School of Biomedical Sciences

BSc (Hons) Clinical Physiology (Cardiac Physiology)

The BSc (Hons) Clinical Physiology (Cardiac Physiology) degree is a four-year course with integrated practice placement learning intended to be the main route for the training of Clinical Physiologists and Healthcare Science Practitioners. Our awards are focused on the training of Healthcare Science Practitioners for the physiological science discipline of Cardiovascular Physiology.

Graduates disciplines work in a range of healthcare settings to deliver quality assured tests, diagnostic investigations and interventions for patients/clients.

Careers with this subject

The Modernising Scientific careers agenda underpins the initiation of the Practitioner Training Programme providing highly skilled and qualified professionals for modern and future clinical diagnostics in biomedicine. You will undergo training as part of the National Academy of Healthcare Sciences. Upon graduation from this accredited programme you'll be eligible to apply for entry onto the highly sought after Scientific Training Programme (masters level) or NHS employment as Healthcare Science Practitioners in Cardiac Physiology. 
Physiological scientists 
Physiological scientists investigate the functioning of body systems to diagnose abnormalities, providing key scientific and technological roles in the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Using specialist equipment, advanced technologies and a range of different procedures in the course of their work, physiological scientists provide therapeutic intervention and long-term patient management and care. 
Clinical physiologists
Clinical physiologists work closely with patients, to monitor heart and lung function in patients with chronic diseases. We focus on understanding the medicine underpinning human health, and the development of processes that result in different disease states. There is a key emphasis on the clinical pathology and diagnosis of human disease, and available treatment strategies. Clinical physiologists are key members of multi-disciplinary NHS clinical teams, working to inform and support cardiologists, doctors, nurses, cardiac surgeons, clinical perfusionists, anaesthetists, and operating theatre practitioners, to deliver diagnoses, treatment and patient centred care.
As a clinical physiologist working in cardiac sciences, you will undertake crucial diagnostic, monitoring and analytical procedures in patients ranging from babies to the elderly that have known or suspected cardiac disease. Cardiac physiologists have a lot of direct patient contact, and will often work as part of a large team providing care to patients. 
You will be responsible for carrying out a range of tests to assess cardiac function: 
  • electrocardiography (ECG)
  • exercise Stress testing
  • pacemaker implantation, management and follow-up
  • cardiac catheterisation procedures
  • echocardiography
  • electrophysiological studies.  

Key features

  • Multi-disciplinary programmes integrating traditional and clinically-focused subject areas, delivered by specialist academic and clinical healthcare associates and informed by patients, carers and lay associates.
  • Study the specialist area of Clinical Physiology in Cardiac Physiology as well as maintaining academic breadth of organ function and impacts on the human body.
  • A coherent, progressive curriculum underpinned by experiential and workplace learning, ensuring competence in core knowledge, personal and practical skills designed to enhance the students’ academic performance and professional development.
  • Enthusiastic, accessible and committed academic staff that offer student support via personal tutoring throughout their programme of study.
  • Teaching and Learning informed by nationally and internationally recognised research, scholarship and professional expertise in biomedicine, clinical physiology and pedagogy.
  • A learning environment enriched by the presence of a “critical mass” of healthcare education in the form of the Faculty of Health, well-equipped modern laboratories and facilities, plus the legacy of the Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
  • A route to apply for registration as a Clinical Physiologist/Healthcare Science Practitioner. 

Progression options

This course has a progression route onto medicine and dentistry for graduates who meet the following requirements: 
  • On track to gain 1st Class (>70%) or already holds a 1st Class Biomedical Science degree with us achieved in the two years prior to applying.
  • GAMSAT requirement waived.
  • Satisfactory performance in interview.
  • Satisfactory DBS check and occupational health screening.
For further information regarding admissions and interviews, please contact us at meddent-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you'll be introduced to the healthcare science profession and receive a sound grounding in the basic science underpinnings of modern disease diagnostics, evaluation and treatment. You'll also undertake a division-specific programme of study and complete clinical experiential learning in NHS clinics by day release in semester 2.

    Core modules

    • Biomedical Investigation and Experimentation (BHCS1001ZA)

      To introduce the learner to key elements of investigation and experimentation within the biomedical sciences and to support the development of the basic skills and knowledge required for effective practice in these discipline areas

    • Human Anatomy and Physiology: Cells to Systems (BHCS1002Z)

      This module offers an introduction to the key anatomical features of the body and how physiological function is controlled to maintain homeostasis and health. It will commence with an exploration of cell and tissue biology and the founding principles of genetics, embryology and human development. The module will conclude with an exposition of anatomy and physiology of the major human organ systems.

    • Introduction to Human Pathology (BHCS1004PPZA)

      This cross-disciplinary module provides the learner with an introduction to the study of human disease, exploring historical, social and scientific perspectives as well as an opportunity to explore how modern pathology services are structured and operated.

    • Human Disease (BHCS1005Z)

      Concepts associated with altered health states due to environmental, developmental and genetic causes are explored. Pathological changes at the cellular, tissue and organ level are discussed. Genomic and bioinformatic technologies are introduced, and their application to clinical and personalised medicine considered.

    • Foundations of Healthcare Science Practice and Workplace Learning (BHCS1007)

      This module provides an introductory framework for Healthcare Science practice, being the major vehicle for the understanding, acquisition and development of the theoretical, practical and personal attributes necessary for a Healthcare Science Practitioner.

    • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology (BHCS1008)

      This module provides the learner with the theoretical and practical foundations for practice in healthcare physiological sciences, by introducing the underpinning biological principles of cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep physiology

    • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Pathophysiology (BHCS1009)

      This module provides the learner with the theoretical and practical foundations for practice in the healthcare physiological sciences, by introducing the underpinning pathophysiological principles as applied to cardiac, respiratory and sleep physiology.

    • Interprofessional Learning 1 (HIPL400)

  • Year 2

  • In your second year, you'll continue to study the roles and responsibilities of a healthcare science professional and begin to specialise in the techniques and methodologies used by healthcare science practitioners in the physiological science disciplines.You will have NHS clinical experiential learning by day release in Year 2.

    Core modules

    • Clinical Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sleep Physiology (BHCS2013)

      This module will review the common disorders affecting cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep function. It will include aetiology, risk factors, pathogenesis and the body's responses to a range of conditions. Learners will also develop an understanding of the patient pathway and explore the key principles of measurement techniques underpinning cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep analysis in a clinical setting.

    • Clinical Physiology Instrumentation and Techniques (BHCS2014)

      This module is taken by students of both cardiovascular and respiratory & sleep sciences. It provides a familiarisation with the functions and characteristics of clinical equipment used for assessing and recording key physiological parameters

    • Healthcare Physiological Science Professional (BHCS2015)

      This module continues the processes of understanding, acquisition and development of the skills and personal attributes necessary for a Healthcare Physiological Science Practitioner. It also provides a foundation in research theory and methodology for systematic study of the evidence base in healthcare science. During this module there will be a work placement in the clinical setting of their chosen discipline, where learners will further develop their skills and professional conduct

    • Electrocardiography (BHCS2016)

      This module introduces students to the routine practical techniques applied in cardiac physiological monitoring. It will allow students to develop the requisite skills and confidence to practice safely and effectively in a healthcare science context. Students will gain insight into patient impact (including carers), whilst developing requisite skills and knowledge of a Healthcare Science practitioner

    • Interprofessional Learning 2 (HIPL500)

  • Placement year

  • You will spend a minimum of 40 weeks full-time clinical work placement activity in a host NHS trust completing all competencies within the specialist portfolio for your chosen discipline. 

    Core modules

    • Professional Practice Placement (BHCS3036)

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training in an accredited clinical placement provider or host organisation between Stage 2 and 4. This module also contains the work placement in clinical environments of their chosen discipline. Here, students will further develop an understanding of the scope and practice of healthcare, whilst developing the skills and professional qualities of a Healthcare Science practitioner/Biomedical Scientist.

  • Final year

  • You'll spend your final year at University, completing a research project and specialist modules focused on your chosen discipline. You will apply everything you have learnt about science, technologies and techniques to the practice of Clinical Physiology / Healthcare science. 

    Core modules

    • Professional Practice in Healthcare Science (BHCS3012)

      This module consolidates material from years one and two of the programme. It extends understanding and acquisition of skills necessary for a Healthcare Science Practitioner, enabling a safe and effective contribution to high quality care in each chosen discipline. This module also contains 25 week work placement in an appropriate clinical setting

    • Clinical Cardiac Sciences (BHCS3017)

      This module is taken by cardiovascular science students to enable them to apply specialist aspects of cardiac physiology and pathology to contemporary practice. It will include exposure to provocative and invasive cardiac procedures in a patient-centred context.

    • Specialist Cardiovascular Investigations (BHCS3018)

      This module will enable students to apply specialist aspects of cardiovascular physiological measurement to practice. It will include exposure to provocative testing and invasive pressure measurement and cardiac investigations

    • Research Project in Healthcare Science (BHCS3021)

      This module is largely comprised of independent self-directed study under the guidance of a project advisor. The project will address a specific research question(s) and will include a literature review and report writing.

    • Interprofessional Learning 3 (HIPL600)

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc (Hons) Clinical Physiology programme specification_6798

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C/4
Plus suitable Level 3 qualifications as outlined below:
A Level
104-120 UCAS points from three A levels to include the following: 
  • Grade B in Biology
  • Grade B in a second Science subject from Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Applied Science, Geography, Geology, Psychology, Nutrition or Environmental Science/Studies
General studies is not accepted for this course.
BTEC RQF National Extended Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM in BTEC (Science/Human Health based) – depending on the BTEC and units studied. If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application or contact Admissions for further advice.
T level
Accepted – preference pathways would be Health or Science. Typical offer will be confirmed once an application is received. 
Access to Higher Education Diploma
Pass an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Science/Human Health based) with 33 Level 3 credits at merit or distinction, including 15 Level 3 credits in Biology and 18 Level 3 credits in Chemistry, Maths, or Physics.
International Baccalaureate
28 points overall to include the following: 
  • Higher Level 5 in Biology
  • Higher Level 5 in a second Science from Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Applied Science, Geography, Geology, Psychology, Nutrition or Environmental Science/Studies
  • English and Mathematics accepted within as GCSE equivalent at higher level 4, standard level 5
Other UK qualifications
Other suitable combinations and equivalent international qualifications will be considered on an individual basis. Please contact meddent-admissions@plymouth.ac.ukfor more information.
English Language
If English is not your first language, an IELTS with an overall average score of at least 7.0, with a score of at least 7.0 in all sections will be required. Equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact the Admissions Team at meddent-admissions@plymouth.ac.ukfor more information. The University will no longer accept the IELTS indicator (online test). All applicants will have to take the IELTS test at an approved centre.
Other requirements
Applicants must also pass an interview, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS/Police Check) and Occupational Health (OCH) checks satisfactorily in order to be eligible to enrol on to the programme.
Student Conduct and Fitness to Practise

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Health and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page:  Faculty of Health additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.
Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

 

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees are the principal education and training route for Healthcare Science Practitioners (HCSP) in England and are delivered through a collaborative partnership between University of Plymouth and NHS laboratories, which will provide work placement training in each of the three years of the course. 
Our degrees focus on the pathobiology of normal and disease processes and you'll gain expertise from specialist tutors and NHS workplace educators to allow merit in professional competencies required within modern and future healthcare practice. 
This course is regulated by the Registration Council for Clinical Physiology.
Year one introduces foundation knowledge and integrates rotational placement within core disciplines. You will specialise within year two, gaining knowledge in applied, complex and advanced investigations and apply your learning to a research project in year three. You will benefit from continual professional clinical training placements in the NHS throughout the three years of the programme and have an opportunity to complete professional certificates in ECG or spirometry at year two. 
You'll gain:
  • professionalism
  • specialist skills
  • knowledge of the ‘patient pathway’ 
  • and impact to patients and carers associated with your chosen discipline.

Placements

You'll complete your academic learning in Year 1 and Year 2 with rotational clinical training in local NHS trusts, practices or private healthcare providers. Between Year 2 and your final year you will spend a minimum of 40 weeks full-time in a host NHS trust to complete the portfolio of competence for your chosen discipline. You will then return to University for the final year to complete specialist modules and a research project in your chosen discipline.
Stock image showing calculator and medical notes
Clinical Physiology lab in Portland Square
Rebecca Winkler, current 2nd year student

Cardiovascular Physiologist wins prestigious award in recognition of her teaching expertise

Cherith Wood, Lecturer in Cardiovascular Physiology, has been honoured by Health Education England after receiving their Inspiring Educator Award for the South West region. Cherith, who has worked at the University for seven years teaching cardiology to undergraduate students on the Practitioner Training Programme, was presented with her accolade at the HEE Star Awards in Taunton. 
Cherith was nominated by Lynn McCallum, Programme Lead for Healthcare Science at the University, for the remarkable support, teaching and clinical training she provides to students, travelling across the region to liaise with trusts to ensure that the student experience is enjoyable as well as high-quality. 
Cherith Wood
Doctor and patient using digital tablet in hospital - Getty images 838723420