Research excellence framework The University of Cumbria is committed to increasing the amount of ‘excellent research’ conducted by its staff by actively participating in the 'Research Excellence Framework' (REF).
We have adopted an online ‘blended’ learning approach to teaching on the ultrasound programme and our modules are taught in block release. Our suggestion is therefore that you are given this time by your placement to access the learning materials and tutorials on the scheduled module dates/times in a location that is best suited for you to learn, e.g. in a suitable quiet location at your placement site, or at home.
Most modules will have an element of live virtual tutorial type sessions using Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Teams, which you will be expected to engage with. You will need a suitable laptop or PC with speakers and a webcam and adequate internet access/broadband speed to work remotely on-line. Some modules may also have a campus based clinical skills element to the teaching.
The delivery of your modules may vary from tutor to tutor, module to module, so please always follow the guidance of your module leader and module Blackboard site. Please understand this approach to module delivery is new to us as well, so please try to be patient and understanding, we are doing our very best to ensure you remain supported throughout your learning.
Our course will build on your experience in radiography, nursing, midwifery or other related professions or clinical specialisms and teach you the academic knowledge and safe clinical practice to meet national standards to work as a sonographer.
Your learning will be enhanced with plenty of work-based practical learning in our skills lab, which is equipped with the latest imaging workstations and houses one of the largest MedaPhor ultrasound simulation labs in the world. Discover our skills hub in the video below.
Why Choose University of Cumbria
We have designed our course to meet the standards of CASE, regional and national stakeholders – including local ultrasound managers.
We provide a wide range of modules, including: obstetrics, gynaecology, general medical (abdominal and small parts), vascular, breast and musculoskeletal ultrasound training, but also negotiated areas of practice.
Eligible to apply for registration with SCoR Public Voluntary Register of Sonographers after graduation
Use top-of-the-range ultrasound equipment and test phantoms in our purpose-built labs, as well as simulated practice facilities (MedaPhor Scan Trainer), to support your clinical placement
Placement to enhance your academic knowledge and provide essential work-based experience*
Taught by a team of experienced ultrasound practitioners both in the university and in your clinical setting
Teaching is also supported by specialist external guest speakers who provide current, relevant course material directly related to clinical practice
Flexible course to fit around your work commitments, start dates in May, October or January
We have earned a reputation in specialist international research, so your studies will be up-to-date with current best practices
Select from a vast range of modules and negotiated clinical practice modules
Study in a friendly, professional environment
You can achieve competency to practice if you successfully complete both academic and clinical components of the programme to PgCert level or above.
So, if you have experience in radiography, nursing, midwifery or other related professions or clinical specialisms and have the support for a sponsored placement, then our MSc Medical Imaging (Ultrasound) ensures you have the clinical competencies and safe practice to meet national standards and further your career.
*You must have a suitable clinical placement secured through an employer or sponsor before you apply for the course
On successful completion of the course, you will be able to provide evidence of preparation for practice to the standards required for a first post-qualification sonographer role. We have consulted with local ultrasound service partners who have confirmed that this would allow employment of graduates in most regional NHS contexts. However, applicants from a non-health care background should note that, at present, employment in some NHS Trusts would not be possible due to the requirement for professional registration. These potential restrictions on employment will be discussed with you during the application process and you will be asked to sign a memorandum of agreement confirming your understanding and acceptance.
UK CASE accredited ultrasound awards are recognised both nationally and internationally. Whilst developing the course we have worked closely with regional and national stakeholders to ensure that when you graduate you will be well prepared to work as an autonomous ultrasound practitioner within their your specialty.
Our expert staff will help you develop into an autonomous practitioner, who is able to undertake advanced ultrasound practice safely, by ensuring clinical competencies achieved meet national standards.
We provide a range of modules which will enable you to explore the underpinning knowledge of safe, effective and evidence-based ultrasound practice, in order to help you develop clinical skills in your own department.
Teaching is also supported by specialist guest speakers who provide current, relevant course material directly related to clinical practice.
You will have the opportunity for inter-professional learning during the academic blocks (which are shared with our full-time ultrasound students) and during clinical placement.
The development of critical, analytical and evaluative skills and incorporating these into the clinical environment, encouraging evidence based practice will be a fundamental part of the course.
Each module is credit rated. You may be assessed in various ways including coursework, presentations, reflective writing, verbal assessments, exams and reports. Assessment of clinical placements is a requirement of the qualification; you will be assessed to ensure you are clinically competent before you can receive the award.
You will need to organise a clinical placement in a recognised department to engage in a wide range of ultrasound examinations for the duration of the course. Unfortunately, the university cannot assist you in finding a placement.
This course is highly flexible and does not follow a standard academic year. You can start in May, October or January each year where you must begin with one of our core modules. Both core modules must be completed in year 1, alongside at least ONE optional module.
Please note optional module choices are made by the placement and not you the student, and these are based fundamentally on patient caseload availability, mentor support and service need.
Physical Principles & Technology in Ultrasound
Professional, Legal & Ethical Issues in Ultrasound
Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)
General Medical Ultrasound (Theory)
General Medical Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Obstetric Ultrasound (Theory)
Obstetric Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Gynaecological Ultrasound (Theory)
Gynaecological Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Breast Ultrasound (Theory)
Breast Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Vascular Ultrasound (Theory)
Vascular Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (Theory)
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (Clinical Practice)
Negotiated Ultrasound Practice (Theory)
Negotiated Ultrasound Practice (Clinical Practice)
Independent Study in Ultrasound (non-clinical)
Please note: Optional modules are chosen by the sponsoring placement provider. This may vary from placement to placement and year to year dependent on the needs of the local service and availability of suitable patient caseload and mentor.
The teaching timetable should be available from the end of August. Access to the timetable is through the Student Hub – you will be able to access the Student Hub after you have completed online registration. The teaching day is 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday; please keep your other commitments open until confirmation of your teaching timetable, and bear in mind that many courses will offer placements or fieldwork which sometimes extends into the evenings and weekends.
For information about Medical Clearance and vaccination requirements (including Covid-19 Vaccines) click here.
You will be required to pass an element of pre-course assessment, carried out in the department sponsoring you. It is the sponsoring department’s responsibility to facilitate this assessment and this will be carried out to ensure that you show an aptitude for Ultrasonography. You will need to undertake a preliminary practical assessment to demonstrate the relevant psychomotor skills such as hand-eye co-ordination, pattern recognition and spatial awareness. The assessment will be of an informal nature, carried out by experienced practitioners in your clinical placement, who will then provide a written reference to confirm your suitability.
Before being accepted onto the course, all applicants will be interviewed, usually by telephone. Interviewers from the course team will, amongst other attributes, be looking for a commitment to further study, an understanding of content and standard of the course and interpersonal skills.
A particularly high standard of spoken and written English is necessary to cope with the clinical work on the MSc Medical Imaging (Ultrasound) course. Applicants who have not received their secondary school education in English will require an overall IELTS score of 7 with a mean score of 7 in all elements.
You will usually need to have at least 12 months’ equivalent full-time post registration clinical experience, in your respective profession, and you will need support from a clinical ultrasound department and access to a clinical placement in such a department for the duration of the course.
It is your responsibility to ensure a suitable clinical placement is organised, prior to starting, and for the duration of your chosen award. The university regretfully cannot assist students in finding or securing a clinical placement for this award, at any time during their time on the course. You must have access to a suitable clinical mentor and suitable patient case load for a minimum of 21 hours per week. If your placement is terminated for any reason, the university cannot assist you in finding another placement. If a suitable clinical placement cannot be found in these circumstances, you will be required to withdraw from the course.
Applicants should be eligible for registration by their respective UK professional or regulatory body e.g. Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Medical Council (GMC), Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), Society of Vascular Technologist (SVT). You will also need to provide one reference in support of your application, from the department offering a clinical placement who can confirm your suitability to train in ultrasound.
Overseas students can usually only be considered if they are able to secure a suitable placement in the UK or Ireland. Regretfully the university is unable to assist in this process.
Making your application
Applications should be made online directly to the university via the apply button above. If you need more details or guidance, please contact email@example.com. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.
We like all our applicants to demonstrate an understanding of what the role of a sonographer involves and a clear rationale for applying for this award. Applications cannot be considered without a suitable clinical placement being secured. This must be in place before commencing the course.
We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential - evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.
Make sure you include:
Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
A good personal statement.
Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.
When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either - an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or - an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.
And if I accept?
The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.
We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.
Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.
From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa.
UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.
We have a wide range of scholarships, bursaries, grants and funds available to support you throughout your studies with us. This includes the Cumbria Bursary - a non-repayable bursary designed to support first year students with a household income of less than £25,000.
All students will need to purchase stationery, course books and personal equipment. Extra costs may also be applicable to cover travel to placement and the university campus, parking and/or accommodation at placement/university campus (if required).
We officially opened our high-tech ultrasound skills hub, one of the largest installations of its kind in the world, last year.
The skills hub is equipped with revolutionary ultrasound simulators which will enable students to gain basic skills by experiencing lifelike, hands-on training before entering the busy clinical environment of sonography.
With a UK-wide shortage of sonographers being identified by the government*, this half million-pound project was funded jointly by the university and a grant from Health Education North West.
The University of Cumbria has responded to the sonography workforce gap by expanding its portfolio of ultrasound courses to meet the needs of an increasingly pressured health care system. This advanced virtual-reality technology has facilitated the provision of a new accelerated route to a medical ultrasound postgraduate degree, aimed at students from non-clinical health and sciences backgrounds.
Emma Timperley (24), from Lancaster is one of this first cohort of full time postgraduate sonography students at the university. She says:
“My first degree was in biomedical sciences, but this postgraduate course will allow me to become a trained sonographer in two years. I had the opportunity to use this new technology for a few weeks before going out on my first placement and it’s been invaluable.
It not only gives you a real feel for the orientation of the ultrasound, but also provides all the basic information about anatomy that you need at this stage.”
Professional lead for medical sciences at the university, Charles Sloane, says:
“Students at the University of Cumbria are very fortunate to have access to this world-leading ultrasound skills development facility.”
“It will enable us to help address the shortage of sonographers that currently exists and ensure patients can continue to access the services they need to get a quick diagnosis of potentially life-threatening conditions, such as cancer.”
ScanTrainer, created by MedaPhor, is a specialist ultrasound skills training simulator made using ‘real feel’ technology which gives students a chance to learn what it feels like to carry out a real-life scan, preparing them for what they’ll experience in a clinical environment. In addition, its ‘virtual tutor’ technology means students are in control of their own learning, both in and out of class time.
Iain Dunbar, International Sales Manager at MedaPhor, comments:
“The new skills lab signals that the ultrasound education industry in the UK, and across the world, is finally responding to the demand for sonography skills as ultrasound grows in popularity as a diagnostic modality. The university’s approach is truly pioneering and we are delighted to be at the forefront alongside them.”
The new ‘Ultrasound Skills Hub’ at the university’s Lancaster campus was officially opened on 17 March 2016 by the then university vice chancellor Professor Peter Strike. An audience of invited guests from the healthcare professions was also given a demonstration of the new scanning equipment by postgraduate students.