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British School of Osteopathy

Location: Central London Show on Map

Site: Two sites south of London Bridge

Specialist osteopathic college.

Student Population

Total Students:542
FE Students:6%


Total undergraduates:487
Full Time:75%
Mature on Entry:67%
UK Students:75%

Teaching Staff

16 full-time, 120 part-time.

Broad study areas



Accommodation:No college accommodation


Site:Two sites in Borough: teaching centre in Borough High Street, clinical centre in Southwark Bridge Road.
How to get there:Close to London Bridge (over- and underground) and Borough (underground) stations; various bus routes

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Dyslexia tutor, counselling service, student learning adviser, welfare officer.
Amenities:SU active in organising social functions with similar institutions
Sporting facilities:Student sports clubs make arrangements for use of playing facilities with other institutions, eg local medical schools, London South Bank and Bedfordshire universities
Accommodation:No college accommodation. Reasonably-priced accommodation locally or in halls of local universities (£90+ per week); most students share rented accommodation. School organises an accommodation day in August, to help new students find flat mates and landlords.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:10,000 volumes, 30 periodicals, 100 study places; also videos and DVDs. Specialist collections: Rare books on osteopathy. Separate IT service, open 60 hours/week in term time. Ratio workstations to students 1:10, access to internet from all computers; IT support available. 2-hour introduction to library and information services for new students; computer training given if needed.


Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £6500 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by School.
Financial help:Some help for UK students from low-income families and some welfare funds may be available for students experiencing severe hardship.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degree courses. International students pay £9600 pa.


Academic features:

Course is an integrated undergraduate masters degree; can be taken either over 4 years full-time (standard pathway), or over 5 years (mixed mode pathway) comprising 3 years mixed distance and on-site learning then 2 years full-time. Course is student-centred with a focus on problem-solving in a clinical context; includes clinical supervision, practical sessions, tutorials, seminars and self-managed learning. Nearly all clinical tutors run their own practices.

Awarding body:

University of Bedfordshire

Main undergraduate awards:


Length of courses:

4 years full-time; 5 years mixed mode

Main subjects offered:

  • Anatomy
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiology

Student view


The largest alternative medicine training centre in Europe, on Borough High Street just south of London Bridge. It’s in a large 1960s-style building; inside it is spacious and light, providing a good atmosphere for both students and patients. An extensive library containing a large collection of osteopathic as well as conventional medical literature. It’s virtually next door to Borough tube station, 10 minutes’ walk to London Bridge station (tube and rail) and around 30 minutes’ walk to the West End (less by tube); there is storage for bicycles. Small union, not politically active but channels its resources into welfare, sports, entertainments and staff relations. The course involves a good deal of physical contact between students whilst learning and practising osteopathic technique – doesn’t mean it is a four year orgy but does mean that the prospect of stripping down to underwear becomes almost an everyday occurrence and physical intimacy becomes demystified. A demanding course: a part-time counsellor provides confidential support for students (even the most resilient can feel vulnerable sometimes). Workload is phenomenal; the course is much the same as medical school (one year less to do it in!) but training is holistic, ie health and illness are looked at in terms of the patient rather than the disease. Much less emphasis on biochemistry and pharmacology than at med school, since osteopathy is a drug-free system of medicine. Anatomy vitally important: students learn the entire body at a level of detail doctors only approach during postgraduate surgical training. Much of the course is osteopathic technique. Clinical training starts with observation in first year and gradually increases, under supervision, until fourth year students see patients right through from taking their case histories to providing final treatment. Work assessed by combination of written exams, viva voces, essays and Objective Structured Practical Examinations (OSPEs). There is inevitably some attrition, mostly first year. Some 40% of students are 18–22-year-olds, mostly straight from sixth form; another 40% are between 25–35, many of them graduates; the remainder are in their late 30s, even into their 40s, doing what they have always wanted to do before it is too late!


Housing: No School halls, but some available for BSO students in local unis. Eats: Small canteen with sandwiches and limited hot food. Very good value. Drink: SU has cheapest drinks locally. Stella is main beer. Nightlife: Lots of SU social events; good connections with nearby bars. Locals: Very friendly in bars and sandwich shops. Sports: Weight-training room. Off campus access to any sport you can think of if enough people interested. Financial help: Osteopathic Education Foundation help some students from 2nd year. Jobs: A heavyweight course and students do clinical work during the so-called holidays. Good time-management and masses of energy enable some students to earn some money. Informal name: BSO. Best features: Good atmosphere – close knit.

More info?

Enquiries to any SU member via the school.



The British School of Osteopathy
275 Borough High Street


020 7089 5316





Student enquiries:

Student Recruitment & Admissions Officer


UCAS for full-time (direct for ‘mixed mode’ pathway)

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