operating department practice equipment
Mode of Study
3 years full-time
Start Date
September 2019


Are you enthusiastic, great with people and keen to make a living improving and saving lives?

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are an essential part of the surgical team. They take care of patients, prepare the surgical environment and equipment, and act as a vital link between the surgical team, other hospital departments and patients.

Our BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree course, which we've developed with the local National Health Service acute Trusts and the private sector, provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to be work in this demanding and rewarding role.

After the course, you'll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Operating Department Practitioner. You'll be able to work in area such as anaesthesia, surgery and recovery.

Approved by:

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Develop your skills as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP)
  • Do lots of practical exercises to prepare you for the challenges of this field – you'll spend approximately 60% of your time in clinical practice
  • Observe, examine, assess and engage with patients in a variety of healthcare settings with supervision and support from registered healthcare professionals
  • Practise examinations and procedures on human patient simulators and our high-fidelity patient simulator in the Centre for Simulation in Health and Care
  • Use your skills in one of our clinical placement operating theatres
  • Develop your leadership, communication and problem solving skills
  • Improve your academic research abilities

Values and the NHS Constitution

We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.

Find out more about the values we look for

Careers and opportunities

As a registered Operating Department Practitioner, you'll be able to take on roles such as:

  • surgical care practitioner
  • team leader
  • theatre manager
  • sterile supply manager
  • practice educator

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

The University offers state-of-the-art equipment to make simulation as real as possible, with lecturers who have huge experience as ODPs.

Sarah Wadham,

What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree course

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently studied

Core units in this year include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Fundamentals of Perioperative Practice
  • Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • Foundations of Professional Practice 1 (placement)
  • Health, Safety and Infection Control

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • Perioperative Use of Drugs
  • Research Methods
  • Improving Standards of Care
  • Perioperative Care of Specialist Patient Groups
  • Applied Professional Practice 2 (placement)

There are no optional units in this year

Core units in this year include:

  • Project
  • Enhancing Professional Practice 3 (placement)
  • Clinical Leadership and Development
  • Complex Perioperative Care

There are no optional units in this year

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Work experience and career planning

Each year includes one work placement unit where you'll get work experience in a clinical setting. Placement locations are liable to change, but recent students have completed placements at:

  • Portsmouth NHS trust QA Hospital
  • NHS Treatment Centre St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth
  • Spire Healthcare Portsmouth
  • NHS Treatment Centre RSH Hospital Southampton
  • Southampton General Hospital
  • RCH Hospital Winchester
  • Nuffield Hospital Eastleigh
  • BMI Healthcare Winchester
  • Chichester Nuffield Hospital
  • RSC Hospital Brighton
  • Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital
  • Lymington New Forest Hospital

Our Careers and Employability service can help you find further relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your CV.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical work
  • hospital placements

There's a joint focus on this course between theory and practice, both in academic and real-world settings.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this Animation degree course. 

Steve Moutrey

Steve joined the Royal Navy in 1974 and completed 26 years’ service in the medical branch. He held numerous roles at sea as the sole medical cover, including serving in the Falklands war as part of the Surgical Support Team, 3rd Commando Brigade, operating in Ajax Bay until the surrender.

A hugely experienced and qualified practitioner, Steve continued to study during his time in the Royal Navy, and was awarded senior lecturer status in the Royal Defence Medical College.

After leaving the Royal Navy in 2000, Steve assumed the role of Training and Professional Development Manager for Operating Theatres at Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth, facilitating training for 400 staff and ODP students from the University, and being awarded Honorary Lecturer status for his work.

His academic interests include clinical and educational research in surgery and theatre practice.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • tests (academic or practical/skills based)
  • performance-based clinical practice assessments
  • online assessment
  • academic written work/portfolios
  • objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)
  • presentations
  • project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 104 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include 32 points from a Science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science, Sports Science, PE).

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • All shortlisted applicants are subject to interview.
  • All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance.
  • The Department of Health requires all new Exposure Prone Procedures (EPP) workers, including students, are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The consent, test and managed process of results will be carried out by our Occupational Health Department.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

This course isn't open to international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Your uniform is included as part of your course fee, but you’ll need to pay £20–£30 for extra or replacement uniforms. You won’t need to pay for a replacement due to fair wear and tear.

You’ll need to pay the travel costs associated with your placement, though the NHS may meet some of these costs.


How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – B700
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from the outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK but within the European Union, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'Apply' section above for details) or through an agent. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

This course isn't currently open to international students outside the EU. 

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.