Studying nursing in the UK is an increasingly popular option for international students looking to kickstart a rewarding career in healthcare. With a critical shortage of nurses in the UK, nursing degrees are often cheaper and faster to complete than in other countries.
In 2024, new government policies are making it even easier for international students to study nursing in the UK for free, with additional visa sponsorship and settlement opportunities after graduation.This definitive guide covers everything you need to know about studying nursing in the UK for free next year, including:
- Fully funded UK nursing degrees for international students
- Universities offering nursing degrees with guaranteed jobs
- How to apply for nursing degree apprenticeship programs
- Tips for getting post-study work visas & settlement in the UK
So if you want to become a UK registered nurse without paying any tuition fees, keep reading.
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Fully Funded Nursing Degrees In The UK For International Students
The most straightforward way of studying nursing for free in the UK is to apply for universities that offer scholarships or financial assistance for international students.
Here are some of the best options for fully funded nursing degrees in 2024:
1. University of West London International Excellence Scholarship
The University of West London is offering a 100% scholarship for the tuition fees of its Nursing Studies degree. This scholarship is open to all non-UK international students starting in September 2024.
To be eligible you’ll need to have an IELTS score of 7.0 (with no less than 6.5 in each band).
You’ll also need to write a 500 word personal statement explaining why you deserve the scholarship.The scholarship covers the full £15,700 tuition fees for the 3 year nursing degree. You’ll still need to budget for living costs, which are estimated at £12,000 per year.
2. Oxford Brookes Headley Way Scholarship
Oxford Brookes University has an excellent reputation for nursing education and offers up to 16 Headley Way Scholarships each year.
These are worth £25,000 each and cover the full cost of international tuition fees and contribute towards living expenses.To apply for this scholarship starting in September 2024, you’ll need an IELTS score of 7.0 (with 7.0 in writing and speaking). The application deadline is 31st May 2024.
3. University of Greenwich International Scholarships
The University of Greenwich in London offers 150 Chancellor’s Scholarships for new international students each year.
These cover 25% of tuition fees for any degree programme.So if you choose to study one of their Nursing courses starting in 2024, you’ll automatically get around £4,000 off your fees.
To be eligible you’ll need to have an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each band. The deadline is 30th June 2024.
4. Swansea University International Excellence Scholarships
Swansea University has an excellent Medical School and offers up to 50 excellence scholarships per year for new international undergraduate students.
You can use these £5,000 scholarships to study any subject, including the Adult, Child or Mental Health Nursing degrees.To apply for 2024 entry, you’ll need A-levels or equivalent with grades BBC.
The deadline is 1st June 2024.
So those are four great options to study nursing completely free as an international student starting next year!
Cheap UK Nursing Degrees With Guaranteed Jobs
As well as scholarships, some universities also guarantee all nursing students a job with the NHS after graduating. This makes getting post-study work rights and visa sponsorship much easier.
Here are two top nursing degrees where you’re guaranteed a nursing job after graduating:
1. Anglia Ruskin University – Nursing Studies (RN)
Anglia Ruskin University offers a 3 year fast-track Nursing Studies degree for students with existing healthcare experience and qualifications.
The best part is they guarantee all nursing graduates a full-time Band 5 Registered Nurse position with the NHS for at least 2 years after completing the course.
So you’re able to start working as an RN immediately, and the NHS will sponsor your skilled worker visa. 2024 tuition fees will be around £13,900 per year.
2. University of Cumbria – Nursing Studies (RN)
Similar to Anglia Ruskin, the University of Cumbria offers a 24 month accelerated Nursing Studies course designed for those already working in healthcare.
Again, all graduates are guaranteed at least 2 years of full-time employment with the NHS after completing the course.
For September 2024 entry, tuition fees are expected to be around £13,500 per year. The University also offers scholarships to help cover costs. So those two options combine affordable tuition fees with excellent job prospects and visa sponsorship opportunities after graduating.
How To Apply For Nursing Degree Apprenticeships In The UK
If you want to earn while you learn, another option is to apply for one of the UK’s nursing degree apprenticeship programs.These allow you to work for the NHS and study part-time towards a fully funded nursing degree qualification over 4-6 years.
Here’s what you need to know about securing a nursing degree apprenticeship in 2024:
To be eligible for a UK nursing degree apprenticeship you’ll need:
- At least 2 A-levels or equivalent
- IELTS score of 7.0 (6.5 minimum in each band)
- To be aged 18+ on starting the program
- The right to work in the UK throughout the apprenticeship
How To Apply
Applications for 2024 nursing degree apprenticeships open in early 2023. Here are the steps:
- Search online – Search “Nursing Degree Apprenticeship” along with your preferred UK location to find vacancies
- Choose & apply – Choose an approved healthcare provider and apply directly via their website
- Interview – If shortlisted you’ll be invited for an interview to assess your skills and suitability
- Enrol – If successful, you’ll enrol at the education provider and agree a study + work schedule
The main benefits of completing a nursing degree apprenticeship include:
- Zero tuition fees – Apprenticeships are completely funded by the NHS
- Earn a salary – Get paid an apprentice wage throughout your study
- Guaranteed job – Registered Nurse position on qualifying
- Visa sponsorship – Chance to stay in the UK after graduating
So in summary, nursing degree apprenticeships let you gain a full BSc qualification and nursing registration while working and without paying any fees.
Getting A Post-Study Work Visa After Graduating
Once you’ve completed your nursing studies in the UK, the next step is to switch onto the UK’s Graduate immigration route so you can work full-time for at least 2 years after graduating.
Here’s everything international nursing graduates need to know about getting post-study work rights in the UK:
Graduate Visa Requirements
To apply for the Graduate immigration route in 2024, you’ll need:
- To have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above
- To have studied at a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance
- To apply within 6 months of completing your degree
- To have a valid CAS statement from your university
Your visa will then allow you to live, work and search for work in the UK for 2 years (3 years if you did a PhD).
Priority Visa Processing
In 2024, the UK Home Office is introducing priority Graduate Route visa processing for students who:
- Graduated from certain Master’s degrees related to cyber security, artificial intelligence and other high-demand fields
- Graduated with a first-class degree in any subject from a Russell Group University
Pathway To Settlement
After your 2 years on the Graduate route, there will also be new opportunities to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) in 2024 and beyond.
For example, home secretary James Cleverly has proposed reducing the general residency requirements for settlement from 5 years to 3 years for graduates. So in summary – studying nursing in the UK is a great pathway to long-term work and settlement opportunities after you graduate.
Next Steps To Study Nursing In The UK For Free
I hope this guide has provided lots of useful advice on how to study nursing in the UK without paying tuition fees in 2024, including scholarship, apprenticeship and visa options. Here are some suggested next steps:
- Research universities and courses – Make a shortlist of your preferred nursing degree options in the UK
- Check entry criteria – Confirm the exact grades and English language level needed for each one
- Apply for scholarships – Note the deadlines and eligibility criteria for funding/scholarships
- Prepare your applications – Start drafting your personal statements and gathering documents
- Sit your IELTS – Book and take an IELTS English test during early 2023
And remember the key 2024 enrollment deadlines:
- Undergraduate degrees – January to June 2024
- Apprenticeships – March to July 2024
So what are you waiting for? With so many funded pathways and guaranteed jobs, now is the perfect time to start your application to study nursing in the UK. We wish you the very best of luck – you’ve got this.