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Medical Ultrasound - PgCert / PgDip

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

The course is suitable for radiographers, midwives, nurses and doctors. So if you're a qualified professional wanting to extend your expertise into ultrasound scanning, imaging and interpretation of diagnostic ultrasound images, this course could be for you.  You'll gain the core skills of a sonographer from practising professionals....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Part Time
  • Location City South
  • School School of Health Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

Overview

The course is suitable for radiographers, midwives, nurses and doctors. So if you're a qualified professional wanting to extend your expertise into ultrasound scanning, imaging and interpretation of diagnostic ultrasound images, this course could be for you.  You'll gain the core skills of a sonographer from practising professionals. The course is also open to anyone with a health-based or science degree and an agreed clinical placement.

Ultrasound is used as a first-line investigation, in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease and pathology having a great input into patient care and management.   Sonographers work mainly in Radiology and ante-natal departments but also in community settings. Sonographers scan patients/clients with a variety of diseases and conditions and, under departmental protocols, produce a written report on the scan which they have performed.

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

As a student on this course you will develop the core skills of a sonographer including, patient care and communication; technical skills, including scanning and use of equipment; clinical knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis and reporting skills. You will be taught by practising sonographers to further enhance your skills professionally, personally and practically.

A variety of learning and teaching methods will be used for your development into a technically competent, caring and knowledgeable sonographer. These skills will be developed in the classroom, by self-study, e-learning, on ultrasound simulators and on real patients in the clinical setting. Embedded into our teaching is to respect diversity, ensure equality and to apply a sound understanding of legal, ethical and professional issues to positively impact on care scenarios and delivery.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE)

Why Choose Us?

  • The aim of the course is to provide qualified practitioners with a high level of specialist ultrasound knowledge and practical clinical experience. The course also develops your investigative and analytical skills in order to help you to become a highly competent sonographer.
  • You will learn from practicing sonographers in clinical placement and our programme lecturers also work clinically, ensuring course content is current and relevant. 
  • Innovative methods of teaching and learning are embedded in the academic programme. These include: audio and video lectures, online learning and the use of an ultrasound simulation for learning scanning techniques and recognising pathology.
  • We offer a wide range of clinical modules including, obstetric, early pregnancy, gynaecological, abdominal and vascular ultrasound.  We are also able to offer a negotiated specialist module which is designed to meet the niche clinical requirements of each department/student.
  • The course combines core modules and clinical modules for the Pg Cert this is Fundamentals of ultrasound which covers ultrasound physics and professional issues, the core module for the Pg Dip is Research practice and theory.
  • Another important feature of the programme is the high level of support that the course team make available to you. Lectures are delivered to small groups, we have an open door policy and always answer emails and return phone calls. Expect to experience a spectrum of academic studies that you can use to support your clinical and professional development.
  • If you are dyslexic, have a specific learning difference or a disability, a Disability Tutor will be available to support and help you throughout your time studying this course
  • The programme is accredited by The Consortium of Accreditation for Sonographic Education ensuring highs standards teaching and learning. Re-accreditation occurs every 5 years, the programme has recently been reaccredited.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Virtual Event

Join us for this online event with interactive sessions on a range of topics including your subject area of interest, postgraduate finance and more. Book your place and we’ll send you an access link and an event schedule with full details.

Next Event: Wednesday 25 January (4.00-7.00pm)

Book Your Place

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

You will normally be expected to hold either a first degree lower second class (2.2) or above, or an equivalent professional qualification and have had a minimum of two years experience as a qualified practitioner.

The majority of applicants will be radiographers, midwives, doctors and nurses. However we will consider applicants with health based or science degrees providing that they are able to obtain a clinical placement.

You must ensure that you have a satisfactory clinical placement where you can obtain a minimum of 320 hours of supervised ‘hands on’ clinical ultrasound experience - this is equivalent to 2 days per week over a nine month period.

You must complete the ultrasound clinical placement form when you apply, unfortunately we cannot consider your application without your proof of placement. 

Applicants who have not received their undergraduate education in English will require an overall IELTS score of 7, with no subtest below 6.5.

Why should I study this course?

Our postgraduate awards have received professional accreditation from CASE – the Consortium for Accreditation of Sonographic Education and are taught within the region’s foremost centre for radiography education, with a well-established and successful history.

The course will further enhance your skills professionally, personally and practically.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: PgCert

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 1 year
  • £872 per 20-credit module

Award: PgDip

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 2 years
  • £872 per 20-credit module

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

There may be some costs for travel or temporary accommodation associated with placements. The NHS Learning Support Fund can help with these costs. Information about what the fund covers and eligibility criteria can be found online.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this 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.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

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

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Level 7

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete the core module relevant to the level of study. 

Core Module for PG Cert (20 credits)
Core Modules for PG Dip (40 credits)
MSc Option 1 (60 credits)

Core modules for the award of MSc (60 credits): On successful completion of the PG Cert and PG Dip, to progress to MSc, a student must successfully complete either study Option 1 or Option 2 below

MSc Option 2 (60 credits)

Optional Modules

Optional modules to be studied alongside the core modules:

  • For the award of PG Cert (60 credits) – a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the list of optional modules below.
  • For the award of PG Dip (120 credits) – a student must successfully complete at least 80 credits from the list of optional modules below.
  • For the award of MSc (180 credits) – a student must successfully complete at least 80 credits from the list of optional modules below.

PG Cert (Preceptorship)

Download the PG Cert (Medical Ultrasound (Preceptorship) Course Specification

The PGCert Medical Ultrasound (Preceptorship) course has been designed to support students who have recently graduated from a BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound programme and are starting their journey as newly qualified sonographers. The course intention is to support you in developing your ultrasound skills and knowledge to work independently and within a defined scope of practice. Preceptorship is the transition from being newly qualified sonographer to being an autonomous, independent healthcare professional and includes the development of your transferable skills such as leadership.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

Course structure

This is a part-time day course which has academic and clinical placement components. The academic components are delivered at the University. The clinical component takes place in practice and should cover a minimum of two days per week.

How will I be taught?

We place a real emphasis on student-centred learning, so the majority of study is by seminar and discussion groups where you and your fellow students will learn a great deal by sharing experiences. There will be a substantial amount of material that will be self-led either in preparation for lectures or case study workshops.  There are also post session study tasks which will are designed to consolidate classroom based learning. You will also have access to Ultrasound scanning simulators and two high end ultrasound systems.

Course specification

PG Cert Medical Ultrasound (Perceptorship)

Medical Ultrasound Pathways Assessment

You will be assessed via:

  • Viva Voce examination
  • Extended essays
  • Patchwork assignments
  • Invigilated assessments
  • Clinical assessments
  • Practice-based assignments
  • 10,000 or 15,000 word dissertation

Academic modules are assessed by either a 3,000 word assignment and Viva Voce or a 2,000 word assignment and/or a Viva Voce examination.

Clinical modules are assessed by clinical assessment (observed performance of ultrasound scans) in their own departments and Vivas/OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations) undertaken at the University.

You also have to keep a Portfolio of evidence including a log book and diary of clinical practice.

Pg Cert Preceptorship Assessment

Preceptorship Module

  • 3000 word critical reflection on the transition from newly qualified to autonomous practitioner
  • Portfolio of clinical activity
  • 30 minute professional discussion based on portfolio.

Leadership Module

  • Poster presentation with 20 minute defence

Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE)
Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE)

The PG Cert / PG Dip / MSc Medical Ultrasound and Obstetric Ultrasound (Focused Courses) are accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE).

Employability

Employment opportunities

Health care professionals with a Medical Ultrasound degree are in great demand to work as sonographers and you will also be able to extend the scope of your current practice by incorporating expertise in sonography.

There is a severe shortage of sonographers. Sonography is an expanding field, with a steady increase in examinations requested year by year therefore you should have no difficulty in finding work as a qualified sonographer.

You would be able to work as a sonographer in a range of clinical specialities such as general abdominal, obstetrics, gynaecology and vascular studies, plus other clinical settings such as hospitals, health clinics and GP surgeries.

Placements

You are expected to organise your own clinical placements where you can obtain a minimum of 320 hours for a 40 credit clinical module and 160 hours for a 20 credit clinical module. 

More about our placement opportunities

Facilities & Staff

We have invested £340 million in our facilities, including an upgrade to our Skills and Simulation facilities at City South Campus. We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that you may come across in the workplace. These resources are essential in offering you a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice.

Mock Wards

These are set up to look like typical hospital wards, with four to six bays. Depending on the topic in hand, different manikins can be used as patients and relevant equipment is provided to practise clinical skills. Some of the manikins are interactive and can simulate different scenarios e.g. some allow you to cannulate, check pulses, intubate etc, and some can talk to you. One ward is often used as an adult ward, and the other as a child ward.

These rooms also allow for scenarios to be set up for other professions such as dietetics, paramedic science and social work.

The Operating Theatre and Recovery Suites

The operating theatre and recovery suite gives you the sense of what it would be like in a real surgical environment.

These spaces emulate the full surgical journey from anaesthetics, through surgery and into recovery. ODP students can practice a range of skills including gowning, hand washing, preparing instrument trays, and working with a patient. Nurses and midwives may experience a surgical placement and need to go to theatre or be part of the midwifery team involved with caesarean sections. Many other Allied Health Professionals may also see patients in recovery if necessary.

Home Environment Room

This space is used to simulate non-clinical settings, as not everything health professionals deal with is hospital based. This is used for simulations of home visits and home births. It also houses soft matting and a bubble machine that are used by the Learning Disability Nursing team.

Assisted Living Space

This space replicates a flat and is used for scenarios such as home visits. The sitting room area provides a different space to practise skills and simulations and work with service users and other students.

Assisted Kitchen

This specially designed kitchen has different areas where you can practice cooking, cleaning, boiling the kettle etc., with someone who has actual or simulated visual impairments. There are adapted devices to help, and simulation glasses for you to wear to experience visual impairments.

Physiotherapy Room

This is a space for physiotherapy students to use, with various equipment to practise client meetings.

Radiotherapy Planning Computer Suite

Our computers allow you to plan hypothetical treatments, in terms of angles and directions, ensuring that radiotherapy reaches where it is needed on a patient’s body.

Radiography Image Interpretation and Reporting Stations Computer Suite

These facilities allow you to view and analyse x-rays.

VERT - Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training

This room contains 3D technology to view virtual patients and look at trajectories for treatment.

Radiotherapy

This room contains the same bed/couch used when patients are given radiotherapy treatment. While students of course do not administer radiotherapy in this room, it does allow them to practise adjusting the equipment to make sure both it and a patient would be in the correct position to receive treatment.

Telehealth Room

This room allows for small group teaching in a central area (large boardroom type table) with fiv small telehealth booths down either side. These are to allow all our health professions students to practise delivering healthcare and advice remotely, either over the phone or on a video call. This addition to our teaching reflects moves in the sector to offer more flexible access to healthcare services, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Imaging Academy

This new facility is a larger version of our existing image interpretation computer facilities and forms part of the West Midlands Imaging Academy hub, funded by Health Education England. These expanded facilities will mean we can further develop our courses and expertise in radiography and imaging.

Speech and Language Therapy Resource Room

Our Speech and Language Therapy Team have developed a collection of tools, books and resources to help you learn and understand the implications of a speech or swallowing limitation. You can practise one to one client meetings and clinics and use the video recording equipment to review role play scenarios.

Our staff

Gemma Smith

Senior Lecturer in Medical Ultrasound

Gemma previously worked as a Radiographer and a Sonographer at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS trust for 15 years before joining the BCU lecturing team.

More about Gemma

James Michael

Senior Lecturer in Medical Ultrasound

James has previously worked as a Radiographer and Sonographer at University Hospital Birmingham NHS trust for 15 years before joining the BCU lecturing team. He is Co-Course lead of the MSc Medical Ultrasound Course. James teaches on both the BSc Medical Ultrasound and MSc Medical Ultrasound courses, along with radiology registrar...

More about James