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Study nursing abroad

An in-depth guide to studying nursing as an international student.

Nursing degrees abroad

Nurses and healthcare professionals are always in high demand, all over the world. A degree in nursing will give the skills you need to look after the needs of patients, both physical and psychological. It is a key role that is an essential part of every country’s health service.

Many countries have a shortage of nurses, so your skills will be in high demand. Choosing to study nursing abroad means gaining access to world-class programs and giving yourself the best chance to reach your potential.

Nursing program structure

The structure, content and length of a nursing program will depend on the university and country you are studying in. It’s possible to become a registered nurse in two years in certain countries, and in others you’ll need to study for at least three years to qualify.

Many programs include hospital placements, where you’ll be able to work in a range of areas like surgery, accident and emergency, medicine and critical care.

You can spend up to 50% of your time in placement, and the rest of your learning will be made up of lectures, practical classes and independent study.

You’ll be assessed through written and practical exams, coursework and your performance while on placement.

If you are studying at bachelor’s level, you’ll learn the theory behind nursing, clinical skills and develop your understanding through teaching and hospital placements. Common modules and areas of study include:

  • Foundations of nursing
  • Person-centered nursing
  • Communication skills
  • Therapeutic approach and practice
  • Global health issues
  • Introduction to professional practice
  • Research methods
  • Healthcare sciences
  • Medicine management
  • Medicine management
  • Practical nursing skills

Types of nursing degrees

There are several different specializations of nursing you can choose from that focus your studies in a certain area, and will shape your future career:

  • Adult nursing
  • Child nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Learning disability nursing
  • Midwifery

Think about what area of nursing you want to go into when choosing which program you’d like to study.

Why study nursing abroad

Choosing to study nursing abroad means you can access some of the best programs from around the world and great career opportunities after graduation.

If you dream of working as a nurse in a certain country, studying and earning your degree there will make it much easier. Most nursing programs will be accredited in that country, and allow you to work there once you have the relevant work permit.

Studying abroad has many other benefits that make it a worthwhile experience. You’ll get to learn all about another culture, improve your language skills, make new friends from all over the world and get a fantastic education. Learn more about the benefits of studying abroad here.

Where to study nursing abroad

There’s plenty to think about when you’re deciding where you should study nursing abroad. Here’s some of the things that are worth considering to help you make your decision:

  • Where you want to work

    Studying in the same country you want to work in will make getting a nursing role much easier, so think about where you want to live after graduation.

  • How quickly you want to qualify

    The length of you studies can vary depending on the country you study in. For example, it’s possible to become a registered nurse in two years in the US, but it usually takes three years in the UK.

  • Where you want to live

    Think about things like the climate, culture and politics of where you want to live and study. Remember you’ll be living there for several years, so it needs to be somewhere you’ll be happy.

Here’s how you can choose where to study abroad.

Best countries to study nursing

If you want to attend one of the top nursing schools, then you could look to study in the US, or the UK. Not only do they have some of the best programs, but both these countries are in need of more nurses, so you’ll have strong career prospects if you choose to stay and work.

Other countries that offer well respected nursing programs include Canada and Australia. These countries offer degrees that are recognized all over the world, but you may need to do some additional courses and exams if you want to work in another country after graduation.

Best universities to study nursing

In order to find the best university to study nursing, there are several things you should think about outside of which are the highest ranked programs.

Make sure you look at the program curriculum and what else the university offers, and think about things like:

  • What placements the program offers
  • What teaching methods are used, for example, does the program involve more lectures or practical work?
  • What the university offers outside the classroom, e.g. student clubs, sports and social activities

You can study nursing at universities, medical schools or specialist nursing schools and colleges from all over the world, so take your time to make the right decision for you.

See all universities offering nursing programs

How to study nursing abroad

  1. Universities & programs

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations

  2. Application assistance

    Be guided through your application process

  3. Visa & embassy guidance

    Maximise your chances of being granted a visa

  4. Enrollment & travel advice

    Get support all the way to your first day at university

Speak to a personal advisor (free service)

Nursing study abroad programs

Nursing programs are offered at several different levels, and qualifications can differ depending on what country you are studying in. For example:

  • In the UK

    You can study a BSc or BNurs at undergraduate level. These courses last three years full time and you qualify as a registered nurse when you graduate. You can also study an MNurs, which is four years and will earn you a master’s qualification.

  • In the US and Canada

    You can study an associate degree in nursing (ADN), which can take up to two years to complete. You can also study a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN), which takes four years. You can also convert an ADN to a bachelor’s by taking a two year RN to BSN program.

  • In Australia and New Zealand

    You can study a diploma of nursing, which lasts two years, or a three year bachelor of nursing which lasts three years. If you study a diploma you’ll qualify as an enrolled nurse, but you’ll qualify as a registered nurse if you study a bachelor’s degree.

It’s also possible to study master’s degrees in nursing, usually offered as an MSc and MSN. If you want to study at the highest level, many universities offer PhD in nursing. Many nurses that study a PhD do so part time over five or more years while working, with the aim of becoming a nurse researcher.

Nursing undergraduate programs

Diploma in nursing

  • false

    Nursing - Dip MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    30 months
    Tuition fees per year
    4,600 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - Dip RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,000 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Practical Nursing - Dip Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,412 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Practical Nursing
  • false

    Practical Nursing - Dip Northern Lights College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    8,708 CAD
    Start date
    October
    Show program overview about Practical Nursing
  • false

    Nursing Unit Clerk - Dip Stenberg College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    9 months
    Tuition fees per year
    14,900 CAD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Nursing Unit Clerk
See all undergraduate diplomas in nursing

Bachelor's in nursing

  • false

    Nursing - BSN MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    5,300 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing (RNs Only) - BSN Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    35,736 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Nursing (RNs Only)
  • false

    Nursing - BSc St. Francis College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    26,688 USD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - BSN Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    31,834 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - BSc University of Kansas, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    26,960 USD
    Start date
    January, June, August
    Show program overview about Nursing
See all bachelor's degrees in nursing

Pathway in nursing

  • false

    Nursing (NMC registration) - FdSc Buckinghamshire New University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    12,500 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Nursing (NMC registration)
See all undergraduate pathways in nursing

Associate in nursing

  • false

    Nursing - ADN Midway University, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,500 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - AASc Mohawk Valley Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,892 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - ASc Campbellsville University, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    25,400 USD
    Start date
    January, August, October
    Show program overview about Nursing
See all associate degrees in nursing

Nursing graduate programs

Master's in nursing

  • false

    Nursing - MSN MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,300 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner - MSN Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    44,100 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
  • false

    Nursing (Nursing Education) - MSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    25,818 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Nursing (Nursing Education)
  • false

    Nursing, research - MSc RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,720 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Nursing, research
  • false

    Nursing & Health - MSN University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    18,150 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Nursing & Health
See all master's degrees in nursing

Doctorate in nursing

  • false

    Nursing - PhD MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,300 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - PhD RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,720 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - PhD University of Tasmania, Australia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    36,422 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Nursing (Nurse Anesthesia) - PhD University of Southern Mississippi, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    10,770 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Nursing (Nurse Anesthesia)
  • false

    Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner - PhD Fairfield University, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    47,650 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner
See all doctorates in nursing

Diploma in nursing

  • false

    Pediatric Nursing - PGDip MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    7,100 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Pediatric Nursing
  • false

    Nursing: Mental Health (NMC Registration) - GDip Buckinghamshire New University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    12,500 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Nursing: Mental Health (NMC Registration)
  • false

    Practical Nursing - OCDip Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    15 months
    Tuition fees per year
    19,466 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Practical Nursing
See all postgraduate diplomas in nursing

Certificate in nursing

  • false

    Renal Care Nursing - PGCert MAHSA University, Malaysia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    6 months
    Tuition fees per year
    4,800 USD
    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Renal Care Nursing
  • false

    Clinical Nursing - PGCert University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    17,615 AUD
    Start date
    February, July, September
    Show program overview about Clinical Nursing
  • false

    Nursing - PGCert University of Tasmania, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    16,800 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Nursing
  • false

    Advanced Practice in District Nursing with Specialist Practitioner Qualification - PGCert Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    12,980 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Advanced Practice in District Nursing with Specialist Practitioner Qualification
See all postgraduate certificates in nursing

Entry requirements to study nursing abroad

To be accepted into a nursing program abroad, you’ll need to meet the university’s entry requirements. Although each university and program will have its own specific requirements, here is what you will probably need to study nursing:

To achieve the secondary education grades required for the nursing program (e.g. a GPA of 3.0 or higher, 3 Bs at A-Level, or an IB Diploma score of 34) A personal statement that outlines your interest in the nursing Good English language proficiency test scores Relevant academic references

Always check the entry requirements and carefully and make sure you can meet them before you apply. Here is more on how to study abroad.

Future nursing careers

Nursing is a truly vocational course, and if you achieve a degree it’s very likely you will go on to become a professional registered nurse. However, there are different nursing roles you can pursue, including:

  • Registered nurse
  • Mental health nurse
  • Pediatric nurse
  • Learning disability nurse
  • Care worker
  • Midwife
  • Paramedic

If you know which nursing role you want to perform after graduation, make sure you choose a program that will help you achieve your aims.