Medical Ultrasound - BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code:
B800
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2017
Campus:

This course is now full for 2017/18. You can now apply for 2018/19 via UCAS.

If you'd still like to apply for this September, read our advice and take our quiz for your next steps.

Start your journey to a highly rewarding profession as a sonographer with our BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound course. As the first university to offer an undergraduate course in Medical Ultrasound, you can rest assured that you will be learning from experienced practitioners and a proven course structure that will successfully prepare you for a fulfilling career. 

As a sonographer, you will produce detailed medical images, interpret them and at the same time provide support and communicate your findings with patients in your care. The work of a sonographer can be very rewarding and your clinical expertise will be sought after in a range of medical settings such as hospital imaging departments, maternity units, doctor’s surgeries, community clinics and private sector ultrasound clinics.

What's covered in the course?

Our Medical Ultrasound course will enable you to develop the core skills of a sonographer such as care and communications, technical skills and clinical knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis.

Your skills will be developed through real-life work placements, lectures and seminars in the classroom held by experienced staff who are practicing or former sonographers or radiographers, independent study time, e-learning and ultrasound simulators within our £41 million City South Campus.

A variety of learning and teaching methods will be used for your development into a technically competent, caring and knowledgeable sonographer. It is essential to the practice that you respect diversity, ensure equality and use a sound understanding of legal, ethical and professional issues to positively impact on care scenarios and delivery.

Please note that ‘sonographer’ is not currently a protected title in the UK and, at this present time, graduates will NOT be eligible to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, although it is hoped that this will become a possibility in the future. For this reason, employment may not be possible in certain NHS trusts and some private sector organisations, although many organisations already employ sonographers from non-traditional backgrounds.

Why Choose Us?

  • We are the leading centre for ultrasound imaging, diagnostic radiography and radiotherapy in the West Midlands 
  • We are the first university in the UK to offer an undergraduate programme in medical ultrasound, providing students with complete confidence in a successful career after graduating 
  • Experienced staff - our lecturers are all either practising sonographers or former sonographers, and you will have first-hand access to their knowledge and experiences
  • We boast strong links with local clinical ultrasound departments such as United Birmingham Hospitals, Birmingham Womens Hospital, City Hospital Birmingham, Wolverhamton Royal Hospital, Russells Hall Hospital and North Staffordshire Hospitals
  • Study in our £41 million campus - our City South Campus, where you will be studying, has recently expanded to include two state-of-the-art Ultrasound imaging suites, to guarantee you the very best environment to learn and develop
  • Based in the heart of Birmingham, you will experience a truly vibrant and diverse culture which will benefit you personally and professionally, to provide you with quality experience and skills needed once you graduate 
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Days - Autumn 2017

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 4 November. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now - 4 November

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.

Find out more
This course is not open to International students

Entry Requirements

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 120 UCAS tariff points:

Level 2 qualifications which must be achieved PRIOR to application:
GCSE at Grade 4 (C) or above in five subjects, which must include English Language, Mathematics and either Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Double Science. (GCSE equivalents are not accepted, e. g. Key Skills Level 2, Adult Numeracy, Adult Literacy) or
Irish Leaving Certificate - see level 3 requirements
Scottish qualifications, a minimum of five Intermediate Standard 2 or above, must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject.
A particularly high standard of spoken and written English is necessary to cope with the clinical work on the BSc Medical Ultrasound course. However, there is a great need for ultrasound students who are fluent in more than one language and graduates with such skills would be a valuable addition to the profession; such candidates are therefore encouraged to apply.

Applicants who have not received their secondary school education in English will require an overall IELTS score of 7, with no sub-test below 6.5

Plus one of the following Level 3 qualifications which you may be working towards:
GCE A/A2 level 120 UCAS tariff points from a maximum of three A/A2 Level passes at grade B, which must include one science subject from Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Applied Science. Psychology and Sociology are only accepted in conjunction with one of the former. A typical offer would be BBB. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
GCE AS/A1 level Two subjects accepted with two GCE A/A2 levels, which must include one from Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Applied Science, at Grade B or above. Psychology and Sociology are only accepted in conjunction with one of the former. A typical offer would be BBB. Must achieve a minimum of 120 UCAS tariff points. General Studies and Critical Thinking not accepted.
BTEC National Diploma in Science Minimum Grade DDM required (128 tariff points).
International Baccalaureate Diploma Minimum Grade 30 required.
Access to HE Diploma in Science Full award (60 credits) of which a minimum of 45 must be at Level 3 including 30 at Merit or Distinction with a minimum of 18 in a Science subject with 6 credits at level 3 in Physics and 15 ungraded credits at either Level 2 or 3. Must possess GCSE Mathematics and English at Grade C or above.
The Open University modules are acceptable only with evidence of previous studies of Level 3 and above. 60 credits of OU study are preferred and must include evidence of study of Chemistry, Biology or Physics, such as S104 Exploring Science, or 60 credits chosen from the following 30 credit options- SK143 Topics in Health Sciences, S142 Topics in Science, or SK277 Human Biology.
Irish Leaving Certificate Maximum of five Highers at Grade H3 or above to achieve 120 UCAS tariff points, which must include either Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied science or Science. In addition Maths and English are essential at Grade O4 minimum Unless already achieved at the higher Level. 
Scottish Qualifications Maximum of 3 Advanced Highers at Grade C or above to achieve 120 UCAS tariff points.

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 five years.

Applicants are required to undertake a face-to-face engagement, normally in the format of an interview.

An experience visit to a clinical department is MANDATORY and a condition of a place being offered. Clinical visit evidence forms are required as part of this process.

Download a clinical visit evidence form

A second reference for Access/BTEC students from the original referee is to be provided to the institution by the end of June of the enrolment year.

Places are subject to a satisfactory Occupational Heath Check, Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure and registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

Applicants should be aware that qualifications, personal statement, and references all form part of the selection criteria for this course.

Applications from mature candidates offering alternative qualifications will be considered.

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

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Applications Closed

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

This course is now full for 2017/18. You can now apply for 2018/19 via UCAS.

If you'd still like to apply for this September, read our advice and take our quiz for your next steps.

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.

Additional costs

Additional costs may be incurred by the following:

  • Course books
  • Writing materials
  • Travel
  • Accommodation at clinical placement sites

Sorry, 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.

Year one

Learning at the university will include classroom sessions such as lectures, workshops and small group discussions and practical sessions where you will undertake ultrasound examinations on phantoms or on an ultrasound simulator.

When on clinical placement you will apply your university learning to the clinical environment. This learning will include hygiene, hospital practice, patient care and communication skills. In addition you will learn the organisational and administration procedures which enable hospitals, clinics and departments to run effectively. However the majority of your time in clinical placement will be spent applying the clinical, communication and diagnostic ultrasound skills you have learnt in university to the ultrasound examination of real patients.

Both in University and on clinical placement you will be learning with and from other students. In University you will be accessing shared modules meaning students on other professional courses may be in a classroom, or taking part in on-line activity with you. On clinical placement you are also likely to come across many different professionals in training with whom you will share experiences.

Introduction to professional life

This module introduces the student to the professional world they have elected to enter and discusses their new clinical role in this context. Teaching sessions will emphasise the importance of good communication and an appreciation of the patient perspective to improve patient care. This module prepares the student for safe clinical practice by allowing the student to apply the material learnt to the placement setting.

Anatomy and physiology for Ultrasound Practice

This module lays the foundation for medical ultrasound imaging. It covers all the major organ systems of the body. You will learn general anatomy, how the organs work and what can go wrong. This is essential information for the investigation of disease. In addition you will learn the ultrasound appearances of the body organs and how to obtain those images.

The module also prepares the student for safe clinical practice. It is learnt in the classroom, on an ultrasound simulator and in the clinical placement and allows the student to apply the material learnt in the classroom to the clinical environment.

Obstetrics for Ultrasound Practice

This module lays the foundation for obstetric ultrasound imaging and covers the basic principles of obstetrics; embryology and normal anatomy and physiology. This is essential information for obstetric ultrasound investigations and you will learn the ultrasound appearances of pregnancy and how to obtain those images.

The module also prepares the student for safe clinical practice. It is learnt in the classroom, on an ultrasound simulator and in the clinical placement and allows the student to apply the material learnt in the classroom to the clinical environment.

The aim is to use experiential learning within the clinical placement as a foundation for safe and ethical ultrasound practice.

Ultrasound physics and technology

This module provides students with the required knowledge and understanding of the physics and technology to enable the student to apply ultrasound imaging techniques safely and effectively as practised within the clinical area. It provides the student with a means to support both academic and clinical learning in the clinical ultrasound modules such as obstetric ultrasound and abdominal and general Ultrasound.

The module covers production of ultrasound, ultrasound interactions, imaging principles, ultrasound modalities, types of equipment and operating principles; machine controls and image processing.

Year two

In your second year, you'll spend 19 weeks in the University and 21 weeks in clinical practice.

You will expand your learning in year one by applying it to clinical practice. You will also increase the time spent in clinical practice.

Evidence based practice

This module builds on the study skills developed in year one. It is all about enabling the student to make decisions about their own practice based on the evidence available. The module will promote lifelong learning as a professional skill. The module covers: critical evaluation, literature searching, decision making, research methods and statistics.

Diagnostic imaging methods

This module provides students with an essential knowledge of the range of imaging techniques available. Techniques such as radiography, computerised tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear medicine imaging are often used in association with or as a follow up to ultrasound imaging and therefore sonographers need to know where these techniques are applied.


The module aims to develop an understanding of the principles and applications of the various imaging modalities and to promote awareness of the necessity for the safe use of imaging technologies in professional practice.

Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound 1

This module has clinical and academic components and also makes use of an ultrasound simulator. It aims to provide a thorough grounding in Obstetric and Gynaecological ultrasound. The module provides the necessary theory and practical experience to enable students to competently perform obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound examinations. The syllabus includes normal and abnormal ultrasound anatomy; patient care and communication; obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound examination procedures.

Abdominal and General Ultrasound 1

This module has clinical and academic components and also makes use of an ultrasound simulator. It aims to provide a thorough grounding in abdominal and general ultrasound.

The module provides the necessary theory and practical experience to enable students to competently perform routine abdominal ultrasound examinations. The syllabus includes normal and abnormal ultrasound anatomy; patient care and communication and routine scans of the abdomen and pelvis.

Year three

In your third year, you'll spend eight weeks in the University and 16 weeks in clinical practice.

You will spend the majority of your time in clinical practice consolidating the clinical expertise acquired in years one and two; learning vascular ultrasound and undertaking a small research project.

Research Proposal

This module provides the student with experience in applying the research processes which will underpin their future ultrasound practice, facilitating initiative and an adaptable approach, to be able to problem solve and be independent.

In particular, they will be required to apply, develop and propose an appropriate research method to an ultrasound topic of their own choosing, thus developing a proposed example to facilitate them to grasp how a research project might be implemented.

Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound 2

This module has clinical and academic components and builds upon the learning acquired in year two. It enables students to progress to the more advanced ultrasound techniques. The syllabus includes obstetric ultrasound screening, fetal anomaly scanning and Transvaginal scanning.

Abdominal and General Ultrasound 2

This module has clinical and academic components and builds upon the learning acquired in year two. It enables students to progress to the more advanced ultrasound techniques. The syllabus includes gastro-intestinal tract, abdominal vascular investigations, the male and female pelvis and superficial structures (thyroid and testes).

This is a full-time course with equal elements of theory and clinical practice/simulation.

Your practical skills, diagnostic expertise and theoretical knowledge are assessed through written assignments, examinations, ultrasound simulator examinations and clinical assessments.

During clinical weeks you will spend four-and-a-half days per week working alongside sonographers in a hospital or clinic. In academic weeks you will spend three to four days at the University.

Course structure

In year one you will learn about the clinical role of the healthcare professional, anatomy and physiology, obstetrics for ultrasound practice and ultrasound physics and technology. On clinical placement you will be introduced to obstetric ultrasound and abdominal ultrasound.

In year two you will learn how clinical practice is based on research evidence and how other imaging techniques may be used to complement ultrasound diagnosis. In both the university and in clinical placement you will learn and develop diagnostic ultrasound expertise in abdominal, obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound.

In year three you will learn how research and ethical issues impact on ultrasound practice. In the university and in clinical placement you will develop your diagnostic ultrasound expertise in abdominal, obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound

Examples of classroom activity

  • Lectures 
  • Small group activities using anatomical models 
  • Image viewing sessions 
  • working on an ultrasound simulator
  • scanning of ultrasound phantoms 

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

Medical Ultrasound provides the opportunity for lifelong learning. A comprehensive portfolio of post-registration courses, called Continuing Professional Development (CPD), is available within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

Many courses are taught as part-time flexible modules to fit around your work and domestic commitments and allow for academic and/or clinical development.

Enhancing your employability skills

We have a wide range of ultrasound phantoms and simulators where you can practice ultrasound skills in a safe environment.

Placements

You will be allocated clinical placements to ensure that you can learn to undertake the range of ultrasound examinations required of a qualified Sonographer.

Placements are offered in a number of hospitals within the West Midlands region.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

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.

Firewalking

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

Sonography is a rewarding career that offers endless possibilities, empowering you to work in a wide range of settings, in the UK and overseas.

Sonographers are in high demand both in the NHS and in private practice and we anticipate you will have few problems finding suitable employment.

Facilities

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.

Radiography Skills Suite

Our purpose-built Radiography Skills Suite allows you to improve your skills through simulation in a safe and protected environment, and includes:

  • Oncentra Masterplan Radiotherapy Planning system;
  • Ultrasim Ultrasound machine;
  • Dedicated PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) suite;
  • Dedicated Xograph X-ray imaging suite;
  • Fully functioning Mobile X-ray and Image Intensifier units, for use in our on-site Ward and Theatre simulation workshops.

X Ray room/PACS Room

This is a real, working X-ray room, where students can practice taking x-rays and also to digitise them to view on the PACS system. We also have a fully functioning Mobile X-ray and Image Intensifier units, for use in our on-site Ward and Theatre simulation workshops. We use a portable camera system that can record and stream video to any other classroom on the campus so we can simulate scenarios with our students.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

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.

Meet our staff

There are five permanent members of staff and together with visiting lecturers from local clinical departments deliver an up to date clinically relevant programme. All permanent staff are either practising sonographers or former sonographers.

Charlotte Burnside

Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound and Deputy Programme Leader BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography

Charlotte is the Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound programme and Deputy for the BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography. Her role is the overall management of the programmes, as well as supporting students in their studies and helping them to manage their learning.  Charlotte's door is always open for students who need to discuss any aspect of their studies with her.

Charlotte is the Personal Tutor for diagnostic radiography students who are placed at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, and she sees students regularly to offer pastoral support and discuss their progress, both in their academic studies and in their clinical placement.

She teaches predominantly on the diagnostic radiography programme, as that is her professional background, but she also teaches sessions relating to academic and professional practice on the radiotherapy programme.  The radiography disciplines are very different, but share many elements relating to patient care and professional regulation. Charlotte is the module leader for the level 4 Introduction to Professional Life in Clinical Practice for the Medical Ultrasound Students.

Her clinical area of expertise is Radionuclide Imaging/Functional & Molecular Imaging and she covers this subject on both the radiography courses at all levels of the degree.

Charlotte is currently undertaking her Educational Doctorate and looking into Employability in Radiography especially concentrating on Character.

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