Paramedic Science - BSc
This three-year BSc in Paramedic Science course will provide students with the necessary skills and competencies to deliver out of hospital care, in a range of health settings as a member of an integrated health and social care team.
The role of the paramedic is to assess, treat and manage people in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Paramedics work in a wide range of environments and may work alone or within a team of other health and social care professionals.
You will complete a range of modules and placements in each year that will prepare you to work in this exciting profession. On completion of the course you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- An innovative and exciting course that will prepare the next generation of paramedic clinicians: This course was developed in response to the need for all paramedics in Scotland entering the profession from 2021 to have an ordinary (BSc level) degree. This is because the role of the paramedic is expanding beyond acute trauma and will have increasing focus on the management of long term conditions, mental health support, support of older persons and preventing hospital admissions.
- An interprofessional learning experience: You will learn alongside students from a wide range of other health and social care professional courses, unrivalled in any other university in Scotland.
- Professional links: QMU works closely with local health and social care practice partners including Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Lothian and NHS Borders.
- Great facilities: You will benefit from QMU's modern surroundings and have access to specialist clinical teaching facilities.
- Staff expertise: You will learn from experienced academic staff with clinical currency and research expertise:
- Excellent student support: A supportive learning culture that creates a ‘community feeling’ and promotes learner resilience and wellbeing.
- Professional registration: The course will prepare students to undertake the full scope of practice for a paramedic leading to eligibility for them to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Paramedic Science - BSc: The course in brief
On this course you will:
- carry out invaluable practice-based placements in each year that will enrich your learning;
- learn how to respond safely and effectively in emergency and non-emergency situations;
- develop skills of assessment, diagnosis, management and treatment of people. Your learning will be underpinned by evidence;
- cover topics such as biological sciences, management of health and illness, communication skills, person-centred practice, leadership and management; and
- develop as a critically thinking, reflective professional who is able to work independently or part of a team.
How will I be taught?
This is a three-year ordinary degree. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined.
Teaching, learning and assessment
You will learn through face-to-face sessions and online. Learning and teaching approaches include lectures, seminars, practical laboratories and placements. We also use case based approaches, interactive learning, group work, simulation and games. Outside timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning through self-study. Assessments will include practical work, written exams and assignments.
Practice-based learning forms a major portion of the paramedic course and there will be placement opportunities in each year.
Clinical placements will provide the opportunity to integrate practice with theory by working directly with patients and qualified staff. This includes in care homes and settings providing care for ill adults, children and infants, emergency care, mental health, community and primary care.
QMU manages the sourcing and allocation of full-time placements for each student.
Placements take place across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Borders. It is therefore likely that students will have to relocate for at least some of their practice based learning unless they have individual requirements (eg specific health needs or school age children) that mean they must remain in a specific location.
Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables
You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.
For more information, please also visit ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.
What will I learn each year?
- be introduced to some key theories and principles of clinical assessment and decision making in paramedic practice;
- develop key paramedic skills which are important for practice-based learning and the paramedic profession, and will be able to apply theory to practice;
- gain a sound understanding of anatomy and physiology, which is an important part of paramedic knowledge. Through the Physiology module you will be introduced to the human body and its functions to enable you to assess and diagnose in the future;
learn about the key principles of searching, sourcing and using information at university as well as academic writing and critical thinking skills;
- develop strategies that support your personal and professional development; and
- carry out practice-based learning with the Scottish ambulance service and other clinical environments eg Hospital, care homes and third sector.
Introduction to Clinical Assessment and Decision Making: This module will introduce you to some key theories and principles of clinical assessment and decision making in paramedic practice. You will learn how to safely approach the scene and persons requiring care at all stages of the lifespan, and to identify important clinical information to enable you to assess and prioritise need. This module will link to your learning in the Physiology and Skills modules to prepare you for Clinical practice.
Skills for Paramedic Practice 1: This module will enable you to develop key paramedic skills which are important for practice based learning and the paramedic profession. You will be able to apply the theory which you have learned, in the Introduction to clinical assessment and decision making and Physiology modules, to practice. You will learn within our clinical skills facilities at QMU using simulation and virtual reality technology which re-create real-life conditions for assessment and care. We will also help you to develop effective communication skills as this is very important part of all health care professionals’ work and especially for paramedics when helping persons at times of crisis. British Sign Language skills are introduced in this module.
Finding your Academic Voice: This module will introduce you to key principles of searching, sourcing and using information at university as well as academic writing and critical thinking skills. Paramedics use evidence to guide and inform their practice. The skills you will develop in this module are important for your future professional development and academic work.
Physiology: A sound understanding of anatomy and physiology is an important part of paramedic knowledge. This module will introduce you to the human body and its functions to enable you to assess and diagnose in the future. This module links closely with the Introduction to assessment and decision making module, skills module as well as with paramedic practice.
Developing Resilience of Self and Others for Professional Paramedic Practice: This module will help you to develop strategies that support your personal and professional development. In this module you will learn about person-centred practice within health and social care settings. It will enable you to prepare for work in health care which involves collaborate working and unpredictable situations.
Practice-based Learning: The main learning in this module will take place in clinical settings. This includes the Scottish ambulance service and other clinical environments e.g. Hospital, care homes and third sector. It will give you the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge to practice, observe and learn from clinicians in practice.
- gain knowledge about medications and their actions to help you develop understanding of how and why paramedics use medications in the prehospital environment;
- build on knowledge gained in Year One to further develop your approach to clinical assessment and decision making;
- develop skills in communication and health coaching for supporting behaviour change, health and well-being of individuals and groups - Part of the evolving paramedic role involves empowering others to live well and make positive changes to their health;
- enhance and extend your repertoire of skills for paramedic practice introduced in Year One and develop further confidence and competence in the application of professional skills for safe, effective and person-centred paramedic practice under minimal supervision; and
- you will carry out further Practice-based Learning.
Pharmacology: This module will provide you with knowledge about medications and their actions to help you develop understanding of how and why paramedics use medications in the prehospital environment. We will introduce you to the principles of drug administration, drug action, pharmacological therapy and the rationale for treatments. In this module you will be able to build on the knowledge of physiological systems gained in Year One and relate this to pharmacological interventions, which is very important for future paramedic practice.
Using Clinical Assessment and Decision Making in Paramedic Practice: This module will build on knowledge gained in year 1 to further develop your approach to clinical assessment and decision making. In Year Two you will learn to use clinical assessment and decision making in paramedic practice and to initiate and document appropriate actions in a wide range of contexts. This module will help you to use knowledge of altered physiology. You will learn about signs, symptoms, diagnostics and differentials to inform paramedic assessment. You will draw on relevant theory to help you to understand principles of safe, effective and person centred clinical decision making and care planning to care for, refer or transfer people requiring paramedic care. In this module we will debate approaches to the assessment and management of risk in paramedic practice and how to analyse the impact of multi-professional and multi-agency working.
Behaviour change: Part of the evolving paramedic role involves empowering others to live well and make positive changes to their health. This module will help you to develop skills in communication and health coaching for supporting behaviour change, health and well-being of individuals and groups. You will learn about determinants of health and health inequalities and their impact on individuals and groups. You will explore interactions between individual health behaviours, (including nutrition, smoking, alcohol and physical activity) and ways to promote self-management such as the prevention of ill health and promoting wellbeing, self-management of long-term and life-limiting conditions. In this module you will be also explore the evidence for behaviour change interventions, and sustainable strategies to empower and facilitate behaviour change. This module will help you to apply theory to practice by completing a health coaching intervention.
Skills for Paramedic Practice 2: In this module you will enhance and extend your repertoire of skills for paramedic practice introduced in Year One. This module will enable you to develop further confidence and competence in the application of professional skills for safe, effective and person-centred paramedic practice under minimal supervision. In Year Two we will integrate physiological, pharmacological, psychological and sociocultural knowledge to inform your safe application of paramedic skills in a wide range of contexts. You will continue to learn within our clinical skills facilities at QMU using simulation and virtual reality technology which re-create real-life conditions for assessment and care. In this module we will use scenarios to apply a range of effective communication skills with a particular focus on persons with a variety of communication needs. You will continue to learn about use and how to safely apply specialist equipment relevant to the paramedic role and we will discuss its use in practice.
Paramedic Practice-based Learning 2: This module is will take place in clinical settings in Edinburgh, Lothian and the Borders regions. Practice-based learning opportunities will take place in includes the Scottish ambulance service and other clinical environments including Hospital, care homes and third sector. Building on the practice-based learning experiences gained in Year One you will continue to have opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge to practice, observe and learn from clinicians in practice as well as participating in direct care of persons.
Developing a Spirit of Enquiry: This module will help you to develop the skills required for a critical and enquiring approach to professional practice and further develop the skills developed in Finding your Academic Voice in Year One. You will explore concepts of ethics in the context of generating knowledge to inform paramedic practice and how to debate the strengths and limitations of differing types of evidence. We will help you to select and use information from published literature in order to make and argue a case. You will also learn how to identify the different approaches to knowledge generation and weigh up their value for professional practice. This module is very important for your understanding of evidence based paramedic practice.
- complete the 'Managing Complexity in Paramedic Practice module' - a core paramedic module that will prepare you to manage clinical challenges autonomously, safely and effectively in complex, unfamiliar or unpredictable circumstances within the scope of paramedic practice;
- carry out further practice-based learning within the clinical setting and will enable you to consolidate your knowledge and clinical skills in preparation for autonomous paramedic practice following registration;
- complete the 'Being a Person-centred Practitioner' module. This will help you in your career as you will be required to support junior and unqualified colleagues and to lead and develop practice; and
- develop an indepth understanding of approaches to research, to apply knowledge in order to critically appraise evidence and to form reasoned conclusions required for graduate level thinking.
Managing Complexity in Paramedic Practice: This is the core paramedic module in Year Three and will prepare you to manage clinical challenges autonomously, safely and effectively in complex, unfamiliar or unpredictable circumstances within the scope of paramedic practice. You will learn how to justify effective problem solving, clinical judgement and decision making in paramedic practice in a wide range of contexts in relation to evidence. You will learn how to confidently interpret and prioritise the findings from assessment and to determine the appropriate diagnosis, treatment, referral or discharge of persons requiring care. You will learn how to critically evaluate strategies and responses to manage major incidents and complex situations including trauma and persons with deterioration. We will evaluate together the impact of leadership and team working in paramedic practice and you will learn how to facilitate and promote approaches for supported self- management with people in a holistic and person centred manner.
Paramedic Practice-based Learning 3: This module is undertaken within the clinical setting and will enable you to consolidate your knowledge and clinical skills in preparation for autonomous paramedic practice following registration. This module will give you an opportunity to practice how to modify and adapt clinical assessment and practice to safely meet the needs of persons, minimising risk and promoting shared decision making, while considering the diverse cultural socioeconomic, physical and mental health needs of the population. You will be able to evaluate your own communication and team working skills with paramedic colleagues and other health and care professionals to contribute to effective multidisciplinary practice. You will learn how to practice autonomously and support junior and unqualified staff to work professionally and ethically to promote evidence based, person centred working and to meet the needs of vulnerable persons.
Being a Person-centred Practitioner: Following registration paramedics will be required to support junior and unqualified colleagues and to lead and develop practice. In this module we will help you to critically and creatively learn more about person-centred practice and how you can enhance ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ as a person-centred practitioner and leader within the context of health and social care. You will have the opportunity to develop leadership and facilitation skills for person-centred cultures and evidence-informed practice in health and social care contexts.
Skills for Paramedic Practice 3: This module will enable you to extend, build and consolidate the skills developed in Years One and Two help you to prepare for autonomous working at the point of transition to professional paramedic practice. Within the clinical skills facilities at QMU, simulation we will use virtual reality technology which re-create real-life conditions for assessment and care. You will have an opportunity to apply theory to practice and safely practice the paramedic skills and standards of proficiency required for HCPC registration. This module will help you to develop confidence in paramedic skills and give you an opportunity to practice in safe simulated environment.
Understanding and Appraising the Evidence for Practice: The aim of the module is to support you to develop an in-depth understanding of approaches to research, to apply knowledge in order to critically appraise evidence and to form reasoned conclusions requited for graduate level thinking. This skillset will prepare you for lifelong learning and continued professional development required for safe, effective and person-centred paramedic practice.
NB The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2023) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2024. Please check back here for any updates.
This course will enable you to work as a paramedic or in a range of other settings to contribute to the future of health and social care provision in Scotland.
From September 2021 all paramedics in Scotland entering the profession have been required to have an ordinary (BSc level) degree. This is because the role of the paramedic is expanding beyond acute trauma and will have increasing focus on the management of long term conditions, mental health support, support of older persons and preventing hospital admissions. Following registration individual paramedics will also be able to take on new roles including prescribing and advanced practice.
Paramedic Science - BSc: Entry requirements and application information
Scottish Higher: Standard - BBBB, Minimum - BBCC
A Level: BCC
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2, H2, H3, H3
Required subjects: To include Human Biology or Biology and a discursive subject, such as English, History, RMPS, Modern Studies, Philosophy at Higher/ A Level. English and Maths (Grade C) required and second science preferred at Nat 5/GCSE if not studied at Higher level. We can also accept National 5 Application of Maths or Lifeskills at the same grade.
International: IELTS of 7.0 with no component lower than 6.5
Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.
Mature/Access: We welcome applications from mature students with other relevant qualifications and/or experience. Visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page for more information.
- Students must be aged 18 by the 1st February 2025 in order to be eligible to start the course in September 2024 due to work placement restrictions.
- Applicants will be required to take part in an interview.
- A satisfactory criminal records check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, an occupational health check and personal indemnity insurance (normally through membership of the professional body) are required.
- The requirements of employment and standards of proficiency require applicants to demonstrate good health and that they can meet the physical requirements of the role of a paramedic.
- Within the personal statement, we
look for applicants to demonstrate problem solving skills, leadership ability, and inclusive attitudes showing an understanding of the role of a paramedic working with vulnerable people in challenging and hazardous environments.
It is strongly recommend that you hold a full driving license and you would be encouraged to obtain the category C1 entitlement before completing your studies.
- The cost of the PVG check (£18 or £59 depending on the level of clearance required*) and the professional indemnity insurance are the responsibility of the student. Currently the cost of the health check is funded by the Scottish Government for Scottish students only and other students are responsible for this cost. This is however subject to change should the Scottish Government change their funding policy.
- The additional costs associated with placement travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the student. Students who receive SAAS funding may be able to claim for some of these expenses to be reimbursed.
*Please note that the cost is subject to change.
Terms and Conditions
The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).
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