Access to Nursing (SWAP) Level 6 NQ

What is special about this course?

If you’d like to work in the health sector but lack the necessary qualifications this Access course can help get you on the right track.   

Designed for students who have been out of education for more than 3 years, the Scottish Wider Access Programme provides a gateway to nursing. This course can help you move on to university to study adult nursing, mental health nursing, learning disability nursing or child nursing.  

You will receive  a solid grounding in healthcare, as well as building confidence and self-esteem through studying with like-minded people, to prepare you for the return to education.   

Progression to University

UWS is one of the SWAP West university partners responsible for placements for Adult and Mental Health Nursing. If you choose to progress to UWS from UHI Argyll, you may be prioritised for an Argyll placement. 

Entry requirements

There are no academic entry requirements for this course but we expect you to have: 

  • Experience of working in a care setting (desirable but not essential) 
  • Good communication skills and a real interest in working with people 

SWAP (Scottish Wider Access Programme) entry requirements: 

  • You have been out of education for at least 3 years and your highest qualification is SCQF level 5 (Standard Grade, Int 2, GCSE or equivalent)


  • You have been out of education for at least 5 years and your highest qualification is SCQF level 6 or higher (Highers, A Levels, HN or equivalent 

If you have previously studied at university, but did not complete your degree, you will not normally be eligible. However, if there are exceptional individual circumstances to consider, these could potentially allow you to be considered for a SWAP course. More information can be found here.  

  • Basic First Aid 
  • Care: Human Development and Behaviour
  • Care: Social Influences
  • Care: Values and Principles
  • Caring for People with Dementia
  • Communication (NC)
  • Communication in Care Relationships 
  • Health Promotion
  • ICT
  • Literature 1
  • Mental Health Issues: An Introduction
  • Numeracy
  • Preparation for HE (SWAP)
  • Prevention of Infection
  • Safeguarding People 
  • Stress and Stress Management 
  • The Human Body

During the course you will take part in two practical study days, one in each semester, where you will work in a clinical environment. 

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Your course will generally be a mix of scheduled connected learning time, and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments. 

When we talk about ‘Connected Learning’ we mean that you will learn together with your lecturers and fellow classmates at a scheduled time in an online classroom. This will include a combination of video conferencing (like a Zoom call), interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students, so it’s a much richer experience than purely online learning.

You will attend class for approximately 3 days per week. You will be required spend around 8 hours in flexible learning outside of class.

In 2022-23 we fully expect all courses to be taught in our learning centres, where you will still take part in a virtual classroom, connecting with a few of our other locations, but you may have fellow students with you in your learning centre. 

Find out more about how you will learn with us.


How long will my course last?

1 Academic Year

Where can I study my course?

    • Arran Learning Centre
    • Campbeltown Hazelburn Learning Centre
    • Dunoon Learning Centre
    • Helensburgh Learning Centre
    • Islay Learning Centre
    • Lochgilphead Learning Centre
    • Oban Learning Centre
    • Rothesay Learning Centre

Start date



Most full-time students will automatically have their course fees paid for this course.   

If you have recently moved to, or do not normally live in Scotland, you may need to pay £5,970 in course fees, these can be paid in instalments. Families of Armed Services personnel are subject to different fees regulations and may also have to pay course fees. If you think this may apply to you, please contact us and we can advise you. 

This course is not available to students who require a Tier 4 Home Office visa to study in Scotland (international or EU). 

Part-time FE students who are on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits may also have their course fees paid for them. Please refer to page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide to see if you are eligible.  

Each single SQA unit costs £90. You may be able to apply for an Individual Training Account (ITA) to cover up to £200 of part time fees. 


Bursary for Living Costs 

If you are 18 years of age or over on the start date of your course, and will be studying full-time you may be eligible for bursary funding, depending on your household income. Our bursary fund is finite and is allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so it’s important to make your application for bursary as soon as the application process opens in July. You will need to have accepted our offer before you apply. 

If you are under 18 you may be eligible for EMA. EMA is paid at a rate of £30 per week dependent on your total household income.  

Please see page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide for full details of Bursary and EMA.  

You may also be eligible for assistance with travel and childcare, and we have discretionary funds for those students in need. You can find all the information you need in our funding pages

What can I do on completion of my course?

This course is designed to prepare you for a Nursing programme at a variety of Universities in Scotland including:

Please note that this course WILL NOT give you access to Midwifery or Paramedic Science degree programmes.

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

This Access course is a great opportunity for those hoping to work in the health industry in a variety of roles including Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Learning Disability Nursing or Child Nursing. The course aims to provide the necessary skills and knowledge for academic progression in the healthcare industry whilst aiming to build self-confidence for those who have not been in formal education for a while.

Apply for Access to Nursing (SWAP) Level 6 NQ

I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Argyll. UHI Argyll operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.