Health Physiology / Healthcare Science - BSc (Hons)
The BSc Hons Health Physiology programme is ideal for students who are interested in technology, health and wellbeing.Take a look
Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more
In this section
The BSc Hons Health Physiology programme is ideal for students who are interested in technology, health and wellbeing.
The BSc Hons Health Physiology uses advanced technologies to evaluate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in varying states of health and disease. You will study the complex anatomy and detailed function of the human body in both health and disease. The programme provides you with the opportunity to acquire the practical skills required to undertake a range of cardiovascular and respiratory investigations used to diagnose disease. You will also develop your knowledge of a range of therapeutic intervention and long-term management and care options.
This programme also provides a route into year two BSc Hons Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology / Sleep & Respiratory Physiology). These programmes are designed to provide vocational education at undergraduate level for careers in healthcare science.
On successful completion of year 1 Health Physiology, students will be given the option to apply to transfer to year 2 BSc Hons Healthcare Science.
Transfer may only occur if the student is in good academic standing, and is subject to confirmation of work-based training places.
BSc Hons Health Physiology and BSc Hons Healthcare Science share common first years.
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About this course
In this section
BSc Hons Health Physiology encompasses study across a range of topics focused upon the relationships between human physiology, health and exercise, applied physiological measurement and technology. Graduates will have a solid foundation and understanding of the relationship between health and exercise and the extensive range of technology applied in the health diagnostics fields.
This course will appeal to you if you are interested in the physiological aspects of health and the application of technology both in the health service and other areas.
On campus attendance required for all modules.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the FinalAward
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Cardiac Physiological Science
This module will provide the student with an understanding of the theoretical principles and practical application of electrocardiography. This module helps to ensure that the student gains an understanding of ECG recording and how to work safely within a clinical area.
Respiratory and Sleep Physiological Science
This module introduces the student to the basic science behind the physiological assessment and diagnosis of the normal lung and simple respiratory disorders. Students will study dynamic lung volumes, respiratory air flow rates and oxygen saturation developing practical and diagnostic skills in respiratory investigation.
Vascular Physiological Science
This module introduces the student to the basic science behind blood pressure measurement and venepuncture. Students will study vascular assessment, blood pressure measurement and blood sampling techniques developing practical skills in these areas.
Anatomy and Physiology 1
This module will examine how biological systems are organised and controlled at the cellular and molecular level and the study of anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, the blood and lymphatic systems (including the role of the renal system) and the respiratory system. The role of these systems in the maintenance of homeostatic balance in the overall function of the body is considered.
Anatomy and Physiology 2
This module involves the systematic study of the functional anatomy and physiology in the human body of the nervous system, the special senses, the endocrine, reproductive and musculoskeletal systems and the gastrointestinal tract. The role of these systems in the maintenance of homeostatic balance in the overall function of the body is considered.
Introduction to Imaging and Information Technology
This module will develop knowledge on the application of basic physics, medical imaging and information technology in the healthcare environment and also how they are used in the management of disease relevant to Healthcare Science.
Knowledge and Skills for Personal & Professional Development
This module provides opportunities to learn in an interprofessional context. Students will acquire skills for both academic and practice based learning. It will provide them with an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills on issues relating to professional practice and personal development within a supportive environment.
Knowledge and Skills for Personal & Professional Development 2
This inter-professional module introduces students to the key concepts in health communication and health psychology that are necessary for effective practice as a health professional. The module is delivered primarily through online activities which students complete independently and using group work.
Knowledge and Skills for Professional and Personal Development 3
This module supports student personal and professional development by increasing their knowledge of the healthcare and their awareness of how their personal behaviours can impact on care delivery. The module also supports students to develop personal skills and strategies to enhance opportunities to match career aspirations
Instrumentation, Signal Processing and Imaging
This gives the student theoretical and practical understanding of equipment used in the diagnosis and monitoring of normal and diseased states. The student will be able to describe and converse at the appropriate level with both clinical staff and patients on the application of the equipment. They will also be aware of the governing legislation and safety of application of these technologies.
This module introduces and develops key concepts in relation to common cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. It provides the student with the necessary underpinning knowledge in pathophysiology for effective practice as a healthcare science practitioner.
This module will develop the necessary theoretical and practical skills required to perform, analyse, interpret, diagnose and evaluate electrocardiographical findings. It further develops theoretical and practical competence of electrocardiography.
This module will help the student to develop an understanding of modern concepts of drug action and the pharmacology, clinical uses and limitations of drug therapy. The student will also learn to critically evaluate available information and current research on the efficacy and limitations of drugs.
This module examines the process of sleep in the normal individual and the changes seen in a range of sleep disorders. The student will study a selection of subjective and objective sleep assessment investigations used to identify simple pathologies. This will facilitate the recognition of normal sleep and a range of sleep disorders.
The module provides a foundation of knowledge and skills for using research evidence to inform practice and for designing and conducting research and clinical audit post-registration. The focus is on research design and qualitative and quantitative methods appropriate for healthcare research. A series of lectures and workshops provide theoretical knowledge and practical experience of research activities including data analysis.
Controversial Issues in Health Science
The module develops the students' appreciation that scientific processes may be viewed very differently by the professionals and by the public in general. Three controversial issues relevant to health science will be selected for study and students will analyse both their scientific bases and the views of public groups opposed to aspects of their use, giving their findings and their own analyses in both oral seminar and written presentations.
In this module students will develop research skills by undertaking a research study on a topic related to practice. Each student, supported by a supervisor, will have an opportunity to undertake one of the following types of research project (i) a systematic critical review to inform practice; (ii) a research protocol involving the design of a research study to produce evidence to inform practice or (iii) research report involving the collection and/or analysis of data to produce evidence to inform practice.
Knowledge and Skills for Professional and Personal Development IV
This module supports student personal and professional development by facilitating preparation for recruitment and selection procedures, enhancing knowledge of health policy and skills for continuing professional development and lifelong learning.
Cardiorespiratory Provocative Challenge Testing
This module studies the complex area of cardiorespiratory provocative challenge testing. Students will develop the necessary theoretical and practical skills required to perform, analyse, interpret, diagnose and evaluate findings from a range of provocative procedures such as; exercise challenge (cardiac and respiratory), bronchodilation challenge, allergy challenge, head up tilt table testing and valsalva manoeuvres involving patients with a range of cardiac and/or respiratory disorders. Students will also gain an overview of dobutamine stress echo and electrophysiology studies.
Cardiorespiratory Interventions and Therapeutics
This research informed, evidence based module provides the underpinning theoretical and practical skills required to begin to perform, analyse, interpret and diagnose a range of invasive cardiac and respiratory investigations. Investigations included in the module are cardiac catheterisation, percutaneous coronary interventions, haemodynamics and implantable cardiac device management. It provides learners the opportunity to develop specialist knowledge in cardiac and respiratory care pathways and service development.
Health Physiology Work Based Experience
This module facilitates and encourages the student to examine aspects of professional development and entrepreneurial skills in an area of employment of interest to themselves. The module will prepare the student for independent and group working in the work environment and encourage the student to plan for their immediate and long term future.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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The A Level requirement for this course grades BBC to include a grade B from one of the following: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Double Award Applied Science, Double Award Life & Health Sciences or Double Award Health & Social Care. Applicants can satisfy the requirement for the A level grade C (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
Applied General Qualifications
Overall BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma with profile DDM (to include a unit profile of 8 distinctions) in a relevant science based BTEC. Applicants must also meet the GCSE science requirements for the course.
BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma with profile DDM. Applicants must also meet the GCSE science requirements for the course.
You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard (provided subject requirements are met). Examples of combinations include:
A levels with BTEC Level 3 QCF Subsidiary Diploma or BTEC RQF National Extended Certificate
A level with BTEC Level 3 QCF Diploma or BTEC Level 3 RQF National Diploma.
For further information on the entry requirements for this course please contact the administrator as listed in Contact details.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile H3,H3,H3,H3,H4 to include Highers in the following: English, Maths and at least two from Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grades BBCCC to include two subjects, one of which must be a grade B, from the following maths, physics, chemistry, biology, double award health and social care, double award life and health sciences, double award applied science.
Scottish Advanced Highers
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grades CCD including at least one subject grade C from the following maths, physics, chemistry, biology, double award health and social care, double award life and health sciences, double award applied science.
Access to Higher Education (HE)
Overall Access profile pass with an overall mark of 63%, including two modules at level 3 from the following: mathematics, physics, biology or chemistry. NICATS maths (25 credits) or maths 1 & 2 or GCSE grade C Maths. (This may be subject to change).
GCSE Profile to include English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4. Plus GCSE Physics grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grade BB/66. Essential/Key Skills in Application of Number is not regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Mathematics.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Additional Entry Requirements
Applicants should note that, as they will be engaged in 'regulated activity' involving children or vulnerable adults as part of their course, there is a compulsory, legal requirement to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from AccessNI. The cost for this is payable by the applicant and is currently £33. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed by www.accessni.gov.uk (http://www.accessni.gov.uk).
You will also be requried to demonstrate good health prior to commencing the course. You will therefore complete a health declaration form which will be screened by Occupational Health who will confirm your medical fitness to undertake the course. Following the screening, you may be requried to undertake a vaccination programme. You will be liable for the cost of both the health screening and vaccinations. Costs will be confirmed.
HND (science related) entry requirement:
Pass HND with overall Merit to include 45 distinctions in level 5 credits/units.
HNC (science related) entry requirement:
Pass HNC with overall to include 75 distinctions in level 4/5 credits/units.
OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC National Extended Certificate
Ulster Foundation Degree
Pass in Foundation Degree in a science related area with an overall mark of 50% in level 5 modules. Applicants will be considered for year one entry only.
Exemptions and transferability
This programme also provides a route into year two BSc Hons Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology) or BSc Hons Healthcare Science (Respiratory and Sleep Physiology). On successful completion of year one BSc Hons Health Physiology, students will be given the option to apply to transfer to Healthcare Science (interviews will be used for a limited number of places). The Health Physiology and Healthcare Science programmes share common first years.
Careers & opportunities
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This degree course is designed especially to prepare graduates for the myriad of career opportunities that include education, health promotion, pharmaceutical, sports and medical device company sales/marketing. You may also elect to undertake further study for a PhD and opportunities exist for post graduate research studies at Ulster and elsewhere.
Work placement / study abroad
Students will undertake work placement in the final year of the programme.
Fees and funding
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Fees (per year)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:
£9,250.00 Discounts available
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Additional mandatory costs
Additional Costs - AccessNI check, Health Screening, Uniforms.
Placement Expenses - students may incur expenses during periods of placement. Some placements may be oustside Northern Ireland and will incur additional costs.
Uniforms - as part of your course, you will be requried to purchase a uniform during the first week of semester. 2017/18 costs were approx £100.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Admissions contact regarding application process:
Mrs Karen McCarroll
Course director regarding course content:
Mrs Jacqui Crawford
For more information visit
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