Two Bucks ODP students in scrubs and masks washing their hands

BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice

UCAS CODE: B991 (Full-time) or B992 (Foundation Year)
TARIFF: 112 - 136 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Three or Four Years
  • Start Date: September 2024
Do you want to be a part of a professional team that changes lives for the better? Our Operating Department Practice course gives you the skills to play a valued role in the operating theatre working with surgeons, anaesthetists and other clinical teams.
You’ll learn from experienced lecturers and technicians using state-of-the-art simulation facilities, coupled with time out on clinical placement. This combined learning approach of theory and experience will prepare you to help patients through the vulnerable times in their lives. Upon completion of the degree, you’ll be eligible to register with the Health & Care Professions Council.

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No. 1 in England for Student Satisfaction*
*Measured by % of positivity across all questions within the larger providers only: taught or registered population (NSS 2023)
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No. 1 Students' Union in the UK*
*As ranked among taught students at non-specialist HEIs (NSS 2023)
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Top for our response to the cost-of-living-crisis*
*Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023
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5th for learning opportunities*
*NSS 2023
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Top 10 for student support*
*Whatuni Student Choice Award 2023
The course 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.
Faye Kennett
Faye Kennett

What is an ODP?

ODPs are registered Allied Health Professionals (AHP) that are specifically trained to work within the operating department and associated areas. This includes a multi-disciplinary team (nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists & healthcare support workers) which provide high quality, individualised care for patients throughout their perioperative journey and beyond.

If you have an interest in healthcare and are looking for a fulfilling role with great purpose, a career in operating department practice may be a perfect fit for you. To support you in becoming an ODP, the UK Government are continuing to provide all ODP students with a payment of at least £5,000 a year which will not need to be paid back. Find out more about the NHS Learning Support Fund.

Once you graduate from this course, you'll be eligible to apply for registration as an ODP with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), which enables you to practice in the UK.

ODP equipment for operating

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

Operating department practitioners are fast-paced, challenging roles and we’ve designed our BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice to help equip you with all the skills and knowledge you need to start this exciting career.

We've been running our operating department practice programmes for many years and students benefit from an excellent standard of teaching provided by staff from the University. Our lecturers maintain close links with practice, ensuring that the programme is always kept up-to-date, enjoying a great relationship with local employers and partners. 

Thanks to our network, guest speakers regularly deliver sessions for students within the University to ensure we give a diverse range of views and experiences to our students. These include sessions speaking with local patients and care teams to gain a real understanding of the varied needs of our community.

At BNU, we recognise roles in this field are hands-on – that’s why you’ll take part in simulated learning experiences throughout the course using our specialised facilities. This will enable you to recreate authentic scenarios and practise your skills in a safe environment.

Alongside your studies, you will take part in a range of clinical placements with our NHS partner hospitals. We work with a range of hospitals across the region and our students are highly respected whilst out in practice. We consistently see a high rate of employability after completing the course. Many of our students are employed by the trust that they worked with during their time at the University.

In addition to your degree, all students are given the opportunity to achieve additional clinical qualifications. This includes the Immediate Life Support award, which is delivered at the University prior to completion of your studies.

As a BNU student, you will automatically become a member of Bucks Students’ Union giving you access to a wide range of services that we offer for free as part of our exclusive Big Deal package. We are the only university in the UK to offer our members free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities, allowing them to experience new things, socialise with broader groups of people and boost their employability – all to enrich your university experience.

The lecturers have been incredibly supportive and helpful and created an environment where it has been enjoyable to learn the foundations for, what can be, a challenging career. The best advice a lecturer has given me during the course is “You get out of it what you put in”.... this has never been more true.
Jennifer Brown

What will I study?

Throughout this course you will be able to gain experience as well as gain knowledge of the research behind perioperative care delivery. The course will give you everything that is needed to help develop into a qualified practitioner. Clinical placements will be undertaken throughout the course.

This role involves working within a multi-disciplinary team to provide 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. Our course will provide the key knowledge and skills to achieve what is both required and expected within this contemporary healthcare setting, through both classroom based teaching and clinical placement throughout the duration of study.

This course is also offered as four-year programmes, including an initial Foundation Year. The Foundation Year will allow you to develop your academic study skills and build confidence in your abilities, identifying your own strengths and development needs for progression onto an undergraduate programme.

Operating Department Practice students working on simulation

What facilities can I use?

We utilise state-of-the-art simulation facilities for learning, development and practicing of skills and were winners of a Guardian University Award 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, anaesthetic room, recovery area and related clinical environments with the latest high-fidelity simulation manikins. During this time, students will be immersed in a wide range of medical equipment that is identical to those seen within the clinical environment including: anaesthetic machines, surgical equipment, diathermy, cell salvage, laparoscopic simulator, operating table and fibreoptic scopes.

Simulation operating room with Bucks students in gowns using equipment
Bucks lecturer showing students an inside section of a mannequin

How will I be taught and assessed?

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 and group activities to ensure readiness for professional registration and autonomous clinical practice.

A huge part of your learning will take place on clinical placements covering anaesthetic, surgical and post-anaesthetic care. Whilst in practice, you will be supported by a clinical member of staff who will provide mentorship, supervise your experience and assess that you are meeting the requirements of the course.

Both your theoretical knowledge and application in practice will be assessed on this course and methods include:

  • reflective course work
  • case studies
  • oral, written or visual presentations
  • unseen examinations
  • OSCEs
  • critique of evidence-based articles
  • dissertation
  • construction of an ePortfolio
  • practice competence demonstrated in practice*.

*80% minimum clinical placement attendance is required within the programme and is monitored within the Practice Placement Document

To ensure the programme remains current and responsive to the dynamic reformation of the NHS, we invite practitioners from our partner trusts to be involved in the delivery and on-going enhancement of the programme.

Being a mature student, I needed to be sure that I was making the right choice. BNU offer a very comprehensive syllabus and the knowledge and support from the lectures is exceptional, they are passionate about their subject and they want each of us to succeed and be the best of best!
Jo Taylor

BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 112 - 136 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)

UCAS points can be obtained through qualifications such as A levels, T levels, BTEC or an Access to Higher Education course in a relevant subject. Please list all your qualifications on the application form as you will be asked to provide copies when we receive your application.

The requirements for this course are equivalent to:

  • A level grades at BBC or above
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma at DMM
  • International Baccalaureate at 30 points
  • FETAC / QQI 5 Distinctions in health care-related subjects
  • Access to HE Diploma in Nursing qualification (Minimum 60 credits overall with 12 Merits and 30 Distinctions at Level 3 and 15 Credits at Level 2 at Pass)

You will also need 5 GCSE’s including Maths, English and Science at grade 4/C or above or equivalent.

An Access to Higher Education qualification (minimum of 45 Level 3 credits, with 18 at Distinction and 27 at Merit) which must be in a science-based subject is also acceptable.

Mature students without formal qualifications but who do possess working experience 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.


As well as meeting the stated academic requirements, shortlisted applicants will be required to attend either a face to face or online interview as part of the selection process to ensure that your values match those of the NHS Constitution.  The specific dates for these recruitment events can be found here.

As part of this process, numeracy and literacy test will be undertaken online and completed 24 hours prior to interview

All offers are subject to Academic, satisfactory Occupational Health and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Those for whom English is not their first language must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 overall or equivalent for the International English Language Test Score (IELTS), with no on element below 6.5.

The government has said it will remove the proposed legal requirement to have COVID-19 vaccinations to work, or attend placements, in health and social care. We & our practice partners continue to encourage you to get vaccinated for your & others' safety.


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

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,250 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £15,150 per year

To support your studies, the UK Government are continuing to provide all ODP students with a payment of at least £5,000 a year which will not need to be paid back. Find out more on

Additional course costs and financial support

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.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising and skilled leaders and support you in your search to find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.

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.

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 including:

  • trauma teams
  • accident and emergency departments
  • resuscitation teams
  • transplant teams
  • Intensive Care Units
  • patient transfers
  • research, education and training
  • Special Care Baby Units.

We consistently see a high rate of employability after completing the course, with 98% of our students either in employment or further study six months after graduating (HESA 2020). Many of our students are employed by the Trust that they worked with during their time at the University.

You can also choose to stay on and study at Buckinghamshire New University choosing from our range of short courses to continue your professional development.

Course leader

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Shane Roadnight
  • Associate Professor
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Jonathan Devine
  • Senior Lecturer
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Anne Followell
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Danny Clarke
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Paul Wheeler
  • Senior Lecturer
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James Ellis
  • Senior Lecturer
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BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice with Foundation Year