Operating Department Practice (South West) - DipHE

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
January 2019

This course is subject to approval by the HCPC. 

This two-year Diploma programme, delivered with the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital as part of a wider peninsular partnership, prepares you to become an Operating Department Practitioner - a vital part of the operating theatre team, with a role that varies from day to day.

Operating Department Practitioner programmes at Birmingham City University (BCU) have an excellent track record of developing knowledgeable, compassionate and skilful health professionals who meet the needs of both patients and healthcare employers.

The employability of our students is maximised by exposure to quality placement learning experiences and the development of transferable skills which is reflected in consistent and exceptionally high employment on graduation. This unique partnership, delivered at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Campus, has been developed to meet the future workforce needs of the NHS and independent sector in the South-West as well as providing national employment opportunities

What's covered in the course?

The programme combines theoretical and practical components, complemented with clinical placements in a range of specialities and settings. The overarching aim is to develop and refine clinical competence and the application of best evidence-based knowledge to direct patient care in contemporary healthcare settings.

Your work will be assessed using a mix of methods depending on the module or area of study and includes text-based submissions, written examinations, oral examinations, presentations and clinical skills assessment both in placement and simulated in university. The range of assessment methods is chosen to not only indicate a level of achievement but to also develop and demonstrate a range of skills transferable to the modern healthcare environment.

It is anticipated that the development of transferable skills throughout your programme will enhance your employability on graduation and provide a sound foundation for future professional development.

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 that helps students develop a clear 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.

Why Choose Us?

  • We are one of the largest and most diverse providers of health and social care education in the country.
  • We use advanced and innovative education methods to ensure you get the most from your experience and learning
  • We have close links with a wide range of clinical practice partners to maximise your experience.

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 88 UCAS tariff points:

Level 2 qualifications which must be achieved prior to
at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics or Functional Skills (English and Maths) and a science subject. (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 a science subject.
Scottish qualifications, Intermediate Standard 2 or above in English and Mathematics and a science subject.
Plus one of the following Level 3 qualifications which you may be working towards:
GCE A/A2 Level
88 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 88 UCAS tariff points. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
GCE/AVCE Double Award in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade AB required (88 tariff points)
GCE A/A2 Level with additional AS/A1 (9 units)
Will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications to equate to 88 tariff points.
BTEC National Certificate in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade DD required (88 tariff points)
BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade MMM required (88 tariff points)
BTEC National Certificate in Early Years
Will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications to equate to 88 tariff points.
BTEC National Diploma in Early Years
Minimum Grade MMM required (88 tariff points)
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Minimum Grade 24 (88 tariff points)
CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education
Minimum Grade C required (88 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 - 88 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 88 UCAS tariff points.
Scottish Leaving Certificate
Maximum of 5 Advanced Highers at Grade C or above to achieve 88 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
OCR National Extended Diploma
Minimum M3 
The Open University K101 - An Introduction to Health and Social Care (or equivalents)
Completion of 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:

Portfolio Route for those holding Level 3 Diploma in Perioperative Support (QCF)

This recognition of prior learning and experience route recognises that your previous experience and achievement contributes towards entry to the Diploma of Higher Education in Operating Department Practice, and when combined with successful completion of your award, may lead to successfully gaining a place in the programme.

In order to demonstrate this you are required to complete a portfolio which complements your certificated learning, and demonstrates your ability to study in Higher Education. To find out more please contact Course Enquiries

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 clearance 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 successful 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. Candidates will be offered a tour of the educational facilities at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Following all remaining candidates will participate in a formal interview process which will conclude the day. Applicants will be made aware of the outcome on the selection day as soon as possible. 

International candidates

Those who meet residency/academic requirements of UK students but whose language is not English will need to hold IELTS with an overall score of at least 7.0 with no element below 6.5.

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about exams? Don't be.

We've put together a whole host of resources including student tips and expert advice to help you nail your exams. You can even get a free revision guide.

Get exam and revision help

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
DipHE Jan 2019 FT 2 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

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.

Applications for this course will open through UCAS on Wednesday 3rd May.

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

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.

Learning Support Fund

From 1 November 2017 you may be able to apply for elements of the learning support fund if:

  • you are studying a pre-registration healthcare course
  • are studying in England and
  • your course started on or after 1 August 2017

Visit NHS student services for more information

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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

Course structure

Taught in state-of-the-art facilities, including access to simulation suites and operating theatres, at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals education centres. 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, we'll teach you how to:

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

And as we're one of the largest ODP education providers in the UK, we can offer you opportunities to experience surgical practice in a wide range of specialities; from transplant surgery to ophthalmology to neurosurgery. 

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

Number of hours in the classroom per week

You will spend between 25 - 30 hours per week in the classroom when on study block. 

Course breakdown

Year One

Caring in the perioperative environment

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.

Introduction to Anaesthetic & Post Anaesthetic Care

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.

Introduction to Bioscience

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.

Student transition to higher education, becoming an Allied Health Care Professional

This module focuses 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)

Introduction to Surgical Practice

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.

Teaching breakdown

12 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
43 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
45 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

27 Written exams DarkOrange
73 Coursework FireBrick

Student stories - Katrina

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

Student stories

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

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

Study and work abroad

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

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

Find out more

Further study

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

A comprehensive portfolio of post-registration courses called Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is available within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences and can be found here. Many are taught as part-time flexible modules to fit around your work and domestic commitments.

Student stories

Award winning students

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

Enhancing Employability Skills

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 Devon and Cornwall.

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...


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+

We utilise modern facilities that have resources which mean we can both teach and simulate the real situations that you may come across in your student and professional experience. 

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. 

Staff Introduction

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.

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?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295