Choosing where to study can be a big decision. Here are our top ten reasons why we think we make a top choice...
1. Our central London location
Recently voted the third best student city in the world (QS Best Student Cities 2017), London has tons to offer, from a thriving cultural scene and buzzing nightlife to beautiful open spaces and famous historical landmarks. The population is just as diverse as the things to do, with a fantastic multicultural, international feel. Although it can be an expensive place to be, there are plenty of affordable places to live and eat and free things to do for those on a budget. And if you need a break from the hustle and bustle, London's fantastic transport links mean you are only ever a few stops away from the surrounding countryside.
2. Teaching time
Our undergraduate courses have high levels of contact hours and low student teacher ratios to ensure all students are able to benefit from staff expertise and receive the individual support they need. Typically practical classes have a ratio of one tutor to every 10 students, while in clinic there is one tutor to every four students.
For our postgraduate courses we appreciate flexibility is key, and that students are often juggling studies with practice life and other commitments. Contact hours are usually based on weekends and are limited, and students can fit independent study around the hours to suit them.
3. Experienced and specialist tutors
Our reputation attracts high-quality staff from the profession. The majority are still in practice and are specialists within their fields, bringing with them a wealth of real-life experience which they can share with our students.
Our tutors are also very passionate about what they do, even after years in practice, and this enthusiasm is passed on through their teaching. As several of our tutors say, we feel very lucky to be able to do what we do!
4. The UCO clinic
The UCO clinic is the largest osteopathic clinic in Europe and sees patients from all walks of life, from babies to office workers, and expectant mothers to professional athletes. We also have a number of award winning specialist and community clinics working with homeless people, children, NHS patients, elderly patients, and people living with HIV.
Our undergraduate students complete over 1,000 clinical hours and are in clinic from the very start of their studies, beginning as observers and moving towards managing their own patient lists as they gain more experience. The range of patients they see gives them an excellent foundation for life in professional practice, and allows them to begin to expore areas of specialist interest.
What's more, the treatment offered at the UCO clinic and community clinics is heavily subsidised and often offered free of charge, making osteopathic treatment accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it, and making us feel all warm inside!
5. Excellent learning resources
Our library may look pretty standard, but it's the largest osteopathic library in Europe, providing students with access to all the resources and study materials they may need. We're also home to the National Osteopathic Archive.
Students also have access to online learning materials via our virtual learning environment and anatomy TV, and can download Office 365 for free while studying with us.
6. Small, friendly environment
One of the benefits of being a small, specialist provider is that we're a tight-knit, friendly community, and the friendships our students make during their first year with us often stay with them for life. Students from different years work alongside each other in clinic and socialise together in our student union, and our more experienced students provide an informal support network for those new to the UCO.
Our staff are pretty friendly too: we have an open door policy throughout the school, and tutors are always willing to go the extra mile to help students where they can.
7. The student union
Unlike the majority of osteopathic schools in the UK we have an active student union which organises social events throughout the year, including parties, sports days, and extra curricular activities.
Students also have their own bar, lounge areas, kitchen and dining areas, common room and games area. These spaces are being refurbished over the summer months so keep an eye out for developments on social media!
8. Pioneering research
We strongly endorse an evidence-informed approach to teaching, learning and patient care, and have an active research department who are helping to pioneer new research and contribute to the body of knowledge about osteopathy.
Our research team frequently speak at conferences in the UK and around the world and are regularly published in peer-reviewed journals. They also work collaboratively with a number of well-respected research departments, including the Arthritis Research Campaign National Primary Care Centre at Keele University; the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria Univerisity in Melbourne; and the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London.
Their research experitise has been recognised by a number of grants, scholarships and prizes, and one staff member recently scooped the Research Into Practice Award at the Institute of Osteopathy 2016 awards - go Jerry!
9. Professional opportunities
Osteopathy is a flexible and rewarding career with good earning potential and our graduates have a wealth of options open to them.
Currently UCO graduates make up approximately 40% of practicing osteopaths in the UK and a survey conducted by the University of Bedfordshire in 2016 found that over 92% of UCO graduates were in employment six months after graduation, with an average income of £36,724 per year.
Of course, income varies depending on a number of factors, including the type and number of patients you see, where you work, the hours you keep and whether you work for yourself or someone else, but one of the benefits of osteopathy as a career is that it's largely up to you. While some of our graduates work within the NHS or for private practices, many are self-employed and are able to shape the career to suit their own needs and interests.
10. Professional support
We know that the first few years in professional practice can be a daunting experience and that a career in osteopathy constantly provides new challenges, so we continue to offer support to our graduates throughout their professional lives. For new graduates this often takes the form of informal mentoring or an Associates position within the UCO Clinic, but there are also lots of opportunities to network and exchange information and advice with peers through our graduate network.
So that's our top 10! Are you a student or a graduate of the UCO? What would you add to the list?