What is CATCH
Course awards and qualifications
Courses covered by CATCH
Courses not covered by CATCH
Nursing courses
Midwifery programmes
Student support


This guide is designed to give you sufficient information to select an appropriate Higher Education Institution and nursing or midwifery course. It is a condition of the processing of your application that you comply with all the requirements set out in this Guide. Information is provided on:

  • the application process and procedure
  • entry requirements
  • nursing and midwifery courses


The Centralised Applications to nursing and midwifery Training Clearing House, (CATCH), provides a system to process applications to Scottish Higher Education Institutions. CATCH ensures that applications are dealt with efficiently to the benefit of applicants and institutions.

CATCH processes applicants from their initial enquiry through to placement or otherwise at an institution of their choice. It will match your:

  • preferences with available places
  • educational qualifications with entry requirements

Additionally, it provides a clearing pool facility to give applicants an opportunity to be considered for any remaining course places.



Courses lead to the award of a Diploma of Higher Education or a Scottish Bachelor (ordinary) degree and to a professional qualification. The United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC) sets standards for education. To safeguard the public it maintains a Professional Register of nurses, midwives and health visitors. Approved courses prepare students for admission to the following parts of the Register:

Part 10 Registered Midwife (RM)
Part 12 Registered Nurse - Adult (RN)
Part 13 Registered Nurse - Mental Health (RN)
Part 14 Registered Nurse - Learning Disability (RN)
Part 15 Registered Nurse - Child (RN)



Courses are offered in Universities and Higher Education Institutions throughout Scotland. This guide contains information about all the institutions in the CATCH System. The map provided shows the geographical location of the institutions.

CATCH processes all applications for diploma and certain ordinary degree courses in nursing and midwifery offered by these institutions. This includes conversion courses and the pre-registration midwifery programme (shortened).



CATCH does NOT process applications for the Scottish Bachelors Degree with Honours nursing programmes and certain ordinary degree programmes which are listed below. Applications for these programmes are made through the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). This Guide contains the address of UCAS and the institutions along with a brief description of their programmes.

  • University of Abertay Dundee
BSc (Hons) in Nursing
  • University of Edinburgh
BSc (Nursing)/BSc with Honours (Nursing)
  • University of Glasgow
Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Nursing with Honours
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
BA/BA (Hons) Nursing Studies
  • Queen Margaret University College
BSc (Hons) Nursing
  • Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
BSc (Hons) in Nursing

CLARIFICATION NOTE: You will note that Glasgow Caledonian University and Robert Gordon University offer nursing programmes processed by both CATCH and UCAS ie:-

CATCH - Diploma of Higher Education/Scottish Bachelor degree (details contained in this Guide)
UCAS - Degree programmes with honours (as listed above)

If you wish to apply for the Diploma of Higher Education/Scottish Bachelor degree application is made through the CATCH System and full details are contained in this Guide. If you wish to apply for the Degree programmes with honours application is made through the UCAS system.

CATCH does NOT process applications to continuing education courses or adaptation courses.




Nursing courses lead to the award of a higher education diploma or degree and to registration on the Professional Register. They include theoretical preparation and periods of supervised practical experience in hospital and community.

The three-year course has two parts - one year full-time (or equivalent part-time) common foundation programme (CFP) and a two year full-time (or equivalent part-time) branch programme.

The CFP forms the base from which all further nursing preparation evolves. It includes such subjects as the theory and practice of nursing, communication processes, social, behavioural and life sciences and the framework for the provision of health care.

The second part, the Branch Programme, is designed to build on the foundation programme preparing the student to practise as a nurse in hospital or in the community in one of four areas:

  • adult nursing
  • mental health nursing
  • learning disability nursing
  • children's nursing

The subjects studied in each Branch Programme, while extending and developing those introduced in the foundation programme, will also include those specific to the student's chosen area of practice.

ADULT - The adult branch prepares students to work with people who are ill, injured or who have physical disabilities. You will work closely with adult patients to achieve the best quality of life for that person and the duties may range from helping someone to walk again after an accident to caring for elderly patients or those who are living with a long-term illness.

You will work in many different settings in hospitals (eg Accident and Emergency, Operating Departments, Out Patient Clinics or Intensive Care Units) and, increasingly, in the community.

MENTAL HEALTH - The mental health branch prepares students to work with people who suffer from a wide range of mental health problems. Working in this branch of nursing, you will help people and their families to cope with the problems they are facing and also work to promote mental health. You will use your skills and knowledge to work in partnership with individual patients to develop appropriate plans of action.

You will work in a variety of settings including hospitals, hostels, health centres and people's homes.

LEARNING DISABILITY - This branch prepares students to work with people with learning disabilities. Nurses establish involved, caring relationships to help people with learning disabilities become more independent and develop particular talents. You will assess people's abilities, preferences and needs and provide skilled and knowledgeable assistance to enable each person to have a full and satisfying a life as possible.

You will work mainly in the community as the majority of people with learning difficulties live at home or in residential homes with staff support.

CHILDREN - The child branch prepares students to work with ill or badly injured children and their families. You will assess each child's needs and plan their care. Children cannot always describe how they are feeling and the nurse must learn to be observant. Babies and young children in Intensive Care Units need unfailing attention and the distress of the family can make heavy demands on nurses.

You will work mainly in hospitals but some nurses care for children in schools, clinics or health centres, as well as at home.


In addition to the three year course there are a small number of conversion courses for nurses who are already registered at first level. These courses lead to Registration on another part of the Register and are based on the branch programmes. (eg a Children's Nurse (RSCN or RN) could apply for a conversion course in Adult, Mental Health or Learning Disability nursing.)

Please Note - During the clinical part of all nursing courses students will be required to work the normal hours of duty of the area. This may include early, late, night and weekend duties.




Midwifery programmes lead to the award of a higher education diploma or degree and to registration on the Professional Register. Like the nursing courses they include theoretical preparation and periods of supervised practical experience in hospital and community.

Subjects studied include theory and practice of midwifery; communication skills; social, behavioural and life sciences relevant to midwifery; professional, ethical and moral issues; organisational structure and processes; health education and health promotion.

Midwives provide care and support to women during the pregnancy and birth of the baby, and offer guidance on the health of mothers and babies in the days following birth. Mothers come from a wide range of backgrounds and midwives must be sensitive to individual differences and use their skills to help women and their families enjoy the experience of having a baby.

Midwives work in both hospital and community settings.


In addition to the pre-registration three-year programme there is a shortened eighteen month midwifery programme available to Registered General Nurses (RGN) and Registered Nurses - Adult (RN).

Please Note - During the clinical part of all midwifery courses students will be required to work the normal hours of duty of the area. This may include early, late, night and weekend duties.



Students on a pre-registration nursing or midwifery diploma or degree course processed by CATCH have the status of students in higher education. All students are eligible for a bursary under the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary Scheme, which is administered by the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary Section of the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

The bursary is made up of two elements. A personal allowance which is not means-tested, and a dependants' allowance which is means-tested and is intended to assist in supporting students' dependants.

Once you have been accepted on to a course and three months before the course begins, the Higher Education Institution will send you a bursary application form to complete. The institution will provide application forms for the personal allowance for the second and third years of the course. Applications for the dependants' allowance must be made each year and forms are available from SAAS.

Current levels of personal allowance are:

* Age under 26 at start of course - 4803 per annum
Age 26 or over at start of course - 5409 per annum
Graduate on 2 year training programme - 5409 per annum

The rates are reviewed from time to time.

* Note: A student who reaches the age of 26 years during the course will not qualify for the higher personal allowance. The level of personal allowance to be paid throughout the course will be determined by a student's age at the start of the course.

The amount of dependant's allowance payable will depend on the level of your dependant's income, if any. The greater the income, the lower the value of the allowance. For further information about the dependant's allowance you should contact the SAAS whose address is shown at the end of this section.

The personal allowance element of the bursary will be in the form of a payable order which will be sent to the Higher Education Institution for collection. Dependants' allowances will be paid to your correspondence address or bank or building society account. All the allowances will be paid at the start of a course and quarterly thereafter. You are not eligible for a student loan while receiving a bursary.

Reimbursement of excess travel and subsistence costs in respect of clinical placements will be made by SAAS on application. All such claims must be certified by the Higher Education Institution before they are forwarded to SAAS. Normal daily travel costs to and from the institution will, however, require to be met from the bursary.

Students who have previously been in receipt of a SAAS grant are still eligible for a bursary. The bursary, however, may be taken into account if you subsequently apply for a further/higher education grant or a further bursary under the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary Scheme.

Applicants who have been employed by the NHS for over a year and are accepted for a course may be considered for secondment by their employer on the basis of their existing pay and conditions. It is the employer's right to decide whether or not to second applicants.

For further information on the payment of bursaries you should contact the Higher Education Institution (if accepted on a course) or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), Nursing and Midwifery Bursary Section, Gyleview House, 3 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9HH.