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Operating Department Practice with Foundation Year - BSc (Hons) *

You may wish to consider an alternative course.

View all Clearing courses

This course is now full for 2020/21. You can apply for 2021/22 via UCAS from September 2020.

If you'd still like to apply for September 2020, take a look at some of our other available courses.

The Foundation Year option gives you extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree. It is designed to prepare you for a range of health courses, not one particular BSc degree, so you will study a broad range of subjects to prepare you to continue on to successful BSc level study. You'll develop a range of practical and analytical skills that will prepare you for a challenging and rewarding career in healthcare.

 Please note: entry requirements for degree course

Upon completion of your Foundation Year, if your chosen course is regulated by a professional body such as the HCPC, you will be required to successfully complete the University’s selection process for the specific programme which will include an interview in order to proceed onto year one of the full degree programme. Entry onto year one of the degree programme will also be subject to a satisfactory DBS and Occupational Health Assessment. 

Tailor your Health Sciences Degree

When you successfully complete your Foundation Year, you will be able to progress onto a range of Undergraduate courses at the School of Health Sciences. These include:

  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
  • BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy
  • BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy

Why choose a foundation year course?

By studying a foundation year in Health Sciences, your first year will be spent learning a wide range of broad subject areas which then open up opportunities for you to specialise further in your next year –  which would be the first year of a full degree programme. 

You will study very broad subjects in your foundation year, which is designed to prepare you for a range of courses and not just one particular BSc degree. 

So although you are studying a BSc in a specific course – BSc Operating Department Practice – the foundation year sets you up for a number of other possible degrees starting the following year. It may be that you don’t end up doing a degree in precisely the same subject as your foundation year.

This flexibility is one of the great things about the foundation year category - Health Sciences, allowing you to find out more about your interests and talents before focusing on a three year degree. The foundation year also helps us at BCU to make sure we help to match you to the degree that fits you best.

What's covered in the course?

The course combines theoretical and practical skills, complemented with clinical placements in a range of specialities and settings. Our approach to learning means that you will leave with clinical competence and the ability to apply best knowledge to direct patient care in contemporary healthcare settings.

Your work will be assessed using a mix of methods including text based submissions, written examinations, oral examinations, presentations and clinical skills assessment both in placement and within simulated learning environments on campus. You will be encouraged to develop and demonstrate a range of skills to prepare you for a successful career as an Operating Department Practitioner, including confidence in care delivery, the ability to research, appraise and evaluate evidence. 

Why Choose Us?

  • Excellent track record of developing high quality professionals
  • High graduate employability rate
  • Exposure to quality placement learning experiences
  • Wide variety of career opportunities
  • Strong links in industry
  • Study in our £41 million campus
This course is not open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in places such as:

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust
  • Birmingham Children's Hospital
  • Her Majesty's Armed Forces

And in jobs such as:

  • Operating Department Practitioner Band 5

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 3 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (formerly Grade C), at the point of enrolment. These must include mathematics, English language and science or equivalents. 

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2020/21
GCE A Level/ AS Level 80 UCAS tariff points = CDD. Must include one of Health & Social Care, Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science, Psychology or Social Science at Grade B.
Access to Higher Education Diploma 60 credits overall in Health and Social Care or Science related pathway, also including GCSE English Language and Maths equivalence if not hold separately.
BTEC Diploma (12-units) DM in Health and Social Care Society, Health and Development, Science or equivalents, Applied Science
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units) MMP in Health and Social Care Society, Health and Development, Science or equivalents, Applied Science
International Baccalaureate Diploma 24 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 80 UCAS points achieved in four Higher level subjects, Must include Health, Social or Science related subjects.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 80 UCAS tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers., Must Include Health and Social Care Society, Health and Development, Science or equivalents.
Other qualifications

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

tariff points needed for this foundation year

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year foundation followed by 3 year degree
  • £9,250 per year
  • Applications Closed

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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

This course is now full for 2018/19. You can apply for 2019/20 via UCAS from September 2018.

If you'd still like to apply for September 2018, take a look at some of our other available courses in Clearing.

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

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Foundation Year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Academic Skills for Success
20 credits

This module is designed to support you in your transition to studying in a Higher Education environment at Birmingham City University. Through a range of class-based group and individual activities, discussions, debates, personal reflection and wider reading and research, you will have opportunities to consider academic conventions, which include: effective use of literature; sourcing and reviewing information; various forms of academic writing; developing reflective capacity. You will also receive guidance on study skills and strategies, which will enhance previously acquired skills.

These professional skills are transferable and will be valuable not only in the immediate context but throughout your continued education and employment. By engaging with this module, we have set out clearly what we expect of you at foundation and undergraduate level, and will equip you with the confidence, competence and capacity to utilise resources to be able to meet expectations in this environment.

An essential element of this module will be your ability to analyse and reflect on your own learning and the way in which you have applied your knowledge, skill and understanding to any academic context in which you have engaged to date. Communicating effectively through a variety of academic conventions is a key skill for any student and this will be a feature of this module.

Download the full module specification

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
20 credits

This module is designed to help you gain awareness and understanding of current challenges around Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity and how this impacts upon the Health, Education and Social Sciences sector, preparing you for your future education and journey into practice.

Introducing the Equality Act 2010 as the overarching legislation that focuses on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, the module is based on themes that are covered by this Act.  The nine protected characteristics, upon which a person can be discriminated, as laid down in the Equality Act, will be discussed throughout and you will be introduced to case studies relevant to your chosen pathways.

The module will give you the opportunity to discuss debate and reflect upon how challenges around Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity may present themselves. Using problem and inquiry based learning you will have the opportunity to explore and discuss ways of working which can help to minimise discrimination in your own practice.  The module will be made up of lead lectures, taught sessions, group work and individual study.

An essential element of this module will be your ability to analyse and reflect on your own experiences and perceptions, whilst gaining an awareness and appreciating the differences of others. 

Download the full module specification

Interpersonal Skills and Professional Behaviours
20 credits

This module will focus on enabling you to gain a deeper understanding of the interpersonal skills and behaviours required to work in your chosen area. Through a range of class based and student focused activities you will explore the different concepts of effective interpersonal and professional behaviours essential to your own personal development and progression. By engaging in this module you will  reflect on your own and others  values, beliefs and behaviours identifying how this can impact on the way in which you will  be viewed by others. You will also address the importance of effective communication and how this can lead you to have a more professional approach in your chose area of work.

Download the full module specification

Negotiated Studies
20 credits

This module is designed to support you in your transition to studying in a Higher Education environment at Birmingham City University, allowing you the opportunity to negotiate learning of a bespoke subject. Under the guidance of tutors, you will be able to direct your learning and identify relevant learning opportunities that you feel enable you to learning more about a specific field of study.

The subject area within this module is student-led, with guidance and facilitation from designated academic and practice support. You will identify an area of study that you would like to review and evaluate, and which relates to your foundation year pathway and indicate programme.

A significant proportion of the module is based around negotiation with academic facilitators to identify extended areas of study and opportunities that are possible to enhance your towards completion of the study.

The module is not reliant on traditional taught subject sessions, although you will be expected to attend classes where you will work in peer learning groups exploring and developing your negotiated study. This approach to studying is closely allied to learning within the workplace.

Download the full module specification

Introduction to Human Biology
20 credits

An appreciation of the principles of Human Biology plays a central role in the understanding of the workings of the human body. This module is organised into three distinct phases from fundamental principles, to physiological processes, and then disruption of the interplay of such systems in human disorders. This understanding provides a solid foundation for the subsequent study in a range of disciplines from healthcare, allied healthcare, and other disciplines requiring an understanding of human biology. The topics covered will also be underpinned by practical activities. Pre- and post-session activities will help to develop your key transferable skills such as being able to reflect and ask probing questions as well as being able to think independently.  Development of these skills will ensure a growth in maturity and boost your confidence which will lead to unlocking your learning potential.

Download the full module specification

Health and Well-being in Society
20 credits

Students embarking on health related studies and careers need to have a knowledge and understanding of the factors that contribute to creating good health.  Evidence shows that the majority of these factors lie outside of the healthcare and clinical remit and so it is important that students are aware of the wider social, economic, environmental and political drivers of states of health of the population, group or client group they may encounter.   As health services are reoriented towards prevention of ill-health and health improvement, all health science students need to consider the ways in which they may work in future, to both understand the social determinants of health and the principles and practice of health promotion in order to improve health, prevent ill-health and reduce health inequalities.

Download the full module specification

Year One

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Introduction to Bioscience
20 credits

A working knowledge and understanding of bioscience at the beginning of the programme is essential in providing the basis for future learning in clinical practice and providing holistic, patient centred care. The module will provide you with this essential knowledge and will encourage you to explore and develop your understanding. It will enable you to better apply clinical theory to your practice and to develop your skills as a practitioner.

Download the full module specification

Student Transition to Higher Education, Becoming an Allied Health Care Professional
20 credits

This module focuses upon the basic principles and responsibilities that underpin professional practice for the student who is aiming for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It will introduce you to some of the fundamental principles that underpin care within the National Health Service (NHS).

Download the full module specification

Introduction to Anaesthetic and Post Anaesthetic Care
20 credits

This module provides you with an introduction to the role and responsibilities of the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) working in anaesthetics and post anaesthetic care and delivers essential knowledge required for working within a modern operating department, delivering safe and effective perioperative care.

This module will focus upon basic anaesthetic and post anaesthetic care techniques, equipment, monitoring and the importance of working within national standards and organisational guidelines to deliver high quality, evidence based holistic care. You will concentrate on patients undergoing elective procedures in conjunction with a registered practitioner.

Download the full module specification

Introduction to Surgical Practice
20 credits

Surgery is an essential component of health systems across the globe. This module provides you, a first year student Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) on the Diploma in Higher Education and BSc ODP programmes, to study the fundamental principles of surgical practice as part of the multidisciplinary team.

Download the full module specification

Caring in the Perioperative Environment
40 credits

This module introduces you, a student Operating Department Practitioner (ODP), to the essential knowledge required for working in a modern operating department and delivering safe and effective perioperative care. The module focuses upon a holistic, patient centred approach that encourages students to become autonomous, dynamic, reflective and self-directed learners within the three perioperative phases of Anaesthetics, Surgery and Post-Anaesthetic Care.

Download the full module specification

Year Two

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Applied Biosciences
20 credits

The application of physiology and pharmacology in clinical practice is fundamental in providing high quality patient centred care. Additionally, an understanding of the scientific principles that provide the basis of clinical monitoring and investigation are essential to the operating department practitioner.

Download the full module specification

Evidence Based Practice for the Allied Healthcare Professional
20 credits

The focus for this module is evidence based practice and its relation to clinical practice. You will build upon your critical and analytical skills that you developed during the first year of your programme. As part of the module you will learn how to approach literature in a critical and analytical way discovering the various ways that data can be collected, turned into information and how this can be used to develop and enhance best practice. You will appreciate why certain research methodologies are used to help answer certain questions and add the ever expanding knowledge base around perioperative practice.

Download the full module specification

Human Factors and the Perioperative Practitioner
20 credits

The focus of this module is around the development and maintenance of a culture of safety within the perioperative environment. This culture will be explored and discussed in this module within the context of ‘Human Factors’ and their relationship with healthcare.

Download the full module specification

Developing Anaesthetic and Post-Anaesthetic Care
40 credits

This module will enable you as a second-year student ODP to develop your role, skills and management of anaesthetic and post-anaesthetic care to a level capable of delivering care to patients with complex needs that may be undergoing elective, non-scheduled or emergency procedures. You will build upon prior knowledge, skills and experience that you acquired in the first year and this module will relate to all other level five modules within the programme in order gain transferable knowledge. This will enable you to identify and justify how your role impacts upon the safe and effective care of the increasingly complex patient within all aspects of the perioperative environment.

Download the full module specification

Developing Surgical Practice
20 credits

In your first year of the DipHE and BSc (Hons) ODP programme you studied the fundamental principles of surgical practice and identified the role of the scrub and circulating ODP as a member of the multidisciplinary team.

This module allows you to develop your role as a circulating and scrub ODP to a level capable of dealing with the scheduled, non-scheduled and complex nature of surgery. Using knowledge and skills you acquired in the first year and other second year modules such as the Applied Bioscience and Perioperative Care modules, you will critically examine how your role, the decisions you make as well as the role of others impacts upon the safe and effective care of the patient during the intraoperative stage of their perioperative journey.

Download the full module specification

Year Three

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Extended Studies in Operating Department Practice
40 credits

This module will test your abilities to educate yourself, to demonstrate your expertise in collecting and analysing information. It will draw upon and utilise the academic skills that you have developed during the first two years of your programme. It will give you the opportunity to carry out an investigation into an area of professional practice and produce a written piece of work up to the standard required for publication in a health care journal. It will be based on the best evidence to support your professional practice.

Download the full module specification

Changing demands and notions within the wider healthcare context
20 credits

This module considers the wider context of the publicly funded system of healthcare in the NHS which operates within a complex environment with its economic, political and social dimensions; and is significant for your development as an Operating Department Practitioner as you gain an understanding of the pressures on, and accountability of the service you provide.

Download the full module specification

Transition to Registered Practitioner
20 credits

The module prepares you to be a professionally aware, autonomous and reflective practitioner at the point of registration and enhances your employability skills on qualification. It is designed to prepare you for the transition from student to Registered Operating Department Practitioner and develop skills to support your continuing professional development alongside the ability to manage yourself and others.

Download the full module specification

Enhanced Anaesthetic and Post- Anaesthetic Care
20 credits

The third year BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice programme is designed to prepare you for the demands of perioperative practice once you are qualified and registered with the HCPC. This Enhanced Anaesthetics and Post Anaesthetic Care module provides you, a third-year student ODP to take an individual and holistic approach to the assessment, planning, management and evaluation of care for acutely ill patients having undergone complex, non-scheduled or emergency care. You will build upon your prior knowledge, skills and experience as an anaesthetic and post-anaesthetic care practitioner acquired in the first, second and third year modules to develop as a critically thinking practitioner as you prepare to provide competent and skilled anaesthetic and post-anaesthetic care.

Download the full module specification

Enhanced Surgical Skills
20 credits

The third year BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice programme is designed to prepare you for the demands of perioperative practice once you are qualified and registered with the HCPC. This enhanced surgical skills module allows you as a student ODP to develop enhanced surgical skills that includes clinical skills, teamwork and communication to enable you to provide high standards of perioperative care as an interprofessional member of the surgical team. You will build upon your prior knowledge, skills and experience as a scrub and circulating practitioner to develop as an autonomous practitioner as you learn to provide competent and skilled surgical assistance to the operating surgeon under supervision.

Download the full module specification

You have the flexibility to transfer to a standard undergraduate programme from the School of Health Sciences or the School of Nursing and Midwifery upon successfully completing your Foundation Year including:

  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Food and Nutrition
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Adult
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Learning Disability
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Mental Health
  • BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy
  • BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy

Your programme is delivered using a modular approach and divides the content of the programme into manageable elements of study and practice learning opportunities.

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 to enhance clinical practice using the evidence base to support this
  • Communicate effectively with the multidisciplinary team and service users
  • Adapt to different practice settings and be proactive in identifying and responding to your development needs.

The knowledge and skills in relation to the 3 main areas of perioperative practice; anaesthesia, surgery and post-operative care are introduced, developed and enhanced over the 3 year duration of the course.

The module delivery is arranged in blocks to allow you to apply your new knowledge in the clinical setting.

You will experience a mixture of teaching, self-directed study and practice-based clinical placements, spending 60% of your time each year on placement.

Successful completion of this programme gives eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration as an Operating Department Practitioner.

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.

Accreditation or professional associations

Successful students can apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. 

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.

Enhancing employability skills

To prepare students to meet the requirements for eligibility to apply for entry onto the Health and Care Professions Council register as Registered Operating Department Practitioners.

Combines theory with clinical placement to enhance awareness of different specialities in preparation for employment in operating theatre departments.

Develops transferable skills for working in a range of health care settings and recognising the need for life-long learning.


You will be required to travel for your clinical placements to engage in a broad range of specialities and practice areas. These placements will be with both NHS and independent health providers across the West Midlands.

It is important you appreciate that fees for accommodation and/or travel will require personal financial outlay; these may be reimbursable to some extent, the most up-to-date information can be found on the NHS Business Service Authority website and the administrative team can also advise. Additionally there is no guarantee of a placement in a specific hospital or area.

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.

Graduate jobs

The very nature of the Operating Department Practice course is that it is a professional program leading to eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC if successful.

The course develops essential skills enabling you to practice safely and effectively as a Registered Operating Department Practitioner and gain employment post qualification. However, we also want to encourage you to think about your potential future career path and help you plan your development to meet your long term expectations. Future career choices and development may lead to roles in the following but not limited to management, education, extended health care role (perioperative care practitioner, surgical first assistant).


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 cutting-edge learning facilities.

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 Care Enhancement facility

The SPACE (Skills Practice And Care 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.

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.

Our staff

The academic team are dedicated to the development of future caring professionals and have many years of experience delivering perioperative education in the academic and clinical settings. The teams’ experience of delivering perioperative care in the ‘real world’ provides an excellent resource to develop an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice. Additionally, the team are committed to the enhancement of perioperative care more widely through publication and information sharing in the wider healthcare environment.

Mark Hetherington staff profile

Mark Hetherington

Course Leader HELS Foundation Year / Professional Navigator / Senior Lecturer

Mark joined the Professional Development Department (PDD) in 2018 as a Professional Navigator and as a Academic Skills tutor. During this time he has been involved in the development and running of the Faculty of Health Education and Life Sciences Foundation Year as both a course leader and module leader. At current there are two iterations of the Foundation Year catering for intakes in September and January. The Foundation Year allows students to progress onto a variety of HELS undergraduate courses.

Read Mark's full profile