Medical Ultrasound with Foundation Year - BSc (Hons) *

Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

Start your journey to a highly rewarding profession as a sonographer with our BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound with a foundation year course. As the first university to offer an undergraduate course in Medical Ultrasound, you can rest assured that you will be learning from experienced practitioners and a proven course structure that will successfully prepare you for a fulfilling career. 

As a sonographer, you will produce detailed medical images, interpret them and at the same time provide support and communicate your findings with patients in your care. The work of a sonographer can be very rewarding and your clinical expertise will be sought after in a range of medical settings such as hospital imaging departments, maternity units, doctor’s surgeries, community clinics and private sector ultrasound clinics.

Tailor your Health and Life Sciences Degree

When you successfully complete your Foundation Year, you will be able to progress onto a range of Undergraduate courses at the Birmingham City School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing and Midwifery. These include:

  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Health Studies (Public Health)
  • BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound
  • BSc (Hons) Midwifery
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Adult
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Child
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Learning Disability
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Mental Health
  • BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
  • BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science
  • BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy
  • BSc (Hons) Social Work
  • BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy

Why choose a foundation year course?

By studying a foundation year in Health and Life Sciences, your first year will be spent learning a wide range of broad subject areas which then open up opportunities for you to specialise further in your next year –  which would be the first year of a full degree programme. 

You will study very broad subjects in your foundation year, which is designed to prepare you for a range of courses and not just one particular BSc degree. 

So although you are studying a BSc in a specific course – BSc Medical Ultrasound – the foundation year sets you up for a number of other possible degrees starting the following year. It may be that you don’t end up doing a degree in precisely the same subject as your foundation year.

This flexibility is one of the great things about the foundation year category - Health and Life Sciences, allowing you to find out more about your interests and talents before focusing on a three year degree. The foundation year also helps us at BCU to make sure we help to match you to the degree that fits you best.

Please note: entry requirements for degree course

Upon completion of your Foundation Year, if your chosen course is regulated by a professional body such as the National College for Teaching and Leadership, you will be required to successfully complete the University’s selection process for the specific programme which will include an interview in order to proceed onto year one of the full degree programme. Entry onto year one of the degree programme will also be subject to a satisfactory DBS and Occupational Health Assessment. 

What's covered in the course?

Our Medical Ultrasound course will enable you to develop the core skills of a sonographer such as care and communications, technical skills and clinical knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis.

Your skills will be developed through real-life work placements, lectures and seminars in the classroom held by experienced staff who are practicing or former sonographers or radiographers, independent study time, e-learning and ultrasound simulators within our £41 million City South Campus.

A variety of learning and teaching methods will be used for your development into a technically competent, caring and knowledgeable sonographer. It is essential to the practice that you respect diversity, ensure equality and use a sound understanding of legal, ethical and professional issues to positively impact on care scenarios and delivery.

Please note that ‘sonographer’ is not currently a protected title in the UK and, at this present time, graduates will NOT be eligible to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, although it is hoped that this will become a possibility in the future. For this reason, employment may not be possible in certain NHS trusts and some private sector organisations, although many organisations already employ sonographers from non-traditional backgrounds.

Why Choose Us?

  • We are the leading centre for ultrasound imaging
  • We are the first university in the UK to offer an undergraduate programme in medical ultrasound
  • Experienced staff 
  • We boast strong links with local clinical ultrasound departments 
  • Study in our £41 million campus 
  • Based in the heart of Birmingham
This course is not open to International students

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.

Entry Requirements

Foundation year entry reqs

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years TBC Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Year One

Foundation Year

Health and Life Sciences foundation year

Year Two

Learning at the university will include classroom sessions such as lectures, workshops and small group discussions and practical sessions where you will undertake ultrasound examinations on phantoms or on an ultrasound simulator.

When on clinical placement you will apply your university learning to the clinical environment. This learning will include hygiene, hospital practice, patient care and communication skills. In addition you will learn the organisational and administration procedures which enable hospitals, clinics and departments to run effectively. However the majority of your time in clinical placement will be spent applying the clinical, communication and diagnostic ultrasound skills you have learnt in university to the ultrasound examination of real patients.

Both in University and on clinical placement you will be learning with and from other students. In University you will be accessing shared modules meaning students on other professional courses may be in a classroom, or taking part in on-line activity with you. On clinical placement you are also likely to come across many different professionals in training with whom you will share experiences.

Introduction to professional life

This module introduces the student to the professional world they have elected to enter and discusses their new clinical role in this context. Teaching sessions will emphasise the importance of good communication and an appreciation of the patient perspective to improve patient care. This module prepares the student for safe clinical practice by allowing the student to apply the material learnt to the placement setting.

Anatomy and physiology for Ultrasound Practice

This module lays the foundation for medical ultrasound imaging. It covers all the major organ systems of the body. You will learn general anatomy, how the organs work and what can go wrong. This is essential information for the investigation of disease. In addition you will learn the ultrasound appearances of the body organs and how to obtain those images.

The module also prepares the student for safe clinical practice. It is learnt in the classroom, on an ultrasound simulator and in the clinical placement and allows the student to apply the material learnt in the classroom to the clinical environment.

Obstetrics for Ultrasound Practice

This module lays the foundation for obstetric ultrasound imaging and covers the basic principles of obstetrics; embryology and normal anatomy and physiology. This is essential information for obstetric ultrasound investigations and you will learn the ultrasound appearances of pregnancy and how to obtain those images.

The module also prepares the student for safe clinical practice. It is learnt in the classroom, on an ultrasound simulator and in the clinical placement and allows the student to apply the material learnt in the classroom to the clinical environment.

The aim is to use experiential learning within the clinical placement as a foundation for safe and ethical ultrasound practice.

Ultrasound physics and technology

This module provides students with the required knowledge and understanding of the physics and technology to enable the student to apply ultrasound imaging techniques safely and effectively as practised within the clinical area. It provides the student with a means to support both academic and clinical learning in the clinical ultrasound modules such as obstetric ultrasound and abdominal and general Ultrasound.

The module covers production of ultrasound, ultrasound interactions, imaging principles, ultrasound modalities, types of equipment and operating principles; machine controls and image processing.

Year Three

You'll spend 19 weeks in the University and 21 weeks in clinical practice.

You will expand your learning in year one by applying it to clinical practice. You will also increase the time spent in clinical practice.

Evidence based practice

This module builds on the study skills developed in year one. It is all about enabling the student to make decisions about their own practice based on the evidence available. The module will promote lifelong learning as a professional skill. The module covers: critical evaluation, literature searching, decision making, research methods and statistics.

Diagnostic imaging methods

This module provides students with an essential knowledge of the range of imaging techniques available. Techniques such as radiography, computerised tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear medicine imaging are often used in association with or as a follow up to ultrasound imaging and therefore sonographers need to know where these techniques are applied.


The module aims to develop an understanding of the principles and applications of the various imaging modalities and to promote awareness of the necessity for the safe use of imaging technologies in professional practice.

Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound 1

This module has clinical and academic components and also makes use of an ultrasound simulator. It aims to provide a thorough grounding in Obstetric and Gynaecological ultrasound. The module provides the necessary theory and practical experience to enable students to competently perform obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound examinations. The syllabus includes normal and abnormal ultrasound anatomy; patient care and communication; obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound examination procedures.

Year Four

In your final year, you'll spend eight weeks in the University and 16 weeks in clinical practice.

You will spend the majority of your time in clinical practice consolidating the clinical expertise acquired in years one and two; learning vascular ultrasound and undertaking a small research project.

Research Proposal

This module provides the student with experience in applying the research processes which will underpin their future ultrasound practice, facilitating initiative and an adaptable approach, to be able to problem solve and be independent.

In particular, they will be required to apply, develop and propose an appropriate research method to an ultrasound topic of their own choosing, thus developing a proposed example to facilitate them to grasp how a research project might be implemented.

Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound 2

This module has clinical and academic components and builds upon the learning acquired in year two. It enables students to progress to the more advanced ultrasound techniques. The syllabus includes obstetric ultrasound screening, fetal anomaly scanning and Transvaginal scanning.

Abdominal and General Ultrasound 2

This module has clinical and academic components and builds upon the learning acquired in year two. It enables students to progress to the more advanced ultrasound techniques. The syllabus includes gastro-intestinal tract, abdominal vascular investigations, the male and female pelvis and superficial structures (thyroid and testes).

You have the flexibility to transfer to any standard undergraduate programme from the School of Health Sciences or the School of Nursing and Midwifery upon successfully completing your Foundation Year including:

  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Health Studies (Public Health)
  • BSc (Hons) Midwifery
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Adult
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Child
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Learning Disability
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Mental Health
  • BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
  • BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science
  • BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy
  • BSc (Hons) Social Work
  • BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy

This is a full-time course with equal elements of theory and clinical practice/simulation.

Your practical skills, diagnostic expertise and theoretical knowledge are assessed through written assignments, examinations, ultrasound simulator examinations and clinical assessments.

During clinical weeks you will spend four-and-a-half days per week working alongside sonographers in a hospital or clinic. In academic weeks you will spend three to four days at the University.

Course structure

In year one you will learn about the clinical role of the healthcare professional, anatomy and physiology, obstetrics for ultrasound practice and ultrasound physics and technology. On clinical placement you will be introduced to obstetric ultrasound and abdominal ultrasound.

In year two you will learn how clinical practice is based on research evidence and how other imaging techniques may be used to complement ultrasound diagnosis. In both the university and in clinical placement you will learn and develop diagnostic ultrasound expertise in abdominal, obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound.

In year three you will learn how research and ethical issues impact on ultrasound practice. In the university and in clinical placement you will develop your diagnostic ultrasound expertise in abdominal, obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound

Examples of classroom activity

  • Lectures 
  • Small group activities using anatomical models 
  • Image viewing sessions 
  • working on an ultrasound simulator
  • scanning of ultrasound phantoms 

Further study

Medical Ultrasound provides the opportunity for lifelong learning. A comprehensive portfolio of post-registration courses, called Continuing Professional Development (CPD), is available within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

Many courses are taught as part-time flexible modules to fit around your work and domestic commitments and allow for academic and/or clinical development.

Enhancing your employability skills

We have a wide range of ultrasound phantoms and simulators where you can practice ultrasound skills in a safe environment.

Placements

You will be allocated clinical placements to ensure that you can learn to undertake the range of ultrasound examinations required of a qualified Sonographer.

Placements are offered in a number of hospitals within the West Midlands region.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Sonography is a rewarding career that offers endless possibilities, empowering you to work in a wide range of settings, in the UK and overseas.

Sonographers are in high demand both in the NHS and in private practice and we anticipate you will have few problems finding suitable employment.

Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Radiography Skills Suite

Our purpose-built Radiography Skills Suite allows you to improve your skills through simulation in a safe and protected environment, and includes:

  • Oncentra Masterplan Radiotherapy Planning system;
  • Ultrasim Ultrasound machine;
  • Dedicated PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) suite;
  • Dedicated Xograph X-ray imaging suite;
  • Fully functioning Mobile X-ray and Image Intensifier units, for use in our on-site Ward and Theatre simulation workshops.

X Ray room/PACS Room

This is a real, working X-ray room, where students can practice taking x-rays and also to digitise them to view on the PACS system. We also have a fully functioning Mobile X-ray and Image Intensifier units, for use in our on-site Ward and Theatre simulation workshops. We use a portable camera system that can record and stream video to any other classroom on the campus so we can simulate scenarios with our students.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Charlotte Burnside

Acting Head of Department for ODP and Paramedic Science

Charlotte is the Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound programme and Deputy for the BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography. Her role is the overall management of the programmes, as well as supporting students in their studies and helping them to manage their learning.  Charlotte's door is always open for students who need to discuss any aspect of their studies with her.

Charlotte is the Personal Tutor for diagnostic radiography students who are placed at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, and she sees students regularly to offer pastoral support and discuss their progress, both in their academic studies and in their clinical placement.

She teaches predominantly on the diagnostic radiography programme, as that is her professional background, but she also teaches sessions relating to academic and professional practice on the radiotherapy programme.  The radiography disciplines are very different, but share many elements relating to patient care and professional regulation. Charlotte is the module leader for the level 4 Introduction to Professional Life in Clinical Practice for the Medical Ultrasound Students.

Her clinical area of expertise is Radionuclide Imaging/Functional & Molecular Imaging and she covers this subject on both the radiography courses at all levels of the degree.

Charlotte is currently undertaking her Educational Doctorate and looking into Employability in Radiography especially concentrating on Character.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 6295

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295