Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences>Courses>Complementary Healthcare Top-up Year - BSc (Hons) Degree

Complementary Healthcare Top-up Year - BSc (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

​This top-up degree provides an excellent opportunity to extend your learning and experience within the field of complementary therapies to achieve a BSc (Hons) Complementary Healthcare (with Practitioner Status) within the well-established Centre for Complementary Healthcare at Cardiff Met.

Having gained appropriate recognised qualifications in massage, aromatherapy and reflexology and relevant underpinning knowledge at Levels 4 & 5, you will be able to focus on developing the skills and experience required for graduate employment as part of a multi-disciplinary team at two different placements (one per term). You will use all three modalities, often in combination, to treat clients with a wide variety of physical and mental health concerns and to support their families and carers. The opportunity to work alongside or observe other healthcare professionals is a valuable learning activity offered by a number of placements. 

Current work placements include the palliative care unit at the local NHS Trust cancer hospital; a number of other palliative care settings; a supported living complex and a short-term residential facility supporting mental health needs and the mental health unit for the Cardiff & Vale University Health Board. Students have an on-site placement supervisor as well as support from a named member of the teaching team. 

Alongside attending placement students work as a team to operate all aspects of the university’s Complementary Healthcare Clinic which is fee-paying and open to the general public. 

In addition to the work-based learning opportunities, students are able to extend and develop their therapy and differential diagnosis skills via the Advanced Practice and Health Behaviour Change modules.

A major component of the top-up year is completion of a research project. This is often an extension of an area of interest already identified at Level 4 or 5 and should be discussed with the programme team at interview. 

This top-up opportunity will undoubtedly enhance employment opportunities and enable therapists to extend and broaden their potential client base.

Related short courses:

Professional Aromatherapy Training Course / Continuing Education Award in Aromatherapy

Course Content

As described above, this top up year comprises 40 credits of Work based learning, a 40 credit research project together with two 20 credit modules in Advanced Practice and Health Behaviour Change. 

Learning & Teaching

A mix of theory and practice is delivered via a range of teaching methods across the programme including lectures, tutorials, workshops, practical classes, group tasks and presentations. Specialist lecturers who are all experienced practicing therapists deliver the clinical modules, whilst other lecturers from the School of Health Sciences teach their specialisms in the range of supporting academic modules.

Teaching and learning is supported by clear and supportive handbooks at programme and module level, the use of Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment), and by timely, constructive feedback from lecturers and tutors.

Students are supported as they complete their dissertation with guided independent study whilst work based learning experiences enhance and extend their professional practice.

Teaching and learning strategies have been carefully designed to interlink across the range of modules and themes to fully develop essential academic skills whilst embedding research and employability skills into the practical and professional elements of the course. 

At this level of study students are expected to demonstrate independent learning skills. Attendance at class, clinic and placement is approximately 18 hours per week in Term 1 and 11 hours per week in Term 2. Additionally, there are 5 hours of individual supervision for their research project.


Assessment for this year comprises a range of practical exams, case studies, reflective reports, placement supervisor reports and both individual and group presentations. The research project is presented in the style of a paper for a journal. 

Teaching and learning are supported by clear and supportive handbooks at programme and module level, the use of Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment), and by timely, constructive feedback from lecturers and tutors. Students receive formative feedback for several assignments to guide their learning whilst academic support is also available from library staff. 

Employability & Careers

An important element of this top up year is the development of professional skills and broadening of experience provided by the work-based learning modules. 

The placement element offers the opportunity to work in a range of environments, several of them in clinical settings, whilst the university clinic allows students to experience all aspects of running a multi-disciplinary clinic. 

These experiences mean that our graduates can compete very favourably in the job market. Former students have been offered employment as a result of their placement or to set up their own clinics offering employment to other graduates, whilst others have established themselves as sole trader therapists.

There is also the opportunity to continue your studies to Master’s level and beyond via, for example, the Masters in Research Methods (MRes) programme at Cardiff Met. This allows students to extend their research project on an aspect of complementary healthcare.

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

All applicants should have five GCSEs including English Language (or Welsh First Language) and Mathematics* at grade C or above / grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England) plus:

  • A Foundation Degree or HND in Complementary Therapies which must include modules at Level 4 and 5 in the subjects of massage, reflexology and aromatherapy.
  • An IELTS (or equivalent) score of 6.5 is required where English is not the first language.

*For Welsh applicants sitting the reformed Mathematics GCSE, we will accept either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy.

If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn’t listed, please either contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search for entry requirements. Further information on our entry requirements, including qualifications from the EU can be found by clicking here.

Candidates who do not possess normal minimum entry qualification are interviewed and considered individually on the basis of their prior learning or working background. For applicants who are only undertaking 2 A levels or equivalent, this will be considered along with the rest of the academic profile and we may issue a graded offer in lieu of an offer using the UCAS Tariff.

Other requirements: Successful DBS and Occupational Health​ check.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website. 

Selection Procedure:
Selection is usually on the basis of a completed UCAS application and where relevant an interview. 

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer into year 2 & 3
If you are interested in transferring credit from another institution to study at Cardiff met for a course which accepts entry for year 2 and/or 3, you can find further information on this and information on how to apply on the RPL page. Please contact Admissions for any queries that you have on RPL. 

Mature students
A mature applicant is anyone over the ago of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college. Cardiff Met welcomes applications from mature applicants and further advice and information can be found here.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact:
Tel: 02920 205672 

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

UCAS Code: B304

Place of Study: Llandaff Campus

School: Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences 

Course Length: This course can be studied over 1 year (full time) or 2 years (part time)