Radiography is a unique degree, one that focuses on imaging of patients and objects. A radiography degree will help you to assess and diagnose diseases or injuries.
You will work with high-quality imaging machines and other delicate medical equipment in this degree. As a medical-based degree, students can also claim funding support with the NHS bursary or the NHS learning support fund.
What is radiography?
Radiography is the study of treating illnesses or injuries in both animals and humans. Typically at university, students will study either diagnostic radiography or therapeutic radiography.
Diagnostic radiography is a form of radiation that focuses on patient care. This will involve using radiation to produce high-quality images of illnesses or injuries and provide patients with the required treatment or medication.
Therapeutic radiography touches on how radiography is used as a means of treatment, generally for cancer treatment. Therapeutic radiography is often known as “radiotherapy” and is used to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumours.
The salary you earn depends on your job and where you work. Typically, jobs in the city tend to pay higher than those outside of it.
You can choose what discipline you want to study. Although the choice is yours, you will also have a fair amount of overlap with the other discipline in certain areas of your degree.
What are the modules for this course?
The modules you study will depend on the university you attend. The modules you will study depend on which type of radiography you choose to study at university, since radiography cannot be studied as a broad subject in the same way courses like accounting degrees and history degrees can.
The modules studied as part of a diagnostic radiography degree are:
- Equipment and technology (year one)
- Practical experience (year one)
- Professional practice (year one)
- The human body (year one)
- Advanced radiography (year two)
- Evidence-based practice (year two)
- Interpretation of imaging (year two)
- Radiation protection (year two)
- Application and development (year three)
- Autonomous practice (year three)
- Contemporary diagnostic imaging (year three)
- Leadership and management for healthcare professionals (year three)
At a postgraduate level, they will include:
- Advanced imaging techniques
- Healthcare practice application
- Imagining systems for musculoskeletal and soft tissue
- Radiographic science and imagining technologies
The modules studied as part of a therapeutic radiography degree are:
- Academic skills (year one)
- Oncology studies (year one)
- Patient care (year one)
- Radiotherapy clinical practice (year one)
- Radiotherapy science and technology (year one)
- Applied oncological management (year two)
- Appraising evidence (year two)
- Cancer imaging (year two)
- Dosimetry and radiotherapy physics (year three)
- Improving quality and leadership (year three)
- Oncological management (year three)
At a postgraduate level, they will include:
- Applied biological sciences
- Patient care and resource management
- Radiation science and technology
The modules you study will also have different credits depending on where you study. Some universities may offer more modules and others may touch on different ones, but these are the most common modules studied at university.
What are the entry requirements?
The university entry requirements for either course will depend on the university and what level you are studying at. The UCAS points needed for a radiography degree will also vary depending on which type of radiography you are studying.
- The average UCAS points needed for diagnostic radiography are: 112-128 points.
- The average UCAS points needed for therapeutic radiography are: 120-168 points.
The general entry requirements are:
- A-Levels: Typically, you will need to have three A-Levels, with at least two being in either biology, chemistry or physics. The required grades will range from anywhere between CCC to ABB.
- BTECs: Not all universities will accept BTECs. You will need to check with your university beforehand to see if they accept them as part of your application. If your BTEC is accepted, you must have studied a science-based subject and attained anywhere between an MPP or DDD grade.
- Scottish highers (SQA): If you are studying SQAs, you will need to have studied a wider range of topics. This will typically include English (or any other written subject), biology, chemistry, maths and physics. You will need a BBBC.
- International baccalaureate (IB): Generally, most courses will ask that you have three Higher Level subjects. Of these three, at least one must be science-based. Some universities have been known for applicants to have at least a grade 6 in their international baccalaureate, regardless of the overall score. Typically, you will need between 24 and 34 points to apply for a radiography degree.
Some universities may also require you to complete a university interview as part of your application. It is also common for some universities to have entrance exams for potential students to pass beforehand, but this will depend on which university you are applying to.
How do I write my personal statement for this subject?
Your radiography personal statement will need to discuss why you want to study this subject. As with all personal statements, it’s important to speak about your hobbies, your interests and what activities you have done that are related to your course.
The university will also advise you on the equipment you need. However, picking up a good laptop, stationary, and printer is a good idea.
The first thing to talk about is why you want to study radiography. Depending on which discipline of radiography you are studying, it is important to discuss what it is about the subject that interests you. Is there a family member who requires the use of radiography? Does it link to your overall career aspirations? These are good jumping-off points to speak about your interest in the subject.
Next up, your personal achievements, academic or recreational. These do not necessarily need to be linked to radiography or to your potential studies, but are a good way to show your abilities both at school and outside of it.
Another important aspect is your hobbies. As with your achievements, these do not necessarily need to be linked to radiography. Universities want to know what kind of person you are and, by extension, what kind of student you will be; therefore, an understanding of your hobbies and interests allows them to glean an insight into you.
It can also be important to speak about your personal qualities. Do you volunteer? Have you participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award? Have you taken part in a mentoring programme of some kind? Even a reference to any sports you play or books, films or TV shows that you like, can all help to paint a picture for the university and are key for a personal statement for radiography.
What books or equipment do I need?
Generally, the university you are studying at will give you the suggested reading list for your course. However, for those looking to gain further insight into the world of radiography can look at books such as:
- Ball and Moore’s Essential Physics for Radiographers by John Ball & Adrian D. Moore
- CT Anatomy for Radiotherapy by Pete Bridge & David J. Tipper
- Principles and Applications of Radiological Physics by Martin Vosper, Andrew England & Victoria Major
- Radiobiology for Radiologists by Eric J. Hall & Amato J Giaccia
- Textbook of Radiotherapy by Joseph Walter & Harold Miller
The university will also advise you on the equipment you need. However, picking up a good laptop, stationary, and printer is a good idea. Radiography, unlike other degrees, will have several large machines and equipment for you to use on-site.
How will I be assessed?
How you are assessed will depend on the university you are attending and what modules you are studying. As a result, you will be graded on your theoretical and practical approaches to whichever discipline of radiography you are studying.
Career prospects after university are very good for graduates.
The main ways you are assessed for a radiography degree are:
- Case study projects.
- Clinical assessments.
- General coursework.
- Practical assessments.
- Written and verbal presentations.
Some universities require that you also have a work placement. Your work on your placement and your ability to secure a position may impact your final grade.
What are the career prospects?
Career prospects after university are very good for graduates. Since radiography is such a wide-ranging and complex degree, finding a suitable career shouldn’t be too difficult.
In terms of scope, radiography does not have as wide a range of sectors to work, like accounting or business. With a radiography degree, you will solely work in the medical sector, although you do not necessarily need to work for the NHS.
A postgraduate radiography course tends to be a harder but more focused level of study.
Radiographers can work across a variety of different medical disciplines. Outpatients and oncology centres are common places to look for work, as are emergency wards. However, you may be able to find work in the sports science world, dentists, local clinics or even local vets or other X-ray jobs.
What jobs can I get with this degree?
There are several jobs that a radiography degree graduate can look for. The most common radiography jobs a radiography degree graduate can look for are:
- Biological scientist.
- Clinical nurse.
- Clinical photographer.
- Dental hygienist.
- Dental technician.
- Laboratory scientist.
- Palliative care specialist.
- Registered nurse.
- Ultrasound tech.
- X-ray operator.
Your level of study can also be crucial to applying for these roles. Some jobs may require you to study at a postgraduate level, while others will accept a general undergraduate degree. You will also need a fair amount of training in these roles before you are fully-settled, like radiographer training.
How does radiography change at a postgraduate level?
A postgraduate radiography course tends to be a harder but more focused level of study. Generally, postgraduate radiography degrees tend to focus on more research-based subjects. It is common for students to study for a PGCert in this subject or for those looking to move into teaching a PGCE degree.
Postgraduate degrees in radiography also look at using high-end equipment in radiography careers. You will study diagnostic imaging, the various reporting, and enhanced equipment used at this level.
Radiography is the study of treating illnesses or injuries in both animals and humans.
It is also possible to study at this level as part of a sandwich course. Though these are typically studied at an undergraduate level, it is an invaluable way of gaining work experience and forging industry contacts, especially if you didn’t have the chance to take on a work placement in your undergraduate course.
Some students will look into radiography as a supplement to a separate undergraduate degree. If, for instance, you studied a dentistry degree at undergraduate level, you may want to study radiography at a postgraduate level to expand your knowledge.
What is the average grad salary in this area?
The salary you earn depends on your job and where you work. Typically, jobs in the city tend to pay higher than those outside of it. If you work for the NHS, you will be placed on the NHS’ Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. Typically, a role like this will fall into the Band 5 designation, meaning you can start at around £27,000 and rise as high as £32,000.
You can move into other Band scales as you move through the ranks. It is possible to move into Bands 7 or 8a, where you can earn as much as £46,000.