University of Chester

Programme Specification
Osteopathy BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)



University of Chester

Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (National Training Centre) in partnership with the University of Chester.

Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dublin, Ireland. School of the National Training Centre (Academic Partner University of Chester) is located near the centre of Dublin City and close to all main bus, train, DART and Luas lines.

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

5 years

7 Years

Variable - September

not appl


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

General Osteopathic Council


Forum for Regulation of Osteopathy in Europe (FORE)

World Health Organisation

Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

Saturday 1st October 2011

Programme Rationale

Osteopathy is a well recognised complementary therapy that has been established since 1874. It is an effective and therapeutic modality for the treatment of musculo-skeletal dysfunction. It applies an evidence based approach in the treatment and care of patients of all ages. Osteopathy is steadily receiving National recognition in many European countries with the establishment of Statutory Regulatory Bodies like the General Osteopathic Council (UK). In Ireland the Osteopathic Council of Ireland is the current voluntary regulator which is applying for statutory regulatory powers. This modular programme has been developed to enable students to undertake a robust but flexible route applicable for entry into an expanding Profession. The rationale behind the programme is to provide a curriculum, which exceeds the Professional and academic standards for osteopathic training currently adopted in Ireland and Europe generally. The adaptability and flexibility of the programme paves the way for it to be current and fit for purpose, and allows it to adapt rapidly according to professional requirements. The implementation of a spiral curriculum enables the learner to reinforce their knowledge, and enables the teaching team to ensure that deep learning has taken place. The graduate ICOM Osteopath will embody a safe competent practitioner capable of being an active member of the profession.

The Programme is delivered in Ireland and combines the understanding of basic and clinical medical sciences with the application of osteopathic principles, technique and practice. The focus on the personal development of a professional, reflective and ethical practitioner is an underlying requirement of the programme. This programme encompasses flexibility and adaptability in learning with the rigour and expectations of a professional degree programme. It has been scrutinised to ensure that it meets the current academic and vocational requirements of the Profession; mechanisms have also been embedded to ensure it is relevant and adaptable for the foreseeable future.

The educational aims of the programme are to produce Osteopathic graduates who encompass acquisition of knowledge, criticality, innovation and maturity, but also the basic tenets of the profession; Competence & Professionalism.  Osteopathic practitioners share a set of core competencies that guide them in the diagnosis, management and treatment of their patients and form the foundation for the osteopathic approach to health care.  The aims are to produce graduates who: 

• Possess exceptional levels of academic and professional competence and the confidence to demonstrate this in a variety of specialised settings.

• Are able to display criticality, evaluation and maturely reasoned independent thought.

• Are able to demonstrate a high level of clinical competence sufficiently appropriate to satisfy the rigorous demands of professional regulation.

• Are able to synthesise information from diverse sources and respond aptly and professionally in critical situations.

• Understand the need for continuing professional development in maintaining currency in professional practice.

• Will have the desire to investigate further the possibility of undertaking evidence-based research to underpin their professional activities and the development of the profession.

• Will become role models in the community and make a positive contribution to the continuing development of the osteopathic profession. In order to achieve this, the programme team aim to:

  • Provide the student with a broad and diverse access to resources, the effective use of which will empower them with the necessary knowledge, skills and value systems that form the foundation of a capable and ethical osteopathic practitioner.
  • Encourage the active development of a research community, advocating the use of technology and reasoned discussion and in doing so, facilitate within the student the ability to develop and effectively use the skills of critical thinking and clinical reasoning to be able to deal fittingly with clinical uncertainty. 
  • Utilise a Faculty who, by acting as professional exemplars will support the student and foster a personal understanding of self-evaluative methods that will enable them to become reflective practitioners able to critically appraise their own professional needs and undertake further professional self- development.
  • Instil a desire within the student to encourage osteopathy to realise its potential as a major component of modern healthcare in Ireland and overseas.



Knowledge and understanding: Modules have been developed to ensure that the student will acquire increasingly demanding levels of knowledge and deeper understanding of the science that underpins the practice of Osteopathy. They are constantly challenged to demonstrate acquisition of knowledge and skills by undertaking formal and informal assessment tasks.

Operational contexts include exploration of current limits of knowledge, requirement of responsibility such as autonomy and responsibility for self and others, requirements for ethical understanding and professional awareness. 

Intellectual or cognitive skills: Teaching and learning strategies have been designed to encourage the development of these skills at all levels of the programme. Current Professional expectations require the osteopathic graduate to engage critically with colleagues, peers and the public in general, as such modules have been constructed to encourage criticality and maturity in decision making. The use of seminars, group activities and forum discussions allow for debate in a supportive yet invigorating environment.

Cognitive context includes objectives relating to knowledge and understanding, analysis, synthesis, creativity and evaluation. Innovation and enquiry of fact are also part of this area.

Practical Skills: The acquisition of high dexterity skills is of paramount importance and a fundamental professional expectation. The knowledge gained at the early levels of the programme underpins the application of the practice, whilst continued application of techniques will inform the deeper understanding of principles. This integrative nature of learning is fundamental to the transition from acquisition to mastery of skills. The programme team includes many highly experienced Registered Osteopaths and students can be assured of an excellent SSR in the practical classes and clinical learning.


Transferable Skills: The professional nature of this programme does not overlook the necessity for the development of transferable skills. In developing the programme the team considered the descriptors and model established by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and they include Information Technology, Communication skills, Working with others, Problem Solving and Improving own learning and performance.   

Transferable skills include psychomotor, self-appraisal and reflection on practice, planning and management of learning, problem solving, communication and presentation and interactive and group skills, use and interaction with information technology and development of communication skills.

The programme developmentally moves the student from a grounding in the basic science and techniques for osteopathy in a structured manner to ensure integration between the clinical and medical modules and osteopathic clinical practice.  Skills development is integrated and helps the learner to develop their skills in a systematic manner across the programme.  

The programme is based upon three core perspectives. These encompass the values of higher education teaching and learning and enable the student to progress from surface to deep learning, and facilitate mastery of the programme expectations.

The programme is divided into three levels (4-6), with level 4 achieving 120 UK academic credits (60 ECTS credits) and levels 5 & 6 achieving 180 UK academic credits (90 ECTS) each and following the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) UK.  The three levels are spread over a five-year part-time attendance structure which allows time required for the practice elements of the programme to be developed.  

Within the three levels of the programme there are four thematic areas of study: 

i). Foundation Studies (Level 4)

ii). Clinical & Professional Studies I (Level 5)

iii). Clinical & Professional Studies II (Level 6)

iv). Research Studies (Levels 4 – 6)

The programme consists of 17 modules.   All modules are compulsory. 

Level 4 - is delivered over 2 academic years.

Level 5 is delivered over one and a half academic years and

Level 6 is delivered over one and a half academic years. 

Exemptions to core modules Anatomy, Physiology and Clinical Studies and Healthcare Practice 1 at Level 4 can be claimed at the admissions stage. 

Overview of Levels and Thematic Areas 

i). Level 4 (Foundation studies): This is the first level of the programme.  

Students are immersed in the subjects that underpin the professional practice of osteopathy. The knowledge and skills gained are the fundamental tools for effective and safe practice. Due to their specialised osteopathic nature and their fundamental necessity for defining Osteopathy, formative assessments are carried out at regular intervals throughout the level. 

ii). & iii) Levels 5 & 6 (Clinical & Professional Studies I & II):

This wide theme of study includes a number of modules, which will enable the learner to become familiar with, and competent in, the understanding and use of clinical procedures to enable effective diagnosis to be made. It covers Levels 5 and 6 of the programme. The ethos of these studies is the application of previous knowledge and skills in the practise of osteopathy. Two modules complement each other in this area. These are Osteopathic Medicine and Applied Osteopathic Medicine. The modules are structured so that the knowledge-focussed subjects are taught at Level five; whilst the clinical and applied focussed subjects are covered at Level six. Formative assessments are carried out throughout the levels.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
XN4001 4 Anatomy 20 Comp
XN4002 4 Physiology 20 Comp
XN4003 4 Principles of Osteopathy 20 Comp
XN4004 4 Osteopathic Technique 1 20 Comp
XN4005 4 Clinical Studies and Healthcare Practice 1 20 Comp
XN4007 4 Study Skills For Osteopathy 20 Comp
XN5001 5 Clinical Presentation and Differential Diagnosis 1 20 Comp
XN5002 5 Clinical Pathology, Neurology and Orthopaedic Studies 20 Comp
XN5003 5 Osteopathic Medicine 30 Comp
XN5004 5 Clinical Studies and Healthcare Practice 2 60 Comp
XN5005 5 Osteopathic Technique 2 30 Comp
XN5006 5 Research Methods (Osteopathy) 20 Comp
XN6001 6 Osteopathic Technique 3 30 Comp
XN6002 6 Applied Osteopathic Medicine 30 Comp
XN6003 6 Clinical Presentation and Differential Diagnosis 2 20 Comp
XN6005 6 Dissertation (Osteopathy) 40 Comp
XN6006 6 Clinical Studies & Healthcare Practice 3 0 Comp

Certificate of Higher Education (Physiological Sciences) - This requires successful completion of six taught modules (120 credits at Level 4)
Diploma of Higher Education (Physiological and Health Sciences) - This requires successful completion ofeleven taught modules (120 credits at level 4 and 120 at Level 5)
BSc (Hons) inClinical Health Studies - This requires successful completion of four taught modules (120 Level 6 credits), but unable to fulfil the Professional expectations of Clinical Studiesand Healthcare Practice 3 module.
BSc (Hons) Osteopathy - This requires successful completion of five taught modules (180 Level 6 credits) with successful fulfilment of the Professional expectations of Clinical Studiesand Healthcare Practice 3 module.

The general policy on admissions conforms to the stated policies and regulations of the University of Chester and the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine. All applicants need to have a keen interest in working in a para-medical profession, and a commitment to upholding the professional standards and expectations of osteopathy. They need to be able to offer commitment to participation on this programme, which has been designed to fit in with the schedules of working individuals. 

Programme participation requires students to assess the skin and musculature both visually and by touch, and to apply therapeutic practice techniques to peers this will require the removal of clothing. Students must be prepared to partake in these sessions.

In order to gain entry to the programme students are normally expected to have achieved the following Irish qualifications: Standard Route (5 Years): Enrolment is available to persons without a professional qualification as the course covers all the required elements of anatomy and physiology for practice. Ideal applicants include anyone interested in the care of patients. Students are expected to hold:

• Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) with a minimum of grade B (Ordinary Level) or

• Grade C (Higher Level) in a science subject, preferably Chemistry. 

Students from other countries should have the minimum equivalent of these Irish qualifications, which will be evaluated using Framework of Qualifications as set by National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (Údarás Náisiúnta Cáilíochtaí na hÉireann).  UK students would normally be expected:

• Have achieved 3 ‘A’ Levels usually with 2’B’ grades and 1C grade or equivalent. (It is preferable for the two ‘B’ grades or 200 UCAS points to be in science based subjects or the equivalent). With a grade B in Biology and similarly chemistry is preferable.

• Students who do not have these entry requirements will be advised to apply for an appropriate access course or the equivalent. Prospective students can apply online or directly through NTC using the application form. Any student, whose entry requirements need further review, may then be asked to attend an interview. Exemptions are available for some modules as identified earlier and result in a shorter route (4 years).  Although the Leaving Certificate with a science subject is highly desirable, each application from qualified professionals will be considered individually. 

Ideal applicants would include:

• Nurses

• Chiropractors

• Doctors

• Physiotherapists

• H. Dip. Neuromuscular Therapists (with at least 1 years post-graduation professional experience)

• Physical Therapists (with at least 1 years post-graduation professional experience)

Usually all students applying for the APL and APEL will be considered in accordance with University of Chester Policy. APEL and APCL routes will be required to provide documented evidence of prior learning, which should include:

• Certificates of previous qualification – preferably originals (if posting, copies will be accepted)

• Previous course transcripts They may also be required to attend an interview.


A Criminal Records Bureau or Garda clearance for Ireland based students is required. 

In extreme cases a preliminary entrance examination may be required to be undertaken by the applicant at the discretion of the college. The College’s decision is final and made in accordance with the requirements of the University of Chester regulations in operation at that time.


Subject benchmark statements have been drawn upon by the following organisations and within their respective publications. Module curriculum and skills have been mapped to reflect these.    

  • UK Quality Assurance Agency’s - Higher Education Qualifications Framework (QAA HEQF)
  • World Health Organisation - Benchmarks for training in Osteopathy
  • Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE) - European Framework for Standards of Osteopathic Education and Training (EFSOET)
  • Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE) - European Framework for Standards of Osteopathic Practice (EFSOP)
  • Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE) - European Framework for Codes of Osteopathic Practice (EFCOP)
  • General Osteopathic Council (UK) Practice Standards. 

The programme is occupationally focussed.  Cheetham & Chivers (1999) proposed a mix of specific attributes, which define an ideal occupational model. The modules within each level are intended to help students to develop the knowledge/cognitive competence, functional competence, personal or behavioural competence and values/ethical competence which comprise the occupational mix proposed. The teaching and learning strategies utilised are based on the following:

• The maintenance and development of academic and professional standards of provision;

• Providing the student with opportunities to develop a mastery of the subject, and to facilitate deep learning;

• The enablement of autonomy and inquiry within the student, which could lead to the establishment of a specialist reputation with the profession;

• An appreciation of the need for a flexible and adaptable approach to learning, thereby maintaining demand, currency, and compliancy in present and future provision;

• Establishing a supportive learning environment;

• The recognition of the students’ entitlement to information regarding expectation and performance;

• The need for the effective monitoring and evaluation of the provision according to the University’s requirements;

• Identifying opportunities that encourage academic and practical excellence;

• A strong focus on an effective and valuable staff development programme which is current and robust and which will enhance delivery of the provision;

• Active Learning as a focal strategy. Students will be expected to define their learning to meet the programme outcomes. Encounters within the classroom/ clinic with tutor / mentors and peers will involve debate and discussion based upon justified exemplars of practice dialectic relationship.  The paradigm of a judicious dialectic approach in teaching and learning throughout the programme is a fundamental philosophy in the development of the programme.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of this approach it is imperative to adopt a number of underpinning strategies including:

• Classroom teachers also utilised as clinical tutors;

• The use of credit weighted e-Portfolio;

• Supported challenge of learning in the clinical environment;

• A broad approach in teaching & learning (both clinical & classroom);

• Peer review used as a learning tool;

• The effective use of Active Learning;

• A diverse intranet that can be fully utilised as a resource.

Throughout the programme students are encouraged to take an active role in developing their own learning and skills. A variety of strategies are employed in order to:

• Fulfil the aims and learning outcomes for each level and module;

• Ensure that any required Professional capabilities are met; 

• Meet the needs of the students. 


A range of learning opportunities will be provided including:


* Tutor led, used to convey critical information particularly to increase underpinning knowledge and facilitate understanding. Student participation is encouraged and will form the basis for student led discussions. The use of resources including PowerPoint, visual aids and models are commonplace. Practical sessions tutor demonstration and student participation sessions, which enables kinaesthetic learning to occur and encourages the development and refinement of psychomotor skills. The theory underpinning the practical sessions is always considered.  Guided reading / directed study will be used to complement lectures and linked to formative and summative assessment in modules. 

 * All modules include this aspect of learning as it forms an integral part of the development of a broad knowledge base and encourages reflection on learning. The use of the internet and the Chester VLE is key and the tutor will usually, but not always guide the direction.


* These can be one to one or group based sessions. Individual tutorials provide the student with support for their own learning by offering them the opportunity to discuss their work and progress. They provide an opportunity for structured guidance on programme expectations to be given; for review and integration of student centred learning to be considered and for support in development of effective study skills to be identified. There is also a strong focus throughout the programme on the use of web-based tutorials and due to the nature of the programme these are encouraged and expected to form an integral part of the learning in each module. Each student is entitled to tutorial support and all are allocated personal Mentor at induction. These mentors may rotate each academic year giving the student the best possible exposure to staff as a resource. Group tutorials, forum discussions and web tutorials all enable the tutor to act as a facilitator for specific areas of discussion. The latter enable integration and clarification of classroom learning and are particularly useful in the clinical setting where students are able to discuss specific topics from a theoretical basis and to consider them in the light of practical / clinical experience. Whether in the clinic or the classroom, preparation is expected as this will maximise participation and enhance experience. Whilst there is no defined tutorial entitlement best practice suggests that the student should make contact with their mentor at least once per term and that at least one forum discussion question will be expected to be posted by tutors at the end of each teaching weekend for each module taught.

Experiential Learning

* In some modules role-play and simulation exercises provide students with the best opportunity to learn through experience. This is of great value in developing interpersonal skills.

Presentations / Seminars

* These can be individual or group based presentations. The presentations are followed by discussion. These sessions are extremely valuable in enabling the student to develop retrieval skills, alongside those of preparation, IT, teamwork and presentation skills. Peer review also forms a crucial part of these activities, as it will allow deep learning to be achieved and the students’ ability to confront uncertainty in current theory to be fully assessed.

Group discussion

* These sessions enable students to learn from peers, and also encourage critical thinking in a supportive atmosphere. They are useful in enabling students to challenge ideas. They can focus on specific discussion topics, case studies or problem solving exercises. They will often occur using the Chester VLE, but may also be classroom based.

Clinical Training

Clinical Training forms an integral part of the programme and is designed to ensure transferability of knowledge base into the practice setting and develop clinical skills and competency. 

 * Part or all can be carried out on-line using the Chester VLE

At the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), assessment methods will take several forms, but should comprise a blend of continuous assessments, practical and competency assessments and written exams.

Written and practical assessments in all appropriate areas will be undertaken usually at the end of each year or level completion.   

The development of the course document has resulted in the generation of general module descriptors for each of the levels of the course. The content, structure and type of assessment selected provide a relevant framework within which a student has the opportunity to demonstrate their gradual acquisition and development of educational and professional capabilities as expressions of a growing depth and range of cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills.  These have been mapped and summarised in Section 26. 

Assessment Strategy:

The assessment strategy is primarily designed as a framework of increasingly complex challenges for the student. These are intended to motivate and inspire students to adopt a ‘deep’ approach to learning rather than a ‘surface’ or superficial approach. The purpose is to ensure that the personal aspect of final professional capability is acknowledged and rewarded as well as the obvious theoretical knowledge and practical skill elements. The assessment items are directly related to the learning outcomes of the relevant module in terms of knowledge, skills and beliefs. The progressive demand and expectation characterising each item reflects the level and location in the overall course. As this is a Professional course, it is essential that students reach a predetermined standard to progress, complete and finally qualify. Many of the assessment items are related to the current Professional capabilities, (expected by a National regulator, FORE, the WHO, GOsC or other relevant authority).

The form of the assessment and the vocabulary used by staff to express an assessment challenge will directly reflect the level of theoretical, practical and affective evidence anticipated to be consistent with the progression by a student at a particular stage in the course. This is of special significance in helping students and tutors to map the acquisition, consolidation and refinement of professional capabilities as the course progresses. It is accepted that clinical reasoning and the gradual acquisition of unique expression of practice knowledge by an individual student are difficult to assess. The structure, nature and diversity of clinic-based pro-formas, provide some basis for enabling this to be undertaken effectively. Where these are linked to the development of the e-P or the mapping of the individual’s ability to progressively demonstrate professional capabilities, they take on specific significance. Students are given the assessment dates at the start of each academic year.

 Assessment types:

The programme assessments can take a variety of formats and are designed to assess for the acquisition of both academic standing and Professional capabilities The following assessment types may be held at strategic points throughout the programme (for either formative or summative assessments). This list is not exhaustive:   Assessments have been mapped across the programme to ensure a range appropriate to the module context is used.   

* Unseen written short answer / long answer papers.

* Open book assignment

* Practical viva voce

* Practical including written component

* Case study

* Presentation & essay

* Critique of case history & reflective evaluation

* Case presentation, hypothesis & reflective evaluation

* Clinical assessment Projects

* e-Portfolio assignment

* Skills assignment

* Literature review

* Forum question discussion

* Seminar presentations Evaluation & Action Plan

* MICCA (Mock Internal Clinical Competence Assessment) ICCA (Internal Clinical Competence Assessment) FCCA (Final Clinical Competence assessment) OSPE (Objective Structured Practical Examination) POPLAR© (Presentation of Prior Learning And Reflection)

* Research Dissertation

Continuous formative assessment will occur within the classroom setting.

Course work

Additionally a module may require the submission of essays or other course work as part of the full module assessment. These assignments will be between 1500 - 2000 words in length. They will be assigned by topic and formally marked by a tutor. Students are required to upload the assignment to the VLE having previously utilised the anti-plagiarism software to ascertain its originality. Course work that involves project work, or other similar style of assignment must be submitted to the admin department by the given submission date.


By using this method of assessment learners will have an opportunity to practice presentation and communication skills by presenting case histories and taking part in seminars. The presentations may be carried out individually or as part of a group. The assessments will be both formative and summative.  With group presentations each individual within the group will be assigned a particular task and will accrue a mark for that aspect, this is then added to a final group mark. Each individual will therefore be given a mark based upon the performance of their individual aspect and a collective group mark. The total of these two parts will form the mark for the presentation. This method will ensure that all members of the group participate within the task, and also that the group works collectively to gain a good group mark. The mark for the presentation will form part of that modules assessment mark.

Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) is a system of examination that will be used in years 3 to 5. It has been found to be an excellent method of testing both theoretical and practical skills. The OSPE consists of a number of separate 'stations'. Each station contains an assessor, a task and any necessary examination equipment. Each will represent a different aspect of training that needs to be examined. The learner spends a set time at each station and moves from station to station until all have been completed. Marks for each station will be collated, moderated and an overall score awarded.

Continuous Assessment

Short time frames are set aside during which students are assessed during their clinical experiences. Students are aware of the continuous assessment times. All tutors who have observed any particular student will moderate their marks to produce a collective mark for the student. Immediate feedback is essential and one of the tutors will be assigned responsibility to provide it. Continuous assessment can be either formative or summative.

 Internal Clinical Competence Assessment (ICCA)

This assessment is carried out in the final year usually no less than three months before the scheduled FCCA. The purpose of this assessment is to act as a reference point for the tutor and student to be able to gauge their clinical standard prior to taking the FCCA.  The student must pass the ICCA to be entered for the FCCA. An ICCA panel, which is composed of internal assessors involved in the assessment and an internal moderator consider all the students performances and will award a moderated mark to the student. Similarly, in some cases the assessment panel may recommend a student not be entered into the following FCCA and are entitled to suggest a necessary recommendation based upon the assessment and / or which may be necessary to give the student the best chance of succeeding at the FCCA. Possible actions suggested by ICCA Panel (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Delay in sitting FCCA (time frame must be indicated e.g. 2 / 3 months)
  • Retake of final year only with selected modules to be followed.
  • Complete referral and retake of final year – including all modules.
  • Complete retake of final level.
  • Failure of course.  

Any suggested action must be presented, with supporting evidence, to and approved by the Subject Assessment Board for ratification.

The ICCA is a formative assessment, which must be passed for the student to be entered into the FCCA.

Final Clinical Competence Assessment (FCCA)

This will take place in at the end of the final year. The FCCA is a summative assessment and carries 100% weighting of the Clinical Studies & Healthcare Practice 3 module. This module MUST be passed for eligibility to apply for professional registration. The learner is assessed on his/her competencies in treating patients within the clinical setting. This will provide an opportunity for the learner to demonstrate the skills she/he has gained in all the elements necessary for successful practice. It is envisaged that ICOM will invite Professional EU based external examiners to be part of the examining team for this examination. The student’s ability in eliciting information, taking a case history appropriate to making a diagnosis, formulation of a suitable treatment plan and the treatment itself will be assessed. It is also important to know when osteopathic treatment may not be appropriate for a patient and a learner will be assessed on abilities for knowing when to refer and to whom.

The FCCA could be looked upon as an extension of the learning experience and is an opportunity for the learner to demonstrate the full potential of what osteopathic healthcare has to offer, by integrating their learned knowledge and skills with their personal perspectives on healthcare. Students unable to pass the module after the normal reassessment opportunities are will be given the opportunity to exit with a BSc (Hons) Clinical Health Studies degree. This degree does not entitle them to practice as an Osteopath.

Integrated Assessment:

Presentation of Prior Learning and Reflection (POPLAR©), is a useful learning tool to enable students to develop creativity and quick thinking skills. POPLAR© is a modern variant of improvisation techniques combined with the reflective practice models and computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) tools it aims to encourage peer group learning and problem solving skills. This strategy is totally unique and innovative in osteopathic education and to work effectively must make use of modern technology and tutor and student interaction. POPLAR© is best used as a formative assessment tool. 

Graduates of the degree programme will be professional Osteopaths able to integrate their knowledge and skill onto professional healthcare. The programme will produce graduates who:

• Possess exceptional levels of academic and professional competence and the confidence to demonstrate this in a variety of specialised settings.

• Are able to display criticality, evaluation and maturely reasoned independent thought.

• Are able to demonstrate a high level of clinical competence sufficiently appropriate to satisfy the rigorous demands of professional regulation.

• Are able to synthesise information from diverse sources and respond aptly and professionally in critical situations.

• Understand the need for continuing professional development in maintaining currency in professional practice.

• Will have the desire to investigate further the possibility of undertaking evidence-based research to underpin their professional activities and the development of the profession. 

• Will become role models in the community and make a positive contribution to the continuing development of the osteopathic profession.

Students are fully supported by a wide range of services both within the University and in the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine / National Training Centre.

Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.

The programmes of study in the Dept. of Clinical Sciences fully embrace the University's commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. the University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. The programme is designed and delivered to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. Each module and programme is developed in line with University and National Training Centre policies to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning. The Equal Opportunities Committee is responsible for monitoring the operation of policies.


The Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) was founded in Dublin in May 2009. ICOM is a school of the National Training Centre (NTC), a private college of further and higher education. The NTC has over 25 years of educational experience in the field of Healthcare and Bodywork Therapy and is considered the leading educational authority in this area in Ireland. 

This Honours degree matches current expected educational standards and conforms to all osteopathic professional expectations. It is innovative and unique in its curriculum content, delivery and perspective. This degree aims to create graduate Osteopaths fit for purpose for the 21st century and as such ensures that teaching and learning strategies will always be contemporary and appropriate.

The College is located within the spacious National Training Centre (NTC) located close to Dublin’s main city centre. As such students are able to avail of a variety of learning resources, including the library, gym and administrative facilities, besides the City’s cultural and social opportunities. The building comprises of modern lecture rooms all equipped with professional presentation and ICT equipment. The rooms used for teaching practical techniques also contain portable treatment couches. All of the rooms also have anatomical models and other key equipment.

Our Mission: The Mission of the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) is to teach, advocate, and research the science, art and philosophy of osteopathic medicine. By emphasising integration of osteopathic principles, practices and treatment within current primary healthcare we aim to enlighten and reinforce the value of Osteopathy as a philosophy and treatment modality. We wish to be at the forefront of osteopathic teaching and practise in Ireland and by ensuring that our teaching is current, relevant and appropriate we will endeavour to achieve this.

Our Purpose: ICOM steadfastly believes in developing competent, autonomous, primary diagnosticians and practitioners who not only uphold the beliefs and values of the profession, but also by fostering necessary collaborative efforts will actively encourage the development of the Osteopathic Profession in Ireland and contribute to its progress across the world. We expect our graduates to become integral members of the Osteopathic community and to be Ambassadors for the Profession.

Our Values: By ensuring relevance and robustness of our provision we will maintain, advance and advocate ICOM as a resource of educational excellence in osteopathy. We will support the faculty to maintain currency and propose innovation, which will enable us to develop programs and activities, which foster growth and development of the learner. Acknowledging a core principal of professional respect towards all enables us to pledge to make equality and diversity a fundamental part of our ethos. By embedding current educational innovation within the teaching and learning we will be able to provide a range of flexible learning opportunities, which are always underpinned by high standards and expectations. We stand for excellence in teaching, we stand for professional maturity; we stand for equality, openness and opportunity for all.


Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel