Routes into Operating Department Practice

Operating department practice is physically and emotionally hard work. Practitioners need technical and practical skills, but also excellent communication and management ability. Working in a complex care environment, they play an invaluable role in helping patients through vulnerable times in their lives.

Combining clinical and academic excellence, we work hard to keep our courses up to date, dynamic and forward thinking, and work closely with NHS Trusts to give students clinical experience vital to this role.

As a School, we are committed to offering students the highest quality of teaching and learning. You will be taught by staff who still practise in theatre and keep their own skills as sharp as a scalpel.

We would expect applicants to hold Level three qualifications such as A Levels, BTECs or an Access course, along with GCSE qualifications.  If you do not meet the entry requirements for the three year BSc (Hons) programme, you may be eligible for the four year programme with foundation year, or two year DipHE Operating Department Practice.

You can view full details of the entry requirements on the course pages.

  • Our courses gives students the skills to play a valued role in the operating theatre. You’ll gain real life experiences as well as the theory behind the perioperative environment and care delivery.
  • We use different teaching and assessment methods to help students succeed, including simulation sessions, lectures, seminars, group activities and student-centred approaches
  • Our state-of-the-art simulation facilities won the Guardian University Awards for our innovation to enhance our healthcare students’ learning.
  • Students have access to some of the best equipment for developing their skills. Our ultra-modern, simulated operating theatre, equipped with the latest high fidelity simulation manikins, gives students the chance to learn in a safe environment before going on placement.
  • The quality of our teaching is evident in our high employability rates. 100% of our graduates are in work or study six months after graduating (HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2016.)
  • Our Diploma of Higher Education Operating Department Practice scored 100% overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2018.

As clinical practice is a large part of the ODP courses, we work with many Trusts to provide placements for our students where you will gain experience in fully functional clinical settings. These include anaesthetics, surgery and recovery. Developing your knowledge in these roles, from a variety of settings, allows you to achieve the competencies required to meet the criteria necessary for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) upon completion of the course.

While on placement, a clinical member of staff provides mentorship, supervises your experience, and assesses that you are meeting the requirements of the course.

Our students are highly respected within the Trusts and clinical areas in which they work. Our clinical experience areas are spread over a large area including   Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, north-west London, and Oxfordshire.  You will spend around 35 per cent of the course at University and the rest of the time, you will be out on clinical placement.

Just as in a real operating theatre, we encourage inter-professional working. Our students work in a wide variety of environments with different professionals, honing the skills needed for clinical practice.

Read more about our clinical placements.

From the operating theatre to anaesthetic room and recovery rooms, a large part of our operating department practice courses involves making use of our state-of-the-art simulation suites, where students can practice and hone their skills in realistic environments. We use high-fidelity simulation manikins and moulage, the process of applying mock, often gorily realistic injuries for training purposes. These techniques help mirror clinical situations within a safe environment, and make the simulation sessions as realistic as possible for students.

Find out more about our ODP simulation suites.