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Occupational Therapy (BSc)

  • B920

3 years (Postgraduate Diploma: 2 years)(Full-time) (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The School of Healthcare Sciences is the leading provider of education and research for Allied Health Professionals in Wales, and one of the leading Schools in the United Kingdom.

The 2012 Times Good University Guide ranked the University as joint 4th in the UK for the quality of its healthcare programmes (‘Subjects Allied to Medicine’) on the basis of student satisfaction, entry standards and graduate prospects. Our students also rate their experience highly: overall student satisfaction with teaching was 90% in 2011, one of the highest scores in the University.

Approved by the Health & Care Professions Council and accredited by the College of Occupational Therapists, the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree offers excellent career opportunities. You will spend much of the course – at least 1,000 hours – on clinical placements throughout Wales and beyond, applying your skills alongside practising professionals.

The fees for students from the UK and European Union are paid by the Welsh Government - who commission around 47 trainee undergraduate Occupational Therapists in Cardiff each year - and you will also be eligible for a non means-tested bursary of £1,000 and possibly up to a further £5,000 in means-tested bursaries.

The School also provides pre-registration programmes recognised by the UK Health & Care Professions Council, in Operating Department Practice, Physiotherapy, Diagnostic Radiography and Radiotherapy & Oncology. These professional strengths contribute to vibrant inter-disciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education that are not available at many institutions.

A wide range of post registration and postgraduate programmes are also offered, supported by a rapidly developing research profile. Substantial investment is taking place to ensure that the facilities and staff - the environment within which you will be studying – are at the forefront of the expansion of knowledge and expertise in healthcare.

Key Facts

UCAS Code B920
Duration 3 years full-time
How to apply
Typical places available c.47 Home/EU Welsh Government funded places
Typical applications received 360
Scholarships & Bursaries

Funding for Healthcare related courses

How to apply for NHS funding (PDF)

NHS Bursary Scheme

Fees and Funding

Typical A-level offer ABB
Admissions Tutors Miss Alison Seymour / Mrs Nina Cogger
Tel Number 029 2068 7538
Email address
School website

Occupational therapy is based on a humanistic view of an individual’s ability to influence his or her own health role and quality of life. It uses occupations or people’s everyday activities and ideas to help them overcome physical or psychological disabilities.

Placements in various parts of Wales and England are an important part of the course and are based around the problem-solving process of assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation. Your performance while on placement is assessed and contributes to the awarding of the degree. Completion of the degree leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and professional membership of the College of Occupational Therapists.

The programme is structured into 12 modules that introduce concepts of learning and Occupational Therapy, and four practice education modules, which reflect the integration of knowledge and the sequential development of your skills in the practice education environment. Modes of study include formal sessions, self-directed and peer-directed study, as well as practice education. All modules and their assessments, together with all practice education modules, are required to be passed to be awarded the degree.

Key modules relate to: Professional studies; occupational engagement; occupational interruption; practice education – assessment, planning, intervention and critical evaluation; research; and a negotiated study opportunity. The integration of occupationally based study together with contributory sciences across the boundaries of these modules, mirrors the approach to problem solving used by occupational therapists and will enhance your ability to become reflective practitioners.

As well as the three-year full time BSc programme, we also offer a four-year part time BSc programme and a two-year, full time Postgraduate Diploma (although the part time route is currently in abeyance). Each includes an integrated mixture of University-based study and at least 1,000 hours of practice-based education within a range of health and social care settings. Completion of each programme also leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and professional membership of the College of Occupational Therapists.

Visit the Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences website for more information about modules and credits.

The School of Healthcare Sciences has an international reputation for its education provision, rating strongly in formal audits of its programmes, as well as by the students themselves. The School has scored consistently highly in the National Student Survey, in 2011 scoring 88% for overall student satisfaction with teaching. Within the survey, areas relating to learning & assessment score strongly, particularly ‘Teaching on my course’ (87%), ‘Learning Resources’ (93%) and ‘Personal development’ (91%).

The 2012 Times Good University Guide ranked the University as joint 4th in the UK for the quality of its healthcare programmes (‘Subjects Allied to Medicine’) on the basis of student satisfaction, entry standards and graduate prospects.

All our programmes of study have been designed to be stimulating, flexible and relevant to the needs of a professional healthcare career. Great emphasis has been placed on the practical and clinical aspects of the programmes, all of which have been accredited by the relevant professional bodies.

A diverse range of learning and teaching methods are used throughout the School's Programmes, reflecting the module content students’ developing knowledge and expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which will employ, for example, formal lectures, seminars, workshops, skills laboratories and case scenarios, as and when appropriate.

The modular structure also includes and embraces the teaching and learning opportunities available in the clinical environment, where you will spend over 1,000 hours on placement. The acquisition of knowledge and skills through the practical experience in which you engage is key to the Cardiff Occupational Therapy degree.

As in the professional environment, a greater emphasis is being placed in working in a multi-disciplinary team, and opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education – training alongside students from other disciplines – are increasingly embedded.

Information Technology

The School of Healthcare Sciences has a wide range of information systems and facilities available to students, designed to support your learning and development. Our virtual learning environment is accessible on a variety of desktop and mobile devices, and ensures students have access to a variety of electronic resources from anywhere in the world. In addition, onsite dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a brand-new Healthcare library are available year-round for students' use. Staff are also available onsite to assist students in getting configured and to provide support and advice.


The School of Healthcare Sciences has recently implemented an unprecedented level of investment in new facilities and equipment, ensuring some of the best technology and modern facilities at your disposal throughout your career as a student. These include a dedicated Research Centre for Clinical Kinesiology with cutting-edge equipment, a completely refurbished radiographic imaging suite, a Virtual Environment Suite allowing for 3D simulations and brand-new dedicated occupational therapy and operating department suites, allowing for training and research in industry-standard environments reflecting real-world conditions.


The School of Healthcare Sciences is committed to engagement within the community, with programmes such as 'Physios supporting athletes across all abilities', an all-Wales initiative that will give participants the chance to feed into a world-class volunteer support service provision for all international teams based in Wales prior to the 2012 Games in London, and establishing a legacy network of support for sport in Wales well beyond 2012 (and which is open to students across the School, not just those in Physiotherapy). The School has also recently launched App Iechyd Da, a mobile app highlighting the importance of the Welsh language within allied healthcare in Wales, and providing information about a variety of Welsh language-specific initiatives such as demographic trends, political directives, economic influences and useful Welsh language communication guides. The app is freely available to all via the Apple App Store. Further investment in engagement is planned with the opening of a community children's play clinic as well as a physiotherapy clinic, both open to the public.

A broad general education is required with preference given to applicants who have five GCSEs obtained in one sitting at grade C or above, to include English/Welsh language, Mathematics and a Science. Scottish, Irish and International applicants must offer equivalent GCSE qualifications.

In addition to the GCSE requirements applicants are expected to have achieved:

Typical A-level Offer

ABB from three GCE A-levels achieved in one sitting

Typical WBQ Offer Pass in the Advanced Diploma to include AB from 2 A-levels achieved in one sitting
Typical Int Bacc Offer 35 points and at least one subject must be offered at Higher Level grade 5. In addition, English, Maths and Science must be offered at Subsidiary or GCSE level
BTEC National Diploma BTEC Science and BTEC Health Studies – DDM
Degree / Other Consideration given to any degree at 2:2 or higher. K101 will be considered.
Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Access to HE Diplomas must have a strong academic base rather than a practical skills base. Students who are pursuing a QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) approved science and health based Access to HE Diploma e.g. Access to Science and Health, will be considered on an individual basis. The certificate must be issued by the AVA (Authorised Validating Agency) containing the relevant information and recognised logo.

You will be required to attain a pass of 60 credits, to comprise a minimum of 30 credits at level 3 at Distinction grade and 15 credits at level 3 Merit grade. This requirement is under continual review and would be at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor.

The credits should comprise the following topic areas:
Sociology, Psychology, Biology - Transferable Skills to include I.T, Communication, Maths, Essay writing skills, presentations/group work.

Open Days

Prospective students are encouraged to attend the annual Cardiff University Open Day. Details can be found via our website.

Additional Requirements for Admission

Health Checks

All offers given by the School of Healthcare Sciences will be conditional upon a satisfactory health check. A Health Declaration form will be sent to applicants when offers are made. Applicants who have decided to accept offers given by Cardiff University will be sent an 'Occupational Health Questionnaire' which they are required to complete and return to the University's Department of Occupational Health by 31st July in the year of entry.

Criminal Record Check

Admission is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4(2)(Exemption) Order 1975 and DHSS Circular HC(88)9 guidelines regarding child protection and criminal record checks. It is also considered important to ensure that an applicant's attitudes and values are such that they can reasonably be admitted to the profession. All offers given to applicants will therefore, include a condition relating to a satisfactory criminal record check. This condition must be satisfied by 31st July in the year of entry. Applicants will be required to complete the University's own Criminal Record Disclaimer form and also to complete the Disclosure and Barring Service process (at the "Enhanced" level). DBS application forms will be sent to applicants who decide to accept Cardiff University's offer, in their year of entry.

Information on the Disclosure process can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service Website. Enrolment on to the course cannot take place until a satisfactory disclosure has been received from the Disclosure and Barring Service. Delay in returning the DBS form may also compromise an applicant's university accommodation options. Those who are known to be travelling overseas at the relevant time should endeavour to authorise another individual to deal with this correspondence on their behalf.

Detailed information will be given to successful applicants with letters offering places. Information on the Disclosure process can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service Website. All information will be treated in absolute confidence and applicants with convictions to declare will be assessed as to their suitability for the programme to be studied.

Resit Candidates

The School of Healthcare Sciences will consider resit applicants on an individual basis.

UCAS Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important part of the selection process and assessment of this may have implications on the conditions set for entry. Demonstrating that you are making an informed choice of career is vital in your personal statement.

How to apply

Applications for the 3 year full-time course must be made via UCAS.

Applications for the PG Diploma in Occupational Therapy – 2 year accelerated programme are made directly to Cardiff University using the online process via the Cardiff University website.

International Applicants

While the majority of applicants offer A-level subjects, some other international qualifications are acceptable.

Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with an overall score of 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in listening and reading and not less than 7.0 in writing and speaking. (Please note: this applies to overseas students who have pre-arranged application arrangements.)

The school will also consider applications from international fee-status students subject to the availabilty of suitable clinical placements. Such students will need to make their own arrangements to meet tuition, placement and living costs.

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

Our graduates have the third highest job prospects of the 72 institutions in ‘Subjects Allied to Medicine’ in the Times Good University Guide 2012, and within 12 months 82% of our 2011 graduates had found graduate employment or gone on to further study. Employers included: NHS Trusts, private clinics, community health services, local government social service departments plus organisations such as Age Concern and the Cardiff Blues rugby team. Career destinations included: occupational therapist, physiotherapist, diagnostic radiographer, therapeutic radiographer and operating department practitioner.

We are committed to supporting the School's recent graduates in finding meaningful employment. Bespoke online and text message-based early warning systems have been established to highlight job postings, relevant courses that would strengthen CVs, advice on job applications and plenty of other useful information to help in the preparation of job applications, such as writing a personal statement and practice interview questions.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Healthcare Sciences Admissions Team  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2068 7538 



School Website:

More information

School of Healthcare Sciences