Medical Ultrasound with Foundation Year - BSc (Hons) *

Full Time (1 year foundation followed by 3 year degree)
September 2019
£9,250 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

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 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) Food and Nutrition
  • 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) Speech & Language Therapy

Why choose a foundation year course?

By studying a foundation year in Health 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 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 approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (formerly Grade C), at the point of enrolment. These must include English language, science and mathematics (or equivalent).

If you do not already have the required GCSEs, (or their equivalent) for entry onto this course, and are not registered to take them, visit Equivalency Testing for further information.

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2019/20
GCE A Level/ AS Level 88 UCAS tariff points = CCD. Must include one of Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science or Science.
Access to Higher Education Diploma 60 credits overall in a science related pathway also including GCSE English Language and Maths equivalence if not hold separately.
BTEC Diploma (12-units) DM in Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science, or Science at B or Distinction
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units) MMM in Science or Applied Science
International Baccalaureate Diploma 24 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate Minimum 88 UCAS tariff points achieved in four Higher level subjects, must include either Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science or Science.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Minimum 88 UCAS tariff points achieved in 3 Highers, must include either Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science, or Science.
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Minimum 88 UCAS tariff points, must include either Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Science, or Science at A level grade B or BTEC Distinction.
Other qualifications

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 1 year foundation followed by 3 year degree £9,250 per year 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


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.

Foundation Year

Academic Skills for Success

This module is designed to support you in your transition to studying in a Higher Education environment at Birmingham City University. Through a range of class-based group and individual activities, discussions, debates, personal reflection and wider reading and research, you will have opportunities to consider academic conventions, which include: effective use of literature; sourcing and reviewing information; various forms of academic writing; developing reflective capacity. You will also receive guidance on study skills and strategies, which will enhance previously acquired skills.

These professional skills are transferable and will be valuable not only in the immediate context but throughout your continued education and employment. By engaging with this module, we have set out clearly what we expect of you at foundation and undergraduate level, and will equip you with the confidence, competence and capacity to utilise resources to be able to meet expectations in this environment.

An essential element of this module will be your ability to analyse and reflect on your own learning and the way in which you have applied your knowledge, skill and understanding to any academic context in which you have engaged to date. Communicating effectively through a variety of academic conventions is a key skill for any student and this will be a feature of this module.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity

This module is designed to help you gain awareness and understanding of current challenges around Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity and how this impacts upon the Health, Education and Social Sciences sector, preparing you for your future education and journey into practice.

Introducing the Equality Act 2010 as the overarching legislation that focuses on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, the module is based on themes that are covered by this Act.  The nine protected characteristics, upon which a person can be discriminated, as laid down in the Equality Act, will be discussed throughout and you will be introduced to case studies relevant to your chosen pathways.

The module will give you the opportunity to discuss debate and reflect upon how challenges around Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity may present themselves. Using problem and inquiry based learning you will have the opportunity to explore and discuss ways of working which can help to minimise discrimination in your own practice.  The module will be made up of lead lectures, taught sessions, group work and individual study.

An essential element of this module will be your ability to analyse and reflect on your own experiences and perceptions, whilst gaining an awareness and appreciating the differences of others. 

Interpersonal Skills and Professional Behaviours

This module will focus on enabling you to gain a deeper understanding of the interpersonal skills and behaviours required to work in your chosen area. Through a range of class based and student focused activities you will explore the different concepts of effective interpersonal and professional behaviours essential to your own personal development and progression. By engaging in this module you will  reflect on your own and others  values, beliefs and behaviours identifying how this can impact on the way in which you will  be viewed by others. You will also address the importance of effective communication and how this can lead you to have a more professional approach in your chose area of work.

Negotiated Study

This module is designed to support you in your transition to studying in a Higher Education environment at Birmingham City University, allowing you the opportunity to negotiate learning of a bespoke subject. Under the guidance of tutors, you will be able to direct your learning and identify relevant learning opportunities that you feel enable you to learning more about a specific field of study.

The subject area within this module is student-led, with guidance and facilitation from designated academic and practice support. You will identify an area of study that you would like to review and evaluate, and which relates to your foundation year pathway and indicate programme.

A significant proportion of the module is based around negotiation with academic facilitators to identify extended areas of study and opportunities that are possible to enhance your towards completion of the study.

The module is not reliant on traditional taught subject sessions, although you will be expected to attend classes where you will work in peer learning groups exploring and developing your negotiated study. This approach to studying is closely allied to learning within the workplace.

Introduction to Human Biology

An appreciation of the principles of Human Biology plays a central role in the understanding of the workings of the human body. This module is organised into three distinct phases from fundamental principles, to physiological processes, and then disruption of the interplay of such systems in human disorders. This understanding provides a solid foundation for the subsequent study in a range of disciplines from healthcare, allied healthcare, and other disciplines requiring an understanding of human biology. The topics covered will also be underpinned by practical activities. Pre- and post-session activities will help to develop your key transferable skills such as being able to reflect and ask probing questions as well as being able to think independently.  Development of these skills will ensure a growth in maturity and boost your confidence which will lead to unlocking your learning potential.

Health and Well-being in Society

Students embarking on health related studies and careers need to have a knowledge and understanding of the factors that contribute to creating good health.  Evidence shows that the majority of these factors lie outside of the healthcare and clinical remit and so it is important that students are aware of the wider social, economic, environmental and political drivers of states of health of the population, group or client group they may encounter.   As health services are reoriented towards prevention of ill-health and health improvement, all health science students need to consider the ways in which they may work in future, to both understand the social determinants of health and the principles and practice of health promotion in order to improve health, prevent ill-health and reduce health inequalities.

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.

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 One

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

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 a 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) Food and Nutrition
  • 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) 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 for the BSc (Hons) Medical Ultrasound

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.


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 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.


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.