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Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging (BSc)

Entry year

Validated by the Radiography Board of the Health & Care Professions Council and the Society & College of Radiographers, the BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging degree offers excellent career opportunities.

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Radiography student with equipment

Course overview

Our full time, three year diagnostic radiography and imaging programme is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council and the Society and College of Radiographers, and the skills you obtain are transferable to all NHS organisations and are recognised overseas. This will help you to develop the skills necessary to become a qualified diagnostic radiographer who is proactive and responsive to the rapidly changing landscape of clinical radiography.

Diagnostic radiographers are key members of the healthcare team who work closely with doctors, and other healthcare professionals to provide personal and supportive care to people of all ages. They operate a wide range of imaging equipment available in modern medical practice including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, diagnostic ultrasound and X-ray equipment.

As a diagnostic radiographer you will be responsible for providing comprehensive care for patients from new born children to the elderly, producing and interpreting images to be used in the diagnosis of injury and disease. By the end of the programme you will have a thorough knowledge of the professional and clinical aspects of diagnostic radiography, including the wide range of imaging technologies in use today.

People are at the heart of our practice and the development of skills to aid your care of individuals is a central focus of the programme.  The School provides an interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education. Therefore, opportunities to learn with and from other healthcare students, especially in respect of person-centred care will be part of the programme.

We offer an integrated mixture of university-based study and practice placements in the clinical setting.  We work collaboratively with NHS organisations across South and West Wales so that you are competitive in the employment market upon qualification. 

You will receive close academic support from experienced personal tutors and be taught and supported by experienced staff whilst sharing ideas within a close-knit class and you will also benefit from placements supported by experienced radiography clinical lecturers. A varied profile of placement experience undertaken at optimal times across the three years of the programme will allow you to integrate academic theory with practice and gain insight as to the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification.

You will have the opportunity to undertake an original research project representing the culmination of your three years of study.  The research study aims to equip you with the necessary skills for ongoing professional development and evidence-based practice.

The programme aims to produce diagnostic radiographers who:

  • Are responsible, adaptable, courageous and resilient with a focus on evidence-informed practice;
  • recognise the importance of knowledge, understanding and question their current and future professional practice;
  • are able to transfer knowledge and skills across different learning environments with people at the heart of their practice while working within a moral and ethical framework. 

Distinctive features

As part of a large School based at the University Hospital of Wales, we’ll help you to enjoy an academically rich and fulfilling experience throughout your time at Cardiff University. Here are some of the key features of our programme:

  • Our Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging programme at Cardiff University is ranked in the Top 5 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and in the UK Top 10 under Medical Technology by The Complete University Guide 2019
  • Radiography is a very practical degree developing both theoretical and practical skills and our approach to learning combines face to face teaching with high quality online resources and practice placements.
  • You will spend a minimum of 1460 hours in a variety of radiography/radiology departments in Wales which ensures that you have a well-balanced range of clinical experiences, enabling you to not only meet the required professional competencies for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), but also to be competitive in the employment market.
  • You be able to download ‘Shaderware’ simulation software to your own laptop to enable unlimited access to support your learning and supplement your clinical practice for the duration of the programme.
  • You will learn to cannulate during your final year, a skill that is very desirable in clinical practice but is not taught in many institutions.
  • The School provides a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education.
  • Studying at a Russell Group University supports a strong research profile and evidence-based learning
  • As part of the clinical elective placement in the second or final year, you will have the opportunity to organise a clinical placement in a radiology department of your choice, with the opportunity to work or volunteer abroad. Previous students have, through the University, completed placements abroad collaborating with organisations such as ‘Work the World’
  • Practical teaching will take place in specific diagnostic facilities including a functional diagnostic x-ray room and an image viewing suite.
  • Employability upon graduation is excellent with 95% of students in employment 6 months after graduating (UNISTATS 2018).


UCAS codeB823
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time

Our Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging programme is ranked in the Top 5 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

Entry requirements

BBB to include at least ONE science A level - we will also accept Welsh Bacc in lieu of a non-science A' level

Additional Requirements

During your application to the programme you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) good health and character, fitness to practise requirements. This will be achieved by providing a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.

All successful applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this programme which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. There will be a need to adhere to any immunisation requirements identified. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Dist, Dist and Merit

32 points to include 6 in a science subject at Higher Level.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.


At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Criteria are assessed on an individual basis. Typical Access to HE Diploma offer: 27 Dist, 18 Merit at level 3 Any specific GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): A minimum of five GCSEs grade A-C or grade 8-4 including English, Maths, Physics and one other science. Typical offers for other qualifications (inc Scottish Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Cambridge Pre-U, etc.): In line with UCAS tariff for BBB at A' level English language requirements are in line with HCPC guidelines.   Applicants whose first language is not English and who are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, IELTS level 7.0 with no element below 6.5’ (HCPC) IELTS (academic) At least 7.0 overall with no less than 7.0 in speaking and a minimum of 6.5 all other sub-scores TOEFL iBT At least 100 with minimum scores of 24 for writing, 22 for listening, 24 for reading and 25 for speaking Pearson Test of English (academic) 70 with 70 in speaking and no less than 62 in any of the other skills  


Applicants who are successful in both academic and non-academic assessment stated above will also be invited to attend a Multi Mini Interview (MMI) process. The MMI process is an opportunity to address interviewees in person and to assess information that is not always readily forthcoming in traditional application processes.

The MMIs consist of a series of short, timed interview stations designed to provide information about an applicant’s ability to think on their feet, to critically appraise information, to communicate ideas and demonstrate that they have thought about the values and personal requirements necessary to provide effective patient care in the radiography profession



Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available for this programme. Further details are available on our NHS funding pages.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

To support your learning of anatomy, students will be able to hire a life sized set of artificial bones modelled on human ones in a lockable storage box for the first year of the programme. Skeletons will be hired between a pair of students at a cost of £30 per skeleton.

Applicants are required to meet the costs of obtaining an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate


Course specific equipment

A small pocket notebook is advised for practice placement so that you can make notes during the day which will aid with reflection later.



We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The programme is modular in format and each level of study consists of academic and clinical modules.  Each academic level consists of 120 credits with the final degree requiring successful completion of 360 credits. Level 4 (year 1) & 5 (year 2) have 4 x 30 credit modules with Level 6 having 2 x 30 credit, 1 x 20 credit and 1 x 40 credit module.  Only levels 5 & 6 contribute to the overall award classification.  Students are required to achieve each level of study in order to progress to the next level.

Each academic year consists of both academic and clinical blocks which vary depending on the level of study. Student attendance at all sessions is mandatory for both academic and clinical blocks.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

Subjects studied in Year 1 are Professional Practice and Patient Care, Practice of Imaging, Imaging Technology and Clinical Practice 1.

These subjects will introduce you to the theoretical basis of diagnostic radiography practice and includes professional behaviours and practice, imaging and radiation sciences, the delivery of patient-centered care and anatomy and techniques related to the projectional imaging of the skeletal system, chest and abdomen. You will undertake extended clinical placements to aid the application of theory to practice.

Students will have the opportunity to develop knowledge of other professions and underpin the multi-disciplinary teamwork that is vital in clinical practice. Opportunities to develop awareness of your own profession and that of other professionals supporting the patient journey will be introduced in year one through interprofessional education. You will work within a group of students from your own programme to develop your understanding of the role of the diagnostic radiographer and share this as a poster with students from other programmes within the School of Healthcare Sciences.

Year two

Year 2 develops and supplements the radiographic skills and knowledge gained at level 4 with modules in Imaging Modalities and Research, Enhanced Radiographic Practice, Radiological Imaging and Anatomy and Clinical Practice 2. You will be introduced to the wide range of imaging technologies in use today and learn the basic principles of research and data analysis. 

Continued practice-based learning will provide experiential learning in a variety of settings facilitating development of transferrable skills. You will engage in the process of undertaking ethical research in the field of diagnostic radiography and develop skills of critical appraisal to evaluate the concepts of best practice and evidence-based care.

Further involvement in inter-professional education will encourage knowledge and understanding of the patient pathway and the role of the radiographer within that pathway. IPE will provide you with opportunities to work with School of Healthcare Sciences students from other programmes developing your understanding of team working and communication within the multidisciplinary healthcare environment. Groups will be made up of students from three different professions from within the School of Healthcare Sciences and will, using enquiry based learning, explore real life team working situations from practice.

Year three

Year 3 focuses on enhancing the skills and knowledge already gained by encouraging you to critically analyse and evaluate, demonstrate a sense of judgement and apply decision making to a wide range of complex clinical situations.

The management of a research project will reinforce the key skills that are essential for evidence-based practice. You will continue to develop your analytical skills to challenge assumptions and integrate multiple concepts to justify clinical decisions

You will develop, through reflective practice, the ability to evaluate your decision-making skills and adapt your practice when managing service users with complex conditions and multi pathologies. There will be a focus on preparation for imminent employment, considering wider responsibilities such as public health, continual professional development, advanced clinical practice, role extension, management and leadership and service development.

Developing on inter-professional education gained in year 1 and 2 you will have an opportunity to develop your own specialist area, as outlined in the IPE handbook, where you will be able to engage with students in the School and / or beyond to develop understanding of leadership, management and resilience when working within a multi-professional team.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The programme has been designed to focus on the integrated relationship between all of the subjects and topics with a key focus on application of theory to the practice of diagnostic radiography in all modules.

Due to the practical nature of diagnostic radiography, the programme has been structured with an almost 50/50 split of academic time to clinical experience over the 3 years, to enable the practical integration of theory to clinical practice.

Diverse learning and teaching methods are used throughout to reflect module content, students' developing knowledge and growing expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which employ a range of formal lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical skills sessions. There will be a focus on both guided and self-directed study to enable development of a student centred approach to learning.

Practical workshops utilising both the Radiography Imaging suite and imaging simulation software will help you to develop skills and consolidate your learning.

Resources will be available online and during lectures and tutorials to help you and you will be actively encouraged to seek evidence from literature to help support and inform your ideas. 

Opportunities to hear directly from service users and carers will be provided throughout your study to enable you to understand experiences from the perspective of those that have a personal insight.  This will help to develop your professional practice.

In keeping with the professional clinical environment, great emphasis is placed on working in a multi-disciplinary team. There are opportunities embedded in all 3 years for shared and inter-professional education and you will have the opportunity to engage with students from a range of other healthcare disciplines.

This programme offers elements of provision through the medium of Welsh if you are Welsh speaking.  You will have the opportunity to have a Welsh speaking personal tutor and have your personal tutor meetings conducted through the medium of Welsh.  You can request Welsh speaking clinical placements and you will also be able to submit coursework and have feedback and submit summative assignments in Welsh.  

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your studies who you will have regular meetings with. They will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme. In addition, you will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support you in the development of your research project.

On placement you will be supported by departmental clinical staff, practice educators and clinical lecturers. 

Additional support will be provided by the Student Support centre for advice and guidance, financial, counselling and well-being, disability and international student support. Further support can be accessed via the Student Advice service at Student Union for independent advice on university procedures and advocacy while the Skills Development Service and the library can offer guidance and tuition for all aspects of academic and skills development.

You will be allocated an academic supervisor to guide and advise you when undertaking your research study.

You will have access through the Learning Central Virtual Learning Environment to relevant multimedia material including presentations, lecture handouts, lecture capture recordings of lectures, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion forums. The virtual learning environment which is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide Wi-Fi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated Healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite to assist you and provide support and advice.

You will have individual access to dedicated diagnostic imaging simulation software, available on any windows based device, which enables you to practice and undertake self or tutor directed learning tasks, as often as required for your own learning needs, in either your own or self-study time. 

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways throughout your study to make sure that you have the opportunity to learn and improve upon your formative assessments and to showcase your skills and knowledge base through different assessment methods.

The summative assessment of the programme incorporates written assignments, project work, formal unseen examinations, seen examinations, presentations, objective structured practical assessment (OSPE), practical clinical assessment and assessment of professional behaviours.

Year 1 assessment is designed to ensure that you have attained knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of radiographic practice. Assessment at Years 2 and 3 is designed to take into account the progression from analysis and evaluation of more routine practice through to the complex decision making required for autonomous practice. Clinical education is assessed by the use of a clinical competency portfolio and observed assessment of practical clinical skills. All levels must be successfully completed but only Years 2 and 3 will contribute to the degree award.

We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through Feedback Studio.  

You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.  During clinical placements you will be supported on your progress by mentors/clinical educators who will provide verbal and written feedback on your clinical performance.


What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Apply the core knowledge and skills associated with the safe and effective practice of diagnostic radiography and imaging with due regard to the ethical, social, political and legal aspects of care.
  • Critically apply core knowledge and skills to autonomous radiographic practice as defined by the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (Radiographers) (2013). 

Intellectual Skills:

  • Systematically evaluate research evidence including healthcare guidelines and integrate with individuals’ needs and personal/professional experience to provide effective management in line with clinical guidelines and evidence of best practice
  • Contribute positively to the development of ethical research within the healthcare setting with ability to evaluate research questions, methodologies and research findings and integrate into professional practice.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Undertake practitioner, operator and referrer roles within IR(ME)R (2017 or subsequent amendments) as required within professional practice.
  • Practice as an autonomous professional exercising own professional judgements within the scope of practice in accordance with the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) and Proficiency (2013).
  • Understand the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice and ensure the provision of patient centred care in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Work effectively with all members of the Radiology team (Inter-professional) as well as other healthcare professionals (cross-professional boundaries).
  • Apply for registration as a Diagnostic Radiographer with the HCPC.

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Demonstrate a wide range of highly developed and effective communication skills, including verbal, visual and written, using a critical approach to adapt these skills to ensure a collaborative approach to giving and receiving of information to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Apply critical thinking and reasoning skills in the application of professional activities.
  • In conjunction with HCPC requirements, take responsibility for own lifelong learning within a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework.


Careers and placements

Career prospects

On successful completion of this programme you will eligible for registration as a diagnostic radiographer with the HCPC. In 2018, 95% of graduates were employed or undertaking further study within 6 months of graduating (UNISTATS 2018).

Students graduating from the Cardiff University Diagnostic radiography and imaging programme are well regarded professionally.



  • Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Therapeutic Radiographer


Students will undertake required clinical placement learning in all three academic years with a minimum number of 1460 attendance hours required by all students, which will be monitored through your clinical professionalism records. Clinical placements will be undertaken in a minimum of 3 organisations throughout South and West Wales. Placement lengths vary depending on the level of study and allows students sufficient opportunity to develop the required skills but also provides some flexibility should they need to pay back hours.

In years 2 and 3 of the programme, students will have the opportunity, should they wish, to undertake elective placements abroad, to develop their knowledge and understanding of radiographic practice internationally.  These placements are negotiated and arranged by the individual student with help and advice provided by relevant university staff. All placements will be subject to the University’s Placement Risk Assessment processes.



Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October




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