Belongingness is well recognized within higher education as having an important influence on the performance and wellbeing of learners but there appears to be little awareness of the importance of belongingness in undergraduate health professions education. Aim: To identify how belongingness has been defined, how belongingness has been measured, the impact of belongingness on the performance and well being of learners, and how belongingness can be fostered in educational settings. Methods A scoping review to map the published research in the wider higher education literature (including undergraduate health professions education). PubMed and ERIC were searched. Only peer reviewed articles in the English Language between 1996 and 2016 were included. Results Fifty one relevant articles were identified with 16 related to nurse clinical education. No studies were identified in undergraduate medical education or in primary care educational settings. There are common features in the several definitions of belongingness. A thematic analysis of articles revealed that belongingness has an important role in student motivation and learning, identity formation, and in facilitating positive mental health. Discussion The scoping review highlighted the importance of belongingness in higher education and also undergraduate health professions education, with implications for future practice and policy. Further research is recommended since there are important implications for curriculum development and delivery, including clinical placements; within medical education and primary care education.