• Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2021

Course Overview

Do you want to be a part of a professional team that changes lives for the better? The Operating Department Practice course gives you the skills to play a valued role in the operating theatre.

Throughout this programme you will gain real life experiences as well as receive the theory behind the perioperative environment and care delivery.  Upon successful completion of the programme you will receive the award that leads to eligibility to apply for admission on to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Register.

You will gain the key knowledge and skills to achieve what is both required and expected within the contemporary healthcare setting through classroom based teaching, use of our simulation suite, and clinical placement throughout the duration of study.

On your placement, you’ll be placed in the operating theatre setting within one of our trusts where you will be mentored in the art of patient care.

Help change lives in the operating theatre and beyond

As an Operating Department Practitioner, you’ll have many responsibilities. Whereas nursing focuses on a range of areas around healthcare, Operating Department Practice studies has a direct focus on care within operating theatres and other associated areas. You’ll experience working in a complex care environment, helping patients through vulnerable times in their lives.

Working in such a responsible position will help you develop your ability to think quickly and independently. As a highly respected role, your experience will enhance your CV to develop both you and your career.

We attract students who are dedicated to helping and caring for other people. As a result, everyone on the course is always enthusiastic and friendly. The people you study with and work alongside will inspire you. You’ll witness incredible moments such as life-saving operations and watch patients recover, helping them back on their feet.

More placements, more choices

Bucks is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.

We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.

Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student. To increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.

Course Details


Within the Operating Department Practice programme, we use a variety of teaching and assessment methods to help you succeed. You’ll benefit from simulation sessions, lectures, seminars, group activities and student-centred approaches to ensure readiness for professional registration and autonomous clinical practice. We link theory to clinical practice and patient care. Clinical placements will be undertaken throughout the programme, incorporating on-going assessment within the clinical environment.

Assessments are undertaken both within the University setting and the clinical placement using a variety of techniques and approaches to create a balanced programme.

We utilise state-of-the-art simulation facilities for learning, development and practicing of skills and are winners of the Guardian University Awards for our innovation and use of simulation to enhance our healthcare students’ learning.

We've invested in some of the best equipment for our students to practice their skills. We have an ultra-modern simulated operating theatre with the latest high fidelity simulation manikins where students can learn in a safe environment prior to entering their clinical placement.

The use of the state-of-the-art simulation suite is incorporated throughout the programme to ensure you have access to specialist equipment within a safe environment prior to exposure during your clinical placements.

Get real life experience with NHS Trusts

As clinical practice is a large part of the course, we have many trusts that provide clinical placements for our students. You’ll have the chance to gain experience in fully functional clinical settings.

When you go out onto your practice placement, a clinical member of staff will provide mentorship, supervise your experience and assess that you are meeting the requirements of the course.

Our students are highly respected within the Trusts and clinical areas in which they work. The main NHS Trusts we are currently working with include:

Just as in a real operating theatre, we encourage inter-professional working. Our students work in a wide variety of different environments with different professionals. You’ll be taught by staff who still practice in theatre, keeping their own skills as sharp as a scalpel.

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS Tariff score between 112-136 points; or an Access to Nursing qualification (minimum of 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction, 12 at Merit, and 3 at Pass).

You may find it easier if you have prior knowledge of health so we prefer if you have relevant A-levels, such as Biology, Health and Social Care, Chemistry, Psychology, Physics, Physical Education, and Sociology, however, it is not essential.

In addition, you will require five GCSEs including Maths, English and Science at Grade C/4 or above (or equivalent).

Mature students without formal qualifications are welcome to apply. We advise you to contact us to discuss your application.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.

Course Modules

Module Map

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

The modules available on this course are as follows:

Year 1 Modules

  • Foundations of Perioperative Practice
  • Applying Academic Skills to the Perioperative Environment
  • Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology
  • Engaging in Perioperative Practice

Year 2 Modules

  • Applied Anatomy and Physiology
  • Developing within the Perioperative Environment
  • Applying Evidence to Perioperative Care
  • Expanding Skills within Perioperative Practice

Year 3 Modules

  • Coaching and supervision of others within the Perioperative Environment
  • Leadership in Perioperative Practice
  • Research in Operating Department Practice
  • Creating Autonomy within Perioperative Practice


How much does it cost

Full Time Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022: £9,250 per year

Full Time International, Academic Year 2021-2022: £13,750 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Additional course costs

There are costs associated with all studies, additional to the tuition fee, which require consideration when planning and budgeting for expenditure. Costs are indicative and for the total length of the course shown unless otherwise stated and will increase with inflation; depending on the programme they may include equipment, printing, project materials, study trips, placement activities, DBS and/or other security checks.

  • Book costs of £100-200
  • Printing costs of £50-100
  • Optional costs for annual museum visit £20
  • Optional membership of College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP) / Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP); cost varies see CODP / AfPP website.

How do I apply?

For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks

Student Testimonials

Our students are our best ambassadors and their voices here will provide you with a clear sense of their Bucks experience.

Image of Faye Kennett

Faye Kennett

The course was amazing and I wouldn’t change any part of it. It has prepared me extremely well for work as an Operating Department Practitioner.  

The lecturers are extremely passionate about the course and this even extends to regular visits when you are out in practice, which you have to do as part of the degree.

This course has opened up the world to me because I could work overseas or in the military. There’s a wealth of opportunities and I wouldn’t even rule out a return to teach at Bucks!


What are my career prospects

Demand is high. Operating Department Practitioners are sorely needed in hospitals all around the country. Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) are registered Allied Health Professionals (AHP) that are specifically trained and work within the Operating Department and associated areas.  This incorporates working within a multi-disciplinary team providing high quality, individualised care for patients throughout their perioperative journey and beyond.

Working alongside other professionals, such as nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists and health care support workers, care will be delivered to patients during all three phases of this acute care environment. This is achieved through direct patient contact and care delivery, in addition to demonstrating a high level of knowledge/skill within the management of specialist equipment and materials related to this highly technical area.  Patient safety is a priority within this field of care and ODP’s are required to demonstrate high standards in relation to professionalism, advocacy and decision making.

Although you will be employed within operating theatres, you’ll still be able to work in other areas. The theory and integrated practice that you learn throughout the course will help you work in a variety of clinical areas. These may include:

  • Trauma teams
  • Accident and Emergency departments
  • Resuscitation teams
  • Transplant teams
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Patient transfers
  • Research, education and training
  • Special Care Baby Units

How will you help me prepare for my future career?

All students are given the opportunity to achieve additional clinical qualifications, such as the Immediate Life Support award which is delivered at the University, prior to completion of your studies.  Interview preparation, specific to the clinical environment, is also provided within the programme.

To help prepare you for a career within the Operating Department and associated areas, you are required to keep a portfolio of evidence and work within the requirements of the professional body. Our programme incorporates a unique ePortfolio that you can engage with throughout the programme, helping you to develop the skills required to integrate the concept of lifelong learning within your professional careers.

The Big Deal

At Bucks, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union have developed our exclusive ‘Big Deal’ package. We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich the university experience.

We offer FREE events and entertainment, additional skills workshops, sports, recreational activities, societies and paid student rep schemes. All at one of the top 10 Students’ Unions in the UK.  It’s a big deal!

We are proud that our exciting and dynamic students’ union is ranked in the top three in the UK for representing student’s academic interests (NSS 2020). It’s a big deal!

Want to find out more? Visit our Students’ Union page or watch our video.