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Specialist Complex Needs Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) (Top-up) - BSc (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

If you are a qualified Rehabilitation Worker for Visual Impairment and you wish to take your expertise to the next level, then this top-degree course is for you....

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

This course is:


If you are a qualified Rehabilitation Worker for Visual Impairment and you wish to take your expertise to the next level, then this top-degree course is for you. Based at our recently extended £71 million City South Campus in Edgbaston, Birmingham, you will develop specialist techniques to enhance your current practice with adults who have a wide range of complex needs including deafblindness, dementia, mental health conditions and learning disability.

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Students who have successfully completed the Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) or equivalent can continue their studies to achieve a BSc (Hons) in Specialist Complex Needs Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment).

Your first module will concentrate on working with people who have dementia or mental health conditions. In this online module you will focus upon key strategies for working with this group. Also, you will study a range of broader topics such as mental capacity.

There is a double module dedicated to up-skill and equip you to deliver specialist assessment and service provision for working with people who are Deafblind. This module is in line with the statutory requirements outlined in the Care Act 2014 in relation to conducting specialist Deafblind assessment and service provision. You will establish competence with appropriate techniques to facilitate communication, access to information and movement, orientation and mobility. This module takes a practical approach and involves work with people who are Deafblind in teaching sessions and assessments.

You will learn key techniques for working with people who have a visual impairment and a learning disability or autism. Particular attention will be focused on specialist assessment approaches, travel training techniques, independent living skills and incorporating positive behaviour strategies in your practice.

The course encompasses a range of key concepts will be examined that are pertinent to enhancing visual impairment rehabilitation work practice within a multi-disciplinary setting. You will explore skills from counselling techniques, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and evidence based practice.

Why Choose Us?

  • Excellent reputation – our excellent student satisfaction scores reflect the quality of our teaching and our commitment to placing students at the heart of everything we do. The FdSc Rehabilitation Work course achieved a 100% satisfaction score in the 2015 and 2016 National Students Survey.
  • The course is unique - this is the only specialist complex needs top up degree in the UK designed specifically for qualified Rehabilitation Workers
  • Designed by the sector - the course content has been driven by market research based on the training needs of qualified Rehabilitation Workers
  • You will be taught by specialists – this course is delivered alongside experienced external lecturers from other fields of expertise and specialist academics from within the University
  • Underpinned by Government legislation and policy - the introduction of the Care Act 2014 has stipulated the need for practitioner development, in particular in relation to specialist assessment and service provision skills for working with people who are Deafblind
  • Flexible study - you can choose to study full time over one year, part time over two years or individual modules from the BSc (Hons) course as CPD.
  • Recognised by the RWPN - The Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network (RWPN) has recommended the need for qualified Rehabilitation Workers (Visual Impairment) to continually develop their skills and knowledge
  • Enhancing professional reputation - Achieving a full BSc (Hons) degree has the potential to place the profession on a par with Social Work and Occupational Therapy.
  • Extensive University facilities and support- there are many sophisticated resources from which you can benefit. These include extensive IT services and support, library resources including help with researching, our Personal Development Department for academic support and student services for advice and support on employability, Disability Students Allowance, health and well-being and finance.

Where will I study?

Your lectures and seminars will be held in our recently extended £71 million City South Campus, in Edgbaston – just five minutes from Birmingham City Centre. This stunning campus will provide a learning environment that you love and cutting-edge facilities for you to use, to enhance your skills and understanding.

Entry Requirements

Essential requirements

UK students

The key entry requirement for the BSc (Hons) programmes will be the attainment of level 4 and 5 qualifications in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment).

A full list of these qualifications is offered below. Applicants will be selected on the basis of the information provided in their application forms and two submitted references.

Candidates must hold one of the following

Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) – 240 credits with 120 at level 5

Diploma in Higher Education in Rehabilitation Studies (Visual Impairment) – 240 credits with 120 at level 5

Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care in Rehabilitation Studies (Visual Impairment) – 240 credits with 120 at level 5

For those students who do not hold one of the above but have evidence of a level 4 certificate: for example,

  • Rehabilitation Officer Certificate
  • Mobility Instructor and Technical Officer Certificates

These candidates will be required to submit a CPD portfolio (worth up to 60 credits) and successfully complete the level 5 (15 credit) module ‘APL/Advanced Writing Skills’ module with an associated profile of experiential learning worth up to 45 credits in advance of an offer being made.

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

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: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £4,920 in 2024/25
  • £820 per 20 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

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.


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

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

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.

DBS check

If you are required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course, the cost for your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

Placements are a compulsory element of many health and teacher training courses. You'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

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.

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.

Application process

Applications to study on the BSc (Hons) top-up course will be made directly to the admissions team. The course starts in September each year and applications will be accepted continually. Applications will be reviewed at the end of each calendar month and applicants will subsequently be contacted by the admissions tutor to arrange a short informal telephone interview. This telephone interview will discuss how you intend to fund the course and mange the studies alongside your other life commitments. Applicants wishing to apply for individual modules will complete the same process.

Applicant visit days and telephone meetings will be offered to prospective applicants. These sessions will provide the opportunity to visit the Faculty, engage in talks about the content and delivery of the course and meet with tutors. 

Please apply directly to the University via the online application link.

Download the following documents to apply online:

This course is not available to International Students

Tel: +44 (0) 121 331 5500

Personal statement

You’ll need to submit a personal statement as part of your application for this course. This will need to highlight your passion for postgraduate study – and your chosen course – as well as your personal skills and experience, academic success, and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Not sure what to include? We’re here to help – take a look at our top tips for writing personal statements and download our free postgraduate personal statement guide for further advice and examples from real students.

Course in Depth


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

Download course specification

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Course structure

To be awarded the full BSc (Hons) top up degree you will study all the course modules.

You have the option of taking the full 120 credits (level 6) course or studying individual modules that can be worth 20 or 40 credits depending on the module chosen. You may be able to complete the Accreditation of Prior (Educational) Learning (AP(E)L) application process to have these credits recognised as part of the BSc (Hons) top-up degree course. In addition, there will be a requirement for students studying individual modules to complete an induction prior to the start of the module dates. Please note that the study of individual modules will often start with online tasks prior to the face to face teaching.

The course consists of 4 modules that are delivered sequentially full time over one year or part time over two years.

The BSc (Hons) Specialist Complex Needs Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) top up degree may be studied full-time over one year or part time over two years. The programme comprises of a blend of face to face teaching at the university and guided online study. It is made up of two double modules and two single modules. You will attend one block learning week for the deafblind module. The other modules are online.

Teaching will be provided by the programme team, external specialists and lecturers from associated programmes delivered at Birmingham City University. You will be able to benefit from the specialist expertise of practitioners from the fields of social work, learning disability nursing, counselling and psychology. In addition, the rehabilitation lecturing team who will support your learning have extensive experience in rehabilitation and habilitation, service delivery and management and statutory and non-statutory working as well as significant experience in teaching in higher education.

Face -to-face sessions involve interactive lectures, group discussions, and application of practical skills, case study analysis and challenging simulation exercises. These sessions are designed to link directly to your day to day practice as a Rehabilitation Worker so that you can enhance your confidence with implementing new techniques in your employed roles.

Assessments include written assignments, portfolios, vivas, individual presentations and practical assessments designed to demonstrate competency in the delivery of key skills.

Tutorial support involves face-to-face individual tutorials available in group learning weeks as well as telephone/email contact and online forums in-between attendance at University


Enhancing your employability

With the successful completion of the BSc (Hons) Specialist Complex Needs Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) course you will gain specialist expertise which should make you a more adaptable and versatile worker.

The application of new techniques to your practice should extend your competence and confidence to deliver a higher quality of service to a wider range of people with complex needs. In addition, the top up degree will enable you to be in lie with the statutory requirements of the Care 2014 in relation to providing specialist Deafblind assessment and service provision.

These attributes should make graduates more desirable within the employment market and enhance promotion prospects within Local Authorities and Voluntary organisations. Attainment of an honours degree is also often desired by employers advertising for supervisory or managerial roles.

Facilities & Staff

We have invested over £400 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-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.


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 five 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 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.

Ultrasound simulation suite

You have access to a wide range of Ultrasound simulation equipment to develop your clinical skills and aid in training. The equipment includes two ultrasound machines with a range of phantoms, scan training stations and eve body works.

Our staff

Michelle Brazil

Senior Lecturer/Placement Coordinator in Rehabilitation Work

Michelle qualified as a rehabilitation worker (visual impairment) at Birmingham City University in 2012. Becoming a visiting teacher from 2013, and permanent member of staff in 2019.

More about Michelle

Peter Cooke

Senior Lecturer/Admissions Tutor

Peter’s connection with the visual impairment sector began following his diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was 15 years old. Early volunteering experience working with children and young people fostered an intrinsic interest in developing a career involving work with those living with serious sight loss.

More about Peter