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Physiotherapy courses

Physiotherapists treat patients with muscle and skeletal injuries, neurological problems and breathing problems. They help people rehabilitate and regain movement after an illness or injury. Most work in hospitals or in private clinics, while some may work for sports clubs or the armed forces. Physiotherapy is a popular option and you'll need good grades to get a place on a course, particularly in a biological science. Courses typically combine theory with learning practical diagnostic and treatment skills.

Studying physiotherapy at university

Example course modules

  • Applied anatomy and biomechanics
  • Clinical skills
  • Physiology in the context of physiotherapy
  • Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Critical thinking and enquiry
  • Exercise across the lifespan
  • Foundations in health, social care and professional practice
  • Musculoskeletal management and rehabilitation
  • Neurological physiotherapy

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 69%
    Male : 31%
  • Mature : 15%
    School leaver : 85%
  • Full-time : 96%
    Part-time : 4%

What students say about physiotherapy

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Biology

Useful to have

  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Physical education
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Physiotherapy is a popular subject, and the graduates of 2012 had a slightly lower unemployment rate overall than related subjects such as anatomy and physiology, having seen job prospects improve significantly in the last 12 months. Physiotherapy graduates mainly go straight into work, and a majority got into physiotherapy roles within six months of graduation in 2012, either in hospitals or private practice. If you fancy working for yourself, physiotherapists are rather more likely than the average graduate to start their career self-employed.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Therapy professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Physiotherapist
  • Veterinary physiotherapist
  • Biokineticist

Other real-life job examples

  • Rehabilitation therapist
  • Prison officer
  • Sports coach

What employers like about this subject

As part of a physiotherapy degree, you would expect to gain subject-specific skills in areas such as the professional practice of physiotherapy and in investigating and diagnosing health issues; in the principles and ethics of evidence-based health practice and in the principles of rehabilitation. Transferrable skills you can develop include good communication skills, problem-solving, team-working and decision-making. Physiotherapists tend to get jobs with hospitals, specialist physiotherapy practices, gyms, sports clubs, the Armed Forces, in welfare organisations and in education (particularly universities).