Operating Department Practice DipHE – 2019 entry

Why choose this course

You will be taught by a dedicated team of expert practitioners who strive to take the profession forward in terms of research and innovation. You will also have opportunities to take part in simulated practice learning in our innovative Simulation Suite where you will develop key clinical skills.

Our nursing courses have been ranked top 10 in the UK by the The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

What you will study

Operating department practitioners (ODPs) are a vital part of the multidisciplinary operating theatre team, delivering high-quality patient-focused care during anaesthesia, surgery and recovery, responding to patients’ physical and psychological needs.

Our challenging course will teach you the skills needed to become a competent operating department practitioner. It will consist of three main areas: anaesthesia, surgery and post-anaesthetic care.

In addition to core clinical skills and a sound knowledge of specialist equipment and drugs, our course will help you to develop the required management and leadership skills and the ability to reassure and support patients emotionally through the stressful experience of surgery.

You will acquire the knowledge and skills to respond to the diverse needs of patients, families and carers within a variety of settings.

Registered practitioners: If you are a registered practitioner looking for an undergraduate programme to further your learning, please visit our continuing professional development page.

Course facts

Qualification Course length Professional Training UCAS KIS code
DipHE 28 months B990 View KIS data set

Professional recognition

DipHE - Health and Care Professions Council, the (HCPC)
Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an operating department practitioner.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

ODPs are a vital part of the clinical team and provide professional expertise during the patient’s stay in hospital.

Although ODPs are primarily employed within operating theatres, they are increasingly being recognised for their skills in other environments and there are many career paths to explore.

Opportunities exist in transplant teams, intensive care units, obstetric units, orthopaedic clinics, pre-assessment clinics, patient transfer, day surgery units and resuscitation teams. There are also opportunities for ODPs in education and management. For more information visit the Health and Care Professions Council website.

Our operating department practice graduates have excellent prospects of employment after programme completion.

Student life

Are you curious about life as an operating department practice student? Read our ‘Week in the life’ feature to discover what a typical week looks like for a first-year operating department practice student.


The DipHE Operating Department Practice programme consists of approximately 40 per cent theory and 60 per cent practice. The practice component is gained within a local hospital trust where you will benefit from consistent support from registered practitioners qualified to be student mentors.

As an ODP student at the University of Surrey, you will work with experienced NHS staff to develop the skills required for this vital role. You will be allocated to a single NHS Trust in Surrey, London or Sussex for your practice placement and benefit from consistent support from registered practitioners qualified to be student mentors.

You will be prepared in advance of your placement to ensure that you are familiar with the role that you will perform. As you gain confidence and experience, you will undertake more complex procedures.

Read about one of our student's experience on placement.

Further information about localities and accommodation

Further information about hospital placements is provided to students at the start of the programme and within local induction to the practice environments.

The accommodation provision varies between hospitals and usually requires students to organise privately rented flat-sharing or house-sharing via local agents. Occasionally hospital trust accommodation may be available.

All students can usually be accommodated within University campus accommodation for the commencement of their programme but students may choose to move into their hospital locality when their placements start. This enables the student to travel to and from placements with ease, so students can get to placements for the start times of shifts and back home when they finish.

The theory component of the programme is taught within the University campus in Guildford for all students, irrespective of hospital, for the duration of the programme.

Process for student allocation to placement

There are limited placements within each hospital, so each new intake of students must be divided up between hospitals to ensure a high quality practice experience for all.

A priority system exists when allocating students to ensure the needs of those students with specific geographical requirements are met as much as possible within the limited capacity in each location.

The priority system identifies the following:

  • Sponsored students are placed within the hospital where the sponsoring trust has placements.
  • Students with dependants are placed in the hospital nearest to their address, as far as capacity allows.
  • Students living in their own homes (or the parental home) at the start of the programme are placed in a hospital as near to their home address as possible, as far as capacity allows.
  • Students who opt to live in University accommodation for the start of the programme are allocated according to address, to the nearest possible hospital, as far as capacity allows.

Student placement localities

The University of Surrey is fortunate to have very strong links with hospitals within Surrey, South London and Sussex.

You will be prepared in advance of your placement to ensure that you are familiar with the role that you will perform. In practice, you will move between the surgical, anaesthetic and recovery areas within the theatre suite.

You will also go on short visits to different departments to allow you to develop a holistic view of the care of patients.

Ashford Hospital is located near Heathrow Airport and St Peter’s Hospital is located in Chertsey, 19km from Guildford.

Ashford and St Peter’s serve a population of more than 380,000 people in north-west Surrey, parts of Hounslow and beyond, with 567 beds.

They have a total of 18 operating theatres across the two sites, performing over 40,000 operations a year. They provide a 24-hour trauma and emergency service, as well as a wide range of surgery, including:

  • General and vascular
  • Urology
  • Gynaecology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Obstetrics
  • Trauma
  • Maxillofacial
  • Ophthalmology
  • ENT
  • Chronic pain.

Discover more about Ashford and St. Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust.

This is a fully integrated Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU), 42km from Guildford, with 724 beds.

The Trust has undergone a major theatre and radiology department redevelopment, including a state-of-the-art interventional radiology suite.

In 2014, Frimley Health Trust was formed from a merger of three local hospitals, Frimley Park Hospital, Heatherwood Hospital and Wexham Park Hospital and now serves 900,000 people across Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and south Buckinghamshire.

Discover more about Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.

This Trust has 527 beds and provides the local population with both elective and emergency surgery, as well as services for those with urgent, acute and long-term medical conditions.

It has 16 operating theatres, has specialist maxillofacial services, and provides a tertiary centre for cancer services.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital has a strong reputation for minimally invasive surgery; robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery is used widely across the surgical specialties.

The Trust is a national leader in surgical training and laparoscopic surgery and its MATTU (Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit) is one of the most advanced training centres for this type of surgery.

It has also been designated as a national training centre in laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Discover more about the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

This includes the East Surrey Hospital, which is 45km from Guildford and located near Redhill and is the major acute hospital for east Surrey and north-west Sussex with a day surgery unit based in Crawley. It provides 24/7 emergency services, and has 600 beds.

East Surrey Hospital has nine theatres, with a further three based at the Crawley site. Specialities include:

  • Obstetrics
  • Gynaecology
  • ENT
  • Ophthalmology
  • Genito-urinary
  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Upper and lower gastro-intestinal
  • Vascular
  • Paediatrics
  • Dentals (including special needs dentals).

They also utilise the angiogram suite for elective cardioversions, insertion of pacemakers, and cardiac stenting.

Discover more about Surrey and East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust serves a population of around 450,000 people who live in a catchment area covering most of West Sussex.

ODP training at this Trust is primarily based on two sites: Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital based in Chichester.

Chichester is the county town and is approximately 56km from Guildford. Worthing is on the south coast about 48km south of Guildford.

Worthing and St Richard’s Hospital combined have more than 900 beds and provides a full range of general acute services, including maternity, outpatients, A&E and intensive care.

Discover more about Western Sussex Hospitals Trust.

This large acute Trust serves south west London and Surrey. The Trust’s two hospitals, Epsom General Hospital and St Helier Hospital, both offer an extensive range of acute services with 641 beds.

The Trust has 17 operating theatres spread across two hospital sites. Specialties include:

  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Renal
  • Maternity
  • Endoscopy
  • Day-surgery
  • General paediatrics
  • Gynaecology
  • ENT.

More specialist secondments to an external trust to cardiac and neurosurgery can be arranged for experienced students.

As well as placements in the above specialties there are placements towards x-ray, emergency theatres, intensive care, recovery and the sterile supplies department and cardiac arrest teams.

Theatres take students from all disciplines; as well as student ODPs there are student paramedics, nurses and midwives learning theatre and recovery skills.

All sites are well served by buses and trains. Students can make use of a free hospital bus shuttle service which operates every 40 minutes between each hospital site from 7.30am to 6pm.

Discover more about Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Kingston Hospital is a district general hospital based approximately 19km from central London. The hospital supports around 350,000 people in the surrounding area, including Kingston, Richmond, Roehampton, Putney and East Elmbridge.

Kingston has approximately 520 beds and directly employs around 2,750 staff, with another 300 staff employed by contractors but working on behalf of the Trust. The theatres are based in the hospital located on one site in Kingston upon Thames.

The Trust has eight theatres all with a dedicated anaesthetic room as well as a separate seven bed recovery room. Specialties include:

  • General surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Urology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Maxillo-facial
  • ENT
  • Obstetrics.

Discover more Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Croydon is an acute general hospital with more than 500 beds. It is the main district general hospital for Croydon, with a 24-hour accident and emergency service providing major accident cover.

Croydon Health Service has 10 operating theatres in its main suite, and four theatres in the Day Surgery Unit. The Operating Theatre Suite provides surgical treatment for:

  • Gynaecology
  • Genito-urinary
  • Breast
  • ENT
  • Dental
  • Elective orthopaedics
  • Trauma orthopaedics
  • Emergency
  • Colo-rectal
  • General
  • Paediatric
  • Vascular.

The hospital is situated 2km from the centre of Croydon and is also very close to the centre of London, with frequent trains leaving Croydon central station with an average journey of 15 minutes.

Discover more about Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.

This Trust provides general acute services to the local populations in and around the city of Brighton and Hove. The Trust also offers more specialist and tertiary services for patients across Sussex and the south east of England.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) is the regional teaching hospital working across two sites: the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, with 785 beds.

The Princess Royal theatre suite includes five operating theatres and an eight bay recovery unit. The placement offers experience of:

  • General surgery
  • Urology surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • ENT surgery
  • Gynaecology and obstetrics surgery
  • Maxillofacial surgery.

Brighton is the trauma centre for the area and the hospital has eight main theatres, one obstetric theatre and two theatres for neurology.

Discover more about Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. All taught modules are 15 credits. Project modules and dissertation modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

Programme dates and holidays

The programme starts in September and runs over two years and four months, with nine weeks’ holiday, usually over the winter, spring and summer vacations.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course, you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification


Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).


Our passionate and dedicated teaching team is key to the success of our ODP programme. You will be taught by enthusiastic staff who are actively engaged in leading research and continue to work with NHS colleagues in practice. You will also work with experienced NHS staff to develop the skills required for this vital role.

Our programme is modular, with some theory teaching shared with nursingmidwifery and paramedic science students, and uses a variety of teaching methods to spark your curiosity and enable you to learn effectively.

In the University setting, teaching methods include:

  • Practical classes and the presentation of clinical skills scenarios
  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Student and staff-led seminars
  • Study packs, reading lists, guided and annotated reading
  • Computer-aided learning and web-based teaching
  • Discussion groups
  • Enquiry-based learning.

Within the practice environment, teaching methods include shadowing, role modelling, demonstration, observation, practice under supervision, reflective dialogue and discussion groups.

Learn more about our Simulation Suite and meet our operating department practice team.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


This course is taught by academic staff from the School of Health Sciences.

Programme leader

SAMBROOK A Mr (Health Sci.)

Personal tutor

All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:

  • Academic progress
  • Pastoral/welfare issues
  • Personal/professional development and employability.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Academic Skills and Development and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Academic Skills and Development

Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Additional Learning Support

Additional Learning Support (ALS) is the University of Surrey’s disability and neurodiversity service. The ALS team supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.

We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

English language support

Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: B.

Recent study within the last 5 years required.

Required subjects: N/A.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: Five subjects at Grade C(4) including English Language, Mathematics and Science.

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: D.

Recent study within the last 5 years required.

Required subjects: N/A.

GCSE or equivalent: Five subjects at Grade C(4) including English Language, Mathematics and Science.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 15 Level 3 credits overall at Merit or above.

Recent study within the last 5 years required.

Required subjects: Must include 15 Level 3 credits in Science.

GCSE or equivalent: Five subjects at Grade C(4) including English Language, Mathematics and Science.

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Recent study within the last 5 years required.

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 7.0 minimum overall with 7.0 in each element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process


Admissions staff will review the information provided within the personal statement and reference to assess applications for evidence of academic ability, insight and motivation.

Relevant experience in a care setting and/or evidence of other involvement in the community (for example, school, voluntary or charity responsibilities) are normally required.

Personal statements should be comprehensive, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and selection day.

Interview and selection day

Multiple mini interviews (MMIs) will be conducted by University academics, assisted by staff from clinical practice areas. Numeracy and literacy exercises may also be included as part of the selection process.

Applicants selected to attend one of our interview days will be sent detailed guidance on these selection activities with their invitation.

All offers will be made subject to a health screening and DBS checks. Occupational health services are provided by The Robens Centre on behalf of the University of Surrey.


Read our guide to references to support your health sciences application.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Qualification Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
DipHE 28 months £9,250 To be confirmed Not applicable

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate courses.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this Dip HE course:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: unable to specifiy amount - Although a uniform (tunics and trousers) is provided, you are required to supply your own suitable footwear and any additional uniform. Students are also responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing their uniform
  • Commuting (local travel expenses: unable to specify amount - Students are required to pay upfront cost of travel and accommodation expenses incurred when on placements, these may vary depending on the location. Students starting their studies in 2017/18 will be able to apply for reimbursement of travel and dual accommodation expenses as a result of attending practice placements (this model may not apply for the duration of students studies). Essential expenses incurred over and above a student’s normal daily travel costs to the University are covered. NHS bursary rules on expenses must be followed and the rates applicable are to be confirmed by the NHS Business Services Authority 
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check: The University will meet the cost of one DBS check, completed at the start of each new student’s programme or earlier where applicants indicate they have a conviction in their application. The DBS check is a programme requirement: it is mandatory that the DBS process in completed and the student is approved to attend before they can start placement. Applicants offered a place on the programme will be contacted to complete the online process by the deadline specified. The process is not completed until all original documentation has been approved by an appointed DBS approver. This can be completed in advance of Applicants starting their programme using main branches of the Post Office, where there will be a £6 administration fee.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

How to apply

Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.

Admissions information

Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Open Days

05 July 2019


Join a webinar and speak to our current students

Our students


Course location and contact details

Campus location

Surrey Research Park

In Spring/Summer 2019 the School of Health Sciences will be moving to 30 Priestley Road on the Surrey Research Park, home to the School of Health Sciences where our nursing, midwifery, paramedic science and operating department practice courses are taught.

Placement location

As part of this course you will be expected to attend placements off campus, please see the placement section for more details.

Additional information

Some modules on this course will be taught on Stag Hill campus.
University of Surrey

University of Surrey
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