BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice

Our Operating Department Practice degree is aimed at individuals who have an interest in anaesthetics, surgery and patient care and wish to work in operating departments or any other healthcare settings where anaesthetic or surgical intervention is required. 

You will learn about perioperative practice, supporting a wide range of functions including preparation of patients and facilities, working alongside surgeons to ensure safe and effective practice and dignified and respectful care.

Operating departments have a special place in healthcare practice, instantly recognised as highly specialist and skilled facilities that fulfil a crucial role in managing a wide range of conditions. Their safe and effective function relies on a wide team, within which operating department practitioners assume a central role.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and membership of the College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP) to enable them to practice as a qualified Operating Department Practitioner bringing a wide range of employment opportunities.

This course is due to commence September 2022 subject to approval by Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and endorsement from the College of Operating Department Practitioners.

This course is subject to validation.

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
B992 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

The course is designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge required to practice as an Operating Department Practitioner. Modules studied help develop a core underpinning knowledge of the medical sciences, involve interprofessional learning and working to enable the highest quality integrated practice, and deliver the fundamental skills required by the Operating Department Practitioner.

Modules focusing on the basic and medical sciences, cover the layout, equipment and instrumentation associated with patient preparation, anaesthesia, and surgical practice. This knowledge, and the associated skills, are developed throughout all levels of the programme to underpin the management of increasingly complex situations.

Your studies will include the opportunity for interprofessional learning in theory, simulation scenarios and during practice learning experiences. This includes three IPE modules focussing on developing your confidence and decision making in practice and progression to being a proficient operating department practitioner.

You will also have shared learning where core themes are considered and then applied to each unique professional group, these modules include the modules focussing on promoting health and preventing ill-health, professional, legal and ethical issues in health care practice and leading and managing quality care across settings.


The course is delivered full-time over 3 years, with a mix of theory and practice. Practice skills are developed in our extensive simulation facilities as well as in a range of practice environments.

Our on-campus Clinical Simulation Centre replicates clinical environments for education and training. The Centre is used for healthcare education and training, dealing with everything from essential clinical skills to complex, multidisciplinary clinical scenarios. You’ll use the same equipment you will find in healthcare settings.

During the course you will spend 50% of your time learning in practice. These practice learning experiences will focus on the client journey as you experience all aspects of pre, interoperative and post-operative care and will also include a wide variety of other experiences, for example in intensive care settings, surgical wards and with interprofessional teams.


USW helps every kind of student excel by creating a social and supportive environment for studying and living. There is close support from the academics and practitioners you meet on campus and on placement.

What kind of student does this course suit?

Operating Department Practice is a science-based, applied health discipline that demands high-quality and confident teamwork. Practically oriented team players who are attracted to healthcare practice and in particular surgical practice will be ideally suited to this rewarding career that brings many demands due to the focus of the working environment.


Operating Department Practice is an applied discipline and will use practical examinations undertaken in both University and within practice placements, with up to 80% coursework. These assessments methods will be used alongside a range of traditional assessment techniques including essays, presentations, and written exams. You will also have the opportunity to work on a project to improve or enhance an aspect of service delivery.


The course is working towards accreditation by the Health and Care Professions Council and College of Operating Department Practitioners (subject to approval).


The course benefits from extensive clinical simulation facilities and a community flat simulation area in which a range of practical skills are taught, practised and examined. The University has an extensive range of partner organisations, including and extending beyond healthcare partners, to deliver a high-quality placement programme.

For some elements of your course, you will be taught interprofessionally alongside Physiotherapists, Nurses, Midwives, Occupational Therapists and will benefit from the holistic understanding this brings.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Entry criteria below detail typical offers. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Additional requirements include:

Two satisfactory references (one to be added to your UCAS application, and a second written reference to be printed out and brought to the interview).

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child & Adult Workforce and Child and Adult Barring Lists and subscription to the DBS Update Service (no offences are considered spent).

Applicants are required to attend an interview. You will be required to demonstrate a real insight to, and enthusiasm for, the discipline. You should learn as much as you can about the profession, including where practitioners practice, and their role in modern healthcare. You must also demonstrate insight to your organisational skills and ability to effectively manage your studies.

Unfortunately as this course is funded by the NHS and students have to have placements in the local NHS Health Board we are unable to accept applications from overseas (Non EU) students.

Entry criteria below detail typical offers. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.


Typical A-Level Offer

BBC to exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and BB at A Level to exclude General Studies

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Merit, Merit

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 30 to include 5 or above in Maths and English at standard level.


Typical Access to HE Offer

Science/Mathematics/Health Care/Nursing Diploma. Must complete 60 credits overall with at least 45 at level 3 and equating to 18 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 3 Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.

Equivalent qualifications considered are Essential Skills Level Two in Communication and Application of Number, or Functional Skills Level Two in English and Maths. (Must be achieved within the last 3 years).

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.


The course is commissioned by the Welsh Government, which provides access to a tuition fee bursary and support grant, as well as placement expenses.

To receive NHS funding, students will have to commit to working in Wales for two years after completing their degree. Any applicant wishing to self-fund should refer to the fees outlined below. We recommend you read the bursary information on the NHS website.

Applicants are welcome to self-fund and should refer to the fees outlined above and may be eligible for Student Finance Wales funding.

Securing a place on the Operating Department Practice course will require you to demonstrate real insight into, and enthusiasm for, the discipline.

You should learn as much as you can about the profession, including the focus of Operating Department practice, and their developing role in modern healthcare. You must also demonstrate insight to your organisational skills and abilities to manage the demands of full-time degree-level study.

Offer of a place on this course is subject to an interview that is designed to establish candidates’:

  • Values
  • Understanding and insight into the discipline
  • Motivations
  • Abilities.

Interviews are conducted by academics and NHS practitioners.

Operating Department Practitioners are found in and around operating departments, and there are opportunities to work in different theatres across a range of specialities. Opportunities are emerging for ODPs to develop advanced and extended skills that support career progression, and this includes into role emergent areas such as increased involvement in pre-operative practice.

How does the course prepare me for employment?

This course prepares graduates to work in Operating Departments in a range of locations in the NHS and in private healthcare. Graduates will be eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and  membership of the College of Operating Department Practitioners to enable them to practice as a qualified Operating Department Practitioner bringing a wide range of employment opportunities (subject to HCPC and relevant College approval).