Bachelor of Nursing.xml Bachelor of Nursing

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DegreeFull-time, 3 years

Programme code



Christchurch: February, July | Timaru: February





Domestic Applications due

30 April for July start. 30 September for February start.

International Applications due

30 April for July start, 30 September for February start


Christchurch - Manawa Campus, Timaru

Annual Fees(indictive 2020)


$7,540 -$8,060



Course related costs

$800 text books in Year 1, $325 equipment, indemnity insurance, expenses associated with clinical placement, vaccinations/ immunisations, $240 Nursing Council for NZ exam fee Year 3.

About this programme

Learn from experts in specialist facilities and help meet the increasing need for qualified registered nurses.

Got questions about studying nursing at Ara? Get the answers to frequently asked questions here.

This three-year degree programme will enable you to apply for registration as a Registered Nurse with the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

You will gain an understanding of the many opportunities available for a career in nursing and be challenged to go beyond traditional health and illness care and focus on creating a supportive environment for health and wellbeing.

This programme is highly regarded nationally and combines theory with clinical experience and meets the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) Competencies for the Registered Nurse Scope of Practice.

We will give you the opportunity to explore the diverse environments and relevant cultural understandings that nurses work within from hospitals, rest homes and health clinics to private practices and community care agencies.

Ara frequently leads the sector for graduate outcomes, with 92.6% of all November 2017 nurse graduates in employment within three months of completion (according to the "New Graduate Destinations" survey, conducted by Nurse Education in the Tertiary Sector).

If you have an undergraduate degree you can fast track completion of this qualification, together with a Master of Health Sciences from the University of Canterbury, in just two years. Find out more about the combined Bachelor of Nursing (Articulated with University of Canterbury Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice (Nursing) programme.

Please note: As places are limited on this programme we strongly recommend applying as soon as you know you wish to study with us.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the Bachelor of Nursing are eligible to sit the NCNZ registration exam to become a registered nurse.

You can then choose to work in general nursing, or specialist fields such as intensive care, cancer nursing, women's health, mental health, community or elderly care.

Study pathways

Once you are a registered nurse advance your knowledge of additional clinical practice with specialisations included within the Graduate Certificate in Nursing Practice as part of your on-going professional development.

Recommended school subjects

Programme structure

To complete this Degree you are required to complete 360 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • University Entrance: NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include:

    • 14 credits at Level 3 in:
      • English or an approved literacy subject*
      • Biology or physical education or chemistry
      • One other subject from the list of approved subjects*
    • Numeracy* - 14 credits at Level 1 or above

    New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) Ara Pre Health Pathway or equivalent

    If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

    *NZQA approved subjects: see

Alternative requirements
  • Still want to study but don't meet the Academic Requirements?

    If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

    Note: This qualification may be reduced where you have relevant credits from previous study, or evidence of similar learning or experience in the workplace. Contact Ara for advice.

Additional requirements
  • In addition you need to:

    • provide a personal statement outlining why you have chosen nursing as a career and describe personal qualities and relevant aspects from your life experiences which will enhance your application.
    • provide evidence of good character and personal attributes via two referee report(s).
    • provide a first aid certificate (Red Cross Comprehensive or St John's Workplace) which is current at the time the programme starts.
    • meet various Health Authority requirements in order to participate in the clinical components of the programme. Currently, MRSA clearance is required by most clinical practice areas.
    • Consent to Disclosure of Information. Successful applicants will be required to complete a New Zealand Police Consent to Disclosure of Information form depending on your placement. The form will be sent to the Police Licensing and Vetting Service, and returned in confidence to the Head of School. Information on the NZ Police Vetting Service is available from the New Zealand Police website.
    • you may be required to attend an interview if you meet academic entry criteria to ensure you will meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand requirements for registration on completion of the programme.

    Your personal statement, referees' reports, and interview (if required) should provide evidence of appropriateness to study for the nursing profession.

English requirements
  • IELTS 6.5 Academic (no lower than 6.5 in speaking, reading and writing subtests and 6.5 in listening subtest).
  • What if English is not my first Language?

    If English is not your first language, we want to make sure that you will be successful in your chosen programme of study. Please provide a result from a test or qualification on the acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Chart .


    • If you are a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, complete an Admission and Enrolment form and Ara will contact you regarding a free assessment.
    • If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent resident, book an IELTS, Pearson or other test through the Ara Examination Centre or in your home country.

    IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS test report form and are valid for two years from the date of the test.

    What if I have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance?

    The English Language requirements for this programme are higher than the minimum set by NZQA, therefore; applicants who have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance may be required to provide evidence of English Language skills.

Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

All applicants must meet academic entry criteria. They are then ranked based on their personal statement and referee reports, with preference given to those who demonstrate evidence of meeting the following selection criteria to ensure that the requirements of the Nursing Council of New Zealand will be met:

  • Attributes for the profession
  • Institutional strategic directives including residency in the wider Canterbury area

Those who are not initially accepted but who meet entry criteria will be waitlisted in order of ranking.

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • complete an application pack and application form

If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme, we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes.

Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.