Choices adviser Shona McQuillan answers some frequently asked questions about two of Birmingham City University’s popular undergraduate nursing programmes.
What’s the main difference between the nursing degree (BSc Hons) and diploma (Dip HE) courses?
The main difference between the courses is the academic level at which students complete their studies. Students on the diploma course complete a total of 72 credits at level 4 and 168 credits at level 5 throughout the course. Degree students complete 120 credits in each year of the course, studying at level 4 in year one, level 5 in year two and level 6 in year three. The degree course, therefore, is more academically intensive than the diploma course. This is reflected in the degree requiring students to have higher entry qualifications than for the diploma. Find out more about the minimum entry requirements for both courses by clicking on the course titles here.
Is the diploma course more practical than the degree?
Not really. Both courses consist of 50 percent theory and 50 percent practice.
Does the degree take longer to complete than the diploma?
No. Both courses are studied over 3 years on a full-time basis.
Is funding for the degree and diploma courses the same?
No. The funding for the courses differ slightly – whilst the NHS currently pay the tuition fees for both courses, the maintenance element of the NHS Bursary for the degree course is means-tested on household income. However, the diploma course attracts a non means-tested maintenance element which is unaffected by the level of household income. Further information about the different rates available for each of the courses is available at www.nhsstudentgrants.co.uk.
Will I start on a higher salary if I’ve completed the degree course?
In terms of starting salary grades for newly qualified registered nurses, currently there is no difference in starting grades or pay for degree or diploma qualified nurses.
Can I switch onto the degree after the second year of the diploma course?
No. Our courses are structured in such a way that means students on the diploma do not complete the same number of academic credits as degree students have during the first two years of the course. Because of this shortfall, diploma students don’t have sufficient credits to transfer into the final year of the degree.
If I study the diploma will I be able to gain a degree at a later stage?
Yes. Students who complete the diploma programme can top-up their qualification once they’re a registered nurse – we offer a wide range of courses available to qualified nurses which would allow them to do this. Many courses are offered on a part-time basis allowing students to study whilst they’re working, too.
I’ve got more questions about the nursing courses at Birmingham City University. Is there someone I can chat to about them?
Of course! Please feel free to get in touch with an adviser here at Choices – we’ll be happy to help you with any other queries you may have. Call us on 0121 331 5595 or, if you’d prefer, drop us a line.