing and other real life nursing environments relevant to practice.

Students and a tutor with a manikin in the hospital ward

Mock hospital wards

Our mock hospital wards and critical care settings give you the chance to experience patient scenarios in a real-world environment.

Students practicing patient therapy in a community house setting

Community houses

Learn how to work with patients outside of a hospital setting in our simulated, two full-size community homes, specifically built for teaching.

Students in scrubs in the mock operating theatre

Mock operating theatre

Our Alison Gingell building includes a full-size mock operating theatre, containing scrub sinks and theatre lights.

Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion, you will be eligible to apply for registration as a Learning Disability Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to practice as a registered professional in nursing.

The course is a strong indication to current and potential employers that you have both the ability and the academic characteristics required for working in a variety of Learning Disability settings. The programme is developed to position you for an accelerated career pathway to become a future nursing leader, clinical expert, educator or researcher within the profession.

Where our graduates work

For nursing provision, employability is nearly 100%, and employment is possible in a variety of clinical/specialist areas in a range of public and private healthcare settings. It may be possible to use your qualification to work overseas.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.