Department of Health

School of Health, Sport and Food

Welcome to our Department of Health

Thank you for taking the time to come and check out what we offer at University College Birmingham, the highest ranking university in the region as voted by students at the 2023 Whatuni Student Choice Awards. Our student support is award-winning too, as is our provision for international students.

If you are looking at joining us to carve out a career in health or nursing, from working on emergency wards to mental health services, here is a glimpse into our student and staff community - and the placements and enrichment we offer - to see if we are the right choice for you. 

Find out about our Whatuni awards

Professor Kathryn Riley
Director of Nurse Education

Welcome from Professor Kathryn Riley

As a person making huge decisions about their future, you have made a great choice in considering us to give you a university education you can be proud of and that leads to a rewarding career in health and nursing.

All degrees within our department are approved by the professional regulators, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). But more than that, they have been written in partnership with local healthcare providers and service users from the region, fully preparing you for your first role as a registered healthcare professional.

There’s so much to look forward to if you decide to join us. Excellent teaching, placements and career opportunities, and training in world-class facilities, including an incredible health simulation suite. Read on to find out all our exciting news, including being shortlisted in the Student Nursing Times Awards.

*Kathryn worked clinically for 16 years at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham before moving into education

Find out more about Kathryn

“This is a university with incredible facilities and student-centred staff. And that includes myself – you are always welcome at my informal ‘Talk with the Dean’ sessions, your chance to say what’s going well and what we can improve on.”

Dr Anne Coufopoulos Executive Dean, School of Health, Sport and Food

We are proud to offer work-based qualifications through apprenticeships in the professional areas of nursing, nursing associates and assistant practitioners in partnership with employers such as University Hospitals Birmingham, Cygnet Healthcare and Health in Justice. And we now work with Polaris Medical private ambulance providers on an apprenticeship around paramedic science. A really exciting time to be one of our apprentices!

Marina Kendrick Head of Healthcare Workforce Development and Apprenticeships

Stephen Garvey
Deputy Dean (Teaching, Learning and Digital)
School of Health, Sport and Food

Meet Stephen Garvey  

My role is to ensure we stay at very forefront of progress across the education sector and across industry, building innovative technology and skills such as immersive virtual reality into your educational experience.

We are committed to providing face-to-face teaching as we know students value this quality time with their lecturers and fellow students. But to support your academic studies, we also have a sophisticated lecture capture system that provides accessible recorded lectures, where possible.

We are very proud of the exceptional and sustained record of teaching excellence we have in the provision of our vocational educational experiences, and the future-focused curriculum we have to offer you.

*Stephen is a registered dietitian with a background in research

Read more about Stephen

Our teaching and learning

Whether you are studying nursing or physiotherapy, our aim is simple - to turn you into a stand-out professional. Since we launched our degrees in these fields, we have earned a reputation for the highest quality courses and a learning experience that sets us apart from bigger universities.

Our degrees are designed to develop you personally and professionally, with graduate advantage, employability and enrichment sessions threaded throughout the curriculum, sitting alongside really interesting theory modules. Our partnership with the University of Warwick, a top-ranking Russell Group university, also brings extra opportunities including access to guest speakers and additional resources.


Our courses are developed and taught by experienced lecturing staff, who are also registered nurses or physiotherapists. This means they can draw on their clinical expertise and years of experience to make scenario-based discussions, debates and concepts come to life, supporting the linking of theory to practice.

You will learn so much from our lecturing teams, who are passionate about their profession and eager to inspire and nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals.

We also have many invited guest lecturers and service users from practice participate in our courses, sharing their knowledge and experiences to enhance your learning.

Students also have a lot to bring and as a team, we will also learn a lot from you! We encourage you to share your perspectives and viewpoints, especially when reflecting on your own life and placement experiences.


Placements are key to success as employers want you to have real experience. We have excellent links with our healthcare placement provider organisations across the region, so we can allocate you to a diverse range of placements including hospital trusts, community, care home, private, voluntary and independent settings.

This exposure to different learning environments opens opportunities for you when you qualify. And you will receive simulation-based education in our excellent Health Skills and Simulation Suite and anatomy skills teaching rooms at our award-winning Moss House.


Our support is exceptional, so much so, our students voted to make us the winner of the Student Support award at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022.

Throughout your studies, you will not only have a personal tutor, but a link tutor during placements and module leaders to support you through academic modules. And we have a whole range of additional support services available, providing you with as much or as little support as you need to succeed in your degree. Our smaller teaching groups enable all students to grow and flourish, with strong peer support and friendship.

Our Learning and Teaching Strategy 2021-24 is key to how we approach the educational journey, focusing on three main pillars that set out our commitment to your learning and teaching experience while you are studying with us.

  • Pillar 1 – Provide accessible and inclusive teaching and learning across a wide range of vocationally-led courses
  • Pillar 2 – Develop next generation opportunities and skills through innovative, future-focused curriculum and pedagogy 
  • Pillar 3 – Shape local and global sectors, promoting sustainable futures and global citizenship

    Read our Learning and Teaching Strategy

Nursing and physio facilities

Our university facilities were shortlisted in the 2022 Whatuni Student Choice Awards and include a health skills and simulation suite with replica hospital ward complete with simulation manikins. There is also an immersive technology video wall powered by the very latest virtual reality equipment – more on this soon.

For physiotherapy (and nursing) students, our Anatomage table is a full-size e-cadaver to enhance anatomy and physiology lessons through visual exploration of all the layers of the body, organs and body systems. You can zoom in/out to view the body parts at cellular level or full-size.  

Find out more about our facilities

We look forward to seeing you on campus

As you prepare to join us, here's a refresher on some of the essentials:

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