Frequently Asked Questions
Answering some of the questions we’ve been asked the most
If you have any other questions about the ESO or osteopathy please feel free to contact Admissions or call on +44 (0)1622 671558
All applications are considered individually and with flexibility.
We accept a range of academic qualifications, both UK and overseas, specifically higher level qualifications in health and science subjects. For more information and grade requirements please visit our Entry Requirements page.
We also welcome enquiries from mature applicants – many health and massage related qualifications, at an appropriate level, are accepted and life experience is taken into consideration. Health related Access courses and HE Diplomas may also be accepted.
We consider the personal statement and interview performance important parts of the decision making process – we are looking for applicants who are committed to studying osteopathy having thoroughly researched the subject.
If you are keen to become an osteopath but don’t currently have the right qualification, you may be able to qualify for entry by undertaking an additional online course. For informal advice, contact Admissions.
The ESO has a very diverse student body. We have students from all over the word and we are used to assessing qualifications from both Europe and the rest of the world. However, in some cases we may ask that you have the equivalence of your qualifications established via NARIC.
Interviews are conducted via Teams. A member of the ESO’s Admissions Team will contact you with details following your application.
Our Admissions team is always happy to have an informal chat about eligibility to apply, however, we can only formally interview people who have already submitted their application to us through UCAS. Part of the application process is that applicants write a personal statement, which provides information about their motivation to study osteopathy as well as their qualifications. It is on the basis of all this information that we select people for interview.
To find out how to apply, please visit the ESO website: https://www.eso.ac.uk/applying-to-eso/.
We will not automatically reject applicants who have been offered a place but do not meet their offer conditions . We always look at the application as a whole (taking into consideration the interview performance and the reference) and it is not just the academic ability of the individual that counts. For this reason, please contact the ESO Admissions Department if you have not got met your predicted grades.
We do not currently offer a part-time Osteopathy programme in the UK.
Our International Department provides a 4-year post-graduate course, the Diploma in Osteopathy (International). International diploma programmes are specifically designed for qualified healthcare professionals who are looking to expand their clinical practice. Currently available in Russia and Denmark. Please visit our International section for more information.
About Student Life
Class sizes vary slightly depending on the intake of new students. On average, 60 new students join us each year, divided into 2 groups. We will try to accommodate requests from new students who wish to be grouped together (for example car sharers). If, for any reason, a cohort is particularly large an additional group will be created.
Class groups will generally be timetabled separately for practical lessons and come together for theoretical lectures. During practical lessons, students remain in their individual class groups; practicals have a teacher/student ratio of 1 lecturer/lecturing assistant to 10 students. During theory lectures, the year group comes together as one.
In Clinic, student practitioners are split into smaller tutor groups. The ratio of tutor to students is around 1:6.
There is variation each year. Students range from school leavers to career changers in their 50s; approximately 50% of new students are school leavers (18, 19 years old). Around 50% of our students are from overseas.
The ESO Student Association co-ordinates activities such as parties, dance classes, yoga and meditation sessions, boxing and martial arts practice, surf club plus weekend trips and break that are open to all. The grounds and student rooms are also used regularly by students for ad hoc sports and to keep fit. You can find more information on our Clubs & Associations page or our Admissions team would be happy to put you in touch with members of the Student Association.
Please note that with COVID-19 some activities may be restricted.
We are particularly proud of the learning community here at the ESO and pleased to be able to say our students consistently put us on top when it comes to the National Student Survey.
Some of our current students also shared their view of life at the ESO – you can watch their videos on our website or via our YouTube channel. If you would like to speak directly to a current student about their experience (perhaps as a non-UK student or as a mature student) please contact Admissions, who’ll be happy to pass your details on.
Finding accommodation is not something students have found to be a problem. Maidstone has a good range of affordable housing – most students opt to house share but there are also options for those looking for independent/family accommodation. We find student accommodation is ‘recycled’ each year – some of our regular landlords have been advertising with us for over a decade.
We actively help new students by producing an accommodation list. Updates to the list begin in earnest in early July, when 4th Year students graduate and their accommodation becomes available.
In mid to late July, the ESO hosts a summer get-together for new starters at Boxley House – this enables students to meet and get to know each other face-to-face. There are quite a few properties available to let by that time and students are encouraged to view some together after the event. This year’s get-together will take place on Friday 23rd July.
Students who accept a place on the course are given access to the ESO’s Virtual Learning Environment, where they can find the accommodation list and get in touch with other new starters.
You can find more information on our Accommodation page.
As well as house sharing, a lot of ESO students choose to car share, either with housemates or by arranging a pick-up point with friends – there is plenty of free on-site parking. Covered cycle racks and shower facilities are also available for student use. Some students choose to walk.
There is a bus service into Boxley, which some of our students use – being in a semi-rural location, the service is limited but the timetable between Maidstone town centre and Boxley is fairly compatible.
The School has a close-knit community and travelling to the School, and between our 2 sites, has never been a problem
As the County Town of Kent, Maidstone is fortunate to have a good range of amenities in the town itself; including a cinema complex, bowling alley, sports facilities and gyms, green spaces and riverside walks plus plenty of shops, bars and restaurants for all budgets and tastes. It’s very easy to get around the town on foot.
For those looking to travel further afield, Maidstone has two train stations – East and West – and both are direct to London. Maidstone East station connects with London Victoria and Maidstone West connects to St Pancras. Exact details of travel times and ticket prices can be found here http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.
It is certainly possible to find work whilst studying, and many of our students (UK, EU and International) work part-time in local supermarkets and restaurants etc, or full-time during the term breaks, to help finance their student life. However, the full-time nature of the course should be taken into consideration.
Please note that International/EU/EEA and Swiss students needing a visa to study will be restricted to working 20 hours per week during term time.
About the Course
The ESO programme leads to a qualification unique to the UK called ‘Integrated Masters Degree,’ It is essentially an undergraduate programme at Bachelors level (levels 4 to 6) for the first 3 years. To reflect the educational level of the programme in the final Year (Year 4), when students treat patients, this is at Level 7, which is at Masters level and includes the dissertation – hence the name ‘Integrated Masters in Osteopathy Degree’ (M.Ost). The ESO does not offer a separate Masters (post-graduate) course in Osteopathy, however, we do offer postgraduate seminars.
Students spend up to 4 days per week in lectures or clinical training. Lecture hours are from 0915hrs to 1715hrs, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and 1.5hrs for lunch. The timetable is arranged so that students split their day between practical and theory classes – i.e students will not spend on entire day in one or other. For an example timetable please contact Admissions.
Third and fourth year students are also, on rotation, timetabled to cover evening clinic appointments and term breaks.
You can find an example timetable and more information about the course, timetabled hours and assessment methods within our Study at the ESO section.
We provide a wide range of resources to support the School’s curriculum and students have access to a online databases and academic libraries. Please visit our Facilities section for further information.
There is a dedicated quiet room within the library at Boxley House, with a separate computer room for students to use – laptops are also available for students to borrow. Additional study spaces are provided at Boxley and Tonbridge Road – these are positioned away from lecture / treatment rooms and separate to socialising areas. Free Wifi is provided at both sites.
Students will need to purchase diagnostic equipment, treatment couch covers and clinic tops in the first year and can expect to pay around £300 in total. The ESO is not prescriptive in its recommendation of books. However, you will need to buy some books whilst on the course and we recommend that you set aside approximately £200 for this purpose.
Students have an introduction to cranial osteopathy during the first 2 years of the programme (approx. 6 hours). Then, once they start working in clinic, during Years 3 and 4 of the course, students have around 82 hours of cranial instruction in total.
Due to the gentle nature of cranial osteopathy, cranial osteopathy is particularly suitable for treating children and the elderly.
The ESO Clinic is the only teaching clinic in the UK where students are able to treat children.
The School is part of the Osteopathic European Academic Network (OsEAN) and students are eligible to participate in the exchange scheme. Students from counterpart schools have joined us in Maidstone to experience our teaching and facilities, however, experience has shown ESO students are less inclined to interrupt their studies to attend other institutions. It may be possible to arrange a visit during the term break/vacation – please be aware that you would need to be fluent in the language of that school. If this is very important to you we would need to check in advance of you joining the course that such a visit would be possible.
Osteopathic legislation varies from country to country. In the UK, osteopathy has statutory recognition, meaning the profession has government recognition. The regulatory body governing the profession is called the General Osteopathic Council (www.osteopathy.org.uk). Only those registered with the GOsC may call themselves ‘Osteopaths’. In the UK all institutions teaching osteopathy are regularly inspected by the GOSc ensuring very high standards of osteopathic education. For this reason the UK attracts osteopathic students from all over the world. This does not automatically entitle its graduates to practice elsewhere, but it does put them in good stead to gain employment overseas. The ESO’s international reputation and the breadth of osteopathic training our students receive means our graduates are in demand in the UK and overseas.
We would recommend applicants intending to practice overseas research the requirements of their chosen country before embarking on a course of study.
Newly qualified osteopaths can apply for registration with the General Osteopathic Council immediately after they graduate – so they can start osteopathic practice.
Most Osteopaths are self-employed and it is possible for newly qualified, registered practitioners to set up their own practice. However, most choose to start working in an established practice with other osteopaths or other qualified complementary therapists while they build up their patient list and clinical experience. An Institute of Osteopathy survey (2017) found the average income for established osteopaths in the UK is £45,000, with 11% earning in excess of £100K.