Operating Department Practice - DipHE

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
September 2016

Please choose how and when you would like to attend the course...

See the UCAS website for help and guidance with your application.

The course enjoys an excellent record in graduate employment, and gives you eligibility to apply for Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)* registration. It prepares you to play a vital role as an operating department practitioner, working primarily within operating theatres as a surgical, anaesthetic or recovery practitioner, caring for patients through the perioperative journey, and ensuring the safe preparation of instruments and equipment.

What's covered in the course?

Your study and academic skills are developed through structured lectures, enquiry-based learning and use of our multimedia facilities. The focus for learning in the classroom is to help you to work as part of a team, and how, as an operating department practitioner (ODP), you fit into that team. However, you spend the greater part of your time learning through practice.

You gain an understanding of the role played by other professionals, and learn how to effectively manage your clinical workload. You learn how to make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and adapt to different practice settings. You also gain effective reporting and recording strategies.

Placements are primarily within operating theatres within NHS trusts and private healthcare facilities throughout Birmingham and beyond, and there may also be opportunities for broader healthcare experiences. While on placement, you receive continuous support and encouragement from both your personal tutor and trust placement manager.

*The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) formerly known as the Health Professions Council (HPC).

“It’s challenging...two years ago I never thought I would be in an operating theatre, standing there handing instruments to the surgeon; it’s fantastic.” Patrick Power

Why Choose Us?

  • Strongly emphasising practical skills and experience, the course involves spending up to 70 per cent of your time on clinical placement.
  • Our excellent relationships with NHS trusts and other health providers mean you will have plenty of opportunities to gain relevant and beneficial experience.
  • Our teaching staff, all of whom have an appropriate clinical background and many years of teaching experience, can offer unique first-hand perspectives on current practice.
  • The course offers excellent potential for career development and typically achieves a 100 per cent employment record for graduates.
  • You will be based in the £30 million award-winning Seacole Building, outstandingly equipped with mock hospital wards, mock operating theatre, plaster room and laboratory.
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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:

  • Russels 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

New UCAS tariff

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 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.

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

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Our advice for applying to a health care course

Applying for a course and preparing for an interview can be a daunting process, so we have created a series of films to help you through the process, including what to put in your personal statement.

More guidance

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.

Get more information about NHS funding

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.

Grants and Scholarships

Want to join us in September 2016? Undergraduate students can receive up to £4,000* in non repayable financial support.

*(criteria will apply)

Course structure

The course is taught in state-of-the-art facilities, including a mock theatre and plaster room, where we use a variety of teaching methods to help you get the most from your study, reflecting the subject matter and your individual needs.

From structured lectures to personal use of our multimedia facilities, the focus for learning in the classroom is to help you 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.

Additional support

If you are dyslexic, have a specific learning difference or a disability, we have a Disability Tutor who can help and support you. 

More on our disability tutor >>

We offer extra technical and learning support.

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

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.

Erasmus scheme

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

You can specialise post-registration or move into management or teaching.

A comprehensive portfolio of post-registration short courses that focuses on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is available, along with other postgraduate schemes.

Many are taught as part-time flexible modules to fit around your work and domestic commitments.

Advice is available on an individual basis on request, with reference to appropriate subjects, levels and routes of access.

Student stories

Award winning students

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

Employment opportunities

Upon registration as an ODP with the Health and Care Professions Council you will work within a multi-disciplinary operating theatre team. Although primarily employed within operating theatres, they are increasingly recognised for skills, clinical experience and knowledge which can be transferred to many health care settings, including:

  • Anaesthesia, resuscitation, surgery, transplant
  • 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.

A placement is your chance to be a part of the working world of health and social care as it really is: your first taste of your career. For most of our courses, it's a compulsory part of your training; it's that important.

Placements help you with your confidence, by putting theory from the classroom into practice. We make sure you get a quality experience and that you are fully supported by a workplace mentor on hand throughout your placement.


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.

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.

Student opportunities  >>


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

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.

What is an operating department practitioner?

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are health care professionals who, on qualification, are eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

They work in teams including surgeons and anaesthetists in carrying out intricate and complex clinical procedures, and work alongside health care colleagues in order to provide a high standard of patient focused care throughout the patient's perioperative journey.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

+44 (0)125 350 2917

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389


Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295