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Please note that NMC accreditation is still pending for this course

MSc Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (Learning Disability)

Pioneering Excellence in Learning Disabilities Nursing, Study Local, Stay Local, Impact Global

A nurse assisting someone with learning difficulties

Revolutionising Learning Disabilities Nursing Education in the Southwest

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GCSE Maths Grade 4 / C or above or L2 Functional Skills GCSE English Grade 4 / C or above or L2 Functional Skills

All students must have achieved a minimum of a first degree (2:2 or above) Minimum of 750 hours in clinical practice prior to starting programme

Applicants to the programme will be selected using a values-based recruitment process, where applicants are required to undertake a series of activities. Service Users and Employers form part of these activies and the formal panel . Potential applicants applying must demonstrate the following on entry to the programme:  

  • Suitability for their intended field of nursing practice: adult, mental health or learning disabilities nursing  
  • Values in accordance with The NMC Code (2018) Professional standards of practice for nurses, midwives and nursing associates  
  • Capability to learn behaviours in accordance with The Code 

See full entry requirements

UCAS code N/A

UCAS institution code P63

Duration 2 years full time

Course Summary

Embark on a groundbreaking journey with our pioneering MSc in Learning Disabilities Nursing, the first of its kind in the Southwest. This two-year programme is meticulously designed to empower dedicated individuals with the knowledge and skills required to excel in the specialised field of learning disabilities nursing. In the inaugural year, students dive into comprehensivemodules, gaining a deep understanding of learning disabilities, assessment techniques, and evidence-based interventions.

This foundational knowledge is complemented by hands-on clinical placements, allowing students to apply their learning in real-world settings. With three diverse placements throughout the year, students gain invaluable insights into various aspects of learning disabilities nursing practice. The second year focuses on advanced topics, enabling students to develop specialised expertise in areas such as behavior management, assistive technologies, and person-centered care planning. Building upon the previous year's foundation, students engage in a deeper exploration of complex learning disabilities and innovative interventions. The three additional placements in Year Two provide opportunities for students to further hone their skills in diverse clinical environments, from community-based support to specialized care facilities.

Study Local, Stay Local: Impact Global

Being the first programme of its kind in the Southwest, this unique learning experience allows students to remain in their community while accessing a world-class education. This local focus not only fosters a strong sense of community but also encourages graduates to become leaders and advocates for learning disabilities care in the region.

Our program is dedicated to producing graduates who are not only well-versed in the latest advancements in learning disabilities nursing but also compassionate, culturally sensitive, and capable of providing individualized support to those with learning disabilities. Join us in this dynamic two-year journey, where your passion for learning disabilities nursing will be nurtured and your potential will flourish.

Why choose this course at Marjon?

A faculty of experienced professionals renowned for their expertise in healthcare education.

Immersive two-year format, coupled with three placements per year, ensures that you receive extensive hands-on experience in real-world clinical settings

Experiential learning approach allows students to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, preparing them for the challenges of adult nursing

Marjon's focus on "Study Local, Stay Local" allows students to study in their own community while still accessing a world-class education

The programme places a strong emphasis on holistic care, recognising the importance of addressing not only physical health but also the emotional, social, and cultural aspects of well-being

Emerge as a skilled, compassionate, and capable professional, ready to make a positive impact in the lives of people with learning difficulties

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

The groundbreaking MSc in Learning Disabilities Nursing at Marjon is a two-year program designed to equip passionate individuals with the specialized knowledge and hands-on skills needed to excel in the field. In the first year, students build a strong foundation in learning disabilities, complemented by three diverse clinical placements. The second year focuses on advanced topics, empowering students to develop specialized expertise. With an emphasis on local accessibility, this program is the first of its kind in the Southwest, allowing students to study and make a meaningful impact in their community. Graduates emerge as compassionate, driven professionals ready to lead in learning disabilities nursing.
What's this course all about?

1st Year

Biological and pharmacological aspects of health and well-being
Placement 1: Introduction to nursing practice
Evidence based practice, research methodology and clinical decision making.
Placement: Applying evidence in clinical practice.
Developing knowledge and skills in complex care
Placement: Integrated care for Nursing practice

2nd Year

Healthcare Management
Placement: Developing leadership and management in healthcare
Quality improvement
Placement: Improving safety and quality of care for those with complex needs in practice
Transition to practice
Placement : Transition to practice-consolidation and sign off

Please note: This course is subject to validation which means that it is either a new course or that the content is currently being updated. You can apply for this course now while some of the details of the course are being finalised by the University. Please contact the course leader if you would like further information.

This course is perfect if you're curious about...

The intricacies of learning difficulties nursing

Applying your passion in a dynamic and immersive learning environment

Making a tangible difference in the lives of those with learning difficulties facing diverse health challenges

Developing a holistic approach to care and understanding the broader factors influencing the health of people with learning difficulties

Preparing for a wide range of roles in learning difficulties nursing

What might you become?

On successful completion of the programme you will be eligible to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Learning Disabilities Nurse. As a Learning Disabiltiies nurse, you may work in various settings, including hospitals, community health centres, residential care facilities, and schools. Your responsibilities could include assessing and planning care, administering medications, providing emotional support, and advocating for the rights of individuals with learning disabilities and difficulties.

Furthermore, this programme may open doors to advanced roles such as clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager or supervisor, or even positions in research or policy development related to learning disabilities nursing. Additionally, you may have opportunities for further education and specialisation in specific areas  or advanced practice nursing.

This programme prepares you for a fulfilling career dedicated to making a positive impact in the field of learning disabilities nursing.

Introducing Learning Disabilities Nursing to our region is not just a milestone; it's a promise of transformative care, an investment in inclusivity, and a testament to our commitment to leaving no one behind.
Sue Harvey - Nursing Disabilities Nurse Consultant -

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

The Learning Disabilities Nursing programme at Plymouth Marjon University employs a diverse array of teaching methods to ensure a dynamic and comprehensive educational journey. This encompasses conventional approaches such as lectures, seminars, and tutorials, providing students with a strong foundation of knowledge and opportunities for interactive discussions. Additionally, e-learning platforms enhance accessibility and flexibility in study.

Our focus on Personal and Professional Development Planning empowers students to take charge of their learning. Practical skill development and exposure to industry insights are fostered through workshops, peer learning, and guest speaker sessions. Practice-based and Problem-based Learning, along with Interprofessional Learning, cultivate critical thinking and collaborative abilities. Personalised support is provided through Coaching and Mentoring, while Clinical Simulation offers a hands-on, immersive learning experience.

How will you be assessed?

Assessment is meticulously designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of students' knowledge and proficiency. This incorporates innovative tools like the ePractice Assessment Document (ePAD) and eOngoing Achievement Record (eOAR), facilitating continuous monitoring of progress and competency. Critical Reflection, Case Studies, and Essays create opportunities for in-depth analysis and the practical application of theoretical concepts. Neighbourhood Studies and Presentations promote the hands-on application and effective communication of learning.

Additionally, assessments such as Numeracy and Drug Calculation Skills In-Class Tests guarantee proficiency in vital clinical skills. The Dissertation culminates in independent research and a thorough exploration of a chosen area within mental health nursing. 

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Saoirse Read

Course leader

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Having previously served as the Learning Disabilities Liaison Manager for a prominent acute trust, Saoirse brings a profound understanding of the healthcare landscape and a deep commitment to improving the lives of individuals with learning disabilities. Her leadership roles across various practical domains of learning disabilities nursing have not only honed her expertise but have also equipped her with a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities within the field. Saoirse is ready to inspire and guide you towards excellence in learning disabilities nursing!


Hannah Ames

Senior Lecturer

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Rebecca Horne

Pre Qualifying Healthcare Lecturer

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Sandy Knowles

Senior Lecturer

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Julie McCoy

Adult Nursing Programme Lead

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Frequently asked questions

Q1   What resources and facilities are available to students on-campus to support me in the clinical setting?

You'll have access to a rich array of resources and state-of-the-art facilities both on-campus and in clinical settings. Our campus boasts a cutting-edge simulation suite, which replicates real-world healthcare environments. This suite includes an acute ward, providing students with hands-on experience in acute care scenarios. Additionally, there is a fully equipped GP surgery, allowing students to practice primary care skills. To further enhance practical learning, we have a residential home setup for a realistic understanding of long-term care, as well as a mock flat to simulate home-based care scenarios. These resources provide you with a diverse and immersive learning experience, ensuring you are well-prepared to excel in various healthcare settings upon graduation.

Q2   How does the university support students in terms of career guidance and job placement after graduation?

Marjon is dedicated to guiding students towards a successful and fulfilling career path after graduation. Our comprehensive career support includes personalised guidance from experienced advisors who assist in resume building, interview preparation, and job search strategies. We also facilitate networking opportunities with healthcare professionals and organisations through career fairs and networking events. Additionally, our strong industry connections and partnerships with healthcare institutions provide direct pathways to job placements. Through workshops, seminars, and masterclass networks, we ensure students have the tools and resources needed to confidently transition into the workforce and embark on a rewarding career in learning difficulties nursing.

Q3   What is the learning environment like at Plymouth Marjon University, and how is diversity and inclusion valued within the programme?

The learning environment at Marjon is characterised by its inclusive, supportive, and nurturing atmosphere. We believe that diversity is not just celebrated, but integral to the fabric of our community. Our commitment to inclusivity aligns closely with the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which emphasises the importance of a diverse healthcare workforce in delivering high-quality care. We actively foster an environment where students from all backgrounds feel valued and empowered. This approach extends into the Adult Nursing programme, where we ensure that curriculum, teaching methods, and clinical experiences reflect a range of perspectives and experiences. 

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £20,000

As an employee, apprentices are paid a salary and through the Apprenticeship Levy of the supporting organisation, the following services are provided at no cost: tuition fees, tripartite reviews, End-Point Assessment (EPA), access to course-specific equipment and facilities including the Clinical Simulation Suite Associated academic services including the library, study skills training, IT support, student support and wellbeing services, and membership of the Student Union. Employers: For larger employers, apprenticeship levy funding can fully meet the costs of training, assessment and certification. For smaller employers, funding may be available to support fees.

Additional costs:

Additional costs:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check (Annual Update Service or dated within 6 months of the start of the course)
  • Evidence that an occupational health declaration has been completed prior to starting the programme
  • Evidence of all required vaccinations being up-to-date
  • Travel to and from placement
  • Accommodation and general living costs
  • Textbooks
  • Stationary
  • Printing/Photocopying
  • Membership of a Union (Optional but advised)
  • NMC registration on completion of the programme.
  • There may be some discretionary trips and other activities to support your studies

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Student funding advice