Complementary Therapies Foundation Degree FdSc

This course is validated by: University of Cumbria

If you are interested in starting this programme in January 2017 you can complete our simple enquiry form. Subject to the number of people registering their interest in studying in January 2017, we will run the programme. Thank you.

Course Information


With a rising demand in the Complementary Therapy field, our foundation degree in Complementary Therapies has been specifically designed to provide people with an excellent opportunity to gain advanced knowledge, and experience, of the practical and theoretical expertise required in this ever developing industry. Not only will you explore a variety of Complementary Therapies, you will also practice and hone your skills through work-based learning. This course could appeal to you if you need to fit studying around other commitments or if you are looking to take your first step into higher education after a gap of study.

Due to changes in government policy and the NHS, the use of Complementary and Alternative Therapy has become better recognised and its use has become more widespread across the population. Complementary or Holistic therapists gain employment utilising their practical, consultation and advisory skills within a variety of settings. Within the NHS therapists work in hospitals, GP practices and community centres. Many also work within health spas, private clinics or become self-employed. The programme is suitable for anyone with an interest in the Health sector. Whether they are already working within the NHS as a health trainer, nurse, midwife or physiotherapy assistant, are working within the sports and rehabilitation industry, hospices and palliative care, have completed NVQs in holistic and beauty therapy or want a complete change in career.

What will I study?

The programme includes practical module pathways for Sports and Remedial Massage, Reflexology, Holistic Massage and Aromatherapy. Students will choose pathways of study which will continually be developed during their two years on the programme. National Occupational Standards and Core Curriculum have been embedded into all practical subjects. 

A wide variety of core modules will also be studied, providing students with underpinning knowledge of many aspects of the complementary and sports therapy industries. Both optional and core modules specifically link with modules studied as part of the BSc (Hons) Professional Practice in Complementary Health Therapies (Top Up) degree. In addition, students can gain Emergency First Aid certification and have opportunity to take part in external industry events in order to update and expand their knowledge. Industrial links are also established and encouraged through work based learning and practical client sessions will also take place in the UCBC treatment clinic.

Modules include:

  • Holistic Massage
  • Sports and Remedial Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology 1
  • Reflective Practice
  • Introduction to Complementary Therapies
  • Integrated Health
  • Research Skills 1
  • Aromatherapy
  • Advanced Sports and Remedial Massage
  • Advanced Reflexology
  • Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology 2
  • Small Business Practice
  • Therapeutic Relationships
  • Research Skills 2

Please note: In order to study the 'Advanced Reflexology' module you must have studied the previous module 'Reflexology' as an option choice. Similarly, in order to study 'Advanced Sports and Remedial Massage' you will need to have previously studied 'Sports and Remedial Massage' as your option choice.

Download the Programme Specification for FdSc Complementary Therapies. The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.


Entry Requirements

You will require 120 UCAS tariff points and you will need a Level 3 or equivalent qualification in a health, science or therapy related subject. All applicants must show that they have a minimum of GCSE English Grade C, or Level 2 functional skills in literacy. If English is not your first language you'll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English. Please check the International section of the website for details. Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview.

You will be required to register as a Student Member with a Holistic Therapy accrediting body at the start of the programme; this costs around £25.00. You will also be required to undertake a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check (around £46) and purchase a Complementary Therapies uniform which costs around £60. 

Please note: For 2017 entry the UCAS Tariff is changing and the UCAS points required to enter this programme will be different from 2016. For those joining this programme in September 2017, you will need to have 48 UCAS Tariff points. All other entry criteria (as specified above) remain in place.

If you require more information on the UCAS tariff for 2017 entry please visit:

If you are an International Student from outside of the EU it is a requirement for you to have a Tier 4 Visa in order to study with us. In order for you to undertake this particular programme of study, you will also need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and will require a UK VI Academic IELTS score of 5.5. Please note: the fees for International Students from outside of the EU, for this particular programme are £9,250 per year. Fees are subject to change in subsequent years.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments will take place formatively through a variety of in class tests and observation of practical skills. Summative assessments will include: essays, reports, case studies, written exams, portfolios and practical assessments.

Formative and summative assessments enable lecturers or tutors to monitor the learning that has/is taking place. Summative assessment is not always noticeable by the student as it is a continuous process; lecturers or assessors may observe participation and responses to class discussions and group work, a student’s response to question and answer sessions, participation in workshop practical and engagement with demonstrations. Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.

Students receive both formal and informal feedback. Formal feedback is through assessments, is usually in writing and given within 3 weeks following the submission date. However, some lecturers will provide group feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

What can I do next?

The Foundation Degree has a solid vocational content aimed at enhancing employability prospects. Upon successful completion of the course (with a 50% pass mark or merit) you will be able to progress onto Developing Practice in Complementary Therapies BSc (Hons) Top Up, validated by the University of Cumbria. You may also choose to enter the industry as a complementary therapist. The vast majority of students progress, however, onto the Top Up programme.

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"I was fortunate enough to be invited by the staff, to a Complementary Medicine conference at a local Hospice in Blackburn, where the students demonstrated a wide range of knowledge and skills in the form of posters and presentations. It is clear that some students will go on to achieve success in very specialised areas of practice and will hopefully secure full-time employment in areas like palliative care and tertiary care environments."

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