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Important notice – campus change This course will move to the Coleraine campus in September 2018.  Students will change campus part way through this course. Find out more

This course is for aspiring healthcare scientist practitioners


Study Healthcare Science (Respiratory and Sleep Physiology) at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

This course is scheduled for revalidation in 2016 and therefore the content and modules may change

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About this course

In this section


Healthcare Science describes a range of professions involved in the effective diagnosis and treatment of patients within the health service. Our BSc Healthcare Science degrees are recognised NHS practitioner training programmes. The programmes integrates both academic and work-based training in order to provide you with underpinning knowledge and practical skills to fulfil the role of a Healthcare Science Practitioner in Cardiac Physiology or Respiratory and Sleep Physiology. Work based training is an essential component of the course and placement opportunities are provided by numerous hospitals both in Northern Ireland and further afield.

This course is scheduled for revalidation in 2016 subsequently there may be alterations to the course content as specified.


Three years full-time attendance including 50 weeks of work based training (clinical placement) in blocks during years 1- 3.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply


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.

In this section

Year one

Cardiac Physiological Science

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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 1

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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.

Year two

Knowledge and Skills for Professional and Personal Development 3

Year: 2

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

Year: 2

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.

Respiratory Function Assessment

Year: 2

This module builds upon year one learning to extend respiratory physiological assessment and diagnostic skills. Students will study static lung volumes, gas transfer and respiratory muscle function. This will facilitate the recognition of normal lung function and a range of more complex respiratory disorders.


Year: 2

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.


Year: 2

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.

Sleep Assessment

Year: 2

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.

Respiratory and Sleep Work Based Experience

Year: 2

This module is the first specialist respiratory and sleep work based training module. The student will undertake a 16 week block of placement in the clinical environment. During this time they will complete a portfolio of evidence required to meet the clinical training requirements of the NHS Modernising Scientific Careers / National School of Healthcare Science Respiratory and Sleep Practitioner Training Programme in Healthcare Science. The overall aim of this module is to consolidate academic learning whilst further developing clinical skills and diagnostic aptitude.

Research Methods

Year: 2

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.

Year three

Research Project

Year: 3

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

Year: 3

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

Year: 3

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

Year: 3

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.

Respiratory and Sleep Work Based Experience II

Year: 3

This module is the second specialist cardiac work based training module. The student will undertake a 30 week block of placement in the clinical environment. During this time they will complete the remainder of the portfolio of evidence required for the Respiratory and Sleep Practitioner Training Programme in Healthcare Science. The overall aim of this module is to complete the development of academic, clinical and diagnostic skills needed take up post as a band 5 practitioner on graduation.

Entry conditions

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.

In this section

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is 280-320 UCAS points to include A-level grades BB to include a grade B from one of the following: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Double Award Applied Science or Double Award Health & Social Care. (This may be subject to change).


Overall BTEC award profile DMM-DDM (to include a unit profile of 8-10 distinctions) in a relevant science based BTEC. Applicants must also meet the GCSE science requirements for the course. (This may be subject to change).

Irish Leaving Certificate

Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile 280-330 UCAS tariff points (B2,B2,B2,C2,C2 – A2,A2,B3,B3,C1) at Higher level. Specific subjects required include Highers in the following: English, Maths and at least two from Chemistry, Physics and Biology. (This may be subject to change).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall Access profile pass with an average of 72-70%, including 72-70% in each level 3 module to include 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. Plus GCSE Physics grade C or GCSE Double Award Science grade BB. 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 (

You will also be required 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 required to undertake a vaccination programme. You will be liable for the cost of both the health screening and vaccinations. Costs will be confirmed.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, we accept a range of alternative qualifications for example HND, HNC, Foundation Degree.

Applicants may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of the different qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

For further information regarding combination offer requirements, please contact Faculty Office staff on telephone 02890366098 or email:

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Excellent opportunities exist for graduates within the Health Service. This degree programme provides access to an NHS career path leading to ‘Consultant’ status. In addition, graduates will be eligible for entry into MSc and PhD programmes.

For more information about careers in healthcare science in the NHS visit:

Work placement / study abroad

  • The Healthcare Science degree programmes are delivered by a combination of academic and work based training modules. In total 50 weeks of clinical placement are embedded within this three year programme.Approximately 50% of the work based training will be outside of Northern Ireland.

Professional recognition

Health Education England

This degree meets NHS requirements for the role of a Healthcare Science Practitioner. Academic study is integrated with 50 weeks of work based training underpinned by professional practice. Delivered by academic and clinical staff with active patient involvement the degree constantly evolves to embed new science and technology e.g. genomics.


Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:

Additional mandatory costs

Additional costs - AccessNI check, medical, uniform, placement expenses

Placement Expenses – students may incur expenses during periods of placement. Some placements may be outside Northern Ireland and will incur additional costs.

Uniforms – as part of your course, you will be required to purchase a uniform during the first week of the semester. 2015/16 costs were approx. £100.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.


Mrs Karen McCarroll (Faculty Office)

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 8983


Course Director: Mrs Jacqui Crawford

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6810