Operating Department Practice - DipHE

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
September 2016, September 2017

This course is now full for September 2016.

View other Health courses or our full list of Clearing courses.

This is a specially designed two-year Diploma to prepare you to become a fully qualified Operating Department Practitioner - a vital part of the operating theatre team, with a role that varies from day to day.

As an Operating Department Practitioner, ODP, we'll train you to work alongside surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and health care support workers - with your job being to ensure that every operation is as safe and effective as possible.

What's covered in the course?

Our operating department course will give you the skills to work as a practitioner within the operating department environment so that you can help make sure each and every operation is a safe and effective as possible.

We'll help you do that by developing the skills needed for anaesthetic, surgical and post-op recovery care roles, plus help you develop an understanding of how these skills are adapted to various specialist situations.

As a result, this course will help you respond to changes in health care needs and priorities - and even better, you'll qualify as an Operating Theatre Practitioner in just two years.

Placements - a vitally important part of your training in the fundamentals of operating department practice - are primarily within operating theatres with NHS trusts and private healthcare facilities throughout Birmingham and beyond, and there may also be opportunities for broader healthcare experiences. You'll spend 60 per cent of your time on this course on work placement receiving hands-on training in the hospital environment, preparing you for independent practice after your graduate.

While on placement, you will receive continuous support and encouragement from both your personal tutor and trust placement manager.

Why Choose Us?

  • You'll learn the practical and theoretical aspects of being an effective Operating Department Practitioner.
  • In just two years we'll teach you what you need to know in the three main areas in Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) competence - anaesthetics, surgery and recovery - by a blend of focussed theory and practice, building your confidence as a practitioner.
  • You will be based in the £30 million award-winning Seacole Building, outstandingly equipped with simulated hospital wards, operating theatre, plaster room and laboratory.
  • You will be able to register with the Health and Care Professionals Council to work as a qualified Operating Department Practitioner and get great ODP jobs as a result.
  • We are one of the largest Operating Department Practice education and training providers in the UK - and one with a deserved reputation for excellence.
  • The course offers excellent potential for career development and almost all of our graduates go into work or further study within six months (95 per cent - DLHE).
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Open Day - 8 October 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is not open to International students
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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Russells Hall Hospital

And in jobs such as:

  • Operation Department Practitioner

Entry Requirements

Literacy and Numeracy testing is now required as part of the selection process for this programme. Try our sample tests and see how you would do!

Sample Test for Literacy

Sample Test for Numeracy

We now recruit to the values of the NHS constitution. This influences our selection criteria and especially the values we are seeking to be demonstrated in both your application and interview, which we view as essential in any individual involved in patient care.

A minimum of 220 UCAS tariff points:

Level 2 qualifications which must be achieved prior to application:
GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics or Functional Skills (English and Maths). (GCSE equivalents are accepted, e.g. Key Skills Level 2, Adult Numeracy, Adult Literacy).
Irish Leaving Certificate, Grade B3 or above to include English and Mathematics and preferably a science subject.
Scottish qualifications, Intermediate Standard 2 or above in English and Mathematics and preferably a science subject.
Plus one of the following Level 3 qualifications which you may be working towards:
GCE A/A2 Level
220 UCAS tariff points from a maximum of three A/A2 level passes. A typical offer would be CCD. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
GCE AS/A1 level
Two subjects accepted with A/A2 Level passes. Must achieve a minimum or 220 UCAS tariff points. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
GCE/AVCE Double Award in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade AB required (220 tariff points)
GCE A/A2 Level with additional AS/A1 (9 units)
Will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications to equate to 220 tariff points.
BTEC National Certificate in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade DD required (240 tariff points)
BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade MMM required (240 tariff points)
BTEC National Certificate in Early Years
Will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications to equate to 220 tariff points.
BTEC National Diploma in Early Years
Minimum Grade MMM required (220 tariff points)
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Minimum Grade 24 (260 tariff points)
CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education
Minimum Grade C required (240 UCAS tariff points)
Access to HE Diploma
Full award (60 credits) of which a minimum of 45 must be at Level 3 including 18 at Merit or Distinction of which a minimum of 12 must be in a Science or Health related subject and 15 at Level 2, must include Mathematics and English Language GCSE equivalent if not already achieved.
Advanced GNVQ in Health and Social Care
Distinction required (equates to AB at A2 - 220 points).
NVQ Level 4 in Health and Social Care
Full award required.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Maximum of 5 Highers at Grade C3 or above to achieve 220 UCAS tariff points.
Scottish Leaving Certificate
Maximum of 5 Advanced Highers at Grade C or above to achieve 220 UCAS tariff points.
14 –19 Progression Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Minimum Grade B required (250 points).
14-19 Advanced Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Full award.
OCR National Diploma
Minimum Grade D (240 points).
OCR National Extended Diploma
Minimum M3 (240 points)
The Open University K101 - An Introduction to Health and Social Care (or equivalents)
Completion of full year (transcripts will be required).
Foundation Degree
Foundation degrees will be reviewed on an individual basis and will require a transcript of the content of the course.

Other qualifications:

Applicants’ qualifications that are not listed will be considered on an individual basis.

In addition:
  • Applicants must have evidence of study within the last 5 years.
  • Applicants are required to undertake an interview*.
  • Places are subject to a satisfactory Occupational Enhanced Heath Check, Disclosure and Barring Service report and registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
  • Applicants should be aware that qualifications, personal statement, interview and reference all form part of the selection criteria for this course.

* Interviews: Candidates who are successfully short listed will be invited to attend a selection event. This will consist of an introduction talk from one of the ODP team which will include an outline of the day. This will be followed by a 30 minute numeracy paper followed by a short comfort break and then a literacy paper. Candidates will be offered a tour of the facilities here at Birmingham City University whilst the numeracy papers are marked. Any candidate who has not reached the required standard on this paper will not progress onto the interview stage and will be advised of this on return from the tour. Following lunch all remaining candidates will participate in an interview which will conclude the day. Applicants will be made aware of the outcome of the selection day by 31 March 2015.

Sample Numeracy and Literacy Test and Answers

Sample Test for Literacy - Answers

Sample Test for Numeracy - Answers

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
DipHE Sep 2016 FT 2 years NHS Funded
Sep 2017 FT 2 years TBC - see bottom of this tab for more information Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

This course is now full for September 2016.

You will be able to apply for 2017/18 via UCAS from 6 September 2016.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

NHS funding

Places on this course are funded by the NHS in September 2016 only.

Get more information about NHS funding

Changes to funding

From 1 August 2017, new students in England on nursing, midwifery and most allied health professional (AHP) pre-registration courses will have access to the standard student support package of loans for tuition fees and living costs, rather than getting an NHS grant.

Download information about fees for health students in 2017/18

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Course structure

Taught in state-of-the-art facilities, including an operating theatre, at Birmingham City University we use a variety of teaching methods to help you get the most from your study, reflecting the subject matter and your individual needs.

And as we're one of the largest ODP centres in the UK, we can offer you the chance to experience everything from transplant surgery to specialist oncology to neurosurgery.

From structured lectures to personal use of our multimedia facilities, we'll teach you how to:

  • Work as part of a team
  • Understand how an ODP fits into the team and what they do
  • Understand the role played by other professionals
  • Manage your clinical workload
  • Make informed decisions
  • Communicate effectively
  • Adapt to different practice settings
  • Adopt effective reporting and recording strategies

You will study 120 credits each at Level 4 and 5 and there's a 60-40 split between blocks of study and clinical placement.

Teaching breakdown

12 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
36 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
52 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

27 Written exams DarkOrange
73 Coursework FireBrick

Student stories - Katrina

Operating Department Practice student Katrina Ballie explains how enrolling on this course has benefitted her and enhanced her career prospects.

Student stories

ODPs play a crucial role working alongside surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses, preparing instruments and equipment, delivering patient care and assessment, and ensuring every operation is as safe and effective as possible.

Student Sean Duffy talks about his experiences on the DipHE Course Operating Department Practice at Birmingham City University.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

After completing this Diploma, you can specialise post-registration, or move into management or teaching.

A comprehensive portfolio of post-registration courses called Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is available within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences. Visit www.bcu.ac.uk/healthcpd. Many are taught as part-time flexible modules to fit around your work and domestic commitments.

Student stories

Award winning students

Star Alumni Spencer Hampton graduated in 2009 and is now an Operating Department Practitioner.

Enhancing Employability Skills

Upon registration as an ODP with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), you will be immediately able to work within a multi-disciplinary operating theatre team.

Although primarily employed within operating theatres, ODP's are increasingly recognised for their skills, clinical experience and knowledge, which are transferable to many healthcare settings, including:

  • Anaesthesia, Resuscitation, Surgery, Transplant or Trauma Teams
  • Post-Anaesthesia Care Unit (Recovery)
  • Management
  • Education
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Accident and Emergency
  • Helicopter Emergency Medical Services
  • Pre-Assessment Clinics
  • Casting Rooms/Orthopaedic Clinics


Placements are available within NHS Trusts and Private Healthcare Facilities throughout Birmingham and beyond. Placements are primarily within Operating Theatres but opportunities may be available for broader Healthcare experiences.

You'll spend over half of your time on this course on work placement at one of our major Trust partners. These include University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, City and Sandwell Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham Children's Hospital, but also The Priory and other centres of excellence are options - and are the best places to learn the fundamentals of Operating Department Practice, after all.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate Jobs

You will leave the course enabled to register as an ODP, as the vast majority of our students go on to do, in many cases then moving up the career leader to become things like Theatre Managers, Surgical Care Practitioners or Physician’s Assistants; there’s a wide range of career paths open to you.

These include:

  • Mentors
  • Management roles
  • Education routes, for example an education leads in trusts (Senior post)
  • Emergency care practitioner
  • Surgical first assistant
  • Surgical care practitioner

Other student opportunities

To enhance your CV, we offer extra-curricular student opportunities, such as a major incident simulation, that you can get involved in.

We are keen supporters of giving our ODP course students paid-for roles across the University, for example you’ll have the chance to get involved on our busy Open Days. You might also have an opportunity to carry out some small teaching posts, to foster a cascade learning approach, or as an academic advisor to help develop our curriculum for future students.

Student opportunities  >>


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses some of the best learning facilities in the UK.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Operating theatre

The mock operating theatre is set up in the way that you would it find in a hospital, with all of the machinery, tools and equipment necessary. Operating theatres can be daunting and confusing places on first view but with access to our mock theatre, you will be able to build up confidence and feel comfortable in your working environment.

Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement facility

The SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.

It is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, abdominal examination of a pregnant woman and caring for ill babies in an incubator.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

You will have access to all of the University’s libraries, including the main Kenrick Library on the City North Campus, which is open for almost 90 hours a week and holds more than 320,000 books, 2,000 print journals and carries more than 4,000 electronic journals online.

Computer facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Staff Introduction

All staff are very actively engaged in on-going clinical practice, bringing a wide range of experience and high motivation to learning. We also publish very actively in professional journals in the ODP field.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295